"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

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

Airstream Container

I spotted this homemade Airstream container in the wild in West Virginia. It's a fun whimsical container in the woods.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Rotolog

I recently spotted my first Rotolog in a geocache in North Carolina. I think this is the best logbook design I have seen. Unfortunately, it is a German product and does not appear to be readily available in the US. Gone Cachin' used to sell the product, but they do not appear to be taking orders any longer. It does appear to be available through Amazon.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Super Container

We have found many fake log geocaches. Ironically, one of the first we found, Just Another Log To Sign, placed by Pirate & Crafty in the Allegheny National Forest in 2005 was one of the best.

We recently were fortunate to find another of these hides which really stands out for the design of the container.

With the drawer turned away from the seeker, the hide is extremely tough to spot. Good coordinates helped us with the find. It was a fun stop on a good day in the woods.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ammo Cans

Winter

Spring

Summer

Fall

It doesn't matter where I am or what the season. The site of an ammo can on the trail with a log book brightens my day. The days are getting short and the weather can be gloomy so now is a good time to go out and find an ammo can in the woods. Think of it as a wellness program.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Virtual Extremes

We recently enjoyed a short vacation in Texas and Oklahoma. Our main goals were to visit and hike the LBJ Grasslands and Wichita Mountains. We enjoyed both. We were also able to add another virtual extreme to our cache finds when we visited the world's littlest skyscraper in Wichita Falls.

Whoa, that's four floors shooting upward toward the clouds!

The Newman-McMahon Building was built in 1919 after cash was raised from investors to build a 146m tall building or so the investors believed. What they really invested in was the 14.6m tall building shown above. Yes, it was a scam created by a local oilman. At 146m, the building would have been 40% of the height of the Empire State Building. In the low skyline of Wichita Falls this four story building would still give a great view of the town, but it appears to be used for retail.

This wasn't our first virtual at a little place with big plans. We also enjoyed visiting the world's smallest park in Portland.

Mills End Park was another fun stop on our too brief visit to Portland in 2011.

I am happy to see virtuals have returned for at least one encore. Like all of caching, they were a mixed bag of good and uninspired, but many like the two above give us a reason to visit fun, quirky places we haven't seen and wouldn't see except by sheer luck. We have been lucky to be awarded one of the new ones to locate. Our biggest issue so far has been deciding which of the out of the way places we want to share with only one winner possible.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

We Found Cache (Oklahoma)

Yes, it exists. We were hiking in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (beautiful area) and got off at an exit marked cache. After the day's hiking was over we passed by the highway and made our way into cache to see the town. It's a lot bigger than I expected, but lacks any grocery store. For decades it was home to a popular amusement park. The park closed in 1985 when insurance became too much to remain profitable. We didn't actually find any caches in Cache since we don't load micros when on vacation. The town is populated with micros. Does anyone remember when a nice community park would have a small or a regular Tupperware-like container? We enjoyed our brief visit to Cache, Oklahoma.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Sig Items

We've been caching long enough to remember when many cachers had recognizable signature items they left behind in caches. Many were designed and hand made by the cachers. They were quite creative and for a time very collectible. We see few of these among the caches we find now. I was surprised to see a new sig item placed by a local caching couple, CLE Caching Couple in a newer cache. The sig item is a wire formed into the shape of a puzzle piece. It is fitting as a sig item since they are avid solvers and finders of puzzle caches.

Monday, May 29, 2017

"We Must Know Them..."

Despite the game's popularity, the geocaching community is a small one. So when we see a vehicle it seems natural to think we must know them. We were on our way to an afternoon caching between Elk and Clearfield counties when we spotted this rv trailer in front of us at an intersection on Route 62. With its four-color geocaching sticker, we immediately noticed the trailer. The ASPGB sticker also meant we had probably both been to the ASP Geobash together at some time or another. The ANF sticker meant these cachers had possible found one of our ANF hides. Alas, the vehicle turned toward the Kinzua dam and away from our path east. We could only guess the occupants were making their way back from GeoWoodstock in North Carolina. Geocaching can make the world smaller.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Another Library Find

We recently had the opportunity to find another library cache. I always enjoy these hides and will go out of my way to find them. This one had a twist which included solving a five panel sudoku retrieve the coordinates for the first stage which led to the final. It was fun and will certainly earn a favorite once we finally log our find.

The containers for library caches are almost always large enough for dropping travel bugs. We left a Dream Big promotional trackable and an unactivated Volunteer trackable for the next finder.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Could Lamp Post Caches Be At Risk?

Maybe so if Knightscope has its way. The Silicon valley company has developed a mobile security robot for both indoor and outdoor patrols.

The article notes the robots aren't armed (yet) so they just provide video and utter metallic voice commands. I can hear it now in a metallic robot voice saying "STEP AWAY FROM THE LIGHTPOST." or maybe "DROP THE SKIRT NOW."

This one appears to be ready to apprehend hunters of a micro hidden on an unknown parking garage floor.

Uh oh... this pair has already heard of LPC's. Could it be they are caching converts? ;)

So far, it appears the K5 has only been rented to companies and stores in the Silicon Velley area. I'm not so sure they will be effective where there is snow or ice.

They appear to have a bit of an updated Dalek look to me. ;)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The (Not So Scientific) Plastic Ammo Can Experiment

We've been seeing a number of plastic ammo cans in the woods as cache containers. In December, Harbor Freight began offering one variety for $4.99 at their stores. I bought two and decided to see if the inside would stay dry during a NE Ohio winter.

After two months in a meek and mild winter, the answer was no. The ammo can had a small puddle of water on the floor and condensation on the inside of the lid.

The containers are still heavy gage and could serve well in a sheltered place like under a rock shelf. I plan to remove the gasket from one and use it as double gasket to see if that closes out the water. One user on the Harbor Freight site also said a bead of silicone provided a more compressible gasket and water-tight gasket. We will see how those experiments work. I really want one of these to be dry enough for a puzzle cache or two with combo locks. :)

Monday, March 06, 2017

I'm not sure.....

I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

I really don't like the "free" app. I don't find it user-friendly. It is certainly not intuitive.

It would be nice if someone instructed the developers that...
- There is NO MEDIUM size in geocaching. How about calling it a REGULAR? I know it's two more syllables, but try it.
- RECENT LOGS is a common-sense term for most users. ACTIVITY is not.
- Is it really impossible to add a second digit to the right of the decimal point for users not stopping in parking lots or by guardrails?

It seems the company has a never-ending drive to attract some mythical outdoorsy, hipster customer base no matter how much the existing customers are alienated. I see very few of that demographic group entering the game and staying. Free smart phone aps seem to be throwaways. After seventeen years is that where geocaching is headed? The game isn't unknown anymore and doesn't attract a buzz. It will never go viral. Those days have passed.

It will take hard, focused efforts to KEEP THE EXISTING, LOYAL CUSTOMERS and attract new loyal customers. Replacing a functioning, popular app with a free, less user-friendly app will not keep loyal customers.

I'm not sure what I will do. I have used the company's app because it was the right thing to do. I paid for it willingly. I am thrilled I still use my gps for the vast majority of geocaching and happy to have a spare, but it was great to be able to stop at a rest stop outside the area loaded in my gps and see on the app there was a happy bonus find in the rest area. I guess it is time to download c:geo to see if it meets my needs.

Beyond that, I am feeling like the company no longer cares if I am a customer. Have I gotten too old? Does my traffic to the site matter less than someone from another demographic? Am I too old fashioned because I like to find regular-sized caches in the woods? I understand an app user creates more site traffic than a traditional gps user, but gps users are loyal. They have invested money in the game.

I was unhappy to see Geocaching Challenges killed before they had a chance to grow and mature. I haven't Waymarked for years because it seems like an abandoned game left to wither. I was sad to see the heart carved out of Challenge Caches. To me, it was a clear call that the game was being driven by some other consumer segment of which I am not a part. I've been caching for nearly thirteen years. I expect if I am still walking this earth to be caching for another thirteen. That is more loyalty than the site can begin to expect from the next 100,000 smart phone app downloads, but they leave me feeling like a take it or leave it customer.

The good news is when I stop geocaching, there will still be trails to hike with mountains, flowers, birds, animals, and rivers to see. I don't need the game as much as it needs me.

Friday, March 03, 2017

It Can Be Done

Just keep telling yourself it can be done. There are days when a micro in a parking lot can be a great way to take a break from everything else in your day, but they are all the same and don't give many good reasons to cache. Guardrails, lamp posts and big box stores all look alike. Who knows what adventure might be on a trail at a local park or what interesting part of history might be at a nearby cemetery. We started only non-micro caches on our vacation to Minnesota. We got to see so much more than stopping for quick roadside micros.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

No Natz

It has been about ten years since my first allergic reaction to deet. It was swift and brutal leaving me with a crushing headache. I've been exposed enough times since then to know my body has no tolerance of the chemical. Each encounter has been very bad. On a recent visit to Florida, we found an alternative to Deet-based mosquito repellents in a product called No Natz. It worked well, lasted for a long time before re-application was required and gave me no headaches. :)

"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."

There are so many amazing places in Florida to hide a cache, why put one here?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Stalked By a Drone While Caching

We were caching along the Tamiami Trail near sunset when we suddenly being stalked by a drone. It was clearly following us at very close range and there was no one else around. At Ali's request I held back from my desired reaction of taking the drone down with a hefty thrown rock, but still feel the behavior was intrusive. It was on a public trail so there was no question of our trespassing. I hope this isn't some new strange form of stalking. The next time, I will take the privacy invading machine out of existence.

Despite the privacy invading jerk, we found the cache and enjoyed the super bright snow moon rise on the last evening of our Florida vacation.