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Wet Pancake Touring Club

What I expect with a GeoTour

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In the GeoTour Costs topic, kunarion stated "I guess to have a successful "Geo Tour", you need more than funds -- you need COs who know what they're doing." I'd like to second that, and maybe to expand on that a bit. I do think that GeoTours (and reward trails), and their COs need to be held to a higher standard.

 

My first experience with GeoTours were the Eugene, Cascades & Coast set of four GeoTours. I did two of them on a return trip from the SF Bay Area to North Idaho. I was curious about them, so I took a couple of days and gave them a try. I thought they were very well done, so much so that I planned a second trip to get the other two a year later. I have also tried to do the Idaho BLM reward trail, and have given up because the caches are not maintained very well.

 

So, thinking about what I liked and disliked about those caches, here are some of the things that I EXPECT from a GeoTour (or reward trail), and from their COs.

 

The caches must have sturdy containers. They will probably get a bit more visits than other caches, and they need to stand up to the use, and the elements. It should not be difficult to extract the logs and/or swag, so no narrow necked containers. Micro's (and nano's) should be avoided, if possible.

 

They need to have decent log books. Not necessarily Rite-in-Rain, but a small spiral notebook or something similar, at the least. The log should be in its own, easy to open, plastic bag.

 

For GeoTours that use a code word or phrase, it needs to be printed, using a large, readable font, and fastened securely to the inside of the lid of the container. If stamps are used, they should be attached to the container so they don't walk off. Also, the ink pads need to be changed on a regular basis.

 

The COs must maintain the caches proactively. With GeoTours, my assumption is that they want the caches to be found. Really difficult caches should be the exception, so there shouldn't be a lot of DNF's. So, after a couple of DNF's, the CO's need to go out and inspect the cache.

 

The COs need to communicate if there will be a delay in repairing a cache. They need to say when they will make the repair, and they need to deliver on that promise. If the delay will be substantial, the cache should be relocated, or disabled.

 

If the cache is located 'in the wild', parking coordinates should be given. If it is not obvious how to get to a cache (or its parking coordinates), driving/hiking instructions should be included.

 

The name of the GeoTour (or an acronym), should be in the name of all of the caches, in order to make it easy to search for them. If there is a logical progression to the caches, the names should include sequence numbers.

 

So, what do others expect from GeoTours and their COs?

 

Thanks, Skye.

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Ideally, and intentionally breaking the link to reality, these are fine expectations for any series of caches and for individual caches as well.

 

Back to the real world, official GeoTours have the blessing of Geocaching HQ and it would be nice if they guarded that title in much the same way as AAA or Michelin award or remove ratings. Official GeoTours should be places where one can take a guest to show them the game in its best form.

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They should also take you to some place special. I recently completed the Hocking Hills Trail here in Ohio and I was very disappointed with the places they hid the caches. I understand the trail was placed by the local tourism group but every last stop was outside of a business. Normally i would not mind that but when you come to a place like Hocking Hills with all its historic and natural beauty, you kind of expect the trail to highlight those areas and not a trail riding place and a restaurant. Just my opinion feel free to disagree.

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I second Shaved Ewok's reply.

 

A number of GeoTours are supported by tourism. I realize this, and accept that there will be caches near, or at businesses. I experienced that with the GeoTours that I have done. In fact, I was almost turned off of GeoTours because the first couple of caches on my first GeoTour were at businesses. But, the GeoTour interspersed caches at businesses with caches in parks and forests, and I got hooked. So, I would say that I expect that obvious business caches be no more than 30% of the total number of caches in the GeoTour. That percentage is a little flexible when the business is also a historical attraction.

 

I expect that caches at businesses should be available regardless of whether or not the business is open. No putting it behind gates that are locked at night.

 

I know it is very subjective, but you should not be made to feel too uncomfortable about looking for the cache at a business. I only had one GeoTour cache at a business that made me feel uncomfortable. It was in a planter box in a parking lot, at a hotel. A casual watcher might have wondered if I was looking for unlocked cars and called the cops. On the other hand, on another GeoTour, there was a mystery multi-cache at a resort that required going into the gardens (way at the back of the resort), and finding clues to the location of the final. I would have been comfortable with doing that one anytime of day or night. This was because I was wandering around in an area meant to be wandered around in.

 

Skye.

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My local geotour incorporated already existing caches. This allows all the good spots to be on the tour, and it also means maintenance is spread out over many people so it's not such a burden. The disadvantage is that not all those people are quick to fix their caches when there's a problem, but the overwhelming advantage is that you can put the best places on your tour which might otherwise be already taken.

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I would expect them all to have permission from land managers. I recently found one and learned that the BLM apparently was never contacted for permission before the cache was placed and published.

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My local geotour incorporated already existing caches. This allows all the good spots to be on the tour, and it also means maintenance is spread out over many people so it's not such a burden. The disadvantage is that not all those people are quick to fix their caches when there's a problem, but the overwhelming advantage is that you can put the best places on your tour which might otherwise be already taken.

 

Just curious, did the cache owners agree to be part of the GeoTour?

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