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Snow Cover And Tracks


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I was thinking about this today while out caching. Not much you can do except put fake tracks all around. If there is no big snow or melt after you've left tracks, there isn't much you can do to guarantee somebody wont eventually follow the right set of tracks, but I do what I can to at least make them not trust my trail. I especially like to make tracks that look they are headed to a great hiding spot (a downed tree, a pile of rocks, a stump). I do try to cover up any wood or rock which I've disturbed near the cache site by throwing snow all over it, then finish it off by 'sprinkling' loose snow as a final step. I have no idea how effective all this is, but it makes me feel less guilty about leaving the track-hints.

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Oh, and another suggestion....after you actually find the cache, leave something there so you can find the right spot again, then go to one of the "false trails" to a likely hiding spot, and sit down there to sign the log/do your trade. Then you don't have that sign at the actual cache location.

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I've read here before that a couple people like to carry bottles of water with yellow food dye with them when they want to cache.

 

When they find the cache, they pour a little of the "solution" into the snow. Quite honestly, this would scare me away from that spot the first couple times, but I think people would catch on eventually...

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Anyone that has spent any time in the woods in winter will be able to follow any tracks to the treasure. It doesn't matter if you're walking backwards or setting false loops. A decent woodsman can tell. Unless there is going to be a good 4" to 10"+ snowfall shortly after you find the cache, there's not much you can do.

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Hmmmmm. I do have a dog that's part Husky, part wolf. Maybe I'll groom her at the scene of the cahce and make it look like a den!

If you have a dog with you while you hunt for caches in the snow, does all their dog-running-around-searching-for-whatever-dogs-search-for-in-the-woods activity help to confuse the tracks somewhat for the next seeker? Obviously dog tracks are different then human tracks, but after a bit of melting or snowing, I would think that the next seeker would just see a whole lot of depressions all over the place.

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I've read here before that a couple people like to carry bottles of water with yellow food dye with them when they want to cache.

 

When they find the cache, they pour a little of the "solution" into the snow. Quite honestly, this would scare me away from that spot the first couple times, but I think people would catch on eventually...

Why do you need to buy dye? You can do it for free, minus the cost of a couple beers :rolleyes:

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We currently have about 6-7 inches of the white stuff on the ground, and did a little cachin' yesterday. We took the kids along. While we signed logbooks, etc. the kids were ordered to run around in concentric circles around the site, and make false paths from the main trail. Child #2 (male) also created some yellow snow near one of the sites, which he thought was SO cool. ;)

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I would suggest depositiing a large quanities of urine (dog owners have an advantage at this) along the tracks.  This would probably discourage the casual geo-muggle from wanting to enter the area, but not the geocacher.

i naturally make extra footprints while searching for the cache. if, for some odd reason, i was able to find the cache without having to make many footprints, i would make extras. it is a good idea to sign the log away from the cache hiding spot though, so it's not obvious from a lot of standing around and setting backpacks down, etc.

 

if you've left a lot of tracks and then some yellow snow, i think people would think you walked around a lot and then peed somewhere. they can still be curious about why you walked around, and they know exactly where to avoid stepping. of course if i found urine (or what appears to be urine) very close to a cache hiding spot and it looked like a cacher did it, i'd be disappointed that some cacher decided to make the cache hiding spot a bathroom. that's yucky!

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We take one or two of our dogs with us and they help make lots of extra tracks in the area in addition to our seemingly mindless wanderings.

 

Another thing to do to avoid giving away the cache location is to retrieve the cache and then move some distance (perhaps walk some more circles ;)) before opening the cache and signing the log. I found a cache in Anchorage that was very well concealed under a rootball and snow, but still found it quickly because there was a packed depression right in front of the cache where the previous finder(s) had set down the ammo box and kneeled or sat on the ground while logging the cache. The depression was too small to have been left by a bedded down local moose, so I figured I was really close ;).

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Althogh you've mentioned some good methods of diversion I think that the presence of tracks will make it much easier for the next cacher regardless. There is one tricky multicache near here that asks the finders to wait until the snow melts or more snow falls to log their finds. This would stop people who were hoping to find the cache using tracks, but not cachers who were randomly searching for it. Thought it was an interesting idea.

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Althogh you've mentioned some good methods of diversion I think that the presence of tracks will make it much easier for the next cacher regardless.  There is one tricky multicache near here that asks the finders to wait until the snow melts or more snow falls to log their finds. 

I agree that ultimately, pristine snow is ideal for the first and next cacher. Since we enjoy the luxury of somewhat regular snowfalls up here, I've hidden my caches and then waited for the next snow dump before activating them so at the FTF cacher has to work a bit.

 

Another tactic I use in the snow is to approach the cache from the opposite direction other cachers might use. I know that doesn't work in a lot of locations due to briars, cliffs, poisoness plants, etc., but up here the forest floor is fairly open so one can get within 100 yards of the cache and then make a big sweeping circle to come in from the back side. Another approach would be to approach the cache head-on, log it (being careful not to leave a big, obvious snow depression as discussed above), and then keep on going for awhile before circling back. A lot of times, the ever increasing circles happen anyway ;).

 

Alternatively, some local cachers and I have started pursuing infrequently visited caches. We logged "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," (GC4863) on Friday which hadn't been logged since February 2003. I doubt our three miles on ski tracks on a river full of open holes and overflow (documented with photos in the log if you are interested) will entice many folks to follow in our footsteps :sad:.

 

Waiting for the snow to melt would mean to caching could happen until April around here ;).

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My technique is interesting.... when you get to the cache, stay in the footprints you stopped in (don't walk around) then when you are done with the cache, hop around backwards or whatever to the nearest tree. Then jump up and down around the tree and run incirlces to lots and lots of trees around there and jump in circles around them too. pretty much what some others have said, but oh well :huh:

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GirlGeek and I did some caching in NE Indiana this weekend. The snow came in quick with 6-8 inches of powder, so we were able to break in our new snowshoes, but by Sunday it was melted enough no one would have been able to distinguish the path. That and we only found 4 of the 8 or 9 caches we were looking for. You'd have a 50% chance that we'd even get you close, I think.

 

We rehid the caches well, but the trails were too wide to be able to make an impact.

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