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harper_finding_stuff

Why is it a thing?

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I heard it became a thing when Geocaching was invented but there were not very many geocaches to find yet, so something similar was needed to fill the activity.

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harper_ finding_stuff

 

Exercise, adventure, history, and learn techniques (or at least have a appreciation of) of a very precise profession that was very important to the development of our great country. 

 

I can't think of any current activity that is not somewhat tied to large area maps or city block cadastral lines.

 

A few examples:

Exercise - scroll back through nearest and calculate time/distance from/to Hell Creek,  Fort Peak Reservoir (Read Ivan Doig's  Bucking the Sun about building the worlds largest (at the time) earth filled dam - amazing technique used to move material into place).

 

https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=SQ0601

https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-geo-images/f906a62a-9af8-410b-b09e-957a4a197f61.jpg

 

Adventure - a bit of exposure here - wishing the 'old fart' had me on a rope.

 

https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=GP0607

https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-geo-images/7f295a44-25fe-4ec4-a89a-247408ba32cc.jpg

 

History:  One of several steam ships lost between St Louis and Fort Benton - the furthest port in the world - see page 168 Packets to Paradise, John G. Lepley.   Also do a google search and read about the tragedy evolving while a passenger on one of his steamers going down the Mississippi River.

 

https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=SP0397

https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-geo-images/1ff61086-0470-461c-97f0-0bfdfa2d59e6.jpg

 

Hopefully one of our professional surveyors will chime in with a Gee Whiz, Scratch your head boundary line story.

 

kayakbird  (MEL in the Data Sheets)

 

 

 

 

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I find benchmark hunting to be more interesting than finding an green match container in an evergreen tree or a plastic container every 0.1 mile.

 

I like measuring and figuring out what happened between the time a mark was placed along railroad and I get to the location 80+ years later to find a recreation trail or other changes. I like understanding what elevation marks are used for and how triangulation stations were measured.  And if you do a good job of accurately logging, it is useful to NGS and professional surveyors to know which marks are still around for use and how to find them quickly after decades of change around them.

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14 hours ago, harper_finding_stuff said:

So like, why does benchmarking exist? I really don't get it. I'm all about the bonus smileys but still. Why?

 

No "bonus smileys" with these.  :)   They're listed , but don't "count" as finds.

IIRC, benchmark data wasn't completed yet when the site loaded 'em. 

Benchmarks were a "fill in" if you will, until geocaches became more prevalent (something to find with a GPSr in the meantime). 

Today, stats and "find count" are what's hot for the caching end of the site, and with little incentive to add others later, benchmarks not listed on the site were directed to Waymarking.

I'm saving benchmarks for when I actually retire.   ;)

 

Edited by cerberus1
spllelling

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I didn't start geocaching until 2010, so I had nothing to do with benchmarking being part of geocaching.com, so I don't really know why it exists, but my guess is that it was mainly because a significant fraction of the people that got interested in geocaching in the early days were already interesting in benchmarking, since it was a hobby before geocaching (as I understand it, anyway). Since benchmarks are all over the place, it was also an easy way to "populate" areas where there weren't any geocaches yet, so a way to bootstrap geocaching.

 

I go after benchmarks because they offer some unique challenges geocaches don't. I also enjoy discovering this secret infrastructure all around us that most people are blind to. But it's not a huge part of my geocaching efforts: I find about 1 benchmark for every 20 geocaches. And, no, it's not about "bonus points": I don't keep count, and very few other people notice them.

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I am the only regular Geocacher in my town. The closest unfound caches I haven't planted are 17 air miles away. So Benchmarking is fun for me. Except now I have found most of the benchmarks around me now too. 

 

I enjoy benchmarking because it is a different kind of search with different restrictions. I find it fun to have to read the old descriptions, look at old topo maps, and sometimes dig to find the mark. 

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 10:39 AM, harper_finding_stuff said:

So like, why does benchmarking exist? I really don't get it. I'm all about the bonus smileys but still. Why?

 

It can be quite a bit like a treasure hunt, including research of old maps, interpretation of text, planning, hiking, even digging!  A benchmark may be covered by dirt.  And you may have to measure in inches.  They sometimes have a date stamp, and I think it's cool to see one from a hundred years ago or more.  Plus you can find benchmarks that aren't listed, or that others need help researching.  All I've really ever done is notice a benchmark disk at times. 

 

If you wonder if you'd be interested, look at the "2Fer" caches in the Atlanta area, like this one:  https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC4DN3A

You can find a cache and an NGS benchmark in the same spot.  So you could log both.

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Posted (edited)

What can be more fun then finding a survey marker that was set in 1871, 148 yrs ago. 

 

 DESIGNATION -  MIDDLE USLS 1871
 RL1517_MARKER: V = STONE MONUMENT
 RL1517_SETTING: 0 = UNSPECIFIED SETTING
 RL1517_STABILITY: D = MARK OF QUESTIONABLE OR UNKNOWN STABILITY
 RL1517_SATELLITE: THE SITE LOCATION WAS REPORTED AS NOT SUITABLE FOR
 RL1517+SATELLITE: SATELLITE OBSERVATIONS - June 27, 2005
 RL1517
 RL1517  HISTORY     - Date     Condition        Report By
 RL1517  HISTORY     - 1871     MONUMENTED       USLS
 RL1517  HISTORY     - 20050627 GOOD             GEOCAC
 RL1517
 RL1517                          STATION DESCRIPTION
 RL1517
 RL1517'DESCRIBED BY US LAKE SURVEY 1871
 RL1517'ABOUT MIDWAY BETWEEN PEQUAMING POINT AND POINT ABBAYE, ON EAST
 RL1517'SHORE OF KEWEENAW BAY.  MARKED BY STONE POST.

ed092000-d34e-494d-9997-e6b1d6b3e2b6.jpg

126503e8-8381-457b-a441-8871f7a058ec.jpg

 

Edited by Z15
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Ditto Z15!

Plus a reason to do some Lake Superior kayaking [found on second visit after three nights of   Apostle Islands camping and a trip into Ashland to get a second  roll tape-up] , a total of three frustum  embedded stone post from 1870.  And a chance to clarify the Datasheet.

 

These USLS marks are in my top five most favorite sub-sets to target.  MEL

 

  RM0781'THERE ARE CLERICAL ERRORS IN THE 1977 RECOVERY.

 RM0781'STATION IS 15.4 WSW OF THE CENTER OF THE BLAZED BIRCH, WHICH IS ALSO
 RM0781'MARKED WITH A WAD OF FLAGGING ATTACHED WITH A PK NAIL JUST BELOW THE
 RM0781'BLAZE, 67 INCHES NNE OF A 12 INCH DBH CONIFER TREE WITH A SIMILAR
 RM0781'NAILED FLAGGING WAD FACING THE STATION AND NOW ONLY FOUR FEET SOUTH
 RM0781'EAST OF THE NEAREST BLUFF EDGE. AN UNKNOWN LENGTH OF STRAP IRON IS AT
 RM0781'THE NW CORNER.
 RM0781'THE EAST POST (RM 1) IS 15 FT EAST OF THE STATION, 21.3 FT NE OF THE
 RM0781'SOUTH POST, 19.8 FT SOUTH OF THE NEAREST EDGE OF THE BLUFF,  14.7 ENE
 RM0781'OF THE BLAZED CONIFER AND 13.8 FT SSW FROM THE BLAZED BIRCH. THE IRON
 RM0781'PIPE WITH CAP MENTIONED IN 1977 WAS NOT SEEN.
 RM0781'THE SOUTH POST (RM 2) IS 15 FT SOUTH OF THE STATION.  IT IS 28.9
 RM0781'SOUTHWEST OF THE BLAZED BIRCH, 16.2 FT SSW FROM THE NEAREST EDGE OF
 RM0781'BLUFF AND 9.5 FT SSW OF THE TAGGED CONIFER. A NAIL WITH THIN WASHER
 RM0781'AND RECENT FLAGGING IS AT THE NW CORNER.
 RM0781'THE WEST POST (RM 3) APPEARS TO HAVE FINALLY ERODED OUT OF THE BLUFF.
 RM0781'CALM LAKE CONDITIONS ALLOWED A THROUGH WADING SEARCH BUT IT WAS NOT
 RM0781'FOUND.
 RM0781'A PULLED UP, NEARLY BROKEN IN TWO, CARSONITE WITNESS POST WAS FOUND
 RM0781'ABOUT 100 FEET TO THE NORTHEAST AND IT WAS STUBBED IN ON THE EAST SIDE
 RM0781'OF TAGGED CONIFER. TREE CANOPY PREVENTED THE RECORDING OF ANY
 RM0781'MEANINGFUL HH2 LAT/LONGS. ALL POSTS ARE NEAR FLUSH UNDER MOSS AND LEAF
 RM0781'LITTER

 

 

 

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Buttermilk--the thrill of something so old and linked to the earliest days of US History, https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=LX4113

Dayton Harris Gravity Station--the rarest kind of disk, and it's in the middle of Death Valley!  I was FTF on a benchmarking challenge (find 10 of the 11 kinds of disks), but darn it I just didn't want to find them all even though I'd already completed the challenge!  I had a great trip to Nevada and California and explored Death Valley just so I could find that benchmark, https://www.geocaching.com/mark/details.aspx?PID=GS0206

 

 

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I haven't been out for a few years, but I always found it a wonderful puzzle. Finding some sites involved historical research, making CAD drawings from maps and laying in features that no longer exist and fooling with my metal detector. An FTF is always nice.

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I got into benchmark hunting when we went on a family vacation to Gettysburg in 1970. My login handle says it all :) . For me, it's learning about the local geography and when/why benchmarks were monumented. I live in NYC and also have our 1909 survey of well over 1000 benchmarks, a small number of which are in the federal database - many of those have been destroyed as NYC has changed, but quite a few still exist. It's quite a thrill to find disks that have been in place for more than a century. Someone mentioned Buttermilk - that mark was set in 1833, by Ferdinand Hasslar, the first head of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, appointed by Thomas Jefferson. Nice American history trivia. I've been out of benchmark hunting for a few years, but have been bitten by the benchmark bug, again, and hope to resume enjoying my hobby. And, yes, FTFs are fun.

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