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How Do You Get Close To The Cache?


mirasoot36
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I know this might sound like a stupid question, but maybe someone can help me out. I like to expand my geocaching skills by going to places I am no so fimaliar with, and I have trouble getting near the area to park and start my hunt. My GPS unit helps guide me while I am driving, but its easy to miss a turn, does anyone have any advice? I tried mapquest, but the directions there get me just as close as my GPS unit. Thanks.

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One thing I've found to be invaluable is the DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer series. They make them for just about every state now, and they have almost every road, as well as Lat/Long on the page edges. While you could never use just the book to find a cache, you can mark the coords close enough to find the best driving route to get you close.

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This is just one of those things that you will get better at over time as you do more and more caches. I really enjoy this part of the hunt, and folks around here often put caches in places that make it challenging to find the best place to park. I always like to find a 'better' route in, even if it means tough hiking.

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I use the "tracking" feature of my Garmin Vista....it's like leaving "breadcrumbs" behind you. If you pay close attention to your tracks vs. the waypoint and you've made a circle around it, then all you need to do is start making that circle smaller. Eventually you'll end up real close to the cache, depending on how good the "posted" coordinates were in the first place. Then, it's back to instinct. Lots of times it gets down to looking for those perfectly arranged sticks, or bark that looks out of place.

 

The tracking does help alot, though. Good luck,

JayBee

 

Oh, I should have read the question closer....you want to know how to get close to the trailhead or parking area. I use a Laptop with Garmin's Mapsource softwarre. I "dump" the waypoints from the GPSr into a mapset and save it before heading out. This way you can plan a series of caches to do in a day, without backtracking too much. I have been really impressed with the accuracy of the Mapsource maps. With the GPSr plugged into the laptop and my wife driving, I'm able to look ahead and give her directions like: a right turn coming up, or see that stop sign?.....turn left now. We have been getting very proficient at this lately, I hardly ever "yell" at her anymore. :rolleyes:

Edited by jbhooker3
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Keep driving in circles. Eventually, someone will call the cops about the suspicious vehicle and you can ask them! :rolleyes:

 

Seriously, though, my father (GMcSC) and I spent the better part of a half hour one day looking for the entrance to a park. I might suggest that, if it's an area you've never been to and you know in advance that you are going, to email some of the local cachers for advice on ones that don't show up readily on the maps.

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GC50A9 here locally has caused some folks to throw a fit. You can drive within .2 mile of the cache but it's all posted no tresspassing. But if a person just drives to the next road west (marked state highway spur) they'll find a public park with picnic tables, sign board with maps of the area, well used wide hiking and biking trails, and plenty of parking. It's just that from the trailhead it's about .9 mile to the cache. Too many people don't want to make the walk and think the road closest is the correct road. Some of these people throwing fits have hundreds of finds but can't manage to find the road to the park. Just proves that a person can be a rookie cacher even tho they have hundreds of caches logged.

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Not to advertise premium membership, but this is an area in which I've found it to be really helpful. You can zoom in on the map on the cache page, and that makes it a lot easier to figure out where you are supposed to go and plan a route (especially if your GPS doesn't have maps).

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Well, some of the best tools Jeremy has provided a link directly to on the cache page. Click the Microsoft MapPoint link on the cache page. Make the map larger on the screen and then zoom in and out until you get as much of the map as you need.

 

The Microsoft Terra Server is a good on, too. Only thing is the photos can be a decade or more out of date! But on things that are there, it's great.

 

Both of the above can be had in offline versions, as well. Microsoft Streets and Trips takes the place of MapPoint. A free program called USAphotomaps takes the place of the Terra Server. (Actually, it uses the same data and you still have to download the maps, but once you've seen a particular map it's cached in the memory.)

 

The enhance this even further, a laptop connected to a GPS with MSS&T running gets us around and into obscure parks hidden deep in massive subdivisions. It does help to have a navigator!

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I click on the map on the cache page to bring up MapQuest. Zoom in to about 8 power and print it. I take a look at the map before leaving to make sure I know which way I have to go in. Then when I get close, I follow the GPS. Never really look at the side streets except to make sure that the group of streets lead to the cache location.

 

F_M

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GC50A9 here locally has caused some folks to throw a fit.  You can drive within .2 mile of the cache but it's all posted no tresspassing.  But if a person just drives to the next road west (marked state highway spur) they'll find a public park with picnic tables, sign board with maps of the area, well used wide hiking and biking trails, and plenty of parking.  It's just that from the trailhead it's about .9 mile to the cache.  Too many people don't want to make the walk and think the road closest is the correct road.  Some of these people throwing fits have hundreds of finds but can't manage to find the road to the park.  Just proves that a person can be a rookie cacher even tho they have hundreds of caches logged.

There is one like that in this area. You can drive within less than 1/4 mile of the cache, but you have to cross private property. The approved way is about 1 1/4 miles, and sometimes you have to get a boat, depending on the time of year.

 

Luckily, the cache owner tells you this beforehand. I would think one like you describe where you're told nothing would encourage trespassing and would not be a good thing for geocaching in general. People are suspicious enough already.

 

Best thing is parking coordinates. Even if they are decrypted for those who wish not to use them, I like them and use them whenever available.

I find it really irritating when people encrypt parking information. By the time I'm having trouble and need to decode the clue, that information is useless.

 

My feeling is that if it's obvious, or going to the wrong place isn't going to get you in trouble (e.g., people pointing shotguns at you) then leave out the parking directions. If, on the other hand, going to the wrong place IS going to put our group in a bad light, please tell us where we're supposed to park. We don't need any more trouble than we've already got.

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Your GPS is not going to tell you where to park (unless the cache owner was kind enough to post parking coordinates.) Nothing can replace a good paper street map. Here in california they are done by Thomas Guides, and I have the books for my closest three counties.

You are right, the GPS won't tell you where to park. However, when the majority of caches in the area are in parks, and all these parks have parking lots, it works out just fine.

 

As for street maps, ADC does them in this area.

 

I think that's the most I've ever said the word park.

 

F_M

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as quoted by Balboagirl:

I find it really irritating when people encrypt parking information. By the time I'm having trouble and need to decode the clue, that information is useless.

 

This is not an issue for me anymore, I decrypt the hint before I print. Decrypting in the field takes way to long especially if it is really long winded, so I'll just look at the hint if I am truly stumped, otherwise I pay no attention to it. Not to mention, if the cache hider places the words "Parking Coordinates" in closed brackets ([]) they will not get decrypted along with the rest of the hint, therefore it is easy to distinguish parking coords from the actual hint.

 

 

Kar of TS!

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I usually download the waypoint to my Expertgps program and then I can make an aerial photo. I will then look for trails and use the previous peoples logs. This helps a lot. But in the beginning, I ran into the same problem but with time you just get better and better and before you know it you will be training others.

 

murph

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I use Mapopolis. It runs on my Palm (there is also a PPC version) and gives me verbal door-to-door directions. It warns me of upcoming turns, tells me to turn, and automatically reroutes me if I take a wrong turn or decide to go a different route. I don't even have to look at the screen, just listen. The app is free, but you have to pay for the maps (you have to pay for maps for every mapping program). You do have to have a cable to connect the GPS to the PDA.

 

In some of the situations cited above, it won't find the correct parking area, but it will direct you to parks, etc if you tell it to. If you know the cache is in a park, just tell it to navigate to the park, and it will do that.

Edited by NightPilot
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A good and free tool to use is USAPhotoMaps. Although the aerial shots are sometimes ten years old, a lot of areas are already fully developed and haven't really changed in ten years. For areas with new construction, this tool will only be marginally helpful.

 

Once I get a good aerial shot, I usually can figure out the best place to park.

 

BTW, a good tip for zeroing in on a cache is to look for an easy way in rather than bushwacking straight toward the cache, especially if it's labeled as an easy cache. I still remember when I was a newbie and I would end up making a difficulty 1 cache into a difficulty 4 cache. Once I got to the cache, I saw the easy trail back down.

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