Posts Tagged ‘geocaching’
Geocaching is a great way to discover hidden gems right in the wall of your city. It’s also a great excuse to get outside and explore the terrain. A Geocaching challenge is similar to a real-world treasure hunt, where teams or individuals use GPS tracking to locate “caches” or trinkets that contain lists of who has found them as well as details about the find—including notes about the terrain, hiding spot, and trinkets found within the cache. There are literally thousands of hidden caches all over the world, so you can geocache in any city you visit. Simply, access the official database of caches at geocaching.com, and use your iPhone or Android to locate caches in any area that offers T-Mobile wireless internet or Wi-Fi coverage.
There are thousands of geocaching applications to choose from. However, veteran geocachers will tell you that these apps offer the best quality for the price you pay…
1. Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc. ($9.99 – for Android & iPhone)
The official geocaching (GC) app from Groundspeak offers direct access to the official and ever-growing cache database that I listed above so it makes sense that this app would be first on the list! This app allows users to find nearby caches by address or by GC code, and you can choose specifically where you want your street, topographic, and/or satellite maps to come from. The friendly user interface offers four tabs for caches— search, saved, logs, and trackables—as well as an export button for instant login to geocaching.com so you can sync your saved caches to the master database.
2. OpenCaching By Garmin (Free – for Android & iPhone)
OpenCaching is a great app for geocaching newbies because it’s a free app that was created specifically for Garmin’s OpenCaching.com, a user-powered geocaching community. With this app you’ll get an introduction to geocaching, including an easy-to-use interface that will help you locate hide, log, and share your caches directly on your mobile device. You can also view nearby caches on the app’s map, by compass view, read text descriptions of each cache, or search for caches based on difficulty terrain, size, and type. This app even offers cache hints from fellow users to help you perfect your hunting skills. Once you find a cache, you can log your success right from your Droid and even brag about it on Facebook and Twitter.
3. Geocaching with Geosphere ($7.99 – for iPhone)
The Geocaching with Geosphere app offers a no-frills user interface with a built-in map to visually lead guide you on your journey and help you hunt down caches. The app offers users five tabs—including GPS (to direct you to the cache), Target (providing the details of each cache), Search (to view your downloaded caches), Data (to log new caches found directly from your smart phone), and More (for access maps, satellite, or hybrid modes).
4. Neongeo ($4.23 – for Android)
The Neongeo app also offers secure access directly to the official geocaching.com site. This app offers users both the online and offline geocaching experience so you can log your caches on the go or record your field notes to log at a later date. This app even offers pre-trip preparation—with thousands of geocache listings and maps to guide you on your real-life hunt.
Bio: Jane Johnson is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, reviews.
Back when I was organizing my big multi-day geocaching event, I decided that one of the games I would offer would be a poker run. It seemed easy and straightforward. I based it off the AJACS event we attended in 2010.
Here’s a link if you’re wondering What is a geocaching poker run?
Overall, the event went well, but I have some additional ideas and suggestions if you’re thinking of hosting a poker run event of your own.
1. Decide on the ante
I did a 50/50 pot with a $5 per player ante. The overall winner got 50% of the pot. The other 50% went to offset event costs. We had about 40 people at the event but not everyone participated. Some people were turned off that it would “cost” money but I just kept stressing that the event itself was free and the poker run was optional.
2. Decide how many decks
We played with 5 decks and every time a geocacher would ante up, I would assign them to a deck A-E. I went in order figuring that it would be more fair to have 3 players per deck than to have 5 players on Deck A, 5 on Deck B, and 2 on Deck C.
There are 52 cards in a deck and 5 caches of cards placed. So that means 10 choices per cache or a maximum of 10 players per deck.
3. Decide on prizes
Remember that the best hand in each deck gets a prize so make sure you have enough! I went with $5.00 gift cards to Walmart. I contacted a few of my local business owner friends who each donated money to the event. Then at the event I plugged, Plugged, PLUGGED their businesses. (And sent Thank You cards after!)
4. Decide on the rules
I actually HAD a copy of the poker run rules from the AJACS event so for my event I robbed and duplicated. However, it never occurred to me to specifically outline what actions would be considered cheating. And yes, I did have a geocacher try to cheat. It really surprised me — don’t let it surprise you! Spell out what will happen to cheaters in advance and then don’t be afraid to follow through.
I also put a hard deadline on when the SEALED envelopes needed to be returned. And then I enforced it! I also enforced that the envelopes still had to be sealed.
5. Invest in 5 good cache containers (ammo cans!) and chain with locks
Let’s face it, a barely hidden ammo can is temptation to EVERYBODY. So take the time and make sure that you chain yours securely so it can’t grow legs for the event.
6. Buy your supplies
One deck will allow up to 10 players so plan accordingly. It would be terrible not to have enough! And you’ll need 52 security envelopesper deck.
You’ll need a TON of small security envelopes; 52 per deck. You’ll label 52 envelopes with your deck letter and then number them 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 for the cache container. Make sure that you put 10 in 3 containers and 11 in the last two.
Remember what I said about cheating? Well, it turns out that by flexing the envelope and holding it to the sun, you can more or less see through the security printing. The solution? FOLD the playing card in half. Is it more work? Yes. But it makes cheating virtually impossible.
8. Brush up on your knowledge of winning poker hands
Here’s a .pdf download from Poker.com that even has PICTURES. I printed a similar list and then brought it with me to the event.
9. Plan how you’ll open and tabulate results
I gathered each hand, labeled the envelopes and stuck a rubber band around it to deal with later. DON’T DO THAT! I was too much work at the end of the event, the geocacher didn’t get to watch me unseal the envelopes (to know I wasn’t cheating either), and then it made calculating hands a nightmare.
What was suggested to me was to get a big cork board and pushpins. Then you’d open the 5 sealed envelopes with the geocacher and pin it to the cork board with their name and deck assignment. That way, everybody could see at a glance what everybody had. I LOVED that idea and will implement it in the future.
Readers Weigh In:
Any other suggestions for a basic, 5-card poker run?
The first International Geocaching Day was celebrated on Saturday August 20, 2011. Geocaching.com says that this will be an annual affaire held on the third Saturday of August each year.
If you found a cache or attended an event on 8/20/11 you will get a special souvenir on your profile on geocaching.com. (Souvenirs will be awarded soon but as of today, nothing has appeared yet!)
Not only did I drag ESP Boss and The Queen Mother out for a “quick” cache on Saturday, I also celebrated my 100th find. I had been “saving” lucky number 100 for a special occasion…
Okay, not really. I tried to get to 100 two weeks ago when I was caching with Sandy but struck out.
Anyway, not only did I get my 100th find on a very neat day in geocaching history but it was also the first ever micro placed by local caching couple jeananjoe that the EatStayPlay.com “Royal” Family successfully found.
I know every caching area as “THAT ONE” cache hider who is so mean, ruthless, and nigh impossible to find their caches. Well, the micros of jeananjoe are my cache-placing nemesis.
And we found it!
Readers Weigh In:
- Did you participate in International Geocaching Day? What did you do/find?
In preparation for my big upcoming geocaching event in September, I’ve been going through all my drawers looking for good swag as “seed swag” for the caches I’ll be placing. But, I’d pretty much already done that when I started caching and have placed or traded most of it.
Last weekend I was doing some shopping and decided to look into just BUYING swag. Of course, the toy department at my local Walmart had a ton of selection: for a ton of money! And the toys at the dollar store, while priced better, were just too cheap and boring looking.
Then, I hit upon it: Goodwill!
Now, I don’t know if every Goodwill store offers toys. Of the two here in Prescott, I think only one does. But it was still worth the trip!
There were about twenty bins attached to a back wall, each filled with a selection of plastic toys. And the sign above the bins:
10 for $1.49
4 for $0.99
ESP Boss & I spent about thirty minutes carefully going through each and every bin. The next result: 7 bags of toys (70 items) for $10.43. It turned out to be a lot less than anywhere else. Plus, I really liked it that I wasn’t driving all over to hit yard sales, the money goes for a good cause, and all the items were in good condition. (They’ll get a bath, though since some were a bit dirty or sticky!)
And, if I had gone in on Saturday (it was Friday) it was a 50% off Saturday. Our Goodwill stores offer specials that every-other Saturday are 50% off everything in the store.
We picked up a large selection of plastic snakes, toys from a variety of fast-food kid’s menus, “army” men that are PIRATES, and a lot of exciting random toys including a bendy Oreo figurine, M&M characters, dinosaurs, and bugs.
So the next time you need seed swag for a cache, think about stocking up at your local Goodwill or other re-sale store.
At these prices, I think that it’s a good idea for ALL cachers to carry a bag of trade with them when they’re caching. Too often the “adult” cachers forget that just because they don’t trade doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t make sure that the caches they visit aren’t full of great trade items.
After all, geocaching is a family activity and kids always enjoy trading for swag. As geocachers we take care to remove any trash, food, or inappropriate items from the cache, but how often do we ensure that the cache is filled with fun trade items?
I know that even after my event, I’ll carry a bag or two of Goodwill goodies to replenish and refresh any caches I visit!
Readers Weigh In:
- Do you trade for swag?
- What toys or kid-friendly items do you leave?
- Do you make it a point to refresh any caches that are in need of swag?
It’s that time of year again. Time for my annual trip to Flagstaff to check on the geocaches I placed there.
Some new geocachers get started, get a few finds under their belt and then decide to HIDE a geocache without ever realizing that there is on-going work associated with it.
Geocaching.com simply says:
- Owner is responsible for geocache page upkeep.
- Owner is responsible for visits to the physical location.
But what does that MEAN? That means that as the cache placer you need to be ready to go check on your cache if you get notes saying that it needs maintenance. Notes might be that the log is wet or full. Or the cache seemed to be either too hard to too easy to located.
In the case of The Quiet Zone GC1X2F5 two years ago a BEAR made off with the cache. Or at least the cache disappeared over the winter. Since I live 200 miles away, I temporarily archived the cache and send a note into the review letting him know that I had a trip planned to check on the cache.
When I went, I went prepared to replace the cache if I couldn’t find it. I replaced the container and updated the coordinates and it was good to go!
As a cache placer, I am responsible for occasional (but regular) visits to make sure everything is a-okay. In the case of caches that are far away from me (like my Flagstaff caches) I have a few caching buddies that I can always call upon to take a quick look if I’m too busy.
And those occasional visits are why geocaching.com requests that caches are not placed while you’re traveling on vacation or for business. If you live a 4 hour plane ride away, how is it feasible for you to check on a cache every time you get a report of a wet log? But, it is possible to place a cache and then have it adopted by a local cacher or to even have a non-geocaching friend maintain it.
If a cache is not being maintained, or has been “temporarily” disabled for an unreasonable length of time, we may archive the listing.
When I’m placing a new cache, I always ask myself these three questions:
- How often can I visit?
- How easy is it for me to visit?
- Do I have time to maintain another cache?
Readers Weigh In:
- How many geocaches have you placed?
- How often do you check on them?
I’m so lucky to have such a great community of geocaching friends who read my blog and subscribe to my newsletter! Thank you so much for all you do.
But, speaking of the wonderful “tribe” I have, I hope you don’t get too frustrated or bored with me because I am working on a series of event-planning posts. I’ll be the first to admit that this is the first major geocaching event we’ve hosted so any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!
It will be a 3-day event celebrating the kick-off of Arizona’s Centennial Celebrations. Please remember that I’m in the planning stages and need your feedback. Very little is set in stone yet! Here are some of the details:
- Free event
- Free camping (tents and limited RVs)
- 30 or so new geocaches placed for the event
- Trackable centennial geocoins
- Ice breaker events
- Catered dinner on Saturday
- Flash mob
And no, before you ask, it’s NOT published on geocaching.com yet. There are two reasons for that:
- I’m working with the Yavapai County Centennial Committee so that just takes a while
- I want to get the details ironed out a bit with my geocaching friends (that’s YOU!) before I put it out there for the whole world
Here’s the schedule I’m kicking around right now.
- Sign-in and registration (all day)
- Geocachers arrive to set up their camping sites
- Ante-up for the poker run. I’m thinking a 50/50 pot so the winners would get cold hard cash. Maybe a $5 buy-in per team. Play for the poker run begins.
- Ice breaker games in the evening.
- Sign-in and registration (all day)
- Geocachers arrive to set up their camping sites
- Can still ante-up for poker run. Can also participate in poker run.
- Locations of new event-related caches are released to event attendees (early morning — depending on sunrise times and temperatures). Gotta be there to get them!
- Cache all day.
- Geocachers must return by “dinner time” for new caches to be counted towards awards. FTF, most caches, poker run, etc.
- Return for evening “awards ceremony” and catered BBQ dinner
- Games in the morning
- Be out of the park by 1
Some more notes about events:
We would be in Memory Park. There are no barbeque or picnic facilities at all. The event in co-sponsored by the Town of Chino Valley. It’s not feasible from a staging area to have a potluck or cookout. Plus, since we’re in the town limits we’d need food handler licenses, health inspectors, etc.
The event NEEDS to be in the Town limits because this is the Town’s contribution to the Yavapai County Centennial Celebration.
The catered dinner: according to the survey that I put out a few weeks ago, 83% of cachers would want to pay $16 for all-you-can-eat BBQ, sides & soft drinks. 6% would pay $11 for a hotdog or burger and not unlimited anything. And 1% wouldn’t eat at all.
Dinner would be OPTIONAL. You would need to pre-register and pre-pay so I could get that information and money to the caterer. But you could still participate in ALL events totally FREE. You’d just have to bring your PB&J while I snarf down ribs!
I think that covers all the concerns I got about having a caterer from the survey. Let me stress again: The event is FREE. Nobody will make any money off this event. Buying dinner is OPTIONAL.
Okay, now that I’ve tried to be as clear as possible, let me ask you my questions:
- Any issues with a poker run for real money? Winners would get cash and the other 50% would be used to pay for Porta-Potties and potable water and trash service.
- What would be a good ante for the poker run? I want it large enough that the 50% winner’s pot is large but not so large that geocachers don’t want to play!
- What events would you like to see on Sunday? I’ll admit I’m not sure what we should do?
- Do you want ice breakers?
- How much time would you want to spend in-camp versus out looking for the new caches?
- Would you want to camp or stay in a local hotel? (Or at home, if you’re local)
- We’re minting 48 Centennial Trackable Geocoins. (Arizona was the 48th state) Would you buy one for $10 or so? Or would you want them as prizes only?
- Do you want to play “other” games in camp? Suggestions have been toss-the-ammo can (horseshoes), Geocaching Clue, etc.
- Do you think I need a kids-only game?
- What else am I missing? What would you suggest?
Geocaching via the Pony Express Trail
By Steve Allen aka MO PIRATE
Using a GPS receiver and the satellites that transmit the signals to them, geocachers can get a “fix” on the location of over 1.3 million hidden containers around the world.
I’m sure the Pony Express riders from days gone by would have loved to have been able to use the GPS technology to help them in their trek across the Wild West.
Now, a new Pony Express Adventure can be had by trying your skills on the “Pony Express Trail Challenge” (GC1PRHM) geocache. It is a puzzle-type geocache by MO PIRATE where you need to “ride” the trail to find 10 traditional geocaches hidden by folks at or near Pony Express Stations, ruins of stations, statues, markers, or signs along the original trail of 1966 miles from St Joseph, MO to Sacramento, CA.
One geocache must be found from each state that the trail crossed and any two additional geocaches so long as all 10 are at qualifying sites.
A bookmark list of over 85 eligible geocaches is provided on the challenge website. Others may exist along the trail and could be counted as long as you check with the cache owner first.
Once you find a qualifying geocache, log your find and take a digital photograph of yourself at the site. E-mail all 10 of the geocache finds along with the pictures to the “challenge” owner (MO PIRATE). Once verified, I will send you the coordinates to the Grand Finale of this challenge (in St Joseph, MO) where you can sign the log and also get your username inscribed on a nameplate for the “Challenge Wall Plaque” which hangs proudly in the lobby of the Pony Express stable Museum in St Joseph, MO for all to see and enjoy.
For more information on this adventure, go to GC1PRHM. You’ll find all requirements and helpful hints to aid your travels.
If you want to ask any questions about the challenge just e-mail me Steve Allen aka MO PIRATE at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m an “honorary” member of about a dozen geocaching groups and organizations across the country. One of the most active groups is Central Florida Area Geocachers (CFLAG) on Facebook.
This week, one of their wonderful members, trippy1976, posted a compiliation of the group’s recommended containers for Florida. But, this is a FANTASTIC list and I wanted to share it with all my geocaching friends. It’s a good guideline for containers no matter where you live!
Recommended Containers For Cache Hides in Florida
Compiled from the combined wisdom of CFLAG participants:
Containers that have a proven track record in Florida include:
- ammo cans (any size)
- match safes
- soda bottle pre-forms
- Lock & Locks (brand name)
- Real Bison Design tubes
With these containers, you have a tremendous amount of diversity, allowing you to make a quality hide, in almost any environment while ensuring your cache will stand the test of the elements. Your logbook will thank you!
Things To Avoid
Any container that REQUIRES that you use a baggie to protect your log (rather than a baggie being a second line of defense). Your container should be waterproof if exposed.
Over the years, we’ve seen certain containers that are almost predestined to fail. These include, but are not limited to:
- coffee tubs (plastic or metal)
- imitation Bison tubes
- Dollar Store Lock & Lock wanna bes
- Altoids tins
- margarine tubs
- slim bobs
- black & grey film cans
- cookie tins
Readers Weigh In:
- Do you have any suggestions to add?
A few weeks ago, I was asking my Facebook friends for some help coming up with ideas for the FindYourGeocache.com blog. GEO*Trailblazer 1 said that I should be stopped and questioned by the Secret Service and then write about it. But, since HE’S had that experience, I thought it would just be easier to ask him to share his story with us.
Here’s the story of meeting the Secret Service while out geocaching. Now THAT’S hard-core!
Let’s turn on the Way Back Machine, which by the way you Ole Time Cachers will remember. Back to a time when Geocaching did not exist and SA did, that’s “Selective Availability” for those of you who do not know.
I guess you could say I was the techie for the time and did not know it. I was learning and teaching GPS. I was more into Benchmarks due to the fact it was one of the ways around SA by knowing the error for the day from known coordinates (Benchmark).
A good friend told me I would like this new game called Geocaching and he gave me the web site. Not having a computer made it hard for about the first year and there were no cables or any way to hook a GPS to a computer (my, things have changed!) At that time, you relied on entering each point by hand OH and my GPS then only has 2 decimal points (Benchmark second part Triangulation) used to find GZ (geocache, benchmark).
Now you are wondering what all this has to do with meeting the Secret Service while Geocaching.
It would take a novel to write all the things I (we) were involved in and around this time.
The reason for our visit (GEO*Trailblazer 1 & Tiggr) was a Lewis and Clark Mission 200th Anniversary. We walked in the footsteps of our forefathers 200 years to the day in many places as they did (back to novel).
Our Mission were Geocaches and Benchmarks:
- HV1846 MERIDIAN STONE
- HV1847 ZERO MILESTONE
- UA0016 FREEDOM
- HV4442 WASHINGTON MONUMENT
- GC8347 a Woodchucks Paradise
- GC2E52 Mile Zero
This is where the fun started as we were walking the Ellipse and making tracks. We rounded the corner to the Washington Monument of the ZERO MILESTONE and were getting the required clues.
I set my GPS at the Benchmark in the Center of the Compass Rose of the Washington Monument and was turning to talk to Tiggr when I noticed 5 little red dots in my heart area.
From my experience I know what this is and I look up and see a Secret Service Agent coming at me saying. “Sir what are you doing?”
Without hesitation I said in a loud voice: “GEOCACHING!”
I would give a million dollars to have a picture of his face at that very moment he was awed yet had to continue with his duties.
Tiggr was saying the whole time this was going on, “I told you that you were going to get us in trouble with that thing.”
But I took advantage of the situation even while going through a complete shakedown; I am a Warrior and can keep a cool head even under pressure and got to explain all about Geocaching.
After he was satisfied he asked for my ID at which point I gave him my ID and USA Freedom Corps ID and he disappeared.
A few minutes later he returned gave me back my ID and said to have a great tour of the City.
By the way, we were there and had a full run of the city with hardly any people as the City had been evacuated due to a storm approaching.
When we got home I found out the reason for the shakedown…The Original 100 Documents of the Founding of our Nation were being put on display at the very time we were out front playing on the White House Lawn.
(Back to the novel)
We also visited Philadelphia, Plymouth Rock and some very historic Benchmarks on that trip. Hmmm, maybe I really should write a novel as I have just touched the surface of the deep and wide adventures I have made while geocaching.
Readers Weigh In:
- Have you ever had an exciting encounter with law enforcement while out caching?
- If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me and I’ll feature YOU as a guest author!
In thinking about the start of 2011 and researching this article, I’ve come across a TON of posts by other geocachers talking about their geocaching goals for the year.
How cool is that!
In a world (economy?) where many people focus day-to-day and can barely contemplate the future, here are intrepid geocachers that have the guts to look at what they did in 2010 and set goals for 2011.
(In case you can’t tell, I’m really big on setting goals. I wish goal setting was a mandatory class in every school at every grade level. For some of MY goals for 2011, check out yesterday’s post on TheOutdoorPrincess.com)
One of our goals this year is to finish this series of caches and find the Crystal Dragon…
Writing a post to review my geocaching exploits in 2010 inevitably got me to thinking about what I would like to accomplish in 2011. Despite much of my last post being about numbers and badges and the tangible signs of all that activity, my more important goals going forward really wouldn’t be driven primarily by numbers or quantity. Mainly I just want to continue to have fun…
I have logged 351 finds and several states of the last couple years. In 2011 lets set the goal for making my 500th find and adding at least 3 more states to my logged finds map!
Forget Year of the Rabbit; for me, 2011 will be year of the geo-goal.
The year 2010 was interesting for me in regard to geocaching. When looking at just numbers and things like that, I took a step backward with the game. I had set many goals, which I didn’t reach each one.
Readers Weigh In:
- What are your caching goals for the coming year? If you’ve written a post about it, be sure to include a link in your comment so we can all check it out.
(Um, I’ll take a look at the whole blog to make sure it’s family friendly, of course!)