Posts Tagged ‘terms’

Find Your Geocache: Power Caching

Geocaching Power Trails

I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of time with a brand-new geocacher. This gives me a lot of perspective on what the newest of the new cachers know and what they don’t know. (And sometimes that is surprising!)

So when I was chatting with Code Wolf today about today’s geocaching article, the subject of a “power trail” came up and he asked me to write an article about it.

Now, there are people who love power trails since they can rack up a bunch of finds in a short amount of time. And there are people who think that scooting down a 10 mile long road grabbing a cache every quarter mile is just silly.

A power trail is loosely defined as a series of caches laid out along a roadway. They are usually a series of PNG caches with cache sizes being small or micro. There are some power caches that are 50 or more caches along a single route!

An example of a 50+ power cache series is “Hang’m High On Hwy. 51 #1” GC20GR1 in Louisiana.

For me, there’s a big difference in a power cache series like this versus a road that has lots of caches along its length but each cache is hid as if it were a stand-alone hide.

Way back in 2009, I wrote about caches along a trail. But I wasn’t thinking of anything like a “power trail”. I like hiking along a trail or a loop and finding a cache on a regular basis, like the caches along the trail that lead to my “High Gear” GC1PN22 cache.

High Gear Cache

There are 5 caches along a steep, rocky hiking trail in Prescott National Forest.

Somewhere between caches along a trail and a power trail are caches that are one right after another BUT you have to walk or bike to get to them. There are two trails like that here in Prescott, both Rails to Trails, that I have been itching to go after: the Peavine National Recreation Trail and the Iron King Trail.


Iron King Trail

Caches along the Iron King Trail. The trail is walking, bike or horse ONLY. No motorized vehicles here!



I don’t think I’d make power trails by caching bread and butter, but just once I think I’d like to try my geosenses against a true PNG power trail. Just to say I did it!

Readers Weigh In:

  • Power trails, yes or no?
  • Do you think that power trails add to or detract from the geocaching experience?
  • Is it still a power trail if you have to walk to get all the caches?

Set Your Hook

What Are The Parts Of A Fishing Rod?

I’ve decided that since I’ve talked about the anatomy of a fish HOOK it was high time I discussed the anatomy of a fishing POLE.

My favorite fishing pole!

There are literally hundreds of fishing poles to choose from. There are everything from ice fishing to fly; kiddie poles to high-dollar deep sea poles. But no matter what, all fishing poles are made of the same four parts:


The rod itself can be made out of a variety of materials including bamboo, graphite, carbon, fiberglass, plastic, or a composite material. Of course, all rods come in different lengths and diameters depending on what type of fishing, the angler’s preference, and what species of fish you’re after.

A rod that is all of a piece (that doesn’t break down for easy transport) have a much different feel than a multi-piece rod. But frankly, a single-piece rod is pretty difficult to transport! Two piece rods are joined together by a ferrule and if engineered well, won’t give up much in the way of having a natural feel to it.

The ferrule.

Fishing rods are sorted by the rod’s action, as well as its power. Power refers to how much force is needed to make the rod flex. Action is determined by where the rod flexes.


The guides are where the fishing line is threaded through. The guide has two main parts: the foot, which contacts the fishing pole, and the loop which sticks out from the rod. The guides of a rod are either metal or ceramic and are attached along the rod in a variety of locations.


With a multi-section rod, it’s important to have the guides lined up so your line will flow from the reel through the guides properly and without catching. Depending on the style of rod and its length, the placement and size of the guides will vary.

While you’re fishing, be sure to check the alignment of the guides often. A fighting fish can actually twist the two sections of rod so the guides no longer line up!

Reel Seat

The reel seat on a fishing pole is located above the base and is where the reel is attached to the rod. What reel you use, will determine what the reel seat will look like. Since there are three standard reels, there are three standard reel seats: fly, casting and spinning.

Obviously my reel seat has my reel attached to it!


The handle of a fishing pole is what you hold onto while fishing. The type of rod will determine what the handle looks like. Spinning and fly rods have a thinner and more streamlined handle, compared to a rod used for casting.

If you look closely, you might see the ground-in worms and PowerBait on my handle!

The majority of handles are manufactured out of foam or cork.

When you’re using a fishing pole, you want to be very careful with the rod tip. It’s easy to step on, break off, or otherwise damage. The other part that should be checked regularly are the guides as they can become loose and detach from the rod shaft.

Be very careful with the tip!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What is your favorite style of fishing rod?
  • Do you have a favorite brand or style?

Find Your Geocache

What Are Collectable Geocoins?

Rotary International collectable coin.

When I first started geocaching, I had no idea that there are actually TWO types of geocoins: trackable and collectable. It wasn’t until I doing research for the Geocoin that I discovered the difference!

Back in April, I wrote an article all about what trackable geocoins are and how they work. But, since then, I’ve realized that many people might not actually know the difference between a trackable geocoin and one that you collect.

The difference (in a nutshell): A collectable geocoin typically does NOT have a tracking number on While a collectable geocoin might move from cache to cache, its movements are not able to be tracked on

This coin is non-trackable.

Some collectable geocoins DO have an ID number. That ID number is like when an artist makes prints of a painting and says: Print #127 of #230. While knowing that a collectable coin is part of a limited edition is really neat, I think that the ID number would cause confusion with people thinking that the coin is trackable!

Designs (and materials) vary from coin to coin. A standard geocoin is a minted, metal coin that can range in size from a dime to the size of a silver dollar. While most people think ah, “coin=round” that’s not necessarily the case. A “coin” can be in any shape and even be three-dimensional with raised portions.

4 Tips For Your Collection

1. Collect non-trackable coins.

There are a bunch of non-trackable coins available for personal collections. They range from minted coins, to wooden nickels, to plastic tokens, to signature items. (Not sure what a signature item is? Keep checking back, I’ll do an article about that soon!)

An example of a wooden nickel I found in a cache.

2. You should only collect unactivated trackable coins!

If the coin is already activated, then the owner is expecting it to move from cache to cache. Trust me, coin owners get really frustrated when their TRACKABLE geocoin ends up in somebody’s shoebox collection under the bed never to be seen again!

(I just found an article where the author said that any time she finds ANY geocoin in a cache, it goes into her personal collection. Not cool!)

Don't take a trackable item from a cache unless you're planning on moving it to another cache!

3. Collecting activated trackable coins.

I know I just said to only collect unactivated trackable coins. But, the exception to that is if YOU are the owner of the coin. ESP Boss has two coins from our original Geocoin minting that he has kept. They are activated and he is the owner, but the coins remain in a frame on the office wall.

4. “Collect” the coin by discovering it.

Unlike finding a trackable item in a cache, taking it and moving it along, you can mark the trackable item’s number as “discovered” on your profile. That means that you are saying that you’ve seen the item but are not responsible for moving it along. I know of several geocachers who have an online “collection” of geocoins that they have found. This is perfect if you don’t want the responsibily of moving a coin or if you only cache occasionally. By discovering the coin, you can show the coin on your profile without getting angry emails from the coin owner when you haven’t moved it in 4 months!

Readers Weigh In:

  • What types of geocaching items do you collect? Coins? Signature items? Etc.
  • Have you ever had somebody “collect” your trackable?
  • Do you move trackable items or do you “discover” them? Which do you prefer?

Find Your Geocache

Types of Caches: More Than Just Boxes of Swag

Over the past few weeks, I’ve covered the different sizes of caches, what I like to use for a cache container, and cache camouflage. Now, it’s time to talk about that all important category:

Non-Traditional Caches

For the longest time, I thought that a cache was just a box hidden in the woods. Or the city. Or wherever. I had no idea that geocaching actually offered more than just a “Here’s the coordinates, go find it” type of experience. Each cache not only has its own definition, it also has it’s own icon on the website. All of the icons shown below are copyright and property of Groundspeak.

Multi-Cache – A multi-cache (sometimes referred to as a “multiple”) 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. An offset cache (where you go to a location and get hints to the actual cache) is considered a multi-cache.

The first time I did a multi-cache I had no idea that there would be different “legs” to what I was finding. Imagine my surprise when instead of finding a container full of swag, I found a magnetic key-hider with coordinates in it!

These were the coords to the second leg of the cache.

Puzzle Cache – A puzzle cache, sometimes known as a mystery cache, is the “catch-all” of cache types. A puzzle cache involves puzzles (sometimes really complicated puzzles) you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates.

I’ve never actually tried a puzzle cache but I look forward to. (Or, I look forward to convincing ESP Boss that we should try one. He likes the good old fashioned PNG.)

Event Cache – Occasionally, local geocachers and geocaching organizations designate a time and location to meet and discuss geocaching. After the event the caches are archived. Event caches can have caches hidden specifically for the event, prizes, poker runs and more. Each cachers who participates gets credit for “finding” the event cache.

My first event cache was the A.J.A.C.S. 6th Annual Campout Event Cache. For three days, we searched for new caches (got our first FTF), met geocachers from across the southwest, camped and generally had a blast.

Letterbox Hybrid – A letterbox is another form of treasure hunting using clues instead of coordinates. In some cases, however, the owner has made it both a letterbox and a geocache and posted its coordinates on If there is a stamp inside a letterbox hybrid, it is not an item intended for trade; the stamp is meant to remain in the box so that visitors can use it to record their visit. To read more about letterboxing, visit the Letterboxing North America web site.

An artist friend of mine, Ann, has hidden several letterboxes near Prescott. I had actually known of letterboxing long before I knew about geocaching. But, I thought it sounded complicated and was positive there wouldn’t be any near where I live. I was totally wrong on that! (But, between you & me, I prefer the principals behind geocaching!)

Mega-Event Cache – A Mega-Event cache is similar to an Event Cache but it is much larger. In order to qualify as a Mega Event, the event cache must be attended by 500+ people. Typically, Mega Events are annual events and attract geocachers from all over the world.

I’m trying to convince ESP Boss and The Queen Mother that we should attend GeoWoodstock VIII this year. I’ll let you know if we’ll be there!

Earth Cache – An EarthCache is a special physical location that people visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. EarthCaches include a set of educational notes and the details about where to find the location (latitude and longitude). For more information about EarthCaches, visit

Grandfathered Cache Types

These are cache types that are no longer available for creation on These cache types are now considered waymarks and are part of

Virtual Cache – A virtual cache is a cache that exists in a form of a location. Depending on the cache “hider,” a virtual cache could be to answer a question about a location, an interesting spot, a task, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit.

I’ve run into a few virtual caches but I never participated — I wasn’t sure what the ghostie meant and it made me nervous!

Webcam Cache – These are caches that use existing web cameras placed by individuals or agencies that monitor various areas like parks or road conditions. The idea is to get yourself in front of the camera to log your visit. The challenging part, however, it that you need to call a friend to look up the web site that displays the camera shot. You will need to have them to save the picture to log the cache.

I tried to do a webcam cache the last time I was in Las Vegas. Even though I found the correct street corner, I couldn’t figure out the whole camera-online photo thing.

Locationless (Reverse) Cache – Locationless caches could be considered the opposite of a traditional cache. Instead of finding a hidden container, you are given a task to locate a specific object and log its coordinates. A scavenger hunt of sorts, it involves collecting waypoints of various objects around the world.

My favorite type? Caches with lots of good swag!

All in all, I know I prefer a nice traditional cache with a few multi-caches thrown in for spice. And the next time I have the opportunity to attend an event cache, you can count me in!

What’s Your Opinion?

  • Do you have a favorite type of cache?
  • Do you participate in any of the “sister” games to geocaching like letterboxing or waymarking?
  • Have you ever been to an event cache?

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?

Find Your Geocache

The Truth About Trackables

Ah, trackables! Trackable items can be the Holy Grail for some geocachers. But, what exactly are they? This article is about that a trackable IS; next week’s will be about what to do with one once you find it.

Put simply, a trackable is an item that is moved from cache to cache, around the world, and its movements are recorded on

But, if you’ve ever tried to explain that concept to a Muggle, then you know the most common question is: “Where does it keep the tracking chip?”

The first time I was asked this, I honestly didn’t understand. I mean you TRACK it at… Then I realized that with GPS technology, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the trackable item itself can be read and registered from a satellite. While that’d be really cool, it’s not the case.

(Although, if they can microchip a dog, it does make a next-step type of logic!)

Trackables, also called travel bugs, TBs, or hitchhikers can be a variety of items. Each trackable has a unique code that has been registered with

So, just what IS a trackable item?

A travel bug is a “dogtag” imprinted with the image of a bug made from a barcode and a unique tracking code. These are produced by and available from the website directly or a variety of retailers. These “dogtags” are typically attached to an item like a small toy.

Image courtesy of; travel bug dog tags

Trackables can also be trackable geocoins. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are typically metal. They also have a unique code that is registered with geocoin

How do they work?

With most aspects of geocaching, there are two sides to a trackable item: the online and the real world.

Real World Trackables

In the real world, a trackable is placed into a cache, ready for another geocacher to come find it and move it along. Once it has been placed (or picked up) the online aspect of the item gets updated.

Online Trackables

If you’ve ever found a geocache and logged it online, then you’re familiar with the online aspect of geocaching. The rules are very similar for the online life of a trackable item. Once and item has been placed into a geocache, the cacher logs into their account on and records the trackable is now in the cache, using the unique tracking code.

Once the trackable has been logged into a geocache, it appears in the cache’s inventory. When a trackable is removed from a cache in the real world, the finder should also log online that they now have the trackable. Once that happens, the trackable is removed from the online inventory of the cache and is listed as “In the hands of” the geocacher who has it at the moment.

Example of the inventory on a geocache.


Most trackable items have a goal or purpose. Some are in a race with another trackable to reach certain destination, others want to be placed in caches with a theme, etc.

ESP Boss has a trackable geocoin dedicated to his final Search & Rescue dog, Kodak. I have a trackable that wants to visit campgrounds.

Some Of What I’ve Encountered

Our very first encounter with trackables actually was a pair of them. They had been in the cache for MONTHS. We were very excited to pick them up and take them along for the ride.

The first trackable items my family & I ever found.

This little guy, (technically found by ESP Boss) wants to have its picture taken at different caches. Boy, is THAT ever easy since he’s very photogenic! He is the Mechanical Man travel bug.

Mechanical Man travel bug in the spine of a saguaro cactus.

Once, while out for a day of geocaching, I placed a trackable. By the time I logged our cache finds the next day (I got home VERY late) the trackable had already been scooped out of the cache and had been re-hid. Very cool!

For all you experienced geocachers:

What is your favorite trackable item you’ve ever encountered? What happened when you found your first-ever trackable?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger... Affiliate Link
Let Kim Help You Publish Your eBook
On The Beach Publishing
Share |
Royalty Free Images