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Guest gonzobiker

Provide multiple GPS waypoints to a cache?

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Guest gonzobiker

ncy of most cache seekers to ingnore environmental etiquette (and sometimes common sense) and go straight

to the GPS waypoint location instead of staying on established trails until the closing distance is small, I have a few ideas. Despite instructions accompanying the cache coordinates, most people will cut a straight line ("bushwhack") directly to the site instead of relying on nearby trails, as the terrain dictates, to get them to the

vacinity of the cache. I propose that rather than providing one GPS waypoint, several waypoints (a "route") could be recommended. All the seeker would have to do is navigate from the first to the last waypoint to find the cache. Reversing the route takes them back home. This would encourage hiders and seekers to utilize established (environmentally friendly) trails and may even be add a little more to the fun of all. It would certainly help preserve the geocaching practice, as land managers would be less likely to take exception to folks disturbing the landscape. Also, private land would be easier to avoid. Another idea is to publish only the first waypoint of a

route. At the first waypoint, where under a rock or something, the next waypoint is provided, etc. Using this method, the seeker is merely connecting the dots. The hider and seeker actually make more use of their GPS units. To make these methods work, clear

instructions are very important and slight modifications to some geocache web sites may be in order. What do you think? Would you

enjoy providing and/or using multiple GPS waypoints? Is only one waypoint always adequate?

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Guest cache_ninja

interesting idea, i wouldn't generalize though, i think quite many people take trails, especially if people mention them in their cache listing...usually it is much quicker and more efficient to get closer via a trail, terrain is unpredictable if you head straight there, so i wouldn't say everyone is bushwacking. your idea would work though, but I think it would only prevent those people from heading straight to it if you don't reveal final waypoint, i.e. you leave it waypoints getting closer and closer, under rocks etc. on the trail. heh, would be cool if you bought a bunch of those fake rocks for hiding your key in etc. and just put slip of paper in them...

 

i think people are more likely to use trails if you mention in your cache listing which ones they can use to get close to the cache, rather than letting them figure it out themselves...

 

c/n

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Guest ScottJ

You're forgetting something. If you set up such a route, then everyone will walk the same final off-trail segment to get to the cache.

 

If people just get as close as possible, then head off-trail, they'll probably leave the trail at various, slightly different points and walk slightly different paths, which is easier on the land. With a route to follow, everyone will leave the trail at the same spot and walk the same line, creating a new path, which is undesirable.

 

Scott

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Guest gonzobiker

My generalization was bounded by "most" people. My aim is to encourage trail etiquette in a positive manner. Most posts from seekers (finders) of my Green Mountain cache (see http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=896) were positive with regard to non-waypoint instructions. One, however, mentioned bushwhacking to get to the location (see Pincamguy 3/4/01 post). That got me thinking that it might be more fun to provide and follow multiple waypoints. I don't think that it will contribute to making only one final trail to the cache, unless hundreds of seekers turn out in a short time. For these terrain characteristics, it looks like my location choice is a good one.

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Guest Psyd

While this is an interesting idea in its own right, a bit of theory of "spontaneous" trail generation might be of use.

 

It has been found that people generally take the "quickest" route to their destination - in much the same way light does through an optical medium. A refractive index of the terrain can be created, which indicates the difficulty of the terrain, as seen by people (assuming they are all the same ...). The quickest route to the destination can then be determined in much the same manner as the path of light through various media. This, by the way, is not a concious process.

 

Research into this explains why, when there are suitable concrete paths available - usually based on cartesian systems, i.e. 90 deg angles - "unofficial" paths in the grass are still generated. Basically, people will cut corners. Where they do the cutting, though, depends on how difficult the terrain. You can see this in the unofficial paths, as they don't always follow a straight line through the grass from the start point (a door, gate, etc.) to the destination; instead the unofficial path forms a distance down the paved road from the entrance point and ends a distance down the paved road from the destination point.

 

So, how is this relevant to the current discussion? I think it is reasonably safe to assume that the cache hunters will, in general, leave the established trail at roughly the same place each time and follow the "fastest" route to where their GPS tells them the cache is hidden.

 

So, IMHO, the waypoints might be able to get people to stick to the preferred path, but they will probably be ignored if the route chosen is not the quickest route. The good news is the most frequently used route will establish itself over time as this is basically a self organising system - the more people that take one route the easier it is to follow (less plant growth along the route, etc.) and the more likely future trekkers will follow the route.

 

Needless to say, there are always those people who religiously stick to the paved paths, and those who religiously follow a straight line. On average,though, a preferred route will be chosen over time.

 

This also, only works assuming everyone starts from roughly the same location, i.e. a section of a trail, and approaches from the same direction. If a set of people approach the cache from random starting points, then the above might not necessarily hold true - but then again if they encounter a beaten trail heading in the right direction, they will probably use it. Which takes us back to the original situation of everyone starting from the same location and a preferred route being established anyway.

 

Another criterion would be the frequency with which the cache is sought. If not very frequent, then odds are the foliage will recover and no path established. But for frequently sought caches, it is likely a preferred path will be established.

 

[This message has been edited by Psyd (edited 03-09-2001).]

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Guest seward

My $.02

 

The "stay on the trail" concept is important in many areas of the wilderness, but not so important in others. If you are hiking in a high alpine meadow, yes it is important to stay on established trails to limit soil and plant injury, but take a moderate altitude mix woods forest in Penn. add to that the fact that the area is a state recreation and hunting area and was logged a couple of decades ago, make it an area with good leaf cover on the ground, no steep areas for run-off to become a problem, and with large trees in open woods that will not mean destructive bushwacking, and I don't see the problem walking off trail.

 

On the trail or off the trail is a decision that varies on a cache by cache basis. We should promote and educate eachother about what is good and bad areas for off trail walking. Maybe make a recommendation about it by adding it to your cache description or when you log a cache.

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Guest Hunter

Bushwhacking has always been a blast for me but I would hate to think a walk thru a 50 yr old woodlot would cause much trouble. There are much greater threats to our environment then geocaching. We might be using but I don't believe abusing. In my "Willow Brook Wander" I alert people to New Englands only native mound building ant as well as a very large stand of Ironwood, but I am also a hunter so I consume as well, but my impact would be tough to discern unlike say plundering the artic reserve for 6 months worth of oil. Geocache ON my friends just use a tiny bit of good judgement.It is tough to follow the trail of one, but easy to follow the trail of many. I have had a GPS for 10 plus years (Garmin 45) and did not get it to follow the beaten path. If we are just gonna follow trail blazes what do we need the unit for. For me going deep was always the most fun and the GPS has allowed me to do that whether there is a cache at the end of the line or not. Carry out some trash, watch your step and tread lightly.....Hunter

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Guest kbraband

In the Upper Midwest we have another concern during the winter -- keeping hikers *off* the trails. Many of the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing and signs are posted asking hikers not to walk on them. I placed a stash in an area where there are such trails, so I included a mention of this in my description. I also included a note that dogs are not allowed on the trails during winter. I think it's good to let people know ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.

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Guest ScottJ

You cross-country skiers are a picky lot, aren't you? icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif "NO WALKING" zones?

 

Scott

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Guest ScottJ

You cross-country skiers are a picky lot, aren't you? icon_smile.gificon_smile.gif "NO WALKING" zones?

 

Scott

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Guest Markwell

While not applicable to all caches, I have found that the two I most recently found have been very well thought out on the hider's side. These caches were placed in public parks or preserves with specific (almost paved" nature trails. It was obvious to me which major trail to take.

 

Then, at some point, a minor dirt trail veered off the main trail. With the caches not too far off of a minor dirt trail (both caches were within 50 feet of the dirt trail), it was extremely obvious to the cache hunter: Stay on the main trail until you can't anymore, then look for a smaller, less used path to get you closer and take that until you can't.

 

Like I said, this is not applicable to all caches, but at least worth considering.

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Guest 300mag

I think this is a great idea.It would be like searching for multiple caches in one shot.Several for the same price icon_smile.gif This is something i might consider doing myself.

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Guest 300mag

I think this is a great idea.It would be like searching for multiple caches in one shot.Several for the same price icon_smile.gif This is something i might consider doing myself.

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