We've invested in some real estate of our own on the Internet and will continue our conversations there.
It's called Geocacher's Compass and you can go there by clicking here.
We hope to see you there soon!
Friday, November 18, 2011
Being a cache owner of a few simple caches, I decided to make it fun for my area. I set out a series if three caches that gave you information to find a fourth. Of the main three, one is a traditional, one is a multi, and one is a puzzle. The fourth was a puzzle because you have to have information that you can't just squirt out you brain.
It is a fairly simply thing to do. I decided that I wanted to showcase the walking trail in town. Even though there were already a few caches on it, there were none that made you do the whole trail.
I first figured out my cipher that I needed to put into the first three. Then I made sure each of the first three held the needed information. I grabbed my gear, cache containers, and a couple of good pens. Went out and loaded my bike (I was not doing this by just walking, would have taken me way too long), then headed to the place I wanted to start.
I figured the easiest way to start was to put out the last one first. That way I could check everything as I went backwards. Since the last one was a field puzzle, I needed to double check my information anyway. Once I put it out, I went about making sure the information worked right. Now I just had to find good places to put the first three. I already had a good idea for each, but would have to get it better once I got there.
As I rode around this trail my ideas for placing the caches changed. That was alright since they had not been submitted for review yet. To make sure I didn’t have any closer than the rules allow, I had done a PQ of all the caches around the area. I Loaded those into my Etrex and smart phone, so if I changed my mind where to put my caches, then I had information to make sure they were still going to work. Once I got to each location, I had to drag out my placing equipment to check all figures and coordinates. It was rather easy since I had my backpack loaded with the necessary items.
The first was the puzzle (GC32VA2). It would be fairly simple. Just the right amount of information to not be where you would think. I used a lot of things from the field that make this one difficult to do without actually going out. All the information is there, you just have to make sense of it. Then I rode to the final for the multi (GC32VA1). This was going to have to be tougher then most multis. You had to go a good distance on the path between the two. So I made certain of my coordinates before leaving. Then it was to the other stages, working backwards to make sure all the numbers were right. As I completed the multi, I decided where the traditionional (GC32VA0) was going to be. I was going to make it a tribute after a fellow cacher in the general area. It surprised me that I could actually follow their example in this area. Placement of the traditional was simple then.
Once all these are found, the needed information acquired, there is a fourth cache associated with these. It was a twist on a way to give everyone an experience with different cache types.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Sometimes it really pays to go outside of your comfort zone. While on a recent trip to Oklahoma to visit Country1919 and family we went on an amazing expedition. After some clever deciphering from Country1919, we had the starting coordinates for a night cache. So when we loaded up the truck to head out on one of our caching days, we also included head-lamps, flashlights, and bug spray. We cached while waiting for the sun to go down and arrived at the puzzle solution coordinates just as the last rays of light disappeared across the lake. We calibrated our GPSr compasses and we left the parking area (and remembered to mark a waypoint) and startled some deer making their way through the open space. As the deer snorted at us and departed, we hoped that we were what scared them off! Our heads hung down as we focused the beams of light on our next steps. We occasionally stopped to get our bearings and to swat at a few mosquitoes that had made it passed the chemical barrier. After a 10 minute hike into the woods we arrived where our positioning devices displayed 0 feet to destination. It was very quiet out there except for the two of us stepping on twigs and branches but soon we found the first stage of the trek. It was marked by a reflective tag about 6 feet up on a tree. We walked past it not really knowing what to look for next. Country1919 discovered the second set of reflectors about 200 feet from the first and he noted that the two tags at this stage were positioned one on top of the other one. The meaning of this arrangement didn't dawn on us until we found stage three which were two tags side by side. Another 15 minutes of stumbling in the dark and we had followed various combinations of tags to a set that were only about a foot off of the ground. As M looked for other stages, Country1919 was convinced that this was the X that marked the treasure. Sure enough, under a couple of unusually placed rocks was a plastic container filled with all kinds of Geek Goodies. A quick inventory of the treasure revealed a chess strategy manual, a chess board, a walkie-talkie, batteries and more! M tried to transmit on the radio to see if the cache owner was listening nearby, but the batteries were still in their package and not in the device. We signed the log and "reflected" on the amazing journey that a fellow cacher had led us on by proxy. We pulled up the waypoint to where we had parked and we hike out of the woods in single file. Aside from a few bug bites we both agreed that this was one of funnest caching experiences that we have participated in. We did take away a couple lessons learned: 1. Long, focused, light throwing beams are more useful than the wide, short distance flashlights. 2. You can never have too much bug spray on. If you want to experience a well thought out puzzle/night cache then visit Knight Moves GC2MRT5. It is a 4 Difficult/3 Terrain Puzzle cache southeast of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Instead of starting with the basics of geocaching, I decided to talk about what to do if law enforcement approached you. This will be something that happens at least once if you do a lot of caching. It is usually because we look suspicious poking around in one area for too long, or in my case on the side of the road in the middle of the night with a bright flashlight.
Most of us know to stay away from areas marked “Private Property” or “No Trespassing”, but sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that just makes us stick out. In cases like if an officer is nearby, then he will be coming to see you. Always remember be polite and courteous and it goes a long ways.
My story begins December 31, 2010. I was on a FTF kick and had received a notification of a new cache at about 7:30 p.m. I had company coming soon and could not leave. I thought what if I could get there just after midnight, would it still be a FTF? So my company left at 11:30 and I told my wife “I’m Going”. So I grab my needed devices, thicker clothes, and a bigger flashlight and headed out the door.Knowing the time of night and what would be going on, on this particular night I was prepared to run into some form of law. It would have to come with the territory on this one. The cache GC2KW0B was beside a busy road and would have a lot of traffic. I got there just after midnight and hopped out with my big light and started looking. Started in what seemed like obvious places and kept coming up short. Where my GPSr was taking me didn’t seem like a cache would be there. I would not leave before I found it, even if I had to get back in the truck and warm up. After only about five minutes a K-9 cruiser pulled up. He parked where my truck could not be moved, so I kept looking until he got out of the SUV. He walked over and asked me what I was doing there at that time night. So I gave him a quick explanation and used my phone to show him. I also pulled up the geocaching.com website. He also took my license and ran it. He returned, said good night, gave me my license back and left me. It was just a minute or two more and I found the cache. If he hadn’t left so quickly, I could have shown him the container.
Just remember, be polite to our law officers. They will check on anything they think suspicious. Just tell them what you are doing and they will let you go about your merry way. If you are lucky you might even find one who is a fellow cacher.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
A hidden gem just north of Colorado Springs offers serenity and an endorphin induced tranquility where your senses are heightened so that you become part of your surroundings. Fox Run Regional Park provides a vast expanse of lush green grass, well maintained "facilities", and acres of peace and quiet. There's something for everyone as Stacie, Shelby, and I found out as we roamed almost every inch of the managed space. There were people throwing Frisbees, playing fetch with their retrievers, teaching their kids to hit a baseball, napping on a blanket in the shade, and at least 2 people and a certain fuzzy dog Geocaching. Our trek began with a cache hidden within 200 feet of where we parked our Caliber. We then decided to start circling the park in a methodical scouring technique known as ATCF. My philosophy about caching is "You don't know for a fact that the trail will take you to the next hidden container". Luckily GPS receivers are designed for people like me. They show the point A to point B route. We found 15 of the 17 traditional hides in the park and also 1 puzzle cache. If you like to do Multi-caches there are 6 of them. All the caches we found were not micros hanging in a tree and most could house travelers. After we completed the loop, we had a picnic lunch at one of the many tables provided in the park. It was great getting out in the Colorado summer weather with the wind blowing through the leaves and the sound of squirrels chasing each other around a tree trunk. If you want your kids to get some exercise and find some treasure, then this is the place for you. The park is very pet friendly and admission is free.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
An aspect of technology that I’ve always admired is its progressive nature. Years ago Geocachers were glad to laboriously enter coordinates digit by digit into their GPS receivers. There was a small amount of joy as the least significant number was accepted with a button push and the adventure began. Sometimes the experience was enhanced by an operator miscue that increased the time-to-target factor as well as the DNF occurrences in cache logs. Container seekers soon found their electronic compasses tethered to their microprocessors with a new avenue for data entry. Then the power of serial data transmission protocols (and then later Universal Serial Bus) provided for mass cache loading and accurate coordinate translation. Global positioning electronics manufacturers soon realized that people craved much more information than location data. They replaced a waypoint number with the name of the cache, and included terrain, difficulty, hint, logs, and other vital details. One of the larger brands has provided wireless sharing amongst compatible units. Now cachers can exchange their favorite waypoints, tracks, and Geocaches to others with a push of a button.
This brings up the question: What next? Technology seems to advance in growth spurts that exponentially take us to places we could only image in the past. Will we be wearing fashionable eye glasses that project the compass/map data on the left pane with the Geocache description, hint, logs and difficulty on the right? Will that progress to contact lenses with similar capabilities?
Join Country1919 and M as we map a way ahead, discuss current events, review new hardware and changes in the caching industry, and try to make us all better Geocachers.
We welcome comments, suggestions, and ideas that will guide us along the trail.