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Failure Of Newbie


pcassel
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Well, I didn't buy the GPS for geocaching, but figured it was a nice hobby to start into. So I located this site, signed up for the $3 / month plan and then set off to find a few caches. I had no problems finding the 'zero' area where the limits of my GPS's accuracy were reached. That should have put me within a 50' (15 m) radius of the cache. Well, if it did, it did me no good. I can't find these things and it doesn't seem like where I"ve been searching, there is anywhere for something like an ammo can to hide.

 

The last place I tried was a one star for easy. I beat the place around finding everything from some dog t*rds to about 10 dead snails. My searching attracted a walker in the area who likewise helped a bit in the search. The area was a median / park area that at best was 20 square meters so it's not as if there was too much to search.

 

Look, I"m not going to start digging up public parks. Is that what it'd take? My volunteer searcher decided that it was either not there or buried so he suggested we dig up a few plants, but destorying public property isn't my wayl. So are these buried? Are you guys out there tearing up the neigborhood, pulling up plants or similarly locating using metal detectors or something?

 

I'm pretty frustrated at not being able to find a one star cache in a tiny obvious location. So what the*##&* am I looking for? This place was so open I could have found a tea cup sized thing on first inspection. NO way could I miss an ammo can.

Edited by pcassel
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Howdy!

 

Don't get too frustrated. Not finding a cache is part of the game...it happens. Not finding your first one can be extra frustrating, though.

 

I don't know what cache you was looking for (I can't see your DNFs). Was it listed as a micro cache? Micros can be very tricky (usually a film cannister or very small container).

 

When you plan for a cache, why not try an easy-rated regular-sized cache for your first few finds? This will help you get your feet wet and get a feel for the game.

 

As you hone in on the cache and you know you are close...think like a person hiding the cache. Ask yourself "where would I put a container?".

 

The game will get easier as you start racking up finds, I promise :rolleyes:

 

Keep looking!!!

Ed

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I am also new at this and having found 2 of 6 searched for, it is not as easy as you might think. I have watched my DNFs and noticed that they have been found since I was there, so they are there. The "rules" say that caches are NOT buried. But they are hidden so as not to be found by muggles. I'm not giving up and actually heading out on some hunts today. I think experience will teach us how and where the caches can be found. I have done a lot of reading on line and (although unlikely) you may have been unlucky with muggled caches. How many have you hunted?

I found my first cache last weekend and it was so exciting and fullfilling! Keep it up and when you do find the first one, it will make it all worthwhile.

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Caches are not suppose to be burried. Usually a 1/1 rating is pretty easy to find. Your GPS may not be set up with the right Datum use HDDD MM.MM Make sure you are looking for a cache that was found recently, maybe one could be missing.

Ask on your local forum if anyone wants to meet up with you and show you how it works. Geocaching is a relaxing fun hobby, it can seem confusing at first but once you find a few its easy. Read the clues and other finders comments sometimes there are clues in them. Good luck let us know hiow it goes.

Mike

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The most common novice error is relying too much on their GPS and trying to get to where the GPS reads single digits. Even if you do, you have to remember that your GPS has an EPE (estimated position error) of 15-25 feet and so did the GPS of the person who placed it. So even if your GPS reads 1 ft, the cache could be as many as 50 feet away (and sometimes more under certain conditions).

 

Also, if its a 1 star cache it should be an easy find. So either its misrated (it happens), or it is possible that the cache was stolen.

Edited by briansnat
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I am also new at this and having found 2 of 6 searched for, it is not as easy as you might think. I have watched my DNFs and noticed that they have been found since I was there, so they are there. The "rules" say that caches are NOT buried. But they are hidden so as not to be found by muggles. I'm not giving up and actually heading out on some hunts today. I think experience will teach us how and where the caches can be found. I have done a lot of reading on line and (although unlikely) you may have been unlucky with muggled caches. How many have you hunted?

I found my first cache last weekend and it was so exciting and fullfilling! Keep it up and when you do find the first one, it will make it all worthwhile.

OK, I feel better now. I thought that I was really defective here. Still, this place was little bigger than a living room and I didn't find a one star cache....

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Caches are not suppose to be burried. Usually a 1/1 rating is pretty easy to find. Your GPS may not be set up with the right Datum use HDDD MM.MM Make sure you are looking for a cache that was found recently, maybe one could be missing.

Ask on your local forum if anyone wants to meet up with you and show you how it works. Geocaching is a relaxing fun hobby, it can seem confusing at first but once you find a few its easy. Read the clues and other finders comments sometimes there are clues in them. Good luck let us know hiow it goes.

Mike

I have extensive experience with marine GPS's so feel confident that my unit is set up correctly. Here, in both cases, I zero'd the GPS at a place which met the description well. For example, the one star place was on a median. I zero'd at the center of a median which fit perfectly. Then I turn the unit off and started my manual search in an area not much bigger than my front room (the median size). I later was joined by a passerby who helped me search. When I got back here to report / log a non-find, I noted that the last successful find was today, so the cache is there. Someone found it right after I left. I say after because I was there in the very early AM and I doubt anybody was there before me.

 

Well,I guess try try again...

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I'll also throw out, make sure that the "datum" on your GPSr is set to WGS-84 (look in your manual for instructions about this). Using the wrong datum can send you to the wrong spot. All caches listed on this site use WGS-84 (except from some weird puzzle caches that tell you otherwise).

I am sure the GPS is calibrated and set up properly. I'm where I need to be. I just can't find a cache. For example the GPS took me to a median and the cache title included 'median' in its name. IT's me, not the GPS.

 

Let me ask directly to the group. What am I looking for? I thought I was looking for something like an ammo can which is maybe 40 cm long. Are these caches tiny?

 

I found several one shot whiskey bottles which were empty. Were they the caches?

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Locally I can't find more than I can find. I have 724 finds logged, you would think that I'd be better at this. But it's not always as easy as you would think it is. It's part of the challenge and others have given good advice on how to tackle the hobby.

OK, at least I'm not alone in not finding. When summer comes and I'm able to ride the mountains again, and set my own caches, they'll be huge and painted blaze orange. Well, maybe not. <_<

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The cache must still be there someone logged it as found today.It says no need to leave the sidewalk so it must be within reach of the sidewalk. I also read it is a really small container that blends in well. This one should probably be rated higher for difficulty. If you were on a Median with a bench listed as a park you were in the right place. Don't give up. You could got to cache page and click on the person who found it today and ask for a hint.

Good luck, once you find a few it gets esier.

Mike

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A regular cache is normally something like an ammo can or a tupperware container.

 

However, the cache you were looking for (I pulled it up), it listed as a MICRO cache. Micro cache ARE small things like an altoids tin or a 35 mm film canister. So you were probably looking for something big when this one was small.

 

I would suggest first looking for a 1 star regular cache and hold off on micros until you have a few finds under your belt.

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One thing to always check is the size of the container. It is listed on the top right side of the cache page. GCG4M4 is listed as a mirco cache, which is much smaller than an ammo can. It's probably about the size of a film cannister. Like others said you might want to read the previous logs to see if they contain any hints.

 

Good luck

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Keep with it. I once had to go back three times for a cache rated with a 1 diffculty. I posted a DNF and then the next day someone posted a log to the effect, went right to it, coordinates spot on, easy find. What is even worse is that when I finally found the thing it was among some stump/log remains that I had searched on my first two trips. I have no idea why I did not see it prior to the find, but I didn't. It happens to everyone. As someone said, not finding sometimes makes the game more fun.

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So one cache I'm trying to find, the one star one, is GCG4M4. It's called Median of Paradise or something similar. Is that enough info?

Sorry you are having trouble.

 

If you look at that cache page in the upper-right, you'll see it's listed as a "micro". So you aren't looking for an ammo can. It could be a 35 mm film cannister, or a small key holder, or something similar.

 

The cache owner also says:

 

This cache can be reached without trampling soil or plants. It can be reached from the sidewalk.

 

I don't know if there is a sidewalk in the median, but if not, maybe it's at a bench on the sidewalk. (Many micros are magnetically attached.)

 

But before you get too frustrated, maybe your first find should be an ammo can in a park. Surely there is one like that in Albequeque.

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Not finding a cache, especially a micro, is a normal occurance for everybody. I found an ammon can cache once. Took me three tries and about 9 hours of searching. Later I went back to trade some Travel Bugs and couldn't find it!!! But the next day some folks did so I know it is still there. <<sigh>> <_<

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Look for an event cache in your local area and attend. Introduce yourself and shamelessly ask to tag along on an outing with some more experienced cachers (you'll most likely be accomodated.) Keep your eyes open. This is hands down the best way to get a leg up on the game.

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Micro's can be challenging. Three of us looked for a micro on five different trips and couldn't find it until we e-mailed the cache owner who gave us a hint. We had looked right at it and missed it. I've seen micros inside bolts! Neat hide, but sure was difficult to find. Don't give up, not finding the cache is just part of the game.

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We've found Micros in the most impossible locations. Some of the best:

 

1. An eye-hook screwed in at eye level (or above) on a tree; matching hook on the top of a 35mm film cassette. We used to always look DOWN ONLY when searching. No more!

2. A 3x8" piece of magnetic material with what appeared to be an electric company Identifying number, attached to an electrical box. After five trips we decided to use a fingernal behind the material. On the back was a printed info and log sheet. It's a good thing we couldn't find the hider on this one. :)

3. Film cassette wedged tightly between boards under a park bench.

4. Cyclone Fence post with a removable top cap. The cap had a string hanging down inside the post with a film cassette on the end.

5. Film cassettes in many other impossible places.

 

We now use these tricks to confuse searchers.

 

Thus far, all of our DNF's have, with perseverance, become Found It's.

 

You probably already know this, but most GPS's have a WAAS feature that uses land-based transmitters to improve their accuracy. Check that your WAAS is enabled and. . .

 

Keep trying.

Edited by valleyrat
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The cache must still be there someone logged it as found today.It says no need to leave the sidewalk so it must be within reach of the sidewalk. I also read it is a really small container that blends in well. This one should probably be rated higher for difficulty. If you were on a Median with a bench listed as a park you were in the right place. Don't give up. You could got to cache page and click on the person who found it today and ask for a hint.

Good luck, once you find a few it gets esier.

Mike

Not only was I there, but the passerby and I were sitting on the bench discussing the issue. Then we fanned out from there searching not finding anything. I may be hurting myself by not visualizing what I'm searching for. Clearly there it can't be a 30 or 50 cal ammo can. I picked up and put down many rocks hoping it'd be a hide-a-key.

 

Well, I'll head out there again today if the rain permits and try anew.

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Look for an event cache in your local area and attend. Introduce yourself and shamelessly ask to tag along on an outing with some more experienced cachers (you'll most likely be accomodated.) Keep your eyes open. This is hands down the best way to get a leg up on the game.

I have been invited to an area meet and plan on attending assuming work things don't interfere.

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We've found Micros in the most impossible locations. Some of the best:

 

1. An eye-hook screwed in at eye level (or above) on a tree; matching hook on the top of a 35mm film cassette. We used to always look DOWN ONLY when searching. No more!

2. A 3x8" piece of magnetic material with what appeared to be an electric company Identifying number, attached to an electrical box. After five trips we decided to use a fingernal behind the material. On the back was a printed info and log sheet. It's a good thing we couldn't find the hider on this one. :)

3. Film cassette wedged tightly between boards under a park bench.

4. Cyclone Fence post with a removable top cap. The cap had a string hanging down inside the post with a film cassette on the end.

5. Film cassettes in many other impossible places.

 

We now use these tricks to confuse searchers.

 

Thus far, all of our DNF's have, with perseverance, become Found It's.

 

You probably already know this, but most GPS's have a WAAS feature that uses land-based transmitters to improve their accuracy. Check that your WAAS is enabled and. . .

 

Keep trying.

OK, I had no idea I had to be that enterprising. I did get the idea of looking UP the trees, but to no good. I got an email from a local who told me where to look and by gosh, I was looking there. So my eyes saw the cache, but my brains didn't decipher it as the goal.

 

The important thing I got from this thread is that these things are hidden well. My error was thinking that once I got within a few feet using WAAS or other method, I'd set the cache sitting there in the open. I had no notion that getting within a few feet / meters was the easy part.

 

I will take another run at it today if the rain desists.

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We got our first 5 finds yesterday and like valleyrat stated...don't just look on the ground. That was our mistake. We were at one location where the area for hiding something was only 3x5 feet and we darn near gave up. Team Critter has come up with some great hiding spots and thankfully 3 of our first 5 were from them...it helped us break out of the mindset of just looking down. We can't wait to get out and find some more. :)

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Caches can be tricky to say the least. Caches,and cache locations are limited only by the mind of the hider. There are some creative hiders out there!! I have also looked right at a cache but expecting to see something else I missed it. Sometimes you have to think outside the "Cache" box. Enjoy your new hobby.

 

:)

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The important thing I got from this thread is that these things are hidden well. My error was thinking that once I got within a few feet using WAAS or other method, I'd set the cache sitting there in the open. I had no notion that getting within a few feet / meters was the easy part.

Welcome to geocaching; your life may never be the same. :)

If they were just left out in the open non-cachers might just take them. They are usually visable to someone looking for a container, but not to a casual passerby. Also keep in mind that your handheld unit has an accuracy of about 20'+, and so does the hiders. Your normal search radius could be as great as 40' on a good day. Most of my gut instinct thoughts have already been listed in this thread, but my first instinct with the word median is magnetic container on a guard rail. Of course, some of the most devious hides I have seen are plainly visable items that appear to be something other than a geocache. Don't get down, it will get easier as you get attuned to looking for them. As others have also already posted-it isn't automatic. Part of my caching day yesterday included one hour spent looking for one described as "relatively easy". Well, it wasn't for us (almost 4,000 finds between the three), but four others found it yesterday. :):unsure:

The important thing is that you were outdoors having FUN!

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I'm going to take the collective wisdom of this thread and try again tomorrow. My OP and my frustration stemmed from the tiny size of the median where the cache was. It's not any bigger than a room in my house so you see, things like GPS accuracy and added errors aren't relevent. I figured if I can't find a cache in such a tiny place, how am I gonna find one in a National Forest, etc.? Well, I'll give it a go and report back.

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OK, I went out with my daughter again last evening just before dark. We did find something, but I don't know if it was a cache. I don't want to give a spoiler, so I'll just say that it was clearly artificial and a type of marker, but it wasn't a cache of goods. I was looking for something which would contain a notebook for logging and this clearly wasn't such a thing. Anyway, I'm going to call it a Find as I think we did find it.

 

Later we went on to a multi-cache place where I also failed. We had no idea there and gave that one up as impossible - or at least so when it's cold and the wind is blowing. We may have another run at that later.

 

Our plan now, if possible, is to attend a local cachers' meeting. I think that's a better start than just mucking about. My daughter is stoked at the concept of there being mugglers (?) about and we not among them. She clearly knows what a muggler is where I don't.

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I wish you luck on your cache searches.

 

As stated in previous posts, DNF's come with the territory. For my first cache hunt, my caching buddy and I spent over 45 minutes looking for an ammo can. A few weeks later, I went and found it within 5 minutes. Heck, there is a mico at the beach that I haven't found yet, but others log as an easy find. I've decided to not attempt it for a little bit (to let the frustration wear off), and try it later down the road.

 

If you can go out with any local cachers, that would be a good thing. They can show you the "tricks of the trade," and that should make spotting them easier.

 

Happy Caching!

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I wish you luck on your cache searches.

 

As stated in previous posts, DNF's come with the territory. For my first cache hunt, my caching buddy and I spent over 45 minutes looking for an ammo can. A few weeks later, I went and found it within 5 minutes. Heck, there is a mico at the beach that I haven't found yet, but others log as an easy find. I've decided to not attempt it for a little bit (to let the frustration wear off), and try it later down the road.

 

If you can go out with any local cachers, that would be a good thing. They can show you the "tricks of the trade," and that should make spotting them easier.

 

Happy Caching!

My daughter and I are going out again this PM for a micro. I figure the worst case is we have an interesting time. I am hoping for warmer weather. If it's pleasent out, then the expedition is a no loss as we enjoy just being there.

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PCASSEL:

 

Hi.

 

I'm also new to GeoCaching and I know all about not finding a Cache and I've also thought about giving up... but I want to share with you and the group what happened to me on New Year's Day.

 

The 'mission' was to find 6 GeoCaches of various sizes that were located within a 4-square-mile area.. a City Park, in fact. I don't have a car so I rely on Mass Transit. Therefore, I had about 4 hours to find them all before having to head home. Simple plan, right?

 

So I get to the area. The park is within a neighborhood that I've never been before and I'm just following the GPSr to the WayPoint (Cache #1).. turning and walking and turning and walking... and I find where Cache #1. Then my bad luck strikes.

 

My older Palm handheld computer (which I had configured for paperless GeoCaching, thanks GeoCaching U!!!) quit on me while searching Cache #1. And I mean quit: not running out of batteries (I had extras to exchange), just go kaput. Couldn't get the thing to work, lost all my data, the whole enchilada.

 

With no paper backup, how do I know what I'm looking for??? So I decide to walk around to at least get a feeling for the location. Lovely Park... so I hang out here for a while while searching for the general location of the remaining 5 Caches.

 

Then it's time to go home.. but remember, I've never been to this neighborhood so I start looking around trying to get my bearings... Holy Guacamole With Cream Cheese, Batman, how do I get to my Bus Stop?? Do I go like Dorothy and say: "There's No Place Like Home"... which wouldn't work because a) I had hiking boots on, :D they're not even red, and c) a grown man chanting "There's No Place Like Home" would have drawn quite a few :) ... okay, bad idea.

 

I remember my trusty GPSr.. and, more importantly, that this thing has a TrackBack Feature. Since I started my Track Log back at the Bus Stop two hours ago, I've been leaving a perfectly good "path of bread crumbs" all afternoon. Oh Happiness!!! Oh Joy!!! (Oh brother, the drama :blink: ) So I activated the TrackBack and I found my way to the Bus Stop... just in time to take my Bus Home. YAY!!!!! :)

 

And what's the Morale of this story???

 

#1: Some days we all suck at GeoCaching

 

#2: Some days it feels like we're going to use up our "Bad GeoCaching Days Allowance" :D

 

#3: You can ALWAYS learn something when you go out GeoCaching... in my case, how the TracBack Feature on my GPSr works.. and to have the clue on paper just in case.

 

Also remember: the GPSr is only accurate to about 3-10 feet of your current location (depending on the unit and the Unit's reception). That means that, once you find the coordinates, you need to search in an area of about 28-300+ square feet.. yes, that can be a lot of room to cover. And part of GeoCaching is to find where in the general area where the GPSr indicates a Cache might be... that's also part of the fun: realizing the many, creative ways people can hide things... often in plain sight.

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I didn't bother to read more than a few of the replies to your question but I thought I'd throw in my 2c worth anyway. I found that it took about 5 or 6 caches before I developed any sort of "geocaching sense". Once you do, caches will come much more easily. My first cache took three teams about an hour to find. Also, two of my first 10 finds took three trips to the locations each before I finally found them. I now have 70 caches under my belt and I haven't had a DNF in several months.

 

Don't get doscouraged

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You could email the cache owner and tell them what you found and they can let you know if it was the cache or not.

Oh, I didn't know that. I'll search the site (gee, a lot of searching) to find the email facilty. Thanks for the heads up.

 

To e-mail the cache owner, go to the cache page and click on the Profile link in the upper left-hand corner under the Cache Name. On the profile page is the "E-mail address" line. Click on the link there and an e-mail window will open for you.

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Also remember: the GPSr is only accurate to about 3-10 feet of your current location (depending on the unit and the Unit's reception).

Uh, oh. If you really meant feet instead of meters, you are in for some unsuccessful and disappointing searches. Besides that, 10 to 30 meters is not a typical range of "accuracy" of a GPSr; It's a typical range of EPE, a very different animal that can easily double the size of the search area.

 

Don't forget also that you are searching for an object that, subject to the same uncertainty, was placed some unknown distance and direction from the true location of the published coordinates.

 

edit: typo

Edited by blindleader
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