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Saturday, March 22, 2014

How to Deal With Geocaching Muggles

Geocaching is a popular "treasure-hunting" activity using a smart phone or a GPS devices to locate a "geo-cache"; a small container containing different trinkets. There are those out there that are not familiar with Geocaching.  Those people are referred to as  "muggles". Our job as a Geocacher  is to not let the  muggles discover the cache along with you!

Here are some steps you can take to deal with the muggles along the way.

1 Identify the “muggles”. There are three basic types of muggles, and some pose more of a threat than others. They are as follows.
The Oblivious Muggle: Muggles that are just going about their daily life and will pay you and the Geocache no attention.
The Lingerer: This muggle is going about their daily life and doesn't care about Geocaching, but they will linger in the spot right near the Geocache for long periods of time.
The Semi-Curious Muggle: Muggles whose curiosity is aroused when they see you Geocaching. Be prepared for them to come over and ask you what you're doing.
The Whistle Blower: These are the most dangerous type of muggles, as they will come over and pester you about what you're doing or call the police on you because of your 'suspicious' actions. They may also come over and attempt to find the Geocache after you've left.

2 Try not to draw attention to yourself. Avoid suspicious actions, such as constantly looking over your shoulder, or huddling over your GPS in heavily populated areas. These actions will draw attention to yourself, and a muggle is bound to either call the police or ask you what you're doing.

3 Come back later. If there are too many people around, or there are a few "lingerers" in the area, leave and come back later. Go get a coffee or go home for a couple hours, and then come back at a time where the area would be less populated so you can search for the Geocache then.

4 Make Geocaching look as natural as possible. If you need to dig around in the dirt, drop something and dig through the dirt to pick it up. If a muggle is approaching, put your GPS to your ear and pretend that it's a cell phone.

5 Be prepared to answer their questions. If a muggle comes over and asks you what you're doing, just admit that you're Geocaching. If they're interested, explain to them what Geocaching is, and tell them to look up the Geocaching.com  website online.

Let us strive to keep Geocaching fun  for everyone.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Geocaching Responsibly

1. Be sure to get permission before placing a cache on private property.
2. Make sure to observe safe hiking practices when geocaching.
Be mindful of your hiking experience and limits.
3. Hide geocaches in areas that may be safely accessed by fellow geocachers.

The most important thing to do is get outside and safely have fun!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Geocaching Responsibly

A great rule of thumb is to leave any caching location in better condition than when you arrived. 

1. Observe posted signs. 
2. Stay on designated trails.  
3. Do not trespass onto private property. 
4. Pick up any litter you find along the way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Geocaching Quiz: What Type of Geocacher are You?

I found this "What Type of Geocacher are You?" Quiz on "The Geo Caching Blog" and thought it would be a fun thing to share.

Do you love the woods or are you more of a city geocacher? Do you live for meeting new people at geocaching events or do you prefer a quiet evening deciphering a puzzle? Take this quiz to determine your geocacher type, then get personalized tips and tricks for your ultimate geocaching experience. Caution: This quiz involves some math.

1. What is your favorite geocaching snack?

A. Energy bars    B. Sampling the local cuisine    C. [Root] Beer    D. Wheaties – the breakfast of champions    E. Brain food

2. What inspires your geocaching happy dance?

A.  A day out in the wilderness    B. Visiting new and exotic locales    C. Meeting other geocachers    D. FTF!    E. Solving a D5 puzzle geocache

3. Which photo is most likely to be found in your gallery?

A. Scenic views from a mountain peak    B. The Pyramids of Giza     C. You, surrounded by all your geocaching friends    D. You grabbing the FTF    E. A particularly tricky geocaching container

4. What geocaching tools can you not live without?
A. Pocket Queries and Offline Lists    B.  Caches Along a Route    C. The Geocaching Event Calendar    D. Your Statistics    E. GeoChecker

5. If you were a fictional character, who would you be?
A. The Lorax     B. Captain Kirk     C. Iron Man    D.  Hermione Granger    E. Miss Marple

Now add up your answers for points: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5

To learn more each type l below: of geocacher, click your point total.

 5 – 8 – The Nature Lover

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Trackable Questions

When I found my first Trackable I had many question.  I hope these help answer some of yours.

Is it OK to start my Trackable in my own cache?
Yes, any cache at all.

Is it Okay to revisit a cache for a Trackable?
Yes, as long as you can help it move, or towards its goal, go ahead, just post a note to the cache page and not another find.

How does a License plate TB work?
Just like any other Trackable, but you only get discoveries, unless you're willing to hand over your car to be moved to another cacher. Don't be surprised if you don't get a lot of logs on it.

How long can I hold onto a TB?
Two weeks is the suggested maximum, but not everyone can go out and play that often, so if you have it longer, it is common courtesy to email the owner and update them on the status.

How long should I wait before contacting someone holding my Trackable?
If they've logged it, wait at least three weeks, and always be friendly. Nothing gets a trackable thrown out faster than a nasty email. If it wasn't logged, do some research on logs from the last time it was seen.

What do you do when someone steals your Trackable?
Cry, stomp your feet, and THEN do some research by searching cache logs and make sure it is really stolen. Most often, it was merely taken by someone who didn't know how to log it. There are thieves out there, and if your Trackable is truly gone, be it thief, muggled cache, fire, flood, death of a cacher, tornado, whatever, so if it's gone for good, you can send out the copy (in the case of a TB, it comes with two tags) or you can make a replica (in the case of a geocoin) but do not delete any previous logs, or you take credit away from anyone who helped move it along. This upsets people when their logs are deleted.

Do I have to trade when I take a Trackable?
No. Travel bugs and trackable geocoins, that have been set out to travel, are not trade items, you do not have to put something in the cache to take a Trackable item, and you should not take something from a cache in trade for a Trackable item. If you should take something from a cache, you should make a trade, and you can place/take the Trackable item.

Why does it say my tracking number doesn't match?
You most likely typed in the number wrong. Check the number closely, don't mistake 1 for I, 0 for O, 5 for S, 8 for B, etc....

How do I mark my Trackable missing?
Log in, go to the trackable page, and in the drop down menu in the top right corner clcik on "Mark as Missing". Trackable owners can do this for their own items, and cache owners can do it if the item is missing from their cache, but shows as being there. Getting it back into circulation is just a matter of "Grabbing it" back.

What kinds of caches can I log a Trackable through?
Traditional (any size, just don't ever leave a Trackable in a cache if the lid won't close tight with it in there), Virtual, Multi, Letterbox Hyrbrid, Puzzle, Event, CITO, APE, and GPS Maze Exhibit. You can't log them through webcam caches, or Earthcaches.

My Trackable met its goal, now what?
You can give it a new goal, but do not delete any previous logs

Do I have to attach the "dog tag" to an item to make it a trackable? Can I engrave, write, or otherwise brand an object with the tracking code?
No, you don't have to, but then you run the risk of people, especially newbies, not recognizing it as a Trackable item, and leaving it in the cache, or worse, keeping it as swag. Make sure it is easily identifiable as a travel item.

What should I do if I see somebody passing around the tracking codes of coins/TBs?
Explain to them that is virtual logging and those trackables will be at risk of being locked. They should especially not be doing this with other peoples tracking numbers. Also, say "No thank you, I do not virtual log, it's abuse of the geocaching.com system, and it's wrong!

Should coins/TBs be placed in remote or seldom visited caches?
Any cache is a good cache for a TB as long as it fits, but are you helping the TB towards its goal? If it is in a race, NO, if it wants to visit remote locations, YES. Are you prepared to be asked to go back and get it, when it ends up stuck?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Travelbugs and Geocoins

Travelbugs and Geocoins

 When you come across them in a cache, you can :
A .....Admire them,
B .....Discover them, or
C.....Retrieve them to move to another cache.

A- Admire them, check them out, then put them back.

B-To discover them, write down the unique ID number that is on the object and use that number to find the item's page on geocaching.com. On that page you can post a "discover' note and you will get an addition to the number found and/or a special icon added to your onsite profile.

C- For Retrieval, you do the same as B - except you will have the item with you at home. The next time you are out cacheing, 'Drop' the item in another cache and, in your online log, click on the specific item in the menu at the bottom of the log page - before you hit the final 'Log' button.

Special Notes:
1 Take care in transcribing the ID number. Sometimes O and 0, 5 and S, and other combinarions are a little difficult to distinguish. If you are trying to Retrieve the item and you are certain you have the ID correct but there is no page for that item, then it is yours to keep or pass on as you wish.

2  Some of these items have a "mission." This is a plan for the travels of the item, established by the owner. Do your best to aid this item in the mission when you place it in another cache.

3  Please, never reveal the unique ID number in text or a photo.

4  Enjoy and have fun.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Tip if You Don’t Have a pen.

At times, geocaching can be "on the fly" or at unexpected times. With that, a person may not have a writing instrument with them. If you find a geocache and want to log it, it's always appropriate to take a picture of the cache in its specific finding spot. Offer to email the cache's owner with the picture and be very specific of ground zero. If it's on an iron fence, explain which rod or corner it's in. Multiple benches in the area? Tell them which is the correct one and under which bench leg. Log your findings online and state that you have emailed the owner with your find.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Some Geocaching Log Etiquette

There are many rewards for geocaching - the puzzles, going into a new environment, and the finding of the cache. With everything going on, you may be motivated to share your experiences with others. At the same time, it takes creativity to sum everything up. Here is how to have geocaching log etiquette.

Online Cache Log

1.Don't only use geocaching abbreviation and "lingo.  
After writing a meaningful sentence or two, you could end your log with one of the common acronyms but don't make it the only thing in your log.:
TFTC = Thanks For The Cache
TFTH = Thanks For The Hike
TNLN = Took Nothing, Left Nothing
SL = Signed Log.

2.Be precise about geocoins and track ables. Always note down in both the trackable and cache log if anything is missing. This way, the trackable owner will be notified where it went missing and who the last person to hold it was - as well as notifying anyone who searches for the cache. Write down any track ables that you take or leave, despite it appearing/disappearing in the trackable list. A lot of trackables have travel missions, so it's always interesting to read if something goes to another country or overseas.

3.Treat the cache as your own and log down any conditions.
Whether the log is damp/wet, almost filled with signatures, or missing, notify the owner immediately. In such an emergency, you can use a notification icon pertaining to the situation. If you can, take a photo of the cache's condition to post with your 'needs maintenance' log. Don't wait for a cache logbook (log sheet) to be completely full before reporting it. Note the almost full log in your online log.

4.Take the time out to write any experiences on your journey. Every cache is placed in a different environment. Any muggle obstacles? Wildlife? Hiking experiences? How easy or hard was it to complete the puzzle? Did you take anyone with you?

5.Avoid leaving any clues.The entire concept of geocaching is like "finding the treasure at the end of a rainbow". Don't spoil it for other people by describing the immediate area (or "ground zero"). If you have the need to, always cipher (encode) that section of your log.

6.Take pictures around the area, never of the actual cache position.
Autumn foliage, snow cover, animals nearby, historical statues, and other interesting sights can enhance your online log for others to enjoy.

Physical Cache Log

1.Acknowledge the size of the cache. The smaller the cache, the smaller your log must be.

2.Know the limitations of a nano/micro cache: The date and your nickname are plentiful. Always leave room for other people! Be sure to double check on the owner's requests on the online log if a nickname or initials is sufficient. Securely and tightly roll the paper log back up. Always be sure to place it in the lid or cap of the cache before twisting the cache closed upside down. When it's placed in the body of the container, it unravels and expands back out. This makes it harder to close the proper way, as well making it harder to open for the next person.

3.Leave a thankful note and small summary on a larger notepad.
Tell what you saw or who you brought along for the trip.

4.Use geocaching abbreviations and "lingo" for quick appreciation.

Some cache owners love to keep old logs as souvenirs, so show your appreciation on paper as well!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Newest Cahce hidden.

Traditional Cache

Heed The Bark

A cache by RandB Eagle
Hidden : 02/23/2014
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Terrain: 1.5 out of 5
Size: Size: other (other)
N 28° 39.901 W 081° 28.946
UTM: 17R E 452860 N 3170968

Geocache Description:

This cache was placed with the home owner’s permission. As you search you there is a good chance you will hear the greeting of the laid back Husky and the playful Dalmatian. Certain times of the day there will be  muggles scurrying up the road as they head to school or back home. Parking is available right at QZ.

Enjoy the search and be sure to make sure the container is put back exactly as you found it to prevent a water soaked log. Please no pictures that will spoil the fun for the next Geocacher.

 If you are in Central Florida come and find this creative cache.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

GPS and my Hobby

There’s hidden treasure throughout the county and elsewhere. All you need is a GPS device to find it.
With that handheld Global Positioning System device you can find “treasures” It’s usually just a trinket or a small toy, but on occasion searchers might even find a small gift certificate for coffee. But one thing for sure when you find it you always get a “Smile”

Some questions that I have been asked.

1. What is your hobby?
My hobby is geocaching. This is hunting for treasure all over the world. It is a hobby that mixes technology with activity, critical thinking skills and nature. The treasure or cache (pronounced cash) is found by using a handheld GPS.
Hidden caches are the size of your small fingernail to the size of an Ammo Can. These containers are located everywhere in the city, county and the world. The object is to find the creatively made containers and log your find on the Internet and leave the container for the next cacher to find.

2. Why do you like it?
I like it because it helps me to keep walking as I try to strengthen my back and lose weight.  It keeps me busy and active finding caches in parks, public places, trails and even bike trails.  It gains more appeal when I get my family to join in the adventure.

3. How much time do you spend on it?
I can spend as much or little time as I want; no pressure with this hobby. I try to go a few times a week. Most of the time I go by myself but once in a while my wife or son will join me. 

4. What’s the most challenging thing about it?
It is finding a uniquely hidden cache that is placed in such a way that it blends in with nature and makes it very hard to find. All caches are rated with a terrain/difficulty rating from a one star, which is easy, to a five star, which is very difficult to find. The one terrain difficulty would be from a level area or path, which would be wheelchair accessible to a five star, which could be a tree climb or a need for special equipment like a boat or kayak.

5. How can others start?
You can get started by logging into the geocaching website at www.geocaching.com. It is free. I started with the app on my smart phone and then branched out and got a Garmin 450.

Why not give Geocaching a try today after all who doesn't like a treasure hunt?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Where all the Fun Began N 45 17.460 W 122 24.800

The First Geocache was hidden on May 3rd of 2000 in Oregon, United States by Dave Ulmer. Dave placed a 5 gallon bucket that contained Delorme Topo USA software, videos, books, food, money, and a slingshot! The geocache is not there anymore but Groundspeak has put a Plaque in honor of the orginal geocache. The GC code for the plaque is GCGV0P. However the Orginal Cache placed by Dave Ulmer is still on the website. The GC code for the orginal "stash cache' is GCF. Can you Believe that just one letter in the GC Code. Below is the orginal email Dave Ulmer sent out on his internet group.

Well, I did it, created the first stash hunt stash and here are the coordinates:

N 45 17.460
W122 24.800

Lots of goodies for the finders. Look for a black plastic bucket
buried most of the way in the ground. Take some stuff, leave
some stuff! Record it all in the log book. Have Fun!

Stash contians: Delorme Topo USA software, videos, books, food,

money, and a slingshot!

Maybe its time to plan a road trip to where all the fun began?

Friday, February 14, 2014

I Love Geocaching Lab Cache is easy to create.

At the beginning of February, the I <3 Geocaching Lab Cache experiment launched. During the month of February, Geocaching Premium members have the chance to create a temporary, personalized Lab Cache for one special person. This new test is different than normal geocaching and is open to all sorts of creative interpretations. If you’re a Geocaching Premium member and you haven’t created your Lab Cache yet, be sure to check it out.

I used the lab cache to create a special Valentines gift for my wife. She is an avid reader so I thought that the best cache for her would be a book. . After watching different YouTube videos on creating a hollow book the work began. So off to Goodwill to find a perfect book that I thought would work for my creation. After the hollow book was complete it was time to make the cover for the book. Once complete the book was placed on the entry way table with some other books, there it sat in plain sight.  It was time to create the cache in the I <3 Geocaching Lab. Once complete I was given a link that leads to my cache, it was then placed in the special Valentine’s Day email I sent to my wife. After searching the house using the hints given My wife found her first smile, hopefully the first of many.

Be sure to check out the  I <3 Geocaching Lab Cache page and create your own before time runs out.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentines Day

Geocaching the Environmental Way

 In order to preserve nature and ensure that activities such as geocaching can be enjoyed by generations to come, it pays to take care of the environment while you are out there. Here is a list of things we each can do to insure that we take care of nature for generations to come.

•       Carry a trash bag on your vehicle and pick up litter left by others.
•       Pack out what you pack in.
•       Practice minimum-impact camping by using established sites and camping 200 feet from water resources and trails.
•       Observe proper sanitary waste disposal or pack your waste out.
•       Take a small bag and pack out your pet’s waste especially in front country areas or if it is left on or near trails or trailhead areas.
•       Before and after a trip, wash your gear and support vehicle to reduce the spread of invasive species.
•       Build a trail community. Get to know other types of recreationists that share your favorite trail.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Guidelines For Caching

When caching use appropriate behavior, leaving the area better than you found it, properly disposing of waste, minimizing the use of fire, avoiding the spread of invasive species and restoring degraded areas. Here is a brief list of guidelines to get you thinking in the right direction.

Cache Placers
·         Build a relationship with local land owners or land management agencies, to ensure minimal impact of cache placement.
·         Avoid burying a cache in the ground.
·         It is the cache owner’s responsibility to maintain the cache and the surrounding area. If a cache’s area is impacted, confer with the land manager on how you will mitigate the impacts and seek their advice as to whether to relocate the cache.
·         Never place food items in a cache.
·         Don’t modify the environment for any reason, even when hiding a cache.

Cache Seekers
·         Use maps to find a route that will minimize impacts. Note waypoints during your journey to assist you on your return trip.
·         If you notice a path has started to wear in the vicinity of a cache, notify the cache owner via email.
·         Practice the “lift, look, replace” technique if you lift a rock to look under it. Replace it exactly as you found it.

·         After you’ve finished searching for a cache, the area should look as though you were never there or better than when you arrived.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Welcome to The Life and Times of Geocaching.

Welcome to my blog!

I have started this blog to share and document my adventures in Geocaching.  I have been Geocaching since Oct 1, 2012. My goal is to pass along things I have learned and will learn along the way to help encourage others to enjoy the fun of Geocaching.

I also would like to share pictures and notes from my adventures but I will never divulge the location of a cache.  I may show the sights on the way, or the cache container (if it doesn't impact the clue), but I will never show you a cache in its hiding place.  You will find this stated in the rules right from Geocaching.com.  The fun of caching is finding the cache, I will not use this blog as a spoiler.

If you are new to Geocaching and would like to learn more, here is a great place to check out, Geocaching guide.  If you are familiar with caching it is still a great place to check out Geoacaching guide.

I hope that you find this blog interesting and informative!

Please feel free to leave comments or share some of your geocaching adventures or pictures with me to share in The Life and Times of Geocaching blog at Geocachingfinds.com.