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Complete newbie: Terminology, etc.


ashibaka

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Hi, I'm totally new to geocaching. I understand how the whole thing works, but when I looked at some of the caches, the terms ("virtual", "3/1 difficulty", etc.) were lost on me. Is there an introductory guide to geocaching anywhere, or is this website and forum all there is?

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There's a lot of jargon thown around, but try not to be intimidated by it. On the main page, there is a link called about geocaching, and if you follow that, then the first thing on that page is the FAQ. (Frequenly Asked Questions list)

 

This has some of the information you are looking for, and there is other information scattered around the site, such as the different types of caches available, and different ways to search for information about caches near you, or near where you are going.

 

The ratings are split into two values: Difficulty and Terrain, and are usually expressed in that order. There is a system of determining about what these values should be, but it's usually only loosely followed.

 

Terrain is a measure of how hard the place is to get to. The scale is supposed to extend from 1 star (handicaped accessible, less than 1/4 mile walk), to 5 stars (extermely long, multi-day hikes or requiring special equipment like boats, climbing gear or scuba diving). 3 stars is supposed to repeset an easy to moderately challanging hike for a normal adult or older child. 2 is supposed to be accessible to small children and those with some mobility problems. However, there are quite a few people who mark anything less than a 1 mile hike a 1 star for terrain, regardless of whether it's handicapped accessible.

 

The difficulting rating is more nebulous. It's a measure of how hard the cache is to find once you actually get to the location, with 1 star being in plain sight, and 5 stars representing a considerable amount of searching, puzzle solving, or intuition required.

 

My advice, use the ZIP code locator to find a cache near home that looks moderately easy, and give a shot at finding it. If you get stuck, post a most specific question here, and we'll help you along. Alternatively, you could post a note in the appropriate regional forum asking if you could tag along on somebody else's hunt. I've introduced several friends to the sport this way.

 

Part of the reason that the FAQ isn't more comprehensive is that it has trouble keeping up with the evolution of the sport. Locationless caches, Webcam Caches, and Travel Bugs are all things introduced to the game within the last year.

 

-- Mitch

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Thanks -- I sort of skimmed over that section, wasn't looking too closely. icon_redface.gif I think I'll have to write a guide to geocaching as I pick up on it, though; it's a very involved sort of thing to do.

 

[edit] Oh, thanks doubly to Pneumatic! ;) You're a great help!

 

Now, I must figure out how I will procure a GPS with a limited budget... eBay, yes, that's it...

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Thanks -- I sort of skimmed over that section, wasn't looking too closely. icon_redface.gif I think I'll have to write a guide to geocaching as I pick up on it, though; it's a very involved sort of thing to do.

 

[edit] Oh, thanks doubly to Pneumatic! ;) You're a great help!

 

Now, I must figure out how I will procure a GPS with a limited budget... eBay, yes, that's it...

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quote:
Originally posted by Ashibaka:

Now, I must figure out how I will procure a GPS with a limited budget... eBay, yes, that's it...


Yeah, just check the prices on new receivers before you head over to eBay... I've seen people pay more for used ones in the heat of the bidding wars. icon_smile.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by Ashibaka:

Now, I must figure out how I will procure a GPS with a limited budget... eBay, yes, that's it...


Yeah, just check the prices on new receivers before you head over to eBay... I've seen people pay more for used ones in the heat of the bidding wars. icon_smile.gif

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I stumbled on this site a few days ago and think that I am hooked. We do not have a GPS either and are looking to borrow one to make sure that we like the sport before investing in our on GPS.

 

I briefly described it to my husband and he seems interested my 10 year old is very interested and says GPS' are way cool. My 17 says I'll try it.

 

I spent a lot of time reading info on this site. Then I started printing the pages with information on them. Like the FAQ and how to pages. I shared them with my husband and now he is really interested. I am going to put them in a folder for my own personal information package to read and share with friends who want to know more. I don't know enough to write anything on my own as someone esle said they might do.

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quote:
Originally posted by Buddyah:

We do not have a GPS either and are looking to borrow one to make sure that we like the sport before investing in our on GPS.


 

All it will take is one successful hunt. Find an experienced cacher in the area and ask to tag along. You'll be mail-ordering yours the second you get home. Then you'll be waiting at the door for the UPS man, like my dog does when I come home. I guarantee it.

 

In other words, this really is so much fun, I doubt your trepidations are warranted. However, if you really want to try it out, find someone around you that caches and tag along with them. I don't know any cacher that wants to part with their GPS for more than 5 minutes (6 minutes, tops).

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocachers

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