"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


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ho Ho Ho

I made an emergency stop at a certain unloved retail store for tree decorating supplies. While heading to the checkout I spotted a display for "collector's" holiday Coke bottles. My mind immediately said cache container.

We were hosting a 12-13-14 event, and I wanted to hide the container as a cache published for the event. I made an ornament hanger and stripped a lip balm container for the log to make the container.

With a Geocaching sticker on the bottom, we were ready for the hide.

Up close the container is readily visible.

About 15 feet away on the trail it is much less obvious.

I hope Santa was kind to all of you and your new year is happy, healthy, and filled with wonderful caches.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Rustiest Ammo Can?

This may be the worst ammo can I have seen in use as a geocache. It was located along the shore at Priest Lake and appeared to have been under water a few times while in place. Suprisingly, the hinges and latch still worked and the log was in usable shape.

It's easy to tell from the view at the cache location why this one went under a few times. It has since been archived. Too bad; we had fun.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Aced It!

It would have been embarrassing if I hadn't. ;)

Head on over to the Geocaching.com blog to take the cache hider's quiz. It's a fun way to review the guidelines.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pipe Maze Gadget Cache

You need to find the right place for this hide to prevent it from being muggled, but we enjoyed finding this pipe maze hide recently. The container inside was sized just right so it took some work to move it around to retrieve the log book. It was the right mix of fun and challenge without making the find tedious. The cache was placed by one of Pennsylvania's more creative hiders.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Backroads and Beaches Geotrail

Lorain County Ohio has kicked off a new geotrail called the Backroads and Beaches Geotrail. There are fifteen caches in the geotrail. The caches stretch from the shores of Lake Erie to the farmlands of the county. The Lorain County Convention and Visitor Bureau were wise and placed the caches with the aid of long-term geocachers and all-round wonderful people LuvWahoo and CapFantasy. Making these tourism trails a success truly requires active participation from solid, local cachers.

We started our day with a kick-off event at the Black River Landing Center. The Visitors Bureau had breakfast for the attendees and prize raffles from local businesses. Yes, they are trying to gather business for the county, but their effort was first class. It was a relaxed event with plenty of time to socialize. They also provided a nice gift bag to attendees. Once the coordinates were released at the end of the event, we were off to look for the caches in the series. It was a perfect way to spend a beautiful fall day in Lorain County.

Our reward at the end of the trail was the trackable coin below. I really like the design. The geotrail theme was perfect for Lorain County. With 250 coins to start, the county was smart and made a sufficient number to have inventory for out of town visitors. Caching very near Lake Erie in the winter can be brutal with biting winds off the lake, but the rural areas and river valleys and gorges are beautiful in the fall. From spring to fall, Lake Erie sunsets will not disappoint visitors. This is a super trail and should be given thoughts for a visit.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Esty and Geocaching - The Down Side

"Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items."

Etsy sounds like a great idea and seems to have some really creative people creating or manufacturing special-interest items, but the web site's venture into the world of geocaching can leave one cringing. I recently blogged about a Etsy seller who was marketing fake, mass-produced hand grenades as geocache containers. Bad idea. Thankfully, they are no longer available to terrorize the general public. But never fear, into each vacuum comes things to fill a void. Like this fake pipe bomb cache. Most cachers know just how bad an idea a pvc cache container is. Beyond the geocaching facts that they almost all leak and are almost always overtightened by one or more finders, these are always at risk for being mistaken as pipe bombs. Usually the cache container is made entirely of pvc, but this one has the added twist of a cast iron section in the body. Maybe the seller doesn't understand making a geocache container out of something which looks even more like it is made to create shrapnel is not a good idea.

Next on Etsy's not-so-good geocaching offerings is the page of a geocaching "container" (using the seller's word) consisting of three letters combined on a magnet. If you've been caching more than a year or two, you've seen these. Most likely, unless the log on the back was an enclosed write-in-the-rain log, you've also seen the pulpy mess on the back that at one time was a paper log. This page is unique since the seller openly admits, "Note that most areas are no longer allowing flat caches to be placed on Electrical Boxes. This is a safety issue. Check with your local reviewer." At least the seller is part right, if a reviewer is aware of this type container, he or she will certainly ask for a verification of permission since I've never seen a utility say, 'Sure, put something on our electrical junction. We're not worried a bit about liability." I never review for safety. It's not my job. Cache owners accept all that risk, but I will ask questions when something is placed where it doesn't seem likely permission would be granted.

I've seen ChapStick tubes used as cache containers. I would never call them with a "time-tested design with the snuggly fitted cap will keep the included color logsheet dry." These containers are a ticket to five quick needs maintenance logs for your wet paper logs.

This Etsy seller never read the part of the guidelines which state, "Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely. If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed." There's something about the sentence, "You bury it nearly flush with the ground then set the bottle in it and put the lid on it." which clearly conflicts with the Cache Listing Guidelines.

I also wonder how many times the Etsy seller offering US Military Shovels has read the buried cache section of the Cache Listing Guidelines. Surely, if the seller had read the guidelines, he or she would probably realize the sentence, "These are great for Camping, Geocaching, or just to keep inside your car for emergencies." on the Etsy page offering this item doesn't make much sense. Who needs a shovel for geocaches when they are never buried?

The problem with gimmick caches is most people who have cached for a while have seen anything that is offered commercially as a cache container. In the end, creating gimmick and gadget caches that meet the guidelines takes creativity and handworking skills. The best gadget cachers have

Friday, September 12, 2014

Subtle hide

If you've found one of these shotgun shells hidden as a geocache, you might spot this one quickly. If not, it will be easy to walk right past this subtle, well-done hide. I've found a lot of these. They tend to stick out and the containers tend to leak. The owner of this one put serious effort into making the container watertight and the hide very subtle. Every time I swear off micros I found a well done one in a super location. This one in Pennsylvania qualifies.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Log My Dog Tags

Yes, that's a Log My Dog tag on our beagle Phineas. He managed to get away from Ali on a morning walk and took off chasing scents. We hiked for miles and searched for hours to no avail. Eventually we gave in realizing he would be out all night on a very cold evening.

We were up early and had walked miles looking for him the following morning. We were both dejected when we returned to the house. Our sadness quickly brightened up when we got word that someone had found a beagle. We were just hoping it was Phineas. We were elated when we called the phone number of the person. He asked about a tag the dog was wearing. It was his Log My Dog tag. :) We knew Phineas had spent at least some of his time away sheltered from the cold.

It was a time for happy doggy and human dances with us and Phineas and Gwen. The little nose warrier had wandered over four miles from home before this gentleman found him at 2am while driving home from work. He fed Phineas and kept him warm while reading about geocaching from the web site. It was easy to tell he was our dog because of all the images of Phineas on the Log My Dog tag page and the images of us on our account page. He seemed genuinely interested in geocaching so hopefully we might have a new player.

The news was nowhere near as bad for Phineas as it could have been. He had frostbite on his nose, his lips, his pads and elswhere, but he recovered well from his injuries. It's a great story of cachers find dog. <3

A very tired Phineas with some of his frostbite

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Have Fun

Ammo can in Montana

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Ali recently made a trip to our local Solid Waste Drop-off Center to drop-off a few electronic items for recycling including our 1995 Panasonic television. We bought it the first year the Cleveland Indians went to the World Series and it never brought home a winner so it was time to move on. While gathering items, I had put aside my old Palm Tungsten to send to the recyclers. We've been caching for ten years this month. The electronic toys used in the game have changed so much. At one time a Palm was one of the few ways to go "paperless". It made such a difference using the Palm with my first Garmin Etrex. The Etrex had a black and white screen with no maps, loaded 500 caches and needed a special cord to load. Together, the Etrex and the Palm cost about $300. The Palm was never made for life on the trail. Over the years, I damaged or lost three or four of these expensive units. Fast forward to 2011 when I switched to a Magellan GC. For $150, I was able to cache with a color screen, very good maps and load 10,000 geocaches with all the page information. :-)

Palm Tungsten

Yellow Etrex

Magellan GC

One thing hasn't changed, I still enjoy finding benchmarks. :-)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Last GeoWoodstock IX Swag

It seems a long time since July 2011 and GeoWoodstock IX. After the Mega event closed, we purchased the last remaining swag to help close the books. We figured since we travel so much we could spread the items around in caches. The last pathtag went away recently somewhere in a cache in Washington, northeast of Spokane. We left the last trackable bear at Camels Prairie when we visited. It is most likely still there waiting at Idaho's oldest cache. You will need to do some physical work to get there, but the view is awesome (and it is a free unactivated trackable).

I think we left trackables and pathtags in twenty-two different states as we spread these around. Besides our three most visited states (OH-PA-NY), we also left items in a couple additional Great Lake states (MI and IN), New England (ME, NH, and VT), along my path to North Carolina (WV and VA), on our journey to GA (KY, TN, and SC), in the southwest (AZ and CA) and in the northwest (WA-MN-ID). We were lucky to have visited three Canadian Providences (Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia). We've also left NEOGEO pathtags at most of these locations.

We'll have to decide what we want to leave in caches next. I'm one of those cachers who still believe in trading and leaving stuff in caches. It makes the adventure more complete. Maybe it's time for our own pathtag to finally be made.

Although I think the design would look good in a trackable wooden coin too....

Monday, June 02, 2014

Fun with Travel Bugs

Maybe I've been reviewing too much lately...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The New World of Geocaching

Smart phones haven't changed the game for the better. I'm so old I can actually remember when people wrote "Thanks for the cache" in the log book at the end of the rest of their logs and wrote their own sentences for the on-line log. Now cache owners are spammed with pre-written logs as a thank you for all their efforts of placing a cache. I love this game. I hope I'm wrong, but today's fad quickly ends up left behind...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

500 DNF's

There once was a find not made
Too bad, I had swag to trade
I gave a great sigh
I will log frowny guy
And will post that this cache needs aid.

While I didn't enter the Geocaching.com/Podcacher limerick contest, I though the above creation was appropriate for this post.

We recently hit the big 500 DNF milestone.

Actually, we don't really notice our total number of DNF's. I just checked out of curiosity and a little jealousy after seeing Dean F. receive the Geocacher of the Month Award. We will never be able to match the impressive stats of Dean F. ;-), but 500 is a bit of a milestone.

Since I'm a statistics geek, I had fun with a few items of interest (to me)

We officially started caching August 9, 2004.
We logged our first DNF 225 days later on March 25, 2005.

We've awarded 15 favorite votes to avenged DNF's.

We've actually avenged a number of our dnf's. The oldest DNF on a still-active cache which we've never avenged (although we tried many times) is Sparta Mall placed outside a small general store. We marked this as a DNF on May 27, 2006. Almost eight years is a long time for unfinished business. Maybe we need to stop and revisit this hide....

DNF's can be a good thing giving cause to return to an interesting place.

Baker's Rocks... DNF 9/10/05... Found 10/16/05

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Not Maker Madness

People looking to make money off the sport of geocaching don't always have the best interests of geocaching in mind. There have been a number of fake hand grenade geocaches hidden recently, including one I accidentally published. These are a terrible idea. I can't imagine a place where a hide like this makes sense. If you find one while out caching, do the game a favor and let your local reviewer know.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Maker Madness - Log Cabin Hide

This now-archived hide at an Ohio State Park was placed by a staff member with the permission of the park. The hide used a hole which had once been used to pin logs together in the construction of the historic house. Please do not copy this hide through defacement.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Maker Madness - Railroad Spike

Note: This was not placed at a live railroad track!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Maker Madness - Waterproof Ammo Can

You had to go noodling for this ammo can which had been waterproofed and hidden below a ledge at water's edge.

Hidden ammo can

Revealed hidden on a ledge below the water.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Maker Madness - Cemetery Fence

Just a simple color-matched, fake bolt on the gate of a cemetery.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Maker Madness - Little Free Library Cache

The Maker Madness events were meant to be a forum for the best hiders to share their ideas on making a great hide. I wanted to use this blog during the Maker Madness window to highlight the best of the best. One issue with creative caches is the often stray outside the guidelines. That won't happen with those posted here. Enjoy the best we've seen.

Little Free Library cache...

The cupola on top of the library unit is an owner-added addition.

A hidden latch releases the roof of the cupola...

to reveal the geocache hiding location.