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Geocaching Manifesto


The Puzzler
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As I was walking along a trail yesterday, hunting a geocache in an area I had never been to before (instead of working, which I should have been doing) I was thinking about how differently many of us percieve and pursue this activity.

 

I would find it very interesting to read some short (one page maximum) manifestos from various geocachers including on why they geocache, how they geocache, and what they thing are the right and wrong ways to do this activity. What geocaching things do you love and/or hate.

 

I'll try and think through mine and post it soon.

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For me, the hobby of geocaching is an attempt to go hiking with a purpose. That being to find the cache in question. I do this for a social outlet and a source of relaxation.

 

I find cleverly placed caches, interesting trade items, and unique signature items to be the pinacle of geocaching, though a really cool vista is the hidden gem in the hobby.

 

I try to leave cool items behind and play by generally accepted rules, all devolving down to "Do what I would want some other geocacher to do for me."

 

I don't like certain kinds of caches, principally the xeroxed caches that seem to pop up in areas. I don't support their inclusion on this site and would really like to see the site managed with direct local input that was respected.

 

I don't want to be the search of a police man-hunt--again, and will take what EFFECTIVE steps I can to eliminate caches that put myself and others into that position.

 

I would like to see this sport realize that its growing rapidly and that we will need to modify our actions and our systems to adjust to that growth.

 

I realize that some of my positions will tend to get me flamed on this forum, but having had the police sweeping my neighborhood for a car that looked like mine and realizing just how bad something like this could be for me professionally and personally, I simply don't care about the flamers.

 

So my manifesto is this:

 

Do what you can to make each cache a better find for the next guy and do what you have to to get rid of caches that endanger cachers.

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Geocaching words to live/play by:

 

"Failure is a hard pill to swallow until you realize the only failure you can really have in this sport is the failure to enjoy yourself."

TotemLake 4/26/04

 

"Everyone plays their own game. There is no sense in trying to police another's mindset as long as it falls within the general parameters of the game." Me (quoting myself from the poll that I posted on 10/23.)

 

Great wisdom from a master TB finder:

 

"It's a web of life, in my opinion, and absolutely any movement is the next step in reaching it's goal. That weird side trip to Florida, may be the next step to Canada. And a side trip may have saved it from going MIA by pilferage in Pennsylvania."

 

bthomas on the subject of TB movement 10/27/2003

 

"Badger, badger, badger, mushroom, mushroom, snake!" - Some guy

 

Sn :blink::blink:gans

Edited by Snoogans
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I'm up there on the list with all of you who geocache to get out of the car and go someplace you wouldn't otherwise. The thrill of the hunt is great and I love finding cool stuff, but the best thing is discovering someone else's spot that he or she wanted to share.

 

My favorite caches are in the woods, my least favorite are virtual urban coordinates. I would go every day if I could.

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One of the greatest benefits in geocaching to me is that it introduces me to new areas that I've not been to before. I've lived in Southern California most of my life, and as an avid outdoors/adventurous type, thought I knew all the local hikes.

 

Boy, was I ever wrong! Through geocaching I've found beautiful views, amazing hikes, and hidden trails that were all close enough to the different places I call home that I should have known them.

 

Not only that, but it's introduced me to some wonderful people. Many of those I've met share my love of the outdoors, of travel, of new places and faces, and of learning and doing new things.

 

We are all here on this green earth for such a short time. To not make the best of it and do all the things you can do while you can is a crime against yourself. Geocaching helps me to do new things and meet new people. For that alone, I love it.

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It seems that I have more "hidey" genes than findy ones. because I put WAY more effort into that side of the game. In both the hiding and seeking I am building my expereince and skill levels, and the more I find, the more my imagination soars. There certainly is more to it than I ever imagined when I first started caching.

 

I compare this pastime to others that I enjoy, or used to enjoy...Hunting, fishing,

canoeing. golf, archery, etc., and think about how much money I have spent in those pursuits compared to the "costs" of geocaching. Reminding myself about this, I tend to be a little more generous than the average cacher, or so it seems, in both what I will put into my hides, as well as how I trade.

 

For caches that I find, I will leave them somehow a little better for my visit if I can. For caches that I place, I will provide a unique, or humorous, or educational experience. I never have, and never will, put a film canister under a lamp base at WalMart. I have, but won't again, trade unfairly. I have, but won't again, put my fellow geocachers in an unhealthy environment while seeking my cache. I used to, but don't anymore, expect any other geocachers to maintain my standards.

 

:laughing: (does my "Halo" shine?) :P

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To boldly go where others have gone before...

 

I go for all the reasons listed above-- intentional hiking, exploring new places, solitude, challenge, etc. The idea of finding something left by strangers engaged in a common pasttime on such a world-wide scale is pretty impressive, if you stop to think about it. Oh yeah, and we get to talk in these forums with these cool geek names without ever revealing our true identities...

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- as said earlier, hiking with a purpose.

- finding new areas to hike

- an escape at lunchtime from work

- an early morning jaunt

- seeing how creative people can be with a hide (not just a box in the woods)

- the silliness of being in a swamp at midnight, and meeting up with people who also had nothing better to do

- the FTF competition (let me tell you - it's rough in Rochester, NY!)

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For me, the hobby of geocaching is an attempt to go hiking with a purpose. 

Yeah,

 

Geocaching got me back out into the great outdoors. As a kid, my dad often took me hunting and fishing. No disrespect toward all the hunters out there, but for me I became bored just sitting in one spot (that's the way my dad hunted--in a blind) and I didn't really enjoy the whole killing and gutting part. It just wasn't for me.

 

But the solitude, peace and beauty of the woods/nature did get stuck somewhere in my soul. I kind of forgot about it, until geocaching had me back out into the woods. And this time I was moving and seeing wildlife without killing it....I don't care if you do....I'm not all anti-hunting in any way...please.....don't flame me..... :laughing:

 

From there, the challenge of the find increased my interest, be it woods or urban. Although I prefer to get out into the woods most, I enjoy the challenge of finding any kind of cache.

 

I cache most often alone or with my son. And I am thankful to have a reason to introduce him the the outdoors. He loves the challenging climbs out in the woods...that's cool.

 

Then I did my first hide. It was so much fun and so much more difficult that I imagined. Picking the spot, naming it, what to put inside, FTF certificates made....

 

Making a sig. card, buying a laminator. Heading to my first new state to cache. Buying hiking equipment. Subscribing to Backpacker Magazine. Dreaming about caching and hiking.

 

I cache now because I have to...it's become an obsession. An addiction. Caching has given me a hobby that I can call my own. It fits who I am. I talk about it all the time with my high school students. They love to hear about the tales of the trail. I've even taken them out with me. Many have since adopted their own name and gone out on their own.

 

I cache ultimately because it's FUN!!! :P

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But seriously, folks...

 

I started to geocache to get some exercise but I also have learned a lot about the region I live in, got to see a lot of great locales I would otherwise never have seen and learned to drive with one eye on the road and one eye on the GPS receiver. Oh, yeah... I also love games.

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We cache as a family and enjoy the hiking. Caching has also given us vast knowledge of our local parks. We recently did a cache in the small town I grew up in. I lived there for over 18 years and had no idea the park even existed. How many times have you said something like that while caching?

 

We also cache while on vacation. Since caches are placed by local people you can find the 'off the beaten path' cool spots, even in a resort town. we did some caching in Vegas this year and some of the virtuals there will bring you places no tour guide even would.

 

Though the 'numbers' part of caching is truly not important to us, we do have more finds than my brother and I enjoy using that fact to antagonize him every so often. -TBB

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For 20+ years of my life, I spent most of my free time and energy on wilderness search and rescue, I became an EMT, I lost some of my fear of heights learning High Angle Rescue, became an instructor in outdoor survival and many search and rescue techniques. I even bought one of the first GPSr units available to the general public (a Trimble Scout) :P

 

My body is not what it used to be and I found myself slowing the rest of the team of 20 something year olds down and hindering their progress. As others in emergency services know, burnout is always on the horizon. :)

 

Using Geocaching I have an outlet for getting out and seeing places I would not normally see, and can do it at an old mans pace. I still love the outdoors and the tech tools but now can do it at my own pace and when I want to, not at 0200 in the snow and rain on Thanksgiving night. :laughing:

 

And I want to say THANK YOU to all of the emergency services folks that find time and energy to do both.

 

Mac

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Hi,

 

Geocaching has been a way to reconnect me with the outdoors through directed wandering. It helps me get some exercise when I'd rather crash at the end of the day. It has re-acquainted me with places I'd long forgotten, and introduced me to places I'd never seen before. It has given me a fun activity to share with my wife and son (and with some other family members and friends once in a while).

 

Geocaching is more than a hobby,activity/sport...it is also a community. I have communicated with, and met, some wonderful people with both similar and differing points of views on a wide variety of subjects. I have enjoyed having a long lunch and discussion with 10 total strangers at a geocaching event I listed (was going to say organized, but it wasn't :laughing: ) this summer, and look forward to meeting some more members of the community this winter during our sub-zero season.

 

The NFA issued a wooden coin last year with the latin phrase, "Ad Augusta Per Angusta", meaning "to high places by narrow paths"...this phrase sums up what geocaching means to me in much the same way that Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken" does...Geocaching and geocachers are a little different, a little special...and that makes all the difference.

 

Hallmark Sentiments End... :P

 

nfa

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In all honesty, The Leprechauns summed my philosophy much better than I ever could:

 

Geocaching is all about the experience. Every one can be different and you get to pick which one you want to have.

 

I enjoyed seeing how many caches I could find in 24 hours; sometimes it's about the numbers.

I enjoyed doing a hydrocache in a swamp at night; sometimes it's about the stupidity.

I enjoyed finding every cache in a rural county one February day during a blizzard; sometimes it's about four-wheel drive.

I enjoyed taking my mom, who can only walk a hundred yards or so and even then needing the aid of a portable oxygen tank, on her first 1/1 geocache hunt; sometimes it's about the principle.

I enjoyed taking my ten-year old daughter on a terrain 4 multicache hike, although it took some coaching to get her safely up some steep hills; sometimes it's about teaching a child how to overcome fears and gain self-confidence.

I enjoyed a virtual cache that took me on a driving tour of a Civil War battlefield; sometimes it's about learning some history.

I enjoyed finding ten caches in one day, solo, that were all rated 3 or above for terrain; sometimes it's about the challenge.

And I have enjoyed all 300 caches I've found with carleenp; sometimes it's about the company.

(9/2/04)

 

For me, it's not about one type of experience. It's a combination of a myriad of experiences, and the unexpected challenges and memories that come along with it.

Edited by Team PerkyPerks
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suffer from chronic fatigue so need a dadgum good reason to keep going, exercise being a good therapy.

what more incentive could i need other than to trek through rain and wind via wet scratchy undergrowth. having to avoid poisonous plants and animals to find damp tupperware boxes filled with stuff i don't need! oh yeah and pay loads of cash for the gps to do all this with!

 

so it's the fun aspect for me aswell then. we need psychiatric help.

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GC'ing was a natural progression for me. I have always been an explorer from early childhood. I was never content to settle with the usual and was always seeking new places and things to see. Geocaching puts a bit of justification into this concept now as I get older and have less excuse for getting out and being radical -- having some actual thing to find makes the excuse for exploring a little more interesting. Like looking for pirate treasure or a lost goldmine or something.

 

It's all in the thrill of the hunt! Now if someone asks me: "Where are you going?" I have an actual answer besides "I dunno!"

 

Oh, and it is VERY conducive to Jeepin :lol:

 

PJ :o

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There are many things I enjoy about geocaching. The friends I have made. The quality time with the family. The group hunts. The thrill of the hunt. The thrill of the hide. Many more subtle things to great in number to mention.

 

The one thing at the center of all of it, the thing that first attracted me to the sport and the part that keeps me interested is a single moment. It's the sudden realization that while I have been preoccupied with the trail, compass and GPSr I have put my mind and body into a place that is completely and totally alone from the outside world. I'm not thinking about work, bills, changing the oil in the car or family. I'm just being me. Alone in the woods.

 

Life wasn't giving me enough of those moments before. Geocaching sends me out to find them.

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I thought it would be a good way to spend time together as a family, and hmmmm, I was right. We have seen paths, parks, statues, many different historical landmarks that we didn't know were there. We have managed to put a few "family" caches out. My husband has gotten in to the puzzle caches, I think they are cool. I just don't have the concentration for them. Our dog has even gone with us a few times. We often have commented on how cool it is to be able to just go and "find" things hidden in the woods right there were people walk by everyday. Hope I am not rambling too much. I enjoy geocaching, and so does my family. I am looking forward to meeting more of my fellow cachers in person soon. Happy hunting everyone!!!

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Its about reclaiming my live. Its about when things get so bad that I don't think I can get out of bed its time to cache. its the fact the a simple 1/1 can take me an hour to get to. Its about Getting there and back without assistance. Its about Tupperware. Its about getting to work with the guy who "Wrote a piece of software for tracking Tupperware on the INTERNET". Its about having the support of some of the best cachers in the world who understand that finding #24 after 2 years is as important sometimes as finding #1000. Its about Working for one of the most caring persons I have ever met. and More than anything else its about Warthog Down becoming my personal Everest.

 

But mostly its about The Geo-babes

Edited by Lapaglia
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I've been thinking about this very question recently. Here's what I've come up with.

 

I'm a 46 year old that has had a major back surgery and possibily facing another one. I've been a sit on my franny and not do any kind of exercise for a long time. And therefore am in pretty bad shape.

 

I had a lap Nissan surgery last year to help with my acid reflux disease and started losing weight because of it (it's almost like a mini stomach reduction). I've always enjoyed looking for treasures.

 

Never been much of one to go outside. But now that I"ve lost 24.5 lbs in 356 days and can do it by geocaching. I'm ready to go at a moments notice.

 

I'm seeing things and learning things that I wouldn't normally have done without caching. With the limitations that the back has put on me I really like the locationless and virtual caches. So those would be great for me.

 

I'm not big into the major hikes. Won't be doing any 4.5 or 5's but have attempted a couple 3.5s. One of them should have been a 4.5 for terrain.

 

So if you will place it I will look for it. I just love this sport. Only wish I could get more family members into it. I think it might help them as well.

 

So I guess it really is about reclaiming my life and I'm enjoying it!!!!

Edited by Momyar
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For me, I've always enjoyed Hiking and this gave me something new to do in areas where I had gotten bored wandering around. Now, with my kids helping, it has given me another opportunity to pass down the orienteering skills I was taught by my father.

 

And so the tradition continues...

 

-qor72 de-lurking.... :laughing:

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