Whilst with a friend recently (who was causing me trauma by reading my blog in my presence 😉) it became clear that I may need to explain myself better at times, especially for those non caching folk who may stumble across the blog. I decided it might be handy to produce an idiot’s guide to geocaching. Written by an idiot that is, not for one!
My intention is to start basic and not overwhelm and for the list to grow, hopefully along with my finds.
This post will either then evolve as a sticky post or maybe even a page – oh the exciting possibilities!
Fellow Geocachers feel free to correct any stupid mistakes I make or add anything that I’ve likely to have forgotten.
Using Coordinates to locate hidden Geocaches (treasure) guided by GPS.
The treasure we seek. This could be a teeny tiny magnetic container, a small old fashioned film pot, a tupperware box or a genuine treasure chest. It could be disguised as a pinecone, a rock or a snail. The possibilities limited only by the creativity of the cache owners.
My personal favourite; the ammo can. I get far too excited over these than is acceptable for a thirty something year old woman. Put one on a pulley in a tree and it will blow my socks off! Amazing!
Geocaches can be found using any GPS enabled device.
The r is for receiver. A handheld GPS unit used for geocaching and other outdoor pursuits. I was lucky enough to get one for Christmas from Mr Muddy. I seek caches with either my GPSr or my phone. Sometimes both at the same time. Get me! 😉
The spot where the cache is hidden and in theory where your GPS or Phone will display a 0m to cache reading. I’ve rarely seen a 0m but you get close enough to know where to start looking.
Each Geocache has a paper log inside it, which you sign to prove that you found it. Ok, some people do pretend, but that’s just weird. And pointless.
Then there is the online log you complete. A brief outline of your geocaching adventure.
I clearly need to get out more because I actually enjoy reading other people’s logs online. Some are absolute corkers full of strops and moans, others cheery accounts of a happy day. I have a tendency to get carried away on some of my logs but you may have noticed already I like to share my Geoadventures! 😀
Simply, Thanks For The Cache.
Most people mean it genuinely. Some people use it exclusively which makes dull reading for log lurkers like me.
When I use it my fluent sarcasm has failed to be suppressed. I have once or twice left a TFTC log. My TFTC can be translated as; You brought me to a shitty location to find a rather boring cache. In fact the same cache as I found 350m previously. I can think of no positive things to say about my experience yet I appreciate you went to the effort to place the cache, so for that alone I thank you.
Did Not Find
You obviously don’t sign the paper log as you can’t find the bugger but still need to write an online log to share your woes. Sometimes it really is as simple as missing something blatantly right in front of your face. Dammit!
Sod’s law dictates that the next person who finds it after your attempt declares it an easy find. Just add more salt to my wounds why don’t you…..
Sometimes the cache is genuinely lost or stolen. By reporting a DNF you may be highlighting to the cache owner to check up on the cache or if necessary to replace. Sometimes the description and hint for the cache are so specific it can only be missing. Most cache owners are fab and check after DNFs but others seem to ignore. 😕
Cache Owner. The awesome person who has placed the cache to be found. I hope to be one of those once I’ve found the right container for the job. Exciting!
First To Find
The first person to find the cache once it has been published.
I have recently published my own FTF confessional.
I’m currently working on attempting to control my urges. Trouble is a new cache calls to you asking to be found. Talking to you much like that last piece of chocolate in the cupboard does…..
(As if there will ever be any leftover chocolate in this house…..) 😉
Hmm, another element to the game. People buy trackable items such as Geocoins or Travel bugs which have a tracking code. You find them in a cache and can then move it to another cache to continue its journey. You add them to your online log.
Some have goals, some are happily drifting around the world littlest Hobo style.
I happily move them on but I find the concept a little odd. Some people get very passionate about their trackables. I once grabbed a trackable from somebody which is what happens if somebody hasn’t completed their logs and logged the trackable into a cache. I grabbed so I could complete my logs in a timely fashion.
This did not go down well. Really not well at all.
A rather huffy, puffy message was sent: I should be more patient. I wasn’t preserving the mileage of the trackable blah blah blah.
What I wanted to reply was get a life dude oh and write your logs if you are that worried about mileage. I chose to ignore. I have a bit of an issue with being told what to do. (Ask Mr Muddy! 😉) What a bad cacher I am.
Odder still people who won’t let their trackables out of their sight. They travel with them and you are openly invited to ask them to ‘discover’ their trackable.
You can look at it.
log it that you’ve seen it but that’s it.
I have visions of these people wearing flasher macs and I Will never, ever be asking to discover their wares. In this case I will definitely not be grabbing! 😉
A super clever cache which works by a little bit of geocaching magic. We’ve found one recently and I’ll be telling my tale soon.
A completely inconspicuous 😉 pile of sticks which sometimes hides the cache. My little wild offspring adore sticks and so we often have a fresh collection of stickoflage right outside our front door. I’m quite surprised we’ve not had a passing geocacher stopping for a rummage……
Phone a friend
For those desperate moments when you can’t find a cache.
I know a couple of local cachers, mostly vague acquaintances I’ve known for years. Neither hold PAF status.
I have converted some friends to the hobby but as they don’t cache that often they probably wouldn’t be that much help as I slowly lose my sanity at the base of a tree.
I’m much more likely to TAF – Tweet a friend. Internet junkie that I am. I’ve virtually met some pretty cool Geocachers on Twitter.
The cachers on Facebook, well they seem to be just plain nuts. They also I suspect wear long, beige macs…..
A name for those who have yet to find their first cache. I’m not the fondest of the term especially as I live in a house of Potter adoration.
Personally I feel It insinuates some kind of superiority over those not in the know. Yet we are the ones looking for Tupperware in a forest?! Go figure.
Swag or swaps
Some caches are filled with items for trading. The idea being that if you take something, you leave something behind of equal or greater value. In reality a lot of caches are filled with crap. Some people leave some really god awful second hand toys which means I have to recce the cache before the kids can even look, let alone touch. Eurgh.
However you can also find some absolute gems, the children love to collect foreign currency, key-rings and badges from around the world. One haul gave us a polished shell which my daughter treasures and another a paracord bracelet which promptly led to sibling warfare.
I do however have an irrational hatred for loom bands and hate to find the damn things. Can we stop it now? Please? No more!
A cache which you can’t find. A cache that has got under your skin. A cache that you can’t stop looking for, even if you suspect it may not be there.
A cache can be disabled whilst a CO carries out maintenance or whilst there are problems with a cache. This prevents the cache showing up on a search on Geocaching.com and prevents unnecessary searching for a cache that may have issues.
Volunteer geocachers who publish new geocachers and ensure guidelines are met.
Archiving a cache removes it form public view on geocaching.com. The cache is no longer available for searching.
Premium members earn a favourite point for every 10 caches they find. You can then award the caches you have most enjoyed a favourite point. My taste in caches seems to differ as I’m often left a bit underwhelmed by caches that have lots of favourite points.
Hopefully this will help to make my ramblings a little easier to understand.
I’m now off to hide from the geocaching community. Oops.