"When you go to hide a cache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot.
If the only reason is for the cache, then find a better spot."
.... Briansnat


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Five Years

I recently marked my fifth anniversary as a Volunteer Reviewer for Groundspeak. To mark the occasion, Groundspeak sent the really outstanding trackable shown in the image below.

The game has changed a lot since I started reviewing. To me, some of the bigger changes have been:

the elimination of the power trail section of the guideline. Now there are huge trails throughout the world and adventerous cachers with numbers in mind can log 2000 finds in a weekend.

the growth of micros. Love them or hate them, micros have taken over the game.

paperless caching with gps units. When I started reviewing, Ali had a Garmin 60CsX. I still think it is the most accurate handheld ever made for geocaching, but at 1000 caches and no paperless capabilities, it required a PDA or a lot of printed pages. Now you can load as many as 10,000 caches and have the complete page information with you for each journey.

smart phones. They have opened the game up to so many players who never owned a hand held gps. Unfortunately, they have given the rest of us a world of coordinates as much as 2000 feet off from the actual cache. I really enjoy the luxury of checking the smart phone for a rest stop cache when I am traveling long distances, but I remain eternally happy with the accuracy of a handheld unit.

the elimination of Additional Logging Requirements. These were quite popular when permitted and had quite a following in some geographic areas. I don't miss them.

the growth in popularity of Challenge Caches. DeLorme and state challenges existed five years ago, but there was nowhere near the diversity of challenge caches that are now available. The existance of 366 challenges created a caching frenzy this year as Leap Day approached and everyone made plans to find caches on the one day they could only get every four years.

the addition of geocaching challenges. While these have been ignored by a lot of cachers, there are a group of loyal followers who participate in this part of the site. We've posted and completed a number of these with our player account.

geotrails have become a part of the caching landscape. I was thrilled to be the reviewer for the Allegheny GeoTrail, one of the first geotrails to be published. Since then, I've been involved with reviewing a number of these fun trails including the North Country Trail Geo Trail and the recent Clearfield County Geotrail. Within the last month I was able to publish the Athens County Geotrail. For me as a player, these trails are fun and exciting and get me to explore places I might have missed without the trails pointing the way.

I publish a lot more caches now than when I first started reviewing. This year will be double that first year. When I first started, the winter months were quiet for new cache listings in our snowy territory. Over the years, the big winter dip has become less prominent with a lot of year-round cachers and hiders.

The first five years have been mostly fun. The time to review has reduced the number of caches we have time to find, but we still go out frequently. It is always interesting to find caches I published. The other volunteers and the Groundspeak staff are great people. My life has been better for having the opportunity to meet the team and become friends with them.

If you wish to discover this trackable and add a unique icon to your collection, please contact me.