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How Do You Do It?


Bjorn74
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I've gotten my hunting abilities up to the level where I can find 8-12 in a day (5 hours). It takes some planning and usually I have some disappointments on the way. I used to think that this was good. I want to make the next step to having the techniques to grab 40 in a weekend (extended, granted) like The Leprechauns did in Columbus a couple months ago.

 

There are probably 100 people who have this ability, so it can't be that big a secret. What's the scoop? Is it planning, knowing your terrain (maps), technology (best GPS available), or just talent?

 

And secondly: How do you maintain a normal life while doing this so much?

 

The thing is that I want the techniques, but I'm probably going to remain content to remain a lowly cacher.

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There was a comprehensive post on this a while ago that I can summarize the elements of. (Tried searching but the new engine frequently doesn't appreciate my terms...)

 

They go to a dense area, prepare to do only easy caches near the main route they'll take, potentially spending hours the night before.

 

How to maintain a normal life? Only do that occassionally...

 

That's not my taste though--that's work.

 

Enjoy,

 

Randy

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Until I saw just how densely populated other cities are, I thought Columbus had reached a limit in areas. It looks like we've got a way to go. I suppose I need to find better hunting grounds...

 

By the way, I tried searching for this sort of topic, but couldn't find any... Sorry if it seems like I'm re-hashing. I just joined the 100+ club and think I can rule the world...

Edited by Bjorn74
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Bjorn74, I'm flattered that you would mention my recent trip to Columbus as an example, so I'll answer back with a full explanation. That trip arose because I had Columbus Day as a free weekend and I felt like traveling somewhere.... so why not Columbus? I drove over Saturday night and cached on Sunday and Monday, picking up 44 finds over the two days. Nothing spectacular... if I had focused on just 1/1 caches and virtuals, or if I had a team mate with me, I am sure I could have done many more. My personal style is to seek caches that are in the woods and involve a bit of hiking, so when I hit some of the beautiful State Parks north of Columbus, I stayed there and skipped a lot of the urban caches. I did one virtual on that trip because it was placed by Web-ling, a geocacher who I greatly respect and have corresponded with.

 

I was first inspired about the concept of powercaching less than one month after joining the site, when I read This Thread and the explanation from BruceS, one of the ultimate powercachers. It opened my eyes to view geocaching as more than a couple of hours of activity on a sunny afternoon. I commend this post to everyone for inspiration.

 

One of the best ways to learn powercaching is to travel around for a day or two with an avid cacher. I have had the privilege of going geocaching with The Lil Otter, Moun10Bike, CCCooperAgency and other high-number geocachers. I learned a lot from the fun I had on those trips. Now I'm doing it all on my own! Maybe someday I could return the favor and we could go caching together, perhaps in Cleveland or Cincinnati.

 

Stuff I've learned along the way:

 

1. A good mapping GPS is critical. I had never been in Columbus before, but with a Garmin GPS-V with autorouting, I never got lost.

 

2. Skip the paper. Using pocket queries, load all the cache information in your PDA, Pocket PC, laptop... whatever you use. That way, you aren't spending four hours printing out cache sheets and maps for a 40 cache trip. I use GPX Spinner and Plucker to transfer GPX files to my Palm Pilot. I also log my finds on the Palm Pilot using the Notepad feature... it captures the date and time of the find and I jot down the GC number and anything unusual, like "cache was wet; saw wild turkeys."

 

3. Get organized in advance, not when you're out in the field. I use ClayJar's Watcher software exclusively for planning my cache trips. I rarely browse cache pages online anymore. In Watcher, I can filter out caches that I'm not likely to do (I skip multicaches and puzzle caches when I'm out of town, and hydrocaches because I don't own a boat, etc.). I also filter out caches that have a lot of recent not-found logs, which Watcher alerts me to.

 

4. Don't waste time getting to the cache. Have all your caching gear packed so you know where everything is, and you can just jump out of the car when you reach the parking area. Enjoy the hike, but keep up a good pace. I'll jog on a boring stretch of level trail, and slow down when I hit the top of a ridge with a scenic view. I attack hills by running up them, rather than slowing down.

 

5. Don't waste time at the cache. Sure, there are special cache locations where I enjoy taking a half hour break after a tough five mile hike. But on a powercaching day, once you reach the umpteenth tupperware container in XYZ town park, just open the container, sign the log (with a sticker if you have them), seal it back up, re-hide the cache and start the return hike. The whole process can be done in two minutes.

 

6. Eat in the car, carry an ice chest for cold drinks, and use a Camelbak for hydration on the trail. A 90-minute dinner break at a restaurant means 4 or 5 fewer caches for the day.

 

7. Learn how to be a good night cacher and extend your geocaching day. Do this safely and legally. Try to plan out in advance which caches are appropriate for nighttime hunting, based on the cache page and prior log entries.

 

As for maintaining a life, I am a full-time attorney and a single parent with 50% shared custody. Geocaching is the perfect way to get away from the stress of my job, and to spend quality time with my daughter. I have no "significant other" so I have the freedom to do things like travel to Columbus on short notice, without having to explain anything to anyone. I MAKE time for geocaching. What a great sport we've got!

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I cache I found recently had the following post:

 

"After getting home from a 50+ caching marathon with [x y z]. [we] didn't want to waste what remaining daylight there was, so we were off for a few more caches. Neat camo job."

 

:)

As a cache owner, I find log entries like this to be disappointing. Therefore, I try my best never to make my log entries sound this way during a powercaching trip. Nearly every cache has something interesting about the area, even if it's just a nice new playground. I may not have played on the see-saw, but I did notice it. As mentioned above, I will take notes along the way about things that are unique to the cache, so that when I get back home, I can write an online log that is not an insult to the cache owner who helped make my day of geocaching possible.

 

The above assumes that it's a nice geocache. If cache number 19 for the day is a poorly hidden film canister at a roadside pulloff, I'm not going to rave about it.

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I cache I found recently had the following post:

 

"After getting home from a 50+ caching marathon with [x y z]. [we] didn't want to waste what remaining daylight there was, so we were off for a few more caches. Neat camo job."

 

;)

As a cache owner, I find log entries like this to be disappointing. Therefore, I try my best never to make my log entries sound this way during a powercaching trip.

Ditto. I think it sounds tacky to post the total caches of a "marathon". Each cache log should be able to stand on it's own merit. :) (my apologies for the times I didn't follow the above advice :) )

 

--Marky

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There was a comprehensive post on this a while ago that I can summarize the elements of. (Tried searching but the new engine frequently doesn't appreciate my terms...)

MARKWELL!!!! :)

 

This might be the one you're looking for. Scroll on down to BruceS's reply (not that Marwell's isn't any good, but ....it's BruceS that you're looking for...I think).

 

Bret

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Oh, so *MY* link to the thread where BruceS first explained powercaching wasn't good enough, eh?

 

Or did you just fall asleep after the first 8 paragraphs of my post? :)

 

By the way, my "how-to" essay should have mentioned CyBret's most excellent Guide to Paperless Caching, which I relied upon heavily when I learned how to use Spinner and Plucker. Thanks, CyBret!

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As mentioned above, I will take notes along the way about things that are unique to the cache, so that when I get back home, I can write an online log that is not an insult to the cache owner who helped make my day of geocaching possible.

hey, I've seen the Leprachaun's notes, and he writes chicken scratch. :)

 

but at least his logs will be worthwhile. I try the same thing, the hider went through the trouble to hide the cache, I should go through the trouble to log it decently. sometimes you find some ho-hum caches so there's not much to write.

Edited by mrkablooey
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The process Leprechaun describes is pretty similar to that of many of the "power cachers". Sometimes the fun is in the meander and sometimes it's in the charge. On the days when you're running hard, run hard, use good tools, and do everything up front that you can. I've had fun at caches that have taken multiple days to complete and on 40+ find days. Little tricks like using the notepad on the PDA to log this find and deciding your next GOTO while walking back to the car do add up.

 

Since Bruce's post is pretty famous for covering the mechanics, I wrote an answer to a similar question, but focused on how I "attack" a specific city.

[ mumble mumble stupid search mumble 20 seconds grumble mumble ]

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=0entry597786

 

That month did make for an interesting

spike and I just realized that six of my last eight months have had fewer finds than my best day, so I really haven't been charging around that much this year. :)

 

I do agree with Marky on the logs. I am a competent typist (and I realize that not everyone is) andI try to say something unique about each cache as each one is an experience. But the effort I spend on a log is somewhat proportional to the effort spent on the cache. But I won't paste the same log even if the placer cut and pasted the cache description.

Edited by robertlipe
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I've gotten my hunting abilities up to the level where I can find 8-12 in a day (5 hours).

8-12 caches in 5 hours is excellent...that would average to about 50 caches in a day, which is awesome if you think about it. Most I ever done was 17 in a day (took about 10 hours), and I know that will be a hard one to better for us. I find we usually average about a cache an hour or so and we do take our time to enjoy each one. Ok, so I can only go as fast as my 6 year old's legs will take him, but we do have fun at each one of them.

 

Didn't I read somewhere, several months ago that someone (was it CCCooperAgency?) did over 100 caches in 1 day? Now that is quite an accomplishment. I would like to hear their story on this experience.

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http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=cccooperagency

 

I just found this by searching: This was a post by JoGPS

 

The facts are: I sat in the back seat, Lynn the wife and main force in caching drove, Patty Yeager rode in the back with me and Lucy , Lynn’s daughter rode shot gun in the front seat.

 

The caches were all on the north side of town. When the van would stop they would take off running as fast a they could go to see who got to the cache first, I only got out of the van a few times.

 

If you don’t think this can be done ( 115 in a very long and fun day ) come to Nashville and I will ride in the bask seat with you ( Brian - Team A.I. gets to ride in the trunk ), but until them believe what I am telling you.

 

This was not my first rodeo , I did two other runs with other cachers getting it down pat, 58 , and 75 in one day.

 

Robert Lipe cooked all our dada for us and made us fly, with no time wasted.

 

It was an organized team effort but still very impressive, if speed caching is your cup of tea. I am curious about what area this took place at.

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I cache I found recently had the following post:

 

"After getting home from a 50+ caching marathon with [x y z]. [we] didn't want to waste what remaining daylight there was, so we were off for a few more caches. Neat camo job."

That sounds like a log on one my caches. Only problem is it's not camouflaged. Now that's curious! This log was made by the same person who claimed a find, but logged they couldn't find it on one of my nearby caches.

 

A major problem is the cache with the now questionable log is missing. Hopefully it will turn up. In the meantime, it looks like someone will be getting away with bogus find.

 

In other words, to always be too impressed with huge numbers. Some may not be accurate.

 

With that said, we've done our share of power caching. :)

 

CR

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Stuff I've learned along the way:

Excellent tutorial! Great points.

 

A few I might add:

 

Pay attention to the terrain and if possible use a bike. Learn how to carry it to portage it over bad areas. Figure out a way to get it in/out of your vechile quickly so you're not wasting time there. A bike is good even in urban areas. Sometimes you can't park as near to ground zero as you would like.

 

A tape recorder is even quicker at taking notes. We don't use one because of our system, we use a logbook of all of our finds and we always "stamp up." (Unless somebody forgot the stamp and pad!)

 

CR

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Although I have no desire to be a power cacher, I do appreciate many of the pointers BruceS and others have given. Although their goals may be very different from mine, the organizational tips are great.

 

Plus, as I start thinking of caching while on trips elsewhere, I see myself using most of BruceS's methods.

 

Thanks to all of you.

 

I know when BruceS blew through KC, he camped near my house, and my caches, in a tent in freezing weather and woke up to snow or heavy frost caking the tent. He then did a lot of caches. Now that is hard core. My 10-cache plan for up North nver seems to happen, due to lack of time or something.

 

I do find that some power cachers post some generic logs that include "easy to find" which one might view as a compliment, or as an "un-compliment" if the hider took extra care to be clever. (This is my issue, not the finder's, I know.)

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I don't think I'll ever be a mega cacher like those mentioned. The main reason being because I like to enjoy the area the cache is in. It's nice to stop and smell the roses.

Or, as the Great Bovine Philosopher would annotate: "And as you travel life's highway, don't forget to stop and *eat* the roses."

 

FisheCow <MooGlub> :)

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I've also done my share of power caching, although it's not very much since even the densest cache areas in Finland aren't very dense. I also didn't skip puzzle or multi caches, unless they were really laborious.

 

Whenever I've searched more than only couple of caches, I tend to make some notes about my caching trip so that I can write something more than just e.g. This was 6/17 today (which I usually write too) in the log. As a cache owner I like to read about some feelings or funny incidents that may have happened during the hunt of my caches. That's why I also try to give more input myself.

 

Despite the 'hurry' from cache to cache on such trips I always try to enjoy those places and think why the hider considered them as good hiding places. Although I eat in the car often on my cachepeditions, I sometimes stop at a great cache spot and have my lunch there.

 

As for the original question, how do I do it, I'd say the most important single thing is route planning. I don't have precise mapping software, but I study those maps I may have on that area, and optimize the order in which I'll be driving or otherwise moving from cache to cache. Also it usually pays off to invest some time to study the cache reports beforehand. Many times you save time (and gas) if you know what you're looking for, and sometimes a Google search will help you on some multis. It's not one or two times when I've searched for a container at the first leg of a multicache when I was supposed to read the nearby infoboard for further hints, or when I've peeked in every big hole in the area when I was supposed to look for a micro. :) So do your homework!

Edited by Divine
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One thing I think is important, is to snap a picture of your log entry in the logbook of each cache you visit. I try to do this at each cache I go to, but sometimes forget. The picture shows that you did visit the cache. One thing I do, is to put the cache's waypoint in my logbook entry, then I know where each picture came from. This greatly speeds up my logging of caches, when I get home, and this helps me to make a better Online FOUND log entry too.

 

GEOFF

Edited by GOT GPS?
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One thing I think is important, is to snap a picture of your log entry in the logbook of each cache you visit. I try to do this at each cache I go to, but sometimes forget. The picture shows that you did visit the cache. One thing I do, is to put the cache's waypoint in my logbook entry, then I know where each picture came from. This greatly speeds up my logging of caches, when I get home, and this helps me to make a better Online FOUND log entry too.

 

GEOFF

In this regard, I can't say enough about my Palm Zire 71, which combines a good color PDA with a serviceable digital camera. Slide up a cover one inch, and the PDA automatically switches into camera mode. The pictures upload when I hotsync. It couldn't be any easier.

 

It takes time and fumbling to write on a piece of paper what I took and left from the cache, time of the find and other notes, to find my regular camera to take a picture, and to keep track of a cache page printout. The Palm Zire 71 combines all of these tasks into one "outdoors desktop" that I keep in my vest pocket.

 

Taking pictures of caches and cache logs is solely for my own interest, efficiency and protection in case anyone ever calls one of my finds into question. There's no way that this should become a rule. There's enough rules already! When I was new, there was a lot of appeal to "take something if you want, leave something if you take something, and sign the logbook." Everything I've added to my routine since then is gravy, and my own personal choice.

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We used to power cache on occassion (pre-Solana Days). We use a Palm with Plucker and gpx2html. Even with that, I usually take a little time to read the pages, especially the multi and puzzle caches. Also, take time to try and map out some routes.

 

Anybody remember the old days when the map sites used to allow you to get directions to or from coordinates? We LOVED that feature- it made moving from cache to cache easy.

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We used to power cache on occassion (pre-Solana Days).  We use a Palm with Plucker and gpx2html.  Even with that, I usually take a little time to read the pages, especially the multi and puzzle caches.  Also, take time to try and map out some routes.

 

Anybody remember the old days when the map sites used to allow you to get directions to or from  coordinates?  We LOVED that feature- it made moving from cache to cache easy.

Isn't that why the Microsoft maps were added to the cache pages? On that mapping site, I believe you can still get driving directions to the cache. (Since I use an autorouting GPS I don't need this, but it would sure be useful for others.)

 

I noticed that too. Columbus seems downright anemic compared to Cincinnati and Cleveland.
Don't sell your town short, cyclist and Bjorn. I could have chosen any number of cities in which to spend a free weekend. There was plenty of density in Columbus to support a healthy cache appetite. I had a great trip and saw some great parks. Sure, it's not Cincinnati yet, but keep growing and it will be. Recent hides like Rabid Bunny's Excalibur series will help take geocaching to the next level in your area. Hide better caches and more people will try it, like it, stick with it and hide their own caches. I will say that I found a lot of fairly plain vanilla "tupperware in the park" caches, several of which needed maintenance attention. But that's probably true of just about any city, and is perhaps an unfair criticism since my cache selection criteria screened out any potentially interesting multicaches and puzzle caches.

 

cyclist1200, I was hot on your heels for a portion of one day during my visit. The ink had barely dried on your logs of some caches in Alum Creek State Park when I got there.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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I guess up here the cache density (or lack thereof) makes a cache marathon kind of harder to do. Add in a 6, and a 4 year old into the mix, and forget it!

 

Kids are great, but slow! :) Look Dad, a grasshopper... 5 min. later off we go!

 

The most we did was 4 in one day...

 

As a cache owner (only one now, but more planned) I love reading people's online logs! One line logs bother me though.

 

"Drove up, TNLNSL" - C'mon, put some effort into it!

 

I try to look for at leat one pic. I can add to my log, as the pics are what I really enjoy the most anyway.

 

Just my $0.02

 

Scott

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One thing I think is important, is to snap a picture of your log entry in the logbook of each cache you visit. I try to do this at each cache I go to, but sometimes forget. The picture shows that you did visit the cache. One thing I do, is to put the cache's waypoint in my logbook entry, then I know where each picture came from. This greatly speeds up my logging of caches, when I get home, and this helps me to make a better Online FOUND log entry too.

 

GEOFF

Back when it was still allowed, Kablooey used to take a digital photograph of the physical log page and post that as his log entry. That way, you got to see what he wrote in the physical logbook and he didn't have to repeat himself. :) Now he logs his finds from the cache site on his sidekick phone (if he has signal). Still, I used to like seeing the digital pic of the log book...

 

--Marky

Edited by Marky
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This has been great inspiration. And it has been motivating in two ways...

 

1) I'm ready to get up to task with tools and fitness. Those are two things for me.

 

On a personal note, caching is what I've done to get through the toughest two years of my life. I went through a 2 year divorce for a 5 month marriage, was laid off, betrayed by friends and family, given fraudulent advice from an attorney, fought with the Bar, and restarted my old job just as the largest client filed bankruptcy and started selling stores and closing shop. I'm heading into year three of this nastiness. It has only gotten worse in many ways while other things are looking up. This weekend, I will likely get out there and take some me-time to work through some stuff... I really appreciate the community that's made it possible...

 

2) Columbus will see some new, yet interesting caches soon. Since there are some of us who enjoy the rich, interesting variety and since we seem to be in the GC frontier, we can make this a land of the strange and interesting. I can't wait to get started...

 

Thanks everyone!!!

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Wasn't there someone who recently claimed 200+ cache finds in a day? It was only a few weeks ago, if I recall correctly.  I thought CCCooper's 115 in a day was amazing, but over 200! That doesn't even sound like fun, but it is amazing.

This would be the thread you were referring to...scroll down to Monkeybrad's explaination.

Edited by Stunod
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Back when it was still allowed, Kablooey used to take a digital photograph of the physical log page and post that as his log entry.  That way, you got to see what he wrote in the physical logbook and he didn't have to repeat himself. :P  Now he logs his finds from the cache site on his sidekick phone (if he has signal).  Still, I used to like seeing the digital pic of the log book...

 

oh no.... not only do we share a nickname, but I have a sidekick as well, though I don't use it to log my finds. I wait 'til I get home! I typically remember details about a cache trip, but have a digital voice recorder for longer excursions.

 

edit: at least we're on opposite sides of the country! ;)

Edited by mrkablooey
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My daily find record stands at 23, with a few DNFs mixed into that. It all boils down to planning and the kind of day you want to have. For me, if I'm driving 100 miles to an area for caching, I want that trip to be worth my effort/time. Since it's a full tank of gas for the day between round-trip driving and cache hunting, it seems a logical reason.

 

I'll download a map of cache finds (team-specific) from my local az geocaching site, the open it in MapSource. After filtering down to all but unfound caches, I select an area and begin the zoom. I compare this to the map on GC.com to identify cache difficulty. From there, I further narrow my potentials down, also figuring my route of travel. I look for a pattern that will best suit that route, and just go for however many I find. I may set a personal goal for myself just to see if I can accomplish it, but typically it's just a 'meh' attitude about how many I find.

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Planning and preparation. Or are those the same thing? ;)

 

Take a look at the area you plan to cache in, and find the caches that most interest you. If you don't like virtuals, take them out. No time for multis? Take them out. Make yourself a list of the caches, and do them in order, making sure you're doing them in the most efficient order possible. MS Streets and Trips will organize this for you, but being on a Mac I just look at the area on a map and try to figure it out that way, starting at one end and working my way to the other. I'll use Mapopolis to route me from one to the other.

 

The key we've found is to NOT deviate from that list. Just do them methodically and no breaks. If you want to eat something in the car, do so, but no 1/2 hour break at McD's eating a burger! :P

 

edit: It also helps to start early. If sun-up is 7am, start your day at 7am. Don't sleep in 'til 9 and then go out. Now that daylight savings time is over, this is even more important as the days are shorter. Maximize the daylight you have.

Edited by mrkablooey
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