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Rabid Bunny

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Just wanted to say hello to everyone. I just started GeoCaching and so far I have not found more than I have found icon_frown.gif I realize this is more of a sport than first imagined, so need to start going to sites better prepared. Any suggestions as to what I would commonly need on a hunt, I would appreciate it. Thanks icon_biggrin.gif

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Welcome to our addiction icon_biggrin.gif .There's a lot of good ideas/thoughts on this subject here on the forums.Go up to the top of the forums page, & click on the "search" option. Do a search on "backpack". There's quite a few threads on what fellow cachers carry in their backpacks on their adventures. Some real essential stuff listed on those threads. Should be very helpful. icon_wink.gifHappy caching.



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If the cache is a short walk into an urban or surburban park, all you really need is your GPS and a bag or fanny pack filled with some trade items. If its a longer walk, or one in a

forest or other wild area, you'd bring anything you'd bring on a hike. Water, food, bug repellent, poncho, first aid kit, extra clothing, etc...


"Life is a daring adventure, or it is nothing" - Helen Keller

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Being relatively new (28 finds as of this posting), I would recommend getting a compass and using that instead of the GPSr once you are inside 100 ft. or so. Our success and speed went WAY up once we started doing this. We had no problem getting close, but spent way too much time doing the last 100 feet until we started doing it different.


1)Use the GPS and it's navigation arrow to get to within 100 feet or so, then switch to compass mode:

2)Make sure you are getting a great signal (learn enough about your GPSr to know) standing in one place. More on this below.

3)Get a bearing displayed on the GPSr and use your compass to establish a direction.

4)Pace it off. Use your GPS as confirmation if you are getting a decent signal, but trust the great signal MUCH more and stick with the compass.


As far as accuracy goes, don't trust the "accuracy" estimate on your GPSr as it can be way off. Trust much more the overhead satelite view and signal strength. Realize that a good number and distribution of birds means a better signal. Some recommend you put it on the ground and stand away from it for a few minutes, but I am too nervous I'd forget to pick it up so I keep the wrist strap on. I don't think my cheap yellow etrex does averaging anyway.


This all presumes that your main problem is weak signals due to overhead obstruction such as foliage.


If it was too easy, you'd get bored fast.

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I was going to bring up carrying a compass as well. I dont use it that often but there are those times when the foliage is just too much for the GPSr to get a good signal. Bug repellent, trade goods, and pen are all good things to have most of the time. One thing that ive found to be invaluable is the cigarette lighter adapter cord for the GPSr. Id be broke without it!. icon_smile.gif

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All great information. One more point, when you leave your vehicle punch in the position on your GPS. I am always forgetting to do it and have to do a back track to get back to the vehicle sometimes. It isn't too bad if you are close by in the city but if you get way out in the woods, it is nice to know what direction to go to get back - and it isn't always the same route you took to get in.


A Troll, A Lady and Duncan the Dog


[This message was edited by A Troll, A Lady, and Duncan the Dog on August 04, 2002 at 09:50 PM.]

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The first thing I do is print out the cache file, with the hint decrypted and all the recent logs. It really helps to read these logs as you get an idea of how others approached it. If other experienced finders correct the coordinates, I will use those corrected coordinates, as there are a lot of inaccurate coordinates out there.


The next thing I do is plot the coordinate on my topo mapping software and examine the terrain and possible approaches. If it is a complicated approach, I may print out a topo map with the waypoint on it and take it with me. Once I know the general area I will drive there and hike in to it. I will take the cheat sheet with me and check the GPS at the trailhead to make sure I have the right location. If the "Go To" function gives me an illogically large distance, I check the coordinates on my printed cheat sheet with the coordinates on my GPS. I like to use metric distance, as I get confused by fractions of a mile, and have a hard time judging distance, not being always sure if I am looking at fractions of a mile or feet. I have found the direction arrow can be erratic in heavy overhead cover, so I get within a hundred meters before I start worrying about it, though I will check the distance regularly, as I find that to be more reliable.


When I am about 20 meteres off, I stop and take out my compass and set a bearing in the direction the direction arrow is pointing, as I know it will start spinning around when I get close. I look ahead on that bearing at the right distance and look for any obvious hiding spots, checking the cheat sheet if I can't remember what it is I am supposed to be looking for. If I have heavy overhead cover, I may look at the satellite page to check if I have at least four satellites. If I see an area nearby with less dense overhead cover, I may go to that area and try to get a direction from there.


Once I am in the right area, I will stop looking at the GPS and start looking at the possible hiding places. Rocks that are turned with their lichen sides down are a dead give away, as are sticks piled in parallel. If my GPS has pointed me to an area with no good hiding spaces, and I see obvious spots 20 meters away, I will systematically check those areas after having checked the indicated area.


If I still haven't found the cache after 20 minutes or so, I will yell at the cheat sheet, calling the cacher an idiot, announce to myself that I am giving up and start to walk away. Then I will turn around and start the whole proceedure over again. I may do this up to three times, pehaps sitting to calm down and having a snack in between efforts.


If this last paragraph seems a little neurotic, the same could be said of the whole sport of geocaching. Those that say this is supposed to be fun, haven't got skunked lately. If you do get skunked, go out as soon as possible and find another cache, hopefully an easier one. Self confidence and a positive attitude need to be rebuilt.

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All good advice so far. I've found that an investment in a bunch of NiMH rechargeable batteries and a charger save you beaucoup bucks vs. alkalines. They don't last quite as long, so you have to bring spares, but in the long run they are a bargain. Easier on the local landfill too.

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Wow guys, thanks for all the great info. Actually went out this weekend and found 8 or so. Usually takes me longer than anticipated, but I'm having fun. Still need to get to know my GPS better (just using the cheapy yellow Garmin etrex) icon_rolleyes.gif

,like Irvingdog made sure to check if my datum is correct and I'm not sure what that even is

But I'm sure I'll learn more and more with each hunt. Plus my wife is into it too and we help eachother out.

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Nothing wrong with the cheap yellow etrex, that's what I have. On the bird page, always use advanced view. Hit the enter button to select that view. Trust that information much more than the estimate "29 feet accuracy" thing. It's not just the number of birds, but the distribution as well. Peek at that page from time to time rather than just staring at the arrow on the nav page.

On the nav page, hit the down button until you get to bearing. I wish this was the default. Much more useful than speed. Use the compass a lot.

I things I find wanting in this unit is a scrollable map and averaging, but we're doing pretty well so far.

In the recent technique thread someone said they used the map page for final approach. Sounds clever, we will have to try that.

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I'm just coming to the realization that all this advice, especially mine, is way off the mark. After 29 finds in my first month, I would like to recommend that you slow way down!

You will figure out all this gps/compass technique stuff in due time, and quickly exhaust the caches that are easy to get to and wish you had spent more time on each one. I now think this is the number one newbie mistake, considering all the excited comments made by "them" in these forums. Think quality, not quantity.

Take your time and enjoy each one AND it's surroundings, even after you have logged them. Don't be tempted into speed-caching. You will log the ones near your home or work in due course. They don't disappear that quickly.

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