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Caching Through The Snow...


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not really a hint to finding but.....whenever i find a cache after a snow fall i make sure to tramp about the cache in big loopy circles for about 50 feet around the cache so the next person gets a chance to look themselves instead of following a trail right to it..... of course this tramping about often occurs before i actually find the cache but that is another story

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1. Search for caches that have been found by others during times when there's snow on the ground, or which say on the cache page that they're winter-friendly. Otherwise you will have lots more DNF's. But some folks like the extra challenge.


2. Look at local caching websites and/or ask your favorite hiders which of their caches they recommend doing as winter hunts. You'd hate to hike four miles only to get skunked because the cache is at ground level, while another cool four mile hike would lead you to a findable cache in a hollow tree.


3. If you're worried about footprints leading right to the cache:

- Don't walk in a straight line. Leave the trail at an odd place.

- Go caching right BEFORE a big snowstorm is expected, not after.

- After you find the cache, make several extra tracks towards the wrong hiding spot. Me, I always do this *prior* to finding the cache. :blink:


4. Since the days are shorter, get comfortable with night caching. It is lots of fun with the moonlight and flashlight reflecting off the snow. Check out the many threads about favorite flashlights and headlamps.


5. Caches are more likely to be wet. Bring a cache repair kit with some paper towels, duct tape, ziploc bags, new logbooks, stash notes, etc.


6. Caches are more likely to lack a useable writing implement... pens often freeze in winter. Carry a pencil or keep a pen in your shirt pocket where it will stay warm.


7. Figure out a way to carry your GPS without freezing your fingers off. I wear a fishing vest over my coat and it has a shoulder-height pocket that fits my GPS perfectly.


8. As for finding the cache, often the hiding spot is just as obvious even when it's snowing. Parallel sticks are covered with parallel mounds of snow. Hollow trees are still hollow. Rock overhangs don't have snow under them. I use a ski pole for brushing snow away from the side of a fallen tree if I think the cache is hidden alongside the tree.

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Know that below 30* or so, the LED screen on your GPSr begins to freeze some. It will be slower to show you changes as you walk, and so your accuracy factor will be bigger that you think it is. Keep the GPSr in your breats pocket as much as possible to keep it warm, and when you get close, stand still for a few minutes to give the LED time to catch up.


Expect lots of DNF's, but do log them, so that when the snow's gone you can go seek them again. In the winter, I like to check the caches I DNF'd for thick canopy, and in the spring, I seek the ones I didn't find in the snow.

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Bring an extra set of batteries for your GPSr and keep them warm. Keep them in an interior coat pocket, or other warm place. Batteries lose a considerable amount of their power when they get cold. They will go dead, or appear to, when they get cold with the GPSr being held out in front of you in the cold winter air.


A note to one of the suggestions above: While it IS a good idea to bring a hiking staff, walking stick, or ski pole of some kind to poke through the snow and find the hidden container, please make sure the tip is not sharp so that you would be likely to poke a hole in a plastic container.

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Often caches placed during winter will be more snow-accessible than those placed when snow was a distance memory.


Hopefully the cache attribute feature will be implemented soon and folks w/snow-accessible caches will update their cache pages accordingly, if not, they might consider noting such on the cache page.





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Call the DOT (or check their website) to check for winter driving conditions and avalanche warnings before your trip. Also be sure to bring a map. You don't want to drive 2 hours toward your caching destination only to be turned around by a rockslide like the one that closed I-70 on Thanksgiving and have to find your way through a 250-mile detour on icy, snowpacked roads


Yes, I cancelled my trip to California that week :blink:

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We live in Upstate NY, where you're going to have ~


5 feet of snow to dig thru' to get to the cache...




only 4 hours of daylight to do it in :blink:




Needless to say we carry a Pioneer 2o2 Metal Detector, walking sticks for poking into snowbanks and feeling out the terrain (you don't want to fall into an animal hole and break your leg 1/2 mile from your GeoCache Recovery Vehicle), 4 flashlights and a headlamp, and those nifty "Hothands Handwarmer" packets, they work great stuffed into your boots and mittens. Our '92 Ford Exploder 4x4 is good for blasting thru' those snowy logging trails to get to the deep'n'woodsy caches. The Pioneer 2o2 works even for letterbox hybrids, it'll pick up the metal eraser band on those stubby pencils! Be sure to bring a small shovel of some sort for digging into the snow :blink:

Edited by TinyMoon & The Pumpkin King
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-Container lids tend to freeze up and can be quite difficult to open - bring a small tool to help pry if needed.


-Cold usually isn't quite as bad if your moving. I really start to appreciate just how cold it is when I'm attempting to think of something witty to put in the log book - those pre-printed, sticky labels seem like a good alternative.


-No how much you plan, you will find a weakness in your prepartion for the snow (we tend to learn best by pain and frustration :blink: ). Attempt some shorter, easier hikes in the snow initially to help you better plan your future adventures.


-Bring a caching buddy - more eyes are always a help and will also make your adventue a bit safer.


As always, enjoy the adventure! MS :blink:

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