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FosterImposters
Just bumped into a couple who were having the time of their retired lives, with hand-held GPS units...finding geocaches all over the US, and chatting about it on-line.

Finally logged onto geocache.com to determine what these folks were talking about. What a hoot! Possibly explains (maybe...or not) some odd behavior we've noticed at RV parks! tongue.gif

Curious if anyone here has joined in the hunt...?
Wadcutter
Been Geocaching for almost 6.5 yrs. It's a great match for camping. When we travel I roughly figure the routes we'll be taking and plot caches along the way. For days that are just traveling from one point to another geocaching breaks up the trip. Many rest areas have caches. When we get ready to stop for lunch or fuel we'll look for caches at those locations. When we settle in where we're going to spend some time then we look for caches in that area. Geocaching will take you to places you normally wouldn't see. Seen some great country and interesting local sites as a result of Geocaching.
Here's one in WY we specifically planned our trip from IL just to log. We camped near Buffalo then it took us all day getting to the cache site and then back out. Too bad it's no longer there. Had it not been for Geocaching we would have never ventured to this location.
Wild Bunch Cache
gwbischoff
QUOTE(Wadcutter @ Aug 20 2008, 09:13 PM) *

Been Geocaching for almost 6.5 yrs. It's a great match for camping. When we travel I roughly figure the routes we'll be taking and plot caches along the way. For days that are just traveling from one point to another geocaching breaks up the trip. Many rest areas have caches. When we get ready to stop for lunch or fuel we'll look for caches at those locations. When we settle in where we're going to spend some time then we look for caches in that area. Geocaching will take you to places you normally wouldn't see. Seen some great country and interesting local sites as a result of Geocaching.
Here's one in WY we specifically planned our trip from IL just to log. We camped near Buffalo then it took us all day getting to the cache site and then back out. Too bad it's no longer there. Had it not been for Geocaching we would have never ventured to this location.
Wild Bunch Cache


Ok, then you'll be the perfect one for me to ask.

I have a hand-held Garmin unit and have seen the Geocaching sites but I was a little confused on what you should do when you find a cache? Some have logs, some have coins you're supposed to leave or trade and some are just points of interest.
Wadcutter
Every cache has to have a log. When you find a cache you sign the log with the name you are using and date it. That confirms you found the cache. Surprising but there is some cheating in caching where people will claim to find caches they've never found. They'll sometimes find a general area but won't find the actual cache but claim a find anyway. The cache owner can check the log book to confirm a person actually found the cache. No sign log - no find cache. You then go to the Geocaching.com and on that particular cache you found you log a "find" which gets you a smiley face. If you looked for a cache and didn't find it then you log a "did not find" and you get a frown face. Geocaching.com keeps track of how many finds, did not finds, etc you have logged if you want to keep track of how many and which ones.
Cache container size is whatever the cache owner wants to use. Some are very very small containers not much larger than a button on a shirt with a very tiny log inside. These are nano-caches and won't have trade items, only a log to sign. Some containers are large. The largest I've found was a 2 wheeled trailer with a padlocked 4'X4'X4' box mounted on it. The trick was to figure out the combination of the lock so you could get into the box. There were puzzles and clues provided you had to figure out to get the combination. The most common sizes are 35 mm film cans, ammo cans, or tupperware type containers.
Caches are ranked as far as difficulty (well cammoed and hard to find) and terrain (1 is usually handicap accessible up to 5 which requires special tools or skills such as mountain climbing, snorkling gear, rope, ladders, etc.). It's best to start out looking for 1-1 caches which are the easiest and as a person gets more familiar with caching then start looking for the more difficult ones. If you start out with the difficult ones first you most likely won't find them, get discouraged and quit.
Some caches can be pretty tricky which increases the difficulty. Some I've found have been a for sale sign posted on a building. The sign was a phony. When you removed the sign from the holder and looked on the back there was the log sheet. Another recent one of similar nature was on a power transformer box. It had what appeared to be a control number sticker on it about the size of the bumper sticker. It was a flat magnetic material with the log on the reverse. Another tricky container was where someone had cut an 18" log in 1/2, hollowed it out, and placed a cache container inside. He then put the 2 1/2s back togther and placed the log in a park around some trees. What tipped me off was even tho it was really weathered it was the only log around there that had been cut on the ends. It seems just about every Walmart has a 35 mm film can hidden under one of their light pole skirts. That's quite popular. Some caches you can literally drive up to and retrieve without getting out of your car. Or maybe you'll walk down a path in a park and find a cache hidden in a hole in a tree. Other caches may require a multi-day hike into the backwoods to find.
In the cache container there may be trade items. Seldom are the trade items of any value, usually small toys of some kind or another. The idea is to bring some trade items with you and trade one of your items for one of the items in the cache container.
Some caches are "theme" caches. Maybe the cache owner set up the cache only to trade paperback books, CDs, military items, toy cars, or whatever theme that owner requests. That means when you find that cache it will have one of those items and you trade a paperback for paperback, or CD for CD, or toy car for toy car.
Another part of the cache game involves geocoins and travel bugs.
A geocoin is a "coin" someone has made that has a unique number. There are sites which will make coins using whatever design you come up with. The number is for tracking purposes. The coin can be anything the originator wants to design. It could represent a cause, event, memorial, etc or anything else that he wants. The only limit is a person's imagination. You place the coin in a cache and another cacher picks it up and takes it to another cache. That cacher then makes an entry on the coin page they had picked up your coin and which cache they dropped it off. The cache owner can then follow where his coin has travelled.
A travel bug works almost the same way. A travel bug is a dog tag purchased from Geocaching.com that has a unique tracking number. People will attach the dog tag to whatever item they want and place it in caches. It could be a stuffed toy, a railroad spike, a bowling pin, or anything else, it's the owner's choice. A lot of travel bugs have a goal or destination. For example, maybe you live in CA but was born in Hamburg, Germany. You make a travel bug attaching a miniature beer stein to the dog tag. You set free your travel bug with the destination to visit Hamburg, request someone to take a picture of your travel bug in front of the town sign or maybe the house where you were born, post the picture on the travel bug site, and then set the travel bug free so it can return home. You put your travel bug in a cache along with a piece of paper telling where you want the travel bug to go. Someone picks up your travel bug and moves it to another cache, logging on the travel bug page where they placed the travel bug. Someone else then picks it up and moves it again. Hopefully, if all goes right your travel bug will be relayed to Hamburg. It may make it to Hamburg within just a couple of weeks should it make the right connections. Or maybe someone places it in a cache that because that cache is hidden in a very remote location and seldom found your travel bug just lays there without being moved for months and months until someone comes along and finds the cache again. It could be your travel bug takes off from CA heading east and when it gets to NYC someone picks it up and takes it to Japan. Maybe your travel bug never makes it to Hamburg. You never know where it will end up or if it will ever make its destination. You can follow where it goes, how many miles it travels, and who has moved it.
There are all kinds of variations to the game. Most caches list the exact coordinates on the page so when you go to that position there will be the cache fairly easy to find. Or maybe the cache owner cammoed the container to look like the surroundings.
Another variation is the "multi". With that you go to the first location given. Maybe there will be a puzzle to solve, something to read that will have numbers that will fit into a clue which will lead you to another location where maybe that will be the cache or it might be another clue. Eventually if you figure out all the clues then you'll be taken to the final cache.
Another is an earthcache which is suppose to be something of significance at the site. It might be a historical object or something like a geological occurrence. The cache owner will ask for you to answer some questions about what is at that location, take your picture at that location, etc, and email them with the answers. It is then counted as a find.
There are other variations of the game which a person can get in to after they start playing.
That's pretty much the basics. The more you play with it the more you get in to it. It makes a great companion to camping.
gwbischoff
Thank you very much for the info.

We're leaving for NM and we're looking forward to giving it a shot.

I didn't want to do it and do some sort of cacheing-faux-pas.

One part I'm still a little fuzzy about. I get what "muggles" are but some of the caches list needing to use "stealth". Am I not supposed to let others seeing me get caches in public spots?

I'm guessing so that others won't tamper with the cache.
Texasrvers
This sounds fascinating. I had heard the term geocaching, but didn't really know much about it. Thanks wadcutter for the thorough explanation. I printed it out. We probably won't start doing this tomorrow (have to get a gps unit first!) but it sounds like something we'd enjoy in the future.
Wadcutter
QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Aug 22 2008, 01:54 PM) *

One part I'm still a little fuzzy about. I get what "muggles" are but some of the caches list needing to use "stealth". Am I not supposed to let others seeing me get caches in public spots?

That most likely means the cache is hidden in a very public place where there are lots of people usually hanging around.

Not too much you can do to mess up. The main fauxpas would be taking a travel bug and not moving it to another cache. Travel bug "owners" tend to get really upset when someone takes their travel bugs. Other than that, it's all a game, sometimes good exercise, and many times will take you to places you might not know about or would normally pass up.
Just start out with the easy ones first so you don't get discouraged. Enjoy it and we might run into each other sometime out hunting a cache. We've found almost 1900 caches in 27 states so far so we've still got some hunting to do. In fact, the Mrs has been hounding me to do some more caching. She wasn't into at first but after a few finds she's become a real caching junking who needs her "cache fix" every so often. I just wish there was something like Geocaching around when our kids were at home. It would be a great family event.
RLM
QUOTE(gwbischoff @ Aug 22 2008, 10:54 AM) *


We're leaving for NM and we're looking forward to giving it a shot.



I've been in NM for the last 6 weeks. Where are you coming to in the Land of Enchantment?
gwbischoff
QUOTE(RLM @ Aug 22 2008, 08:11 PM) *

I've been in NM for the last 6 weeks. Where are you coming to in the Land of Enchantment?



We're in Carlsbad to see the Caverns.

For those of you who haven't seen them yet, log off your computer and start driving. They are simply amazing.

Where are you?
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