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Maintaining a cache


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If you don't like trip hazards caching in the greenery is not for you. Vines are a thing in some places too. It's called bushwhacking for a reason. "Thorns" is even a warning attribute that a CO can add to their cache.

 

As a CO, if thorns or poison ivy moved in I would seriously consider moving my cache elsewhere. But not weeds, vines, or the like unless the area became so overgrown my simple hide turned into a needle in a haystack kind of search. Even then I would move my cache rather than removing the plants.

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Plants grow in the warm weather.  Go figure... This is still an outdoors hobby, and sooner or later you're gonna see weeds/PI and thorns...  

A friend of mine got a warning on game lands property when the tree he was placing a deer stand on had PI growing up, he cut it, and that's when he finally saw a GC Officer walking to him.     :laughing:

White tailed deer and black bear will eat poison ivy, and some birds eat the few berries that may grow on it too.

I know it's not just me, I'll peg blackcaps/raspberries (thorns...) in my mouth while walking, and gorge like a black bear when blueberries are out.  

If the area you're traveling in bothers you, retreat and move on.  It's just a cache...

 

We know of one cacher that got permission to cut brush.  New rhododendron shoots stabbing bike spokes and grabbing ankles.

It was an original trail from game lands to a state park area.  Nothing removed, just clipped it flush with the very narrow singletrack.

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23 hours ago, discodancingdiva said:

Hi I was wondering what the rules were re maintaining a cache. I went caching last week in Wandsworth and the cache was really overgrown with thorns and weeds. Are we as cachers allowed to cut away the weeds and thorns with secateurs? The thorns and weeds were a positive trip hazard. 

 

Please don't destroy nature for the sake of a cache. Be careful and mindful of your surroundings when trying to find one. See if there's another way to it, and if not the consider whether you prefer not to do it and log a DNF or to draw a bit of blood. Hey, it's an outdoor game after all.

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9 hours ago, terratin said:

 

Please don't destroy nature for the sake of a cache. Be careful and mindful of your surroundings when trying to find one. See if there's another way to it, and if not the consider whether you prefer not to do it and log a DNF or to draw a bit of blood. Hey, it's an outdoor game after all.

 

+1

 

All of my caches are accessible without cutting vines or chopping plants.  Some have become very much overgrown over the years.  At least one is an easy find in the winter, and super well hidden in the summer.  One has a standing offer in the cache description that I will come and guide cachers to the site, it's become that much of a maze of plants.

 

Cachers seem determined to hunt in a straight line, but a lot of cache locations require planning a route, and even backtracking and trying another.

 

I maintain my caches, and of course I don't press through thorn bushes to get to them.  But I do get a lot of logs about how the finders were torn to shreds by the mass of thorns. :yikes:

Edited by kunarion
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20 minutes ago, kunarion said:

Cachers seem determined to hunt in a straight line, but a lot of cache locations require planning a route, and even backtracking and trying another.

I once found a cache that was an easy walk (maybe 2-3 dozen feet) off the trail. When I logged my find, I noticed logs that described bushwhacking for a quarter mile or more. Apparently, these people decided to follow the arrow, rather than following the trail which snaked around, following the contour lines (as trails often do). There were a couple points where the trail doubled back, heading more than 90° away from the arrow pointing at the cache. But eventually, it crossed a little stream and headed back towards the cache. If you left the trail at one of those points, you'd be bushwhacking up and down hills and through dense vegetation, and it was all so needless.

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54 minutes ago, kunarion said:

All of my caches are accessible without cutting vines or chopping plants.  Some have become very much overgrown over the years.  At least one is an easy find in the winter, and super well hidden in the summer.  One has a standing offer in the cache description that I will come and guide cachers to the site, it's become that much of a maze of plants.

Cachers seem determined to hunt in a straight line, but a lot of cache locations require planning a route, and even backtracking and trying another.

I maintain my caches, and of course I don't press through thorn bushes to get to them.  But I do get a lot of logs about how the finders were torn to shreds by the mass of thorns. :yikes:

 

Said here a gazillion times... There's a lot of folks who won't read cache descriptions...

Yeah...  We had a fun cache (now archived - maybe an earth cache later) that was on a winding trail following a creek.

We gave parking coordinates, and even mentioned the trail starts there.

We had a few people tell us about the need for rope/rock descent in logs, and the requests to up the terrain ratings.

They were following the "arrow" from the road, going by the "crow flies" route - a 120' rock drop - instead of the nice, safe walk...

 

Edited by cerberus1
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15 minutes ago, Joe_L said:

There are some invasive species, such as multiflora rose and Japanese burberry, that I’ll trim back immediately adjacent to my caches.  

 

For caches I own, I try to reduce the poison ivy next to a cache if it's in a city park.  But for finding, I don't chop anything, especially PI.  Wait til fall or winter, and, except for hairy vines on tree trunks, the whole place is clear.  Yes, I have done CITOs where we pull up particular invasive plants, invited by the land managers.

 

Here's a place I hunted for a cache.  Among a field of knee-high poison ivy.  "Cutting" this is a bad idea while searching.  The ammo box was on the ground in there.  I often skip these, but on this day, I went extremely slowly and carefully, and came out fine.

 

image.jpeg.23a60efc1057f67effc8c3516c8fb52b.jpeg

 

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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13 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

For caches I own, I try to reduce the poison ivy next to a cache if it's in a city park.  But for finding, I don't chop anything, especially PI.  Wait til fall or winter, and, except for hairy vines on tree trunks, the whole place is clear.  Yes, I have done CITOs where we pull up particular invasive plants, invited by the land managers.

 

Here's a place I hunted for a cache.  Among a field of knee-high poison ivy.  "Cutting" this is a bad idea while searching.  The ammo box was on the ground in there.  I often skip these, but on this day, I went extremely slowly and carefully, and came out fine.

 

image.jpeg.23a60efc1057f67effc8c3516c8fb52b.jpeg

 

 

 

How is this fun? How is this a good image for geocaching. If this was your first cache it would probably be the last. CO needs to maintain in a healty and safe environment. Move it or archive it.

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3 hours ago, MNTA said:

How is this fun? How is this a good image for geocaching. If this was your first cache it would probably be the last. CO needs to maintain in a healty and safe environment. Move it or archive it.

 

There was likely no poison ivy when the cache was placed.  Or the CO is not susceptible to PI.  Or he didn't know what it was.  But PI is weird.  Next year there may be none at all at that spot.

 

But around the Atlanta area at least, PI goes with the territory.  Often not in verdant fields like that.  But still most everywhere.  And just as with thorn bushes, there's often a better way in.

 

Edited by kunarion
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46 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

There was likely no poison ivy when the cache was placed.  Or the CO is not susceptible to PI.  Or he didn't know what it was.  But PI is weird.  Next year there may be none at all at that spot.

 

But around the Atlanta area at least, PI goes with the territory.  Often not in verdant fields like that.  But still most everywhere.  And just as with thorn bushes, there's often a better way in.

 

What it was like at time placed has nothing to do with the issue. Hiding is easy, maintaining is harder. CO should get an indication of the issue and fix the problem accordingly. Maybe move for the season, maybe archive. Just because 10 years ago there was not a problem does not shirk the CO responsibility for ensuring the safety and enjoyment of the finder.

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4 hours ago, MNTA said:

What it was like at time placed has nothing to do with the issue. Hiding is easy, maintaining is harder. CO should get an indication of the issue and fix the problem accordingly. Maybe move for the season, maybe archive. Just because 10 years ago there was not a problem does not shirk the CO responsibility for ensuring the safety and enjoyment of the finder.

 

I always thought that "ensuring the safety and enjoyment of the finder" was the finder's responsibility, not the CO's. Our reviewer is also of that opinion, having rejected an NA someone logged on a recent tree-climb cache high in a tree that some thought was unsafe to climb and quoting the Terms of Use on the website that make it clear that the searcher assumes all risks.

 

Some caches are meant to be physically challenging and potentially risky, and we even have attributes like poisonous plants, thorns, ticks, dangerous animals, cliffs/falling rocks, dangerous area, difficult climb, tree climbing required, takes more than 1 hour, etc. Enjoyment is of course highly subjective and, for some, risk-taking is a big part of the enjoyment they get from caching. The caches I enjoy the most are the ones that get me out in nature, clambering around on rocks and taking in the awesome views from what are potentially risky vantage points, but there are some I've walked away from as, at my age (68) and with an impaired sense of balance due to a chronic inner ear condition, I wasn't comfortable with the level of risk needed to get to the cache. That's not the CO's fault or responsibility, it's entirely down to me as a searcher to make that assessment and accept the consequences of my decisions. I don't have to find them all.

 

We don't have poison ivy in this country but we do have plenty of other thorny and stinging plants, as well as critters like leeches, ticks and snakes to contend with. One of my caches, a multi, has waypoints at three waterfalls in a section of national park, with the final just outside the park boundary, but three years of record-breaking rain has made access to one of the waterfalls a lot more overgrown than it was when I set it. Getting to that last waterfall isn't easy but it was never meant to be, and I can't very well move it just because of the increased undergrowth or go through the national park with a slasher. One of the recent finders even said "I think the 3rd waterfall would be our favourite and it was an enjoyable wander in a new location for us" but, knowing him, I'm sure he'd have enjoyed it much less if there'd been a concrete path, steps and handrails all the way to the base of those falls.

 

There's another of my multis, also rated terrain 4, with the last few hundred metres to GZ a potentially dangerous trackless traverse through thick spiky scrub, loose rocks and up and over narrow rock shelves to get to a cliff-top vantage point where the cache is just a few metres back from a deadly vertical drop. It's not a cache for everyone, particularly those with young kids, and I'm sure you'd hate it and want to see it archived, but it has 29 FPs from 40 finds in its 7 years of life and won the Geocaching New South Wales Cache of the Month in 2018. With an el Nino now developing and a hot dry spring and summer forecast, there'll soon be a whole lot of dead spiky undergrowth to fight through, but eventually it will thin out again and it mightn't be quite so bad.

 

My responsibility as a CO is to provide a container and logbook in good condition, performing timely maintenance on those should it be required, and ensuring that the cache page is accurate. I can't guarantee that your journey to and from the cache will be safe or that you'll enjoy it, only you can do that. For me, one of the great things about caching is its wide variety of experiences to suit all tastes. You don't have to find them all.

Edited by barefootjeff
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20 hours ago, niraD said:

I once found a cache that was an easy walk (maybe 2-3 dozen feet) off the trail. When I logged my find, I noticed logs that described bushwhacking for a quarter mile or more. Apparently, these people decided to follow the arrow, rather than following the trail which snaked around, following the contour lines (as trails often do). There were a couple points where the trail doubled back, heading more than 90° away from the arrow pointing at the cache. But eventually, it crossed a little stream and headed back towards the cache. If you left the trail at one of those points, you'd be bushwhacking up and down hills and through dense vegetation, and it was all so needless.

 

The best advice I could give is to think like a CO when going to hunt a cache. If you are on a trail and still a good distance from the cache (more than a few hundred feet) and the arrow is pointing off into the brush, ask yourself if you were the CO and had to place/maintain this cache, would you go blundering through the branches, thorns, rocks, stumps to get to GZ...or would you try to find an easier route? Nine times out of ten, the trail you are on will bring you to a spot 20' from the cache. Cache owners normally don't want to swing on the vines like Tarzan to maintain their cache. Stay on the trail, it will usually bring you right near the cache.

 

That being said, in the winter, when the undergrowth and foliage dies off, going native and cutting through the woods can shorten the distance to the cache considerably. I often cross-country it when caching in the winter. 

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4 hours ago, Crow-T-Robot said:

The best advice I could give is to think like a CO when going to hunt a cache.

I hadn't heard that advice in terms of avoiding bushwhacking, but I had heard it in terms of figuring out where a cache is hidden.

 

Actually, it was described as the "phone a friend" rule. Specifically, imagine you're the cache owner, and a geocaching friend calls and asks where the cache is hidden (or is supposed to be hidden, if the friend found it lying on the ground in the open). The CO is going to need to describe the location over the phone. So as a seeker, focus on locations that would be easy for the CO to describe over the phone.

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On 7/7/2023 at 12:44 PM, kunarion said:

 

For caches I own, I try to reduce the poison ivy next to a cache if it's in a city park.  But for finding, I don't chop anything, especially PI.  Wait til fall or winter, and, except for hairy vines on tree trunks, the whole place is clear.  Yes, I have done CITOs where we pull up particular invasive plants, invited by the land managers.

 

Here's a place I hunted for a cache.  Among a field of knee-high poison ivy.  "Cutting" this is a bad idea while searching.  The ammo box was on the ground in there.  I often skip these, but on this day, I went extremely slowly and carefully, and came out fine.

 

image.jpeg.23a60efc1057f67effc8c3516c8fb52b.jpeg

 

 

 

 

On 7/7/2023 at 12:59 PM, MNTA said:

How is this fun? How is this a good image for geocaching. If this was your first cache it would probably be the last. CO needs to maintain in a healty and safe environment. Move it or archive it.

 

Mentioning on the cache page description that there is poison ivy at the cache site would be nice so as to keep down disappointment. I would add it to a cache if PI ended up encroaching on one of my caches. However, I would not move my cache just because of it and I would not try to trim or remove the PI either. A finder needs to be responsible for their actions and realize when they need to step back.

 

Not that it makes a difference to anyone but that cache looks to be more fun to me than about 95% of the other caches placed. Looks to be woodsie, challenging, has a good container, and probably has a nice logbook to sign. All good qualities imo. Like other more difficult caches, it's not for everyone! ;)

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1 hour ago, Mudfrog said:

Mentioning on the cache page description that there is poison ivy at the cache site would be nice so as to keep down disappointment. I would add it to a cache if PI ended up encroaching on one of my caches. However, I would not move my cache just because of it and I would not try to trim or remove the PI either. A finder needs to be responsible for their actions and realize when they need to step back.

 

Not that it makes a difference to anyone but that cache looks to be more fun to me than about 95% of the other caches placed. Looks to be woodsie, challenging, has a good container, and probably has a nice logbook to sign. All good qualities imo. Like other more difficult caches, it's not for everyone! ;)

 

In fact, yes, the cache site field of poison ivy I posted is in a beautiful area. Quiet, shady, forested, lots of history there, and you walk down Georgia red dirt roads and waist-high fields of grass to access it, to the sounds of birds, frogs, and cicadas. The hide is an ammo box. It was kind of like a puzzle cache to me. Where exactly is the box in there? How do I get to it, recover it, open it, place it back, without getting PI all over me? I took it as a challenge. As I remember, the box was also bike-locked to a fence post.

 

This particular cache was placed in March 2020, and disabled during COVID quarantine, then re-opened after the PI had grown up. The cache description mentions thorns and such, the logs mention that and the PI. As with the OP, there are lots of sticker bushes to avoid and everything else. It's a somewhat rural area, and nature is all around you, thorns an all.  I should also mention that much of them are wild blackberries.

 

The cache was found by a few people without issue. OK, we all noticed the over-abundance of PI. Two more cachers decided not to venture into it, DNF. Then it sat until autumn, and at that point the PI had all died back, gone. Followed by more finds without issue.

 

One thing the OP may consider about sticker bushes, vines and poison ivy:

The situation changes over time, and also as the seasons change.

I had a few of my own caches that took advantage of a hide tucked away at thorny places, where muggles won't go. Walk around the thorn bushes and into the little cubby-hole hiding spot. I like how the thorn bushes protected the place. And I never press through thorns to maintain my caches. But at some of my hides, as the place changed, the mass of thorns eventually died off.

 

Edited by kunarion
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10 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

I stepped on an in-ground wasp nest while lifting a cache out of its hiding place.  I lost that battle.

 

I returned a couple of weeks later with chemical warfare (ant dust, carbaryl) and won that battle.  Voluntary cache maintenance.  Nobody cares if it's allowed, but it probably is.

 

Been there, done that. Running and swatting makes it worse. You ain't gonna win that battle. Sure glad I'm not allergic to the critters! 

 

Would have liked to have helped the cache owner get rid of them but had no way at the time. Only thing we could do was post a warning on the cache page.

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4 hours ago, Mudfrog said:

 

Been there, done that. Running and swatting makes it worse. You ain't gonna win that battle. Sure glad I'm not allergic to the critters! 

 

Would have liked to have helped the cache owner get rid of them but had no way at the time. Only thing we could do was post a warning on the cache page.

Once I got hit 10 times and my dog yelped 3 times. I did choose to run the .25 miles back to the car (BTW I don't run any more but I did) with one of those buggers following me the whole way. The CO was kind enough to move after the next cacher also got attacked a week later.

Edited by MNTA
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On 7/6/2023 at 4:02 PM, discodancingdiva said:

Hi I was wondering what the rules were re maintaining a cache. I went caching last week in Wandsworth and the cache was really overgrown with thorns and weeds. Are we as cachers allowed to cut away the weeds and thorns with secateurs? The thorns and weeds were a positive trip hazard. 

And make sure to check the website before placing 

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