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Geocaching Futility

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I think I must be setting a record for geocaching ineptness. Starting with a failed hike with the legendary Choberiba on March 16th, I have now logged eight failures and only seven finds. Excluding the latest failure tonight, all of the Not Founds have subsequently been located (either by me or another cacher); so this isn't a case of me hunting caches which aren't there. One of the failures was even a 1/1 cache. Anybody else ever been in a funk? How do I get out of it?

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Looks to me like you are doing fine. Your profile says you have found 137 caches!


Maybe you are using someone else's login so I will offer this tip. Of the ones you have found, pay close attention to the actual hiding spot. Most placers usually leave some clue behind and other placers tend to copy what they have seen. For example, look for something out of place such as piled up bark, dead leaves where they shouldn't be, a log that has been moved. Many of the caches I have found have been visable if you are close enough.


If you are still stumped, get as close as you can to where your GPS or your bearings say it should be then start walking tight circles around the area while looking everywhere. I've had about 6 or so caches that required me more than a half-hour search at the cache location and the above technique came through for me every time.


Keep at it, and good luck!





"Only when the last tree is cut,

and the last stream is polluted,

and the last fish is caught,

will we realize that you can't eat the money"

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I have been in a funk like yours.


Sometimes, I discover that I am trying to relay too much on the science. I follow the needle over the place trying to stumble on the cache.


Sometimes, I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. I've failed to find 1/1 caches that everyone else posts 'found quickly' on. I'll return another day and find it immediately.


I beat my geocaching slump the same way as I would in baseball or golf. I get back to the basics of my game. The way I do it is to follow a few simple steps:


1) Follow the arrow until it approaches zero feet It might still say ten feet away or whatever. You'll know your close because your distance and directions will start to go batty. I mark this physical point. Drop my pack, set a stick at the location, whatever. At this point, I also verify the difficulty rating. This can give you a clue as to how it is hidden (Not always, however. This weekend, I found one that required what I would call 'beginner rock climbing'. It had a terrain rating of 1.5.)


2) I look for the obvious hiding places in the area (within about 30 feet of my marked location). Piles of sticks, rocks, or leaves, downed trees, stumps, the base of trees, in bushes. 95% of the time, this results in a find.


3) If I still haven't found it, I'll back off 75 feet or so and shoot a bearing. Pull out the hand-dandy compass on march the distance shown on my GPSr. Mark the location as in number 1, above. (Some cachers do this step first. I prefer to snag the easy ones without this step, as explained above. If I have problems, I'll do this step.)


4) Follow the procedure in number 2, above.


5) Pull back 75 feet in a different direction, follow the procedures in step 3 & 4 with the 'marked location' being the intersection of the two bearing lines.


6) Expand your search area to abour 50 feet from the marked location.


7) Decrypt the hint. This will typically give you the bit of info you need to find it. Beware of obfuscation.


8) Look everywhere. Expand search area to 75 feet of marked location.


9) Go to the next cache on your list. No one can find all every cache they search for. Don't beat yourself up. As in golf, it will affect your next shot.

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Well, I did shoot a 99 a couple of weeks ago, first time I've broken 100 in about five years (but I only play about once a year).


I think it's just a string of impatience combined with bad timing.


Failure 3/16: It was getting dark, but we decided to try for the cache anyway. After bushwacking our way into the woods without a trail, the sun had set, and we decided it wasn't prudent to wander through poison oak in the dark.


Failure 3/31: Couldn't find my own cache (in the dark). The first finder returned and pointed out that it was still there. Went back during the day; it had moved less than two inches from its original spot.


Failure 4/22: Couldn't find an easy access point for this 1/1 cache and ran out of daylight. Turned out to be easy one the next day once I was able to cross a small fallen tree to get across a stream.


Failure 4/27: Wasn't sure I had calculated the right coordinates and forgot to bring the hint. Was easy to find the next day with the hint.


Failure 4/28: Calculated the wrong coordinates because I made three counting mistakes. Was relatively easy to find when cache owner pointed out my error.


Failure 5/1: Misplaced the coordinates, but tried to find the cache anyway. I had bad satellite coverage and was looking in the wrong place, and I wasn't very persistent because I wasn't sure I had the right coordinates. Went back the next day with the same coordinates and found the cache.


Failure 5/2: One of the waypoints for this multicache was inaccessible because of people playing cricket. However, I was able to guess coordinates for the final waypoint anyway, but the instructions said I would need to decrypt a really long hint. Turned out the decryption was probably unnecessary, but I didn't realize that until going back the next day.


Failure 5/5: Nighttime in a touristy area. After decrypting the hint, I'm pretty sure I was in the right place, but I still couldn't find it and aborted a more thorough search when a security guard appeared on the other side of the street and seemed to be watching me.

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