"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, May 25, 2013

Waking Up Geocaches

We live and cache mostly in areas that see snow every winter, lots of snow. Like a number of hearty cachers, we cache year-round, but find fewer caches in the winter months where daylight is much shorter (and the sun often a happy memory), but there are a number of cachers who hang up their gps for four to six months each year. For the first few months after the weather breaks, we often find caches that have been unfound for months. It keeps providing us a readily available supply of caches to use in lonely cache challenges. Unlike's last year's warm winter, this recently past one was much like normal years leaving a readily available supply of lonely caches to qualify for new lonely cache challenges.

April, Lake County Ohio

May, Erie County Pennsylvania

May Albion, Pennsylvania

May Allegany State Park, New York

May Cambria, New York

Geodogs Reach 1,000 Caches!

Gwen and Eva recently reached 1,000 caches. They travel with us often, but usually hunt caches with us only when we are in the woods. They spend a lot of their time in the Allegheny National Forest, PA State Game Lands, state parks, and on the furniture.

We started off with three Geodogs in 2005 and the nickname Three-Headed Geodog. When Becky passed the name stuck. Eva and Gwen are getting on in years. Gwen had an ACL tear on the ANF's Tanbark Trail one year ago, and Eva's cancer returns with increasing frequency and severity. We knew it was time to get them to 1,000. They always enjoy a visit to Woodcock Lake and there's a few local cachers who are always placing new caches along the trails. The weather was cold and there was snow, but the streams had opened up and started flowing with a promise of spring.

Hopefully, there's more milestones ahead for our happy trail companions. They are fearless trail dogs and make geocaching better for us.

The Geodogs with Ali at Woodcock

Celebrating 1,000

The Geodogs have finds in three states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York) and are always willing to head for high terrain hides. They've been with us for all of our milestone finds.

Eva looking for the next adventure.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Waymarking With an Iphone

I'm going to step away from geocaching for one post to talk about Waymarking. I think at one time Groundspeak saw Waymarking as a means to replace both virtual and locationless caches. It took me a while to warm to the idea, but I eventually grew to find Waymarking to be a lot of fun. I like to take photos. I like to discover the history behind interesting items, and I really enjoy a good scavenger hunt.

It all sounds great, but then not much ever got done with the site to improve it. As a geocacher, I have an immense love for paperless caching. I would have been thrilled to be able to download a pocket query of Waymarks for an area we were visiting. I learned early on that I could download a very basic piece of Waymark information (the title and coordinates) to load into GSAK twenty Waymarks at a time, but it's a slow clumsy process and gives almost no information for when you are at the waymark.

In reality there are some categories in Waymarking that thrill me, but are basically useless for visiting without a better tool at the location. I really find the Photos Then and Now category to be one of the most interesting. As a geek, the idea of being at a location and looking at an image of that location from at least fifty years ago is pretty awesome..... but with no means to see that picture at the location, the category became a loser for me. The same frustration is there for the Picture Perfect Postcard category. Imagine visiting a location where a long gone postcard was created. It's a great idea, but loses it's value when the image isn't there for the visit. The same holds true for Philatelic Photos. Imagine visiting USA, Europe, or other foreign lands and finding yourself at the exact location for these historic stamp images...

When I was given an Iphone for my work, there were four things that excited me, getting a real phone (I have never liked Motorola phones including my Droid), getting Skype so I could better communicate with my staff, getting my work email when I was out of the office without needing my computer, and finally being able to buy Groundspeak's historic location app for Waymarking. I was really unhappy to find US customers need not apply for the Historic locations app. :-(

My thirst for a better way to visit Waymarks has been quenched. Geocacher and Waymarker Chilehead has used the Groundspeak open API code to develop a Waymarking site which allows quick smart phone access to the Waymarking site. The site is a super step forward. My interest in Waymarking had declined because I have been so busy, and the game takes time without newer tools. Chilehead's site rocks! A whole wealth of information is now available for waymarkers. Imagine being able to walk around an old historic town with pages of information and waymarks to visit at the quick reach of your smartphone. It changes Waymarkng instantly.

Funny thing is Waymarking keeps growing. There are almost a half-million Waymarks around the world. It took geocaching, almost thirteen years to hit two million caches. Image how the Waymarks could explode if they were brought to current technology. I'm excited. It's a new world for an untapped game.

You need to log into your account to use the app and allow location tracking, to find the nearest listings, but the site is quick and easy to use.

Once you set your filters, you will get a list of the nearest waymarks with thumbnail images.

Select a waymark and you will see the main image for the waymark, the title, the category, who posted the page, and the coordinates.

You are provided a good-sized image of the main photo used for the waymark page.

The full waymark information is displayed and available

Logging a visit is easy.