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CheekyBrit

Placing Earth, Multi, Letterbox, or Mystery caches in national parks

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Some of my favorite caches were atop mountain peaks, and I want to place some or see more. The spot is inspiring, it's great exercise, you can access some great terrain ratings, it bulks up your 'highest elevation cache', and it is what got me properly introduced to and really hooked on geocaching (Borah Peak GCGXKW). I'm interested in the topic generally, but I'm also specifically thinking about the Grand Teton in Wyoming. It's odd nobody has listed a cache there yet and I wanted to clarify why before I try and risk accidentally break rules.

 

The catch is that many high peaks are within national parks and we are not to place physical stages inside them - that's fine, I'm all for respecting and following the rules. But what about virtual stages? The grandfathered Virtual cache would be perfect for this but I understand there were issues with Virtuals. That leaves Earth, Multi, Letterbox and Mystery caches.

An Earth cache would need to adhere to one of the available syllabus topics: https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=51&pgid=295

There is also limitation on what tasks can be required: https://www.geocaching.com/help/index.php?pg=kb.chapter&id=51&pgid=296

 

The Multi cache or multi/letterbox route has options. It could be a series of photos from the summit down toward near a trailhead outside the national park (like GCFACHK), though people could easily cheat and not summit. There could be multi cache style hints with a need to count or measure items at the summit to finish calculating the coordinates that are out of the park... (a bit like GCDD9F).

 

Lastly, a Mystery cache. These bad boys are limited to being within 2 miles of the bogus coordinates, but almost anything goes. This means it would be unsuitable for spots like the Grand Teton where the nearest 'non-national park' spot is about 2.4 miles West near Table Mountain, too far away for this spot. 

 

 

So what do you think? Why are so many awe inspiring and well trafficked peaks lacking the virtual start stage of a cache?

P.S. I apologize if you are French Speaking, I didn't choose the name.

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Posted (edited)

Look into possibly creating Wherigo caches.  Have the WIG cartridge take the cacher to your point(s) of interest inside the Park and then to a final location in a "legal" area.  I'm currently working on exactly this approach for some WIGs in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Do note though that WIG doesn't seem to be getting a whole lot of support from GS these days.  You can go to the Wherigo section of the forum for more information.  Ranger Fox is "The Man" when it comes to WIGs and is very helpful.

 

Edited to add - this approach can also work in wilderness areas or any other lands where physical containers are not allowed to be placed.

Edited by icezebra11

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1 hour ago, CheekyBrit said:

The Multi cache or multi/letterbox route has options. It could be a series of photos from the summit down toward near a trailhead outside the national park (like GCFACHK), though people could easily cheat and not summit. There could be multi cache style hints with a need to count or measure items at the summit to finish calculating the coordinates that are out of the park... (a bit like GCDD9F).

 

You can forget the letterbox hybrid because it does not give any freedom how to build the setup. It seems quite clear that you are looking for a multi-cache because the idea of a multi-cache is to start from the posted coordinates. There must be some reason to go and do something at the starting waypoint. For example, a finder must identify which photos have taken from the peak to calculate final coordinates. You have plenty of options without a physical waypoint at the peak.

 

Wherigo and Intercache are too easy to hack. FTF will go to someone who has not visited the site at all. Anyway - get ready for cheaters - practically, you can not avoid them totally.

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I've found a couple of caches that basically needed to be done as an overnight backpacking trip into Grand Canyon. One was a multicache and the other a Wherigo. Both where off the north rim of the canyon, which is much less accessible than the south rim. The finals for each are outside the park. Both used landmarks/signs already within the park. These might give you an idea to work with.

 

Canyoneering-Nankoweap GC

Indian Hollow to Deer Creek

 

This is another multicache that requires a hike through designated wilderness to the park boundary and back out.

Nankoweap Views

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My Chasing Waterfalls series are all multis where the waterfalls themselves are within national parks but the final is on public land just outside the park boundary. I've used a mixture of photo-matching, multi-choice questions and, when there's been some numeric sign I could use, like a number on a power pole, digits from the sign.

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Excellent. Ladies and Gentlemen, Lads, Gals, Mates, Luvs, Chaps and Chapettes, thank you for your fast responses and considerate feedback.

This not only answered my questions about this national park question, but helped answer a bunch of other questions, such as the freedom Letterbox Caches do or do not offer (none extra), who to contact with Wherigo questions, and some case studies. 

Thank you, and stay excellent.

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On 5/11/2019 at 10:30 AM, arisoft said:

 

You can forget the letterbox hybrid because it does not give any freedom how to build the setup. It seems quite clear that you are looking for a multi-cache because the idea of a multi-cache is to start from the posted coordinates. There must be some reason to go and do something at the starting waypoint. For example, a finder must identify which photos have taken from the peak to calculate final coordinates. You have plenty of options without a physical waypoint at the peak.

 

Wherigo and Intercache are too easy to hack. FTF will go to someone who has not visited the site at all. Anyway - get ready for cheaters - practically, you can not avoid them totally.

 

You can do a LBH but I expect it would be WAY too much work to provide all the details needed to get from the top to wherever the final is located (outside the park boundary).  Being too vague or too general would most likely lead to more DNFs than finds.

 

As to the Wherigo, there are ways within a cartridge to prevent the final from being hacked.  In fact, there's a recent thread about this exact topic and how to go about creating a Wherigo that prevents being hacked by using things along the path you take them to get the final coordinates and ending the Wherigo, not at the final coordinates but at a spot somewhere else.

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8 hours ago, coachstahly said:

You can do a LBH but I expect it would be WAY too much work to provide all the details needed to get from the top to wherever the final is located

 

The exactly same descriptions works also as a multi-cache when the final is over 2 mile from the posted coordinates.

 

8 hours ago, coachstahly said:

how to go about creating a Wherigo that prevents being hacked by using things along the path you take them to get the final coordinates

 

In this case you are actually creating a multi-cache which is only disquised to Wherigo. It is possible but at least as complicated as a multi-cache or even more complicated because it needs special tools to play and the game may crash during the long travel.

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14 hours ago, arisoft said:

The exactly same descriptions works also as a multi-cache when the final is over 2 mile from the posted coordinates.

 

Your point was that they should forget doing a LBH.  I was showing that they could do a LBH, not that they should do a LBH.  It's possible but I wouldn't recommend doing it.

 

14 hours ago, arisoft said:

In this case you are actually creating a multi-cache which is only disquised to Wherigo. It is possible but at least as complicated as a multi-cache or even more complicated because it needs special tools to play and the game may crash during the long travel.

 

If you're creating a Wherigo, you're not disguising a multi in Wherigo clothing.  They function in the same manner, but in this case, both would be feasible options, considering both would need virtual stages in this particular location.  I was rebutting your point about them being easily hacked by creating a Wherigo that provided final coordinates that needed to be tracked/written down outside of the cartridge experience, rather than having the final coordinates inside the cartridge, which absolutely can be hacked.  As with multis with virtual stages, signs can go missing, be replaced, or become so faded that they can't be read.  This situation is no different than a crashed cartridge, in so far as the idea that you won't be able to complete the cache in either situation.  Rather than limit this OP's options, I offered up some ideas that could be used in the scenario  that was asked about.  I"m not saying that he should use the two things I suggested, only that he could.

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2 hours ago, coachstahly said:

Your point was that they should forget doing a LBH.  I was showing that they could do a LBH, not that they should do a LBH.  It's possible but I wouldn't recommend doing it.

 

The cache description is just the same whether it is LBH or multi-cache. You can not achieve anything more than different icon by publishing a cache as LBH instead of multi-cache.

 

2 hours ago, coachstahly said:

If you're creating a Wherigo, you're not disguising a multi in Wherigo clothing.

 

In this case, when you put your multi-cache instructions inside a Wherigo casette, it works like a multi-cache but you need a Wherigo player to find it.

 

2 hours ago, coachstahly said:

Rather than limit this OP's options, I offered up some ideas that could be used in the scenario  that was asked about.

 

I understand this. My point is to demonstrate that these methods do not solve the primary issue nor give more freedom to build the setup.

Edited by arisoft

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

The cache description is just the same whether it is LBH or multi-cache. You can not achieve anything more than different icon by publishing a cache as LBH instead of multi-cache.

 

This makes no sense.  A multi requires sets of coordinates while a LBH would require some sort of written instructions to move from the posted coordinates to the final, since it wouldn't be allowed to be at the posted coordinates.  One has multiple sets of coordinates while one has only two.  Seems to me that the written description would be more detailed in a  LBH format and different than what a multi write up would be.  The ONLY way they'd be similar in nature is if you provided only two points for each type of cache - the posted coordinates and then the final coordinates.  You'd have to hope that the peak has some sort of marker to use at the posted coordinates to find the multi while the LBH wouldn't need that but could offer up a variety of ways in which to proceed to get to the final.

 

1 hour ago, arisoft said:

In this case, when you put your multi-cache instructions inside a Wherigo casette, it works like a multi-cache but you need a Wherigo player to find it.

 

What makes you think you'd create a Wherigo using a multi-cache set of instructions?  The only thing these two things would have in common is virtual stages/zones.  You can create a walking tour, a question and answer Wherigo, or some other cartridge that doesn't necessarily need to be the same description as what a multi cache write up would look like.  In fact, you could be more creative.  If all the CO does is create a bare bones cartridge, then yes, it would be very similar to a multi but if they wanted to, they could create something much more detailed.

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6 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

This makes no sense.

 

It will make sense when you check the facts from a reliable source. Please note that what is said about "written instructions" also applies to multi-caches.

 

14 minutes ago, coachstahly said:

What makes you think you'd create a Wherigo using a multi-cache set of instructions?

 

It is the suggested method "using things along the path you take them to get the final coordinates" to prevent hacking the content of the casette. Instead of final coordinates hidden inside a casette it gives similar instructions as an usual multi-cache does for calculating the final coordinates. If the casette makes these calculations for you after you have entered some unobvious input then it is a different case.

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1 hour ago, coachstahly said:

This makes no sense.  A multi requires sets of coordinates while a LBH would require some sort of written instructions to move from the posted coordinates to the final, since it wouldn't be allowed to be at the posted coordinates.  One has multiple sets of coordinates while one has only two. 

Technically, no.

 

A multi-cache requires multiple locations, and requires that accurate GPS coordinates be used for at least one of the locations. I've found any number of multi-caches that used accurate GPS coordinates for the first stage, and then used other methods to navigate to the remaining stages.

 

And on the geocaching.com site, a Letterbox Hybrid cache has a letterboxing stamp. In other aspects, it can be like a traditional, a multi-cache, or a mystery/puzzle cache. And letterboxers have come to the forums to explain that there are letterboxes that use GPS coordinates, so even the type of clues that I think of as "typical letterbox clues" aren't necessary for letterboxes, let alone Letterbox Hybrid caches.

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Wow, you each have so much knowledge on the subject and a lot of passion. For sure there are a bunch of different ways this can be done to suit the style the cache hider is going for. 

 

Since there is a need for GPS coordinates for at least one location in a multi, could a multi cache have a virtual start location with accurate coordinates that someone must visit and then a series of photographs in the cache description that someone has to follow, leading to the cache? There is a letterbox hybrid near me that does this technique and I was curious if it would be considered being based on a multi or a mystery if it were to be made without the stamp: GC5ACHK Kitty litterbox-hybrid cache.
I'm thinking about this design for both the national park peak set up and locally near me. I think it's a lot a fun.

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The GPS usage must be "meaningful," so something more than parking coordinates.  But, it only needs to be present for at least one stage in a multi-stage hunt.  So, yes, you can combine "follow the photo trail" with at least one stage where GPS coordinates are relevant.

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6 hours ago, CheekyBrit said:

Since there is a need for GPS coordinates for at least one location in a multi, could a multi cache have a virtual start location with accurate coordinates that someone must visit and then a series of photographs in the cache description that someone has to follow, leading to the cache?

 

See GC4YYD1 and GC4YZPN as examples of this.

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