Archive for May, 2010

Mystery Mondays: To Do Lists from The Queen Mother

Every year I anticipate The Camping Trip. This year is no different. In April we gathered around a calendar to find two weeks that would work for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors. Well, that in and of itself took forever. Meetings, appointments, oh my gosh! We aren’t celebs, just way too busy with life events.

We settled on a couple of workable weeks, reserved a spot in our favorite campground and slipped into our crazy busy cycle of work, work and more work.

Pulling into the campground.

I’m a list-a-holic. I live by my lists (packing, to-do, grocery, you name it!) I teach school and the last few weeks of school are hectic to say the least, but on my desk I kept a bright pink piece of paper folded length wise for my camping list. The first list is a mish mash of things to pack, things to do to get ready for the trip, and household things to do that in my opinion must be done for my own peace of mind.

So I’ve been working in the garden, trying to get the new drip system finished before the trip, packed away the winter clothes, and I’m still waiting on a bid for some exterior painting that really needs to be done before the July monsoon’s start. Every week when I go grocery shopping I pick up a few camping foods that aren’t on my usual list. That all got taken out to the trailer already.

I went through all the closets and cupboards in the trailer to take inventory. I’ve already added paper plates, paper towel and a fresh roll of tin foil.

The one job that I was dreading, but turned out not to be too bad, was seasoning my new Dutch oven. I ‘m trying Cornish game hens and I found what looks like a pretty easy recipe for Dutch oven biscuits. The Outdoor Princess (Kim) will let you know how those turn out.

I don’t plan a daily menu for our trips, but we do decide ahead of time what we want to eat. I mean what’s a camping trip without hamburgers! I always take a bag of frozen shrimp, if we get back to camp too late to cook, I just quick thaw some shrimp and make a salad and call it dinner. I’m also making some smoothies this year, pouring a serving into a Ziploc bag and freezing it flat. That should taste good after a day of hiking or fishing.

Tomorrow I’ll start packing our duffel bags. Northern AZ is still very cold at night in June so I’ll need sweat shirts. Since those are so bulky I have a great cubby in the trailer for them.

The Queen Mother loading the cubby with warm clothes.

I love working from lists, I love seeing the task scratched off the list, but most of all I love the feeling of working toward a good thing when I look back on my day.

I really don’t even care if I’ve forgotten anything, because the whole idea is to get outside, and appreciating my camping experience.

Fun Food Fridays: Egg In A Nest

ESP Boss likes this when he's at home, too!

This recipe was given to me by Alice Tubaugh of Prescott, AZ. This also happens to be my Grandma Alice (and ESP Boss’ mother!) This was one of my all-time favorite breakfasts growing up.

It always seems that breakfast is the most undervalued camping meal. But it is always a chance for my family to slow down and spend some time together. And have you ever noticed that breakfast (especially bacon!) tastes better when cooked in the open air?


  • Butter
  • Slice of bread
  • Egg

Tear a hole in the slice of bread. Generously butter one side of bread and then place, butter-side-down in a skillet. As the bread begins to brown, crack an egg into the hole in center of the bread. Lay chunks of butter on the bread.

Flip bread and egg over, being careful not to break the egg yolk. Cook until the egg is done how you like it (I like it with the middle runny) and the bread is browned.

Makes 1 Egg In A Nest

Readers Weigh In:

What are your favorite camping breakfasts? Do you like to cook simply or extravagantly?

Set Your Hook: Video

A cinch knot is an important fishing knot. I use it all the time to attach my hook to my leader or my swivel to my line. It’s an easy knot to tie, but it isn’t really easy to explain in pictures or in words. (I know, I’ve tried both!)

Readers’ Opinions

What is the fishing knot you use the most often?

Video Critique

This is this the first video filmed, edited, and produced by The Outdoor Princess Productions and I’d LOVE your feed back on it. What did you like? What would we do better? Is it long enough or too long? Anything you can tell me about it will really help!

Pitch Your Tent: Video

Video: Testing Camp Stoves

In the article “The Language Of Camp Stoves” I spoke about what you should be looking at to purchase a new stove. In this video, I tested three Coleman stoves head-to-head to see if the difference in BTU output actually changed how long it took each stove to boil water.

For more information about camp stoves, or to purchase any of the stoves featured in the video, please visit

Readers’ Opinions

  • What has been your favorite camp stove?
  • What would you suggest to stay away from?
  • What advice would you give to a fellow camper if she were going to buy a new camp stove?

Video Critique

This is this the second video filmed, edited, and produced by The Outdoor Princess Productions and I’d LOVE your feed back on it. What did you like? What would we do better? Is it long enough or too long? Anything you can tell me about it will really help!

Find Your Geocache

Camouflaging A Geocache

You’ve decided to hide a geocache. You’ve got the perfect container but now you have to do the camouflage. Ah, camouflage, one of the most important factors in hiding a geocache. I’ll be covering some tips & suggestions on how to doctor up your cache!

I’ve found some pretty-cool micros (okay, so I had a caching buddy point them out to me since I don’t really do micros) and I’ve found some caches with amazing camouflage. This article is how to put camouflage on an ordinary, run-of-the-mill cache.

Picking Your Container

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a ton of ammo cans laying about to be made into geocaches. So if you need to use a plastic container, here are my recommendations.

  • Make sure it has a tight-fitting lid.
  • The wider the mouth, the better. Even if it is clearly too small for anything but a log sheet, somebody will try to cram a trade item in it sooner or later!
  • No glass containers! (I’ve seriously found a few)
  • I prefer plastic to tin. Cookie tins (and the like) seem to rust very easily. And they’re very difficult to water proof.
  • Make sure it is clean inside and out.
  • If you’re using a recycled food jar (nuts, peanut butter, etc) make sure it is very clean or the smell can attract critters.
  • I tend to stay away from the plastic coffee cans. The lids don’t hold up after repeated openings (especially in the cold!) and the containers seem brittle and flimsy.

My container of choice is actually a used Tucks container. It’s a small size (easier to hide and easy to fill with swag), pretty much free since I have my whole family saving them for me, it’s practically waterproof, and very sturdy container.

Since I have a lot of these containers, I like to spray paint them. It took me a while, but I figured out the best way to get it done.

Painting Supplies

  • Container & lid to be painted (be sure you’ve removed any paper labels!)
  • Dark green spray paint
  • Dark brown spray paint
  • Black spray paint
  • Thin wire or thin string (8 inches or so)
  • Garden kneeling pad
  • Clothes you’re okay with (maybe) getting paint on

Feel free to pick paint colors that match your area!

First, make sure the container is dry and dust free. It’s not really hard to spray paint the container but it’s a pain if the paint flakes off because the container was dusty. (Been there, done that!)

This can be kind of tricky but once you get the hang of it, it’s a really good painting technique! Take the lid off the container. Fold about two inches of wire or string over the threads of the lid so there’s an inch inside the container and the rest is on the outside of the container. Holding the wire in place, screw the lid back on.

Keeping the wire tight against the threads of the container really helps.

If you’ve pinched everything correctly, then you now have a “handle” to use to hold onto the container while you paint. I use bits of old phone wire since is it VERY thin and very flexible. I’ve never tried it, but I bet embroidery floss or monofilament fishing line would work as well.

Look ma! A geocache hanging by a wire!

You’re ready to paint!

When working with spray paint, be sure to remember:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area. Outside is even better.
  • Don’t use spray paint on a windy day. It just makes a mess.
  • Wear gloves (latex is good), a dust mask, and safety glasses.
  • Use the paint away from cars, buildings, and vegetation.

My favorite spray painting spot is at the end of my parent’s driveway. I can’t get paint on their house or cars if I tried! I’m blocked from any breeze by a large bush and there’s a shade tree.

I like to kneel on my garden kneeling pad since I feel it gives me the best control of the paint AND the container.

Holding the container by the wire or string, give it a coat of green. You don’t need to worry if the paint is even or if it covers all writing. Let it dry. (Or mostly dry if you’re like me and impatient!)

Still holding the container by the string, paint a coat of brown. Let it dry. Repeat with the black spray paint.

Keep layering the colors of paint until you're happy with it.

Once I have all three colors on the container, I start to think about making sure I have the bottom of the container. It’s a bit hard to paint, but the part that is hanging the lowest needs to be painted. Now, just keep layering the spray paint until you’re happy with the coloring.

Wrap the wire around a tree limb and hang to dry completely.

Last summer I filled the tree with these! My parent's neighbors thought I was nuts.

I like to paint a bunch of containers all at once. That way I can hang them in the shade tree between coats. If you let the paint dry completely before painting it with a different color, it’s less likely to scratch off.

Okay, I know not everybody will be able to hang their caches containers in a tree to dry. Just remember that the paint WILL drip and can still rub off on other items.

Finished spray-paint geocache container.

Sometimes, a Tucks container is too small. The other container I like is a nut jar. However, the plastic is thinner and doesn’t survive very many cachers dropping it. The corners are especially vulnerable to becoming cracked.

Taping Supplies

  • Clean, dry container with lid
  • Camouflage duct tape
  • Sharp scissors

If the scissors get gummy, rub the blade with a cottonball soaked in rubbing alcohol.

What I like to do with a lighter-weight plastic container is to cover it with duct tape. You can buy duct tape in a variety of camouflage patterns and colors. Here’s a link to camouflage duct tape on Cabela’s and here’s a link to camouflage duct tape on Amazon.

This stuff is more expensive than plain old grey but come on! How cool is camouflage duct tape!?

Here are some things to consider with duct tape:

  • The container really needs to be clean and dry.
  • The bigger the pieces of tape the better. You want it to really stick to the container so water and dirt can’t get under the tape and cause it to lift.
  • Remember that the tape sticks to itself! (I don’t know how many inches I’ve ruined because of that!)
  • Cut it rather than tearing. You get a cleaner edge and fewer places where water and dust can get under the tape.
  • Start by taping any areas that don’t lend them to large pieces of tape. (The shoulders and bottom of the jar, for example!) That way, you can cover the ends with a longer strip.
  • Be sure to really PUSH on the tape so it adheres to the plastic.

Getting the tape on the container smoothly is a lot harder than it looks! It takes practice.

The lid is one of the hardest parts of the jar to tape up. I do it first, still attached to the jar. That way, I know I’m not taping it TO the jar and then it won’t come off!

This method works the best for me.

Next, I do the “shoulders” and bottom of the jar. Remember to keep the pieces as large as possible, avoid creases as much as possible, and really push the tape onto the surface of the container.

This is the second hardest part!

Then, just finish wrapping the container in tape until it’s completely covered. This jar took three strips going from top to bottom.

Now it just needs swag & a log book!

So, all you experienced cachers out there:

How do you put camouflage on the cache? Do you prefer tape or paint? What’s your favorite method of getting a run-of-the-mill cache ready to be placed?

Mystery Monday: Spring Critter Smarts

Cute coyote puppies -- but don't touch! They're still wild animals.

At this time of year the desert is teeming with new life. (Unless, of course, you live in Chino Valley, Arizona. Then, Spring is a myth since it is still cold and windy! Yuck!)

But, if you live in other areas, it’s time to get spring critter smart. Many of those new lives may be cute and cuddly, let’s face it: They’re not welcome in our campsites, homes, and gardens. (The tarantula below scooted through my campsite and paused for a photo!)

These guys drove my dog, Lily, nuts. I finally had to put her in the truck!

“This is certainly the time for baby wildlife to hit the ground,” said Rory Aikens, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “From baby birds to javelina, foxes, coyotes, pretty much anything you can name. In the desert, the springtime is the time to be born because there are more things to eat.”

Animals adapt to the conditions around them, so an abundance of plant life means more insects and small mammals. That leads to more predators. Predators can be more than a nuisance; they can be dangerous to small pets, both when you’re out camping and at home.

Speaking of home, don’t think that URBAN makes you safe. Chino Valley is still rather rural, but those cute baby coyotes in the photo above were raised in a culvert under the road in my parent’s neighborhood. Don’t believe me? This photo is taken across the street as the mother is heading away from the “den” for the day.

Coyote mom checking out ESP Boss as he took photos of her babies.

Anybody living in the desert needs to be aware of snakes. That’s just about anywhere in Arizona or New Mexico. The deserts of Southern California have snakes too! When rattlesnakes are shedding their skins they don’t rattle. Spring isn’t the only time snakes shed their skins, but they’re more likely to be active as the weather warms. Other reptiles and insects become more active.

The rattle is to warn other animals away. But don’t be fooled by Hollywood- rattlesnakes will bite even without a warning rattle! Be sure to carry a snakebite kit if you’re heading to their homes!

He won't always rattle to warn you.

Don’t Touch The Babies!

My friend Carter saw some baby javelina and thought they had been orphaned. He actually made the mistake of trying to pick one up. It bit him. Hard enough to send him to the emergency room!

Leave the handling of wild animals to the professionals. Keep reading to find out who you need to call and how you can determine if help is needed.

When You Find An Abandoned Baby Animal

So, you think that you’ve found an orphaned animal. Before you rush it home to bottle feed, you need to make sure it really is in trouble. The best way to do that is to wait and check it periodically. Rabbits feed their young only at dusk and dawn, so you’re not likely to see the mother. If the babies are plump and warm and squirmy, they are being taken care of. If you are unsure, place some sticks across the nest. If the sticks are later disturbed, the mother has returned to feed her young.

Many people are concerned baby birds, particularly if a young bird is on the ground. Frequently, however, the bird is learning how to fly. Baby birds spend quite a bit of time on the ground before they perfect their flying skills; the mother is close by, protecting and feeding the baby. It is a myth that a baby bird’s mother will not accept the bird if it has been touched by a human; it is perfectly fine to place a baby bird back in its nest if the location of the nest is known.

If you determine that a wild animal needs assistance, a wildlife rehabilitator is the best person to call. A rehabilitator can explain what to do to keep the animal safe, quiet, warm, and protected until you can get the appropriate help. It is important to keep cats, dogs, and children away from the animal while determining if the animal needs help or remains in the area. Never attempt to rehabilitate a wild animal yourself -it’s illegal and doesn’t do the animal any favors.

Call your veterinarian to ask how to contact your local Department of Natural Resources or how to contact wildlife rehabilitators in your area.

He trotted right in front of my truck as if he owned the road!

Readers Weigh In:

What critters come out in spring in YOUR area? What do you do to avoid them?

Fun Food Fridays: The Queen Mother’s Super Gourmet Hamburgers

This recipe is for The Queen Mother’s super gourmet hamburgers. These are my all-time favorite hamburgers. In fact, I hardly ever order a burger when we eat out since they just can’t compare!

The salsa is also good on grilled fish.

Make the salsa first and set aside so the flavors will blend.

Hamburger Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 box grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, to taste (could substitute parsley)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients and set aside. The longer this salsa sits, the more the flavors will blend.

Hamburger Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs hamburger
  • 1/2 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • Original Mrs. Dash seasoning blend
  • Sliced cheese (optional)

Mix hamburger, onion and Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl. Season with Mrs. Dash seasoning blend, to taste. Mix well with your hands to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.

Make sure you wash up with soap and hot water after you touch the raw meat!

Form into thick patties and grill until done. If you like, you can top with a slice of cheese.

Serve hamburgers with the salsa on top, either with or without buns. The “Royal” Family eats these burgers on onion buns.

I eat these gourmet hamburgers with cheese if we don’t have any salsa. I also like the salsa with grilled fish. Yum!

Set Your Hook

Must Know Fishing Hook Info

For the first video from The Outdoor Princess Productions I’ll be teaching you how to tie one of the most commonly used fishing knots. But, before I can teach you how to tie this knot, there are a couple of things you need to know!

Anatomy of a Fish Hook

A fish hook has 7 fundamental parts. Hooks come in various forms, sizes, and applications. As always, it is necessary to know the advantages and disadvantages of different hooks, and to know what it the correct hook for the species you are after.

  1. The eye is where the fishing line is attached.
  2. The sharp part of the fish hook pointing upward is called the point.
  3. The small sharp protrusion immediately below the point is termed as barb. Be extremely careful with the barb. It is very sharp and pointed backwards so it will remain embedded in the fish. It can also embed in your clothing, skin, eyes, or weeds and other debris.
  4. The gap is the distance from the point of the hook to the shank.
  5. The shank is the straight part of the hook.
  6. When the hook is in an upright position, the bend corresponds to its bottom part.
  7. The distance from the gap to the bend is called the throat.

Hook Sizes Explained

Have you ever read a fishing tip that says something like: “The best hook sizes to use are between #8 and #16”?

If you’re like me, then when you need a #8 size hook, you just flip open the tackle box and grab one from the package labeled #8. (Or, head to the store and buy a #8 hook!)

Have you ever wondered WHY a #8 is a #8? Here’s your answer!

There is no world or industry standard method of measuring hooks, but here in the US, the measures go from the smallest size 32 (which is barely large enough to hold between two fingers) and count down. As the number decreases, the size increases all the way down to a number 1 hook.

At this point the number changes to a designation of “aughts” or zeroes. A 1/0 (pronounced “one aught”) hook is the next larger size to a number 1. A 2/0 is larger still, and this numbering scheme goes as high as 19/0.

Hook size chart courtesy of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Hook size should be the first thing an angler thinks of when buying hooks. (The second thing is which hook is the right size for the fish you’re after.) Sizes from most manufacturers range from the very smallest freshwater trout hook at a number 32, to the very largest game fish hook at 19/0.

Now you’re ready for the video!

Pitch Your Tent: Camp Cooking

Camp Cooking Utensil Checklist

Now that you’ve read up on camp stoves and have some basic fire-making ideas, I wanted to share with you my checklist for camping cooking utensils. I’m not covering what I recommend you take for food, but what I recommend that you take for supplies.

Like all checklists, this isn’t the be-all, end-all list. You need to be sure to bring the items that make YOUR life easier. And, by the same token, you can leave things at home that you never use.

The best way to use a checklist is to print it out and not only use it, but take it WITH you. Then, when you think of something that you wish you had, you can put it on the list right away. When you get home, evaluate what you took and decide if each item has its place.

I am not a huge fan of made-for-camping utensils. I prefer to use regular kitchen gadgets. Of course, when the “Royal” family camps, we take a huge RV so space isn’t much of an issue. If I’m car or tent camping, then I do think about what can do double duty.

Don't skimp on the can opener -- get a quality one.

If you’re planning on using paper plates and bowls, and plastic eating utensils be sure to bring ENOUGH. I went on a camping trip with a friend who counted exactly how many meals we would eat and then only brought that many plastic forks. The problem was that no COOKING forks were brought. Needless to say we were out of forks about three meals early and had to go to town for more!

Plastic, washable plates and metal silverware is a plus since they hold up better and you can wash them if you run out. Of course, then you have to wash them!

I always recommend setting up a big plastic container with a snap-on lid for your kitchen supplies. It keeps everything clean and together. If at all possible, I recommend having this kitchen kit separate from your house’s kitchen. That means that you’re not robbing your kitchen drawers for a can opener; there’s a camping can opener that just stays in the kit.

The Queen Mother did this with her RV kitchen over the course of several years. During that time, she refined what camp cooking tools and utensils she wanted AND she didn’t break the bank as she acquired them!

We have a set that never leaves the RV.

  • Big spoon for stirring and or serving (you might want more than one!)
  • Bottle opener
  • Bottled water – both individual bottles and large jugs of potable water for cooking
  • Bowls (eating and mixing)
  • Can opener
  • Clothes pins (for closing bags of chips, holding down tablecloths, etc)
  • Coffee supplies (pot, filters, cups) and/or a tea kettle
  • Cold-drink cups
  • Collapsible dish drain
  • Containers for food storage that have lids
  • Corkscrew
  • Cutting board
  • Cutting knife for food prep
  • Cutting knives for eating (like steak knives)
  • Dish pan
  • Dish rags and towels
  • Dish soap
  • Forks, spoons, and knives
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Ice chests
  • Large pot with a lid
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mugs
  • Napkins
  • Paper plates / cups (we always bring both paper and plastic plates and cups)
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic silverware
  • Plastic tablecloth
  • Potato Peeler
  • Potholders
  • Scrub pad
  • Skillet
  • Small pot with a lid
  • Strike-anywhere matches
  • Tea kettle
  • Thermos (so you can take the coffee with you!)
  • Tongs (plastic tips can melt!)
  • Trash bags
  • Utility lighter
  • Ziplock bags in a variety of sizes

I know this is a pretty big list. But, let me explain a few of my choices:

A big pot with a lid AND a smaller pot with a lid – there’s nothing worse than boiling water to wash dishes and not having enough hot water at a time. I recommend a BIG pot with a lid so you can heat quite a bit of water. Just remember, it will take longer to heat the water than it does at home!

The smaller pot is for cooking. If you can, get pots with two stubby handles on each side rather than one long handle. That way, they can nest inside of each other and save space!

The Queen Mother LOVES her coffeemaker!

Coffee pot AND a tea kettle – if you are serious about coffee, then I recommend this coffee maker from Coleman. It sits on a propane stove and does a fantastic job! If you’re like me though, I don’t want my water for tea or hot chocolate tasting like coffee so I bring a separate tea kettle.

That tea kettle can also be used to heat water for washing up.

Strike-anywhere matches AND a utility fire lighter – if matches get wet, you’re stuck. The utility lighter can get damp and still work. By the same token, a utility lighter can run out of fuel and matches can’t. The other reason I recommend both is the reach of the lighter is farther. My camp stove doesn’t have a self-ignition so I have to turn on the gas and then light it. I prefer NOT to do that with a match since I have singed my fingers before!

Plastic silverware AND real silverware – have you ever tried to eat steak with a plastic fork and knife? I bring both types since plastic is perfect for snacks and real flatware is better for meals.

Paper plates AND plastic plates – same reasoning as the silverware. Paper is perfect for snacks but I prefer a real plate when I’m eating a meal. Now, when I say plastic, I don’t mean plastic disposable, but plastic washable.

If you're going to use disposable, be sure to bring enough!

Some other things I like to take:

  • Colander (if you’re making pasta, this is a must!)
  • Griddle (pancakes just taste better when cooked outside)
  • Basting brush (we were making shrimp on the barbeque and had to make a basting brush out of pine needles!)
  • Fish basket
  • Marshmallow toasting forks

Give Me Your Feedback:

What are the must-have camp cooking tools that your family takes? What can you just not live without?

Want a .pdf download of this checklist?

Click here. You’ll need Adobe Acrobat to open the checklist.

Find Your Geocache

Geocaching Terms Explained

Anytime I pick up a new hobby, I have to spend some time learning a new language. There are all those terms that are unique to the hobby. Or, in some cases, are used differently inside the hobby than in the rest of the world.

Geocaching is no different!

Geocaching has its own terms and abbreviations that are unique to the game. My post Log Abbreviations: Decoded! is one of the most popular posts on But, I realized that it goes over all the terms geocachers use in the log books and online, but it doesn’t cover all the OTHER terms that are part of the game.

So, here are some of the most common geocaching terms and what they mean.

Common Geocaching Terms

Archive – Archiving a cache removes the listing from public view on This action is usually taken when a cache owner does not intend to replace a cache after it has been removed. As an alternative to archiving, the cache owner can temporarily disable their cache if they plan to provide maintenance on the cache or replace the container within one month.

Attribute – These are icons on a cache detail intended to provide helpful information to geocachers who wish to find specific types of caches. These icons represent unique cache characteristics, including size, whether the cache is kid friendly, if it is available 24 hours a day, if you need special equipment and more. Attributes are also a tool to help you filter the types of caches you would like to search for when building a Pocket Query (see Pocket Query).

Example of attributes displayed on a geocache.

Benchmark – Using your GPS unit and/or written directions provided by NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS), you can seek out NGS survey markers and other items that have been marked in the USA.

Bookmark List – A Premium Member feature that can be used to group cache listings in whatever way you like. You may want a bookmark list of caches you intend to find this weekend, or perhaps an “all-time favorite” list you can share with friends.

Cache – A shortened version of the word geocache. (See Geocache).

Cacher – One who participates in geocaching. Also known as geocacher.

Caches along a Road – A road that has caches at every available pull-off, or nearly every pull-off. These are popular for people who like Park and Grab caches.

Caches along a Route – A Premium Member feature that allows you to identify caches along a specific route for quick and easy geocaching. You can choose from routes already created by other geocachers or use Google Earth to build your own unique trip.

Caches along a Trail – This means that there are multiple caches placed along a hiking trail. Similar to Caches along a Road, Caches along a Trail is an “easy” way to find a lot of caches in a short amount of time.

Datum – A datum is something used as a basis for calculating and measuring. In the case of GPS, datums are different calculations for determining longitude and latitude for a given location. Currently, Geocaching uses the WGS84 datum.

Dipping – The act of logging a Travel Bug or Geocoin into a cache, and immediately logging it back into ones possession. Someone cachers “dip” a Travel Bug or Geocoin in order to register miles traveled before placing the trackable for someone else to find. Some people use a “personal traveler” to track their miles between caches, and will “dip” the traveler into each cache they find.

Drunken Bee Dance
– The movements of a geocacher, trying to pinpoint Ground Zero, chasing the directional arrow first one direction and then another, has been termed the Drunken Bee Dance.

EarthCache – This is one of several unique cache types. An EarthCache is a cache that promotes geoscience education. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.

Event Cache – This is one of several unique cache types. Events are gatherings set up by local geocachers and geocaching organizations to meet players and to discuss geocaching.

GC Code – A unique identifier associated with every geocache listing. The GC Code starts with the letters “GC” and is followed by other alphanumeric characters.

Geocache – A hidden container that includes a logbook for geocachers to sign. A geocache may also include trade items.

Geocoin – Geocoins work similarly to Groundspeak Travel Bugs® (see Travel Bugs) in that they are trackable and can travel the world, picking up stories from geocache to geocache. Geocoins are often created as signature items by geocachers and can also be used as collectibles.

Geomuggle – see Muggle.

Groundspeak – The parent corporation for Groundspeak also manages and

Groudspeak Lackey – A “Groundspeak Lackey” is a term used to refer to the employees and founders of Groundspeak who do the most basic tasks to support the overall needs of the community. This willingness to serve each other and provide recreation for a worldwide community is a core value of our company.

Hitchhiker – A hitchhiker is an item that is placed in a cache, and has instructions to travel to other caches. Sometimes they have logbooks attached so you can log their travels. All trackable items can also be called a hitchhiker.

Latitude – Latitude and longitude create a waypoint. Latitude is the angular distance north or south from the earth’s equator measured through 90 degrees.

Letterbox – A letterbox or letterboxing is similar to Geocaching, but you use a series of clues to find a container. Once you find the container (or letterbox), you use the carved stamp from the box, stamp your personal logbook and return that stamp to the letterbox. You then use your carved stamp and stamp the letterbox’s logbook.

Longitude – Latitude and longitude create a waypoint. Longitude is the angular distance measured on a great circle of reference from the intersection of the adopted zero meridian with this reference circle to the similar intersection of the meridian passing through the object.

Mega-Event Cache – This is one of several cache types. A Mega-Event cache is similar to an Event Cache but it is much larger. Among other considerations, a Mega-event cache must be attended by 500+ people. Typically, Mega Events are annual events and attract geocachers from all over the world.

Muggle – A non-geocacher. Based on “Muggle” from the Harry Potter series, which is a non-magical person.

Muggled – The discovery of a cache by a non-geocacher. Also can be termed “geomuggled”. When someone refers to a cache as having been muggled, it almost always means the cache was stolen or vandalized.

Multi-Cache – This is one of several cache types. A multi-cache, or multiple cache, involves two or more locations, the final location being a physical container. There are many variations, but most multi-caches have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has hints to the third, and so on.

Mystery or Puzzle Caches – This is one of several cache types. The “catch-all” of cache types, this form of cache can involve complicated puzzles you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates. Examples include complicated ciphers, simple substitutions, arithmetical quizzes and clues cleverly hidden within the graphics.

NAD27 – Stands for North American Datum 1927. The precursor to WGS84. Many maps still use the NAD27 datum , so always check before using a GPS unit with a map.

Nano – An unofficial cache size. A nano cache is usually considerably smaller than the typical micro. One popular container is approximately the size of an eraser on the end of a pencil.

Personal Traveler – A trackable item that is activated but is not released. The owner of the item dips it in caches but it never leaves the owner’s possession.

Pocket Query – (PQ) A Premium Member feature, a Pocket Query is custom geocache search that you can have emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis. Pocket Queries give you the ability to filter your searches so you only receive information on the caches you want to search for.

Reviewer – World-wide network of volunteers who publish the geocache after the listing is submitted to

ROT13 – Hints for geocaches are encrypted using a simple format where each of the letters are rotated 13 characters up or down in the alphabet.

Signal the Frog. Copyright of

Signal – Signal is the official mascot of Designed by artist Koko, Signal is a frog with an GPS antenna on its head.

Signature Item – An item unique to a specific geocacher that is left behind in caches to signify that they visited that cache. These often include personal geocoins, tokens, pins, craft items or calling cards. These are acceptable trade items and may be removed from a cache.

Spoiler – A spoiler is information gives details that can lead the next cacher to the cache. It is like an accidental hint. An example would be a post for a geocache like: “We parked right next to the log where the cache was hidden.”

Swag – Are the items that are left in a geocache for trade. This is sometimes expressed as the acronym ‘Stuff We All Get” however the word “swag” is not really an acronym.

Trackable Item – Any item that can be tracked on

Trade Item – Items in a geocache that are available to be taken. It is a best practice that you leave an item of equal or greater value for each item you take.

Traditional Cache
– The original cache type consisting of at least a container and a logbook. The coordinates listed on the traditional cache page are the exact location for the cache.

Travel Bug Hotel – A geocache with the intended purpose of acting as an exchange point for Travel Bugs. These are almost always regular or larger sized containers.

Travel Bug® – A Groundspeak Travel Bug is a trackable tag that you attach to an item. This allows you to track your item on The item becomes a hitchhiker that is carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world and you can follow its progress online.

Waypoint – A waypoint is a reference point for a physical location on Earth. Waypoints are defined by a set of coordinates that typically include longitude, latitude and sometimes altitude. Every geocache listed on our website is a waypoint. generates a unique “GC Code” associated with every geocache listing.

Now, here’s a question (or two!) for all you senior cachers out there:

In doing my research, there are a TON of terms I’ve never seen before. Is that just me or are they not really used anymore?

What were the most important terms that you needed to learn when you were new to geocaching?

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