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Caching in the snow


enfanta
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I've searched through the other forums on finding caches in the snow and there were some useful comments ("wear snowshoes!" "get snow tires!") but thought I'd bring this to the general forum.

 

How the heck do you find a cache in the snow?

 

We had a snowstorm come through central PA last week and I've been looking for a couple caches without luck. I took my umbrella with me once to poke around in the shrubs, hoping to hear the clang of ferrule on ammo can but no such luck.

 

So: how do YOU find a cache in the snow?

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quote:
Originally posted by enfanta:

 

So: how do YOU find a cache in the snow?


 

I did two this morning: one cache container was visible from 50 feet away, and at the other the most likely hiding spot was apparent from 100 feet ... and it immediately yielded the cache.

 

Some suggestions for techniques I've used in other situations:

 

Hike to the coordinates by a round-about route so that your trail is not easily followed. (Walk on bare spots or exposed rocks, if possible; return by the same route using the same footsteps so the tracks appear to all be leading towards the main path. People are less likely to follow footsteps coming towards them.) Once you get there, if you see evidence that others (skiers, hunters, hikers) pass throuth the area frequently, think long and hard if the evidence of your activity will likely compromise the cache.

 

Look for potential hiding spots without disturbing anything ... if you can't spot any likely spots because of the depth of cover, use the clue rather than tear the area up. A hiking pole or tree branch is useful for poking around potential spots.

 

Find something (a downed branch with leaves, for example) to restore the area you searched as much as possible. Mix up some other areas just to throw off others. (geocachers and non-geocachers alike.) icon_wink.gif

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I went searching for a cache yesterday and finding the cache wasn't the problem. The problem was slipping and sliding on the trails.

The leaves underneath the snow made this 2 star rating a ten. I am glad I didn't bring my son Casey with me because the location of the cache

was on a steep cliff. One slip and I could have ended up at the bottom of the lake. I was very careful and enjoyed the rush. I got my fix for the day. Anyways the weather out here in N.Y. has been cold and snowy. It looks like it's going

to be a bad winter. What happens if we get dumped

on and there is tons of snow on the ground for the next four months. How am I going to get my caching in if all the caches are buried in snow.

I am sure if I did a search I can see how other members feel about using metal detectors. I guess the conclusion of my post is it all depends on luck, skill, and pure determination.

 

Duane

Upinyachit

icon_smile.gif

 

Our feet go where the caches are! feet.gif

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Caching in the snow

And hoping to find our way

To the treasure trove

Bushwhaking all the way...

Whak! Whak! Whak!

 

We can't feel our toes

And we've lost our flashlight

But what fun it is to slip and slide

By GPS glow at night!

 

Ohhhhhh...

Jingle Bells, Caching Tales

"It'll be fun", they said

Found the spot, and now we're lost

Our batteries went dead.

 

Hey!

 

(Loosely based on a recent caching adventure)

 

George

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I just got back from doing three snow caches... where I'm at (deschutes nat'l forest), its actually not all that different from normal non-snow caching icon_wink.gif Thankfully the caches weren't hidden under a rock pile under a foot of snow, that might have made things more difficult. All three of these caches were hidden in fallen trees, underneith a little bit of bark pieces.

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I was just commenting today how much more difficult it is to cache in the snow...

 

If you're caching in the spring or summer, even through most of the fall, and rummaging around in the underbrush, everything mostly stays "attached" to each other --leaves and branches don't necessarily fall off when you move them around. But in the winter, move a snow-laden branch and even if there is a cache under it, the snow that falls off the branch buries it. Snow changes the hunt quite a bit.

 

Basically I just add 1 to 1.5 levels of difficulty to the rating of any cache I try and see if I'm up to tackling that level of difficulty in the cold. I find that during the winter I spend a lot more time on the forums, planning caches to hide and scouting out hiding places than actually hunting. Winter is also the time I'm most likely to dabble in the ocationless caches, just for something to keep my mind occupied.

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I was just commenting today how much more difficult it is to cache in the snow...

 

If you're caching in the spring or summer, even through most of the fall, and rummaging around in the underbrush, everything mostly stays "attached" to each other --leaves and branches don't necessarily fall off when you move them around. But in the winter, move a snow-laden branch and even if there is a cache under it, the snow that falls off the branch buries it. Snow changes the hunt quite a bit.

 

Basically I just add 1 to 1.5 levels of difficulty to the rating of any cache I try and see if I'm up to tackling that level of difficulty in the cold. I find that during the winter I spend a lot more time on the forums, planning caches to hide and scouting out hiding places than actually hunting. Winter is also the time I'm most likely to dabble in the ocationless caches, just for something to keep my mind occupied.

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I've been thinking that one possible solution to the difficulty of caching in the snow would be to place one that is suspended from a tree by rope or wire. My concern is that I wouldn't want to do something that could possibly fall on someone's head. Any thoughts on this? Is this something that people have done?

 

Where am I going? I don't quite know.

What does it matter where people go?

Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-

Anywhere, anywhere. I don't know.

-A.A. Milne

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I also like to plot the cache location on a map and think about if it is likely to be exposed or buried under a drift. If it's on an open summit or on a south or west facing slope, there is a better chance the rock or log it is hidden under will be melted out, if it's in a gully on the north or east slope, that does not bode so well.

 

I also like to read the logs from other cachers in the area I'm interested in, to try and gain an idea on snow depth and the amount of thawing and compacting of the snow. I don't mind if it is cold, I can use crampons then, but I don't want to hunt in a big thaw if there is still a lot of snow left.

 

This is my first winter geocaching and last winter in the NY metro area was nothing, so a lot of my caches were not placed in a manner conducive to winter caching. I will think about more off the ground placements in the future.

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I hid one yesterday in the snow. Instead of trying to be stealthy with the track, I just tromped all over the area, with a few different trails off the main trail. It looked like some people had just walked to the edge of the fence to get a better view of the river...I figured that was beter than one set in, with a few lines back and forth and a obvious standing around, markings.... May be easier to find until we get another snowfall and it buries the rock the bare rock is under...We'll see...

 

Without your brain, a map is a piece of coloured paper, a compass is a glorified magnet, and a GPS is a waterproof battery case." " FSAR "

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I hid one yesterday in the snow. Instead of trying to be stealthy with the track, I just tromped all over the area, with a few different trails off the main trail. It looked like some people had just walked to the edge of the fence to get a better view of the river...I figured that was better than one set in, with a few lines back and forth and a obvious standing around, markings.... May be easier to find until we get another snowfall and it buries the bare rock the cache is under...We'll see...

 

Without your brain, a map is a piece of coloured paper, a compass is a glorified magnet, and a GPS is a waterproof battery case." " FSAR "

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quote:
Originally posted by upinyachit:

I went searching for a cache yesterday and finding the cache wasn't the problem. The problem was slipping and sliding on the trails.

The leaves underneath the snow made this 2 star rating a ten.


 

I have one word: Yaktrax. They are like thin springs set onto a rubber band matrix. Slip them on your boots and you get a real bite on snow and ice. It's less than crampons, but you don't chew up the floors. Although you wouldn't use these going up a glacier, but the other day I was striding comfortably over iced trails that other people treated gingerly. The one problem is that they can slip off your feet, so you have to periodically check them. There's a new pro version, which I haven't tried, that has a strap that goes over the top of the boot; it looks promising.

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Found one yesterday under 3 feet of snow. It was total luck. I saw one medium sized tree surrounded by saplings and guessed the cache would be at the base of the larger tree. Started digging around it and there it was. GPS reception was perfect and had me within 5 feet of the cache, which helped.

 

I was skunked on a nearby one though. I was wading around in waist deep snow, but there was nothing to hint at the location of the cache. Here GPS reception was skittish, so that didn't help matters.

 

"Paternalism is the greatist despotism" - Emmanual Kant

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Found one yesterday under 3 feet of snow. It was total luck. I saw one medium sized tree surrounded by saplings and guessed the cache would be at the base of the larger tree. Started digging around it and there it was. GPS reception was perfect and had me within 5 feet of the cache, which helped.

 

I was skunked on a nearby one though. I was wading around in waist deep snow, but there was nothing to hint at the location of the cache. Here GPS reception was skittish, so that didn't help matters.

 

"Paternalism is the greatist despotism" - Emmanual Kant

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For the past two winters I have used a wire hanger to place my Christmas ornament cache.

The container's handle is attached to the "bucket" part rather than the lid, so it doesn't crash to the ground. I don't hang it very far off the ground, so a person who's about 6' can reach it easily and hand it down to others if needed. And, I don't put anything very heavy in it.

To form the hook, we just pulled the hanger into a 'straight' line opposite the hook and then bent it to hold the cache -- the hook hangs on the branch of the tree, and from the bottom part hangs the cache. I also try to make sure the cache rest lightly on a tree branch so the hanger is just stabilizing it. (These are older pine trees I'm using, not deciduous trees....)

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