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  1. #1
    perdu fleur par bologne Martoon's Avatar
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    Default How not to geocache

    Since this PocketPC phone I have has a GPS built in, I thought I'd take a shot at geocaching today. Sounded like fun.

    What I learned: Wear long pants and insect repellent, and bring a flashlight, and possibly something to remove spider webs. And maybe hip waders.

    It was warm out, so I wore shorts. I discovered that people love putting these things out in the middle of mosquito-infested woods, where you're blazing a trail through the sting nettle while stirring up swarms of those little bloodsuckers. Two that I tried to find were like this, and I gave up trying to find them since it's difficult to focus on searching while being eaten.

    Another had the location named "2lobsters - the lobster pool". It took me to a picnic table on the edge of a small lake in a park. There were marshy reeds around the lake. I looked through the reeds, didn't turn anything up. I don't know if it was under the water in the lake or not. Couldn't figure out what, specifically, the name referred to.

    The last place I tried took me to the opening of two drainage culverts that went under the road. (Sorry for the crappy image quality; took these with my phone).


    The location appeared to be a few yards inside one of these culverts. The left one was lined with spiderwebs, and you could see through to the other end (but the location was closer to this end).


    The right one had a few inches of water. And spiderwebs. It ended at a street drain, so it was completely dark inside.


    I broke off a nearby tree branch, and started clearing the webs out of the left tunnel. It then became apparent that clearing out the webs didn't do anything about the swarms of spiders that it left crawling around the tunnel walls. I also couldn't see anything down the tunnel that looked like it could hold a cache. The right tunnel suffered from the same issues, in addition to being wet and dark.

    Next time, I'll wear long pants, and shower in insect repellent before going. Then maybe attempt one of the deep woods locations.
    I'm not a procrastinator. I'm a long-term planner.

  2. #2
    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Me and a few friends used to go through pipes identical to that, in the woods, in my neighborhood.

    Good times.

  3. #3
    only bites when provoked
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    Congratulations on trying it!

    I knew not to geocache in your area, even thought I carry my GPSr everywhere (obviously - see my MN trip thread), and it's usually relatively-easy (provided they were using a similar-quality receiver when they placed it), I knew better than to brave the dangers of MN in search of them. Ticks, mosquitoes, poison ivy (that I can't even identify), and other frightening plants were certain to await me. Not to mention all the lakes, ponds, small depressions filled with water, streams, rivers, etc.

    Interestingly, MN State Parks now allow (or were about to start allowing - I read something about it while I was there) registered geocaches in the parks. This is a really good thing, as the areas where they're allowed is fairly limited due to complex mixtures of laws and land ownership, and I'd heard it was very difficult once you got east of the Rockies because there's so much less federal land. Out west it's a little easier because you're safe in most city parks, some place them on their own private property, there is a lot of federal land, and state forests/parks generally lack prohibitions on them...

    How accurate is the GPS in there, anyhow? It may not be sufficient for geocaching... Generally, you need at least a basic 12-channel unit, and if you're crazy like me you'll spend about 500 bucks on a purpose-built unit incorporating a SiRF Star III 20-channel receiver.
    I 100%, N 88%, T 88%, J 75%

    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

  4. #4
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Those pipes look exactly like the ones I used to catch crawdads in when I was a little kid. Nostalgic!
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  5. #5
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    I love geocaching!! My co-workers and I go out on our bikes (we work at a bike shop) and it's free fun. (The best kind.)
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #6
    only bites when provoked
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    Oh yes - the first ones tend to be the hardest until you get the hang of it. Geocachers use very consistent tricks to hide things mattering on their skill level and area, so once you know effectively what you're looking for (this will vary based on the size of the cache and surroundings), it becomes much easier.

    Locate large traditional caches first. Forget anything that isn't a large-sized at first, because there's a good chance you'll never find them (in fact, I never found a grand total of three, two were missing and one was so well hidden that I could never locate it in spite of three visits and a great deal of searching). They are hidden in such a way that a geocacher could find them and others shouldn't, hence they are hidden in places people don't usually go or in ways that they would never be found by normal people that weren't looking for them.

    My first was in the bottom of a rock with my brother near where I worked at the time. It was a concrete rock with a film canister embedded in the bottom that perfectly blended in with the surrounding rocks. It took two failed attempts before I brought my brother and we searched like mad before locating it...

    The next one was the first true missing one, where we did a similar mad search. It was later confirmed that this one had gone missing.

    After that we just went for big ones, which were usually hidden under remote rocks, in bushes, or otherwise fairly accessible. Ones close to roads tend to be pretty easy in this respect, and especially on plains.

    We had a series of 12 caches near where we lived at the time and it took weeks to locate the first of those (though the rest came easily once we learned what we were looking for). These were micro (or sub-micro) caches, and I recommend that you avoid them entirely until you're pretty good at it. They might be right in front of your eyes and you'd never realize it. They are generally completely hopeless with a 12-channel, too, because they'll give you too wide a search area (we're talking a total needle-in-a-haystack deal here, and these tend to be hard even with a super-accurate receiver that gives you a mere 11' radius. These were 1/2" long 1/16" diameter tubes with screw caps painted in brown camouflage hanging on fishing line against the trunks of dense pine trees.

    I've found them among the supports on bridges, under lamp post base covers, tucked in small crevices around stairways, in pipes, under rock piles, under piles of leaves, hanging in trees, in holes in cacti, holes in joshua trees, on remote mountains after mile-long steep uphill hikes from the nearest parking location, behind abandoned buildings, etc, etc, etc.

    So-far, I have yet to place one, but I've considered it a number of times...
    I 100%, N 88%, T 88%, J 75%

    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

  7. #7
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Yeah, I've considered doing this when I get a GPS but NC is pretty buggy. I'd have to douse myself liberally in lemon eucalyptus oil beforehand. But I wrote a comprehension passage on geocaching once and ever since I've been fascinated with the idea.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  8. #8
    perdu fleur par bologne Martoon's Avatar
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    I have no idea what the specs are on my GPS. It's a Sprint Mogul PocketPC phone, with whatever GPS receiver comes built into that. When I'm running the GPS app on it (I'm using BeeLineGPS), when outside it shows visible satellites as 11 or 12, and tracked satellites between 6 and 8. Would that be a 12 channel (I'm not a GPS geek)? The accuracy on it is pretty rough, where my position can jump around by several feet, so it just gets me in the general 5 to 10 foot radius of the target. So yeah, I'm relying on a hint, or some fairly clear indicator of where the cache is hidden.
    I'm not a procrastinator. I'm a long-term planner.

  9. #9
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    What machine do you guys use to geocache? We just use a co-worker's iPod to go to the website that lists them.
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  10. #10
    only bites when provoked
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    Most cell phones have a very low-end GPS receiver built-in that gives a low-quality location and uses cell tower triangulation to bump the accuracy a bit. If it doesn't give an accuracy estimation, it's probably going to make geocaching very difficult. When I go for a cache I run with accuracy calculations, bearing to destination, and present coordinates.

    My method is to survey the location using google maps and/or earth, mattering on proximity to streets, then I locate the closest or most sensible approach, note these down, and go out. When I'm there, I go to the location and let the GPS settle. Once it's reading the location, it'll start jumping around if left stationary. These can be fairly long jumps sometimes, but usually within the accuracy reading. Search the radius indicated from the average location. For really tiny ones, I use the location averaging feature and just let it grab a bunch of readings so it can give me my exact location down to a handful of feet, rinse, and repeat until I find the location.

    It's great GPS orienteering practice.
    I 100%, N 88%, T 88%, J 75%

    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

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