10 years ago • Caches
ESP Boss has had a great girl working for him this summer. Sandy is a local girl who has been attending ASU pursing a degree in accounting. So, this summer we’ve hired her at the tax office to help out.
In addition to working on a MASSIVE project for a client, she’s also been doing some back-fill for EatStayPlay.com. Mainly, Sandy has been researching the state parks in Utah.
She’ll be heading back to school in a couple of weeks but before she goes back to Tempe, she asked me if I would take her geocaching. Yeah! I love nothing more than introducing a new person to the great game of geocaching.
Way back in June, I wrote an article about non-traditional geocaches. The type of cache where it isn’t just a box of swag hidden in the woods.
And I had mentioned, under virtual caches:
I’ve run into a few virtual caches but I never participated — I wasn’t sure what the ghostie meant and it made me nervous!
Then, blog reader Don_J left the comment: “Don’t be afraid of the Ghost.”
Well, Don_J, I took your advice and went after my first ever virtual geocache.
Have you ever noticed the difficulty rating on geocaches? I mean REALLY noticed it? Most geocaches seem to hover somewhere between 1 and 3 for both terrain and difficulty.
But there are those geocaches out there that are not for the faint of heart: The EXTREME Geocaches!
Extreme (5 Star) Difficulty:
A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.
Extreme (5 Star) Terrain:
Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.
Did you realize that you can geocache 24-hours a day? Yep, unlike mountain biking which is TOTALLY limited to daylight, or hiking or kayaking which are NORMALLY limited to daylight, geocaching can be done in the middle of the night!
Here are 7 things to consider if you’re hunting a geocache after the sun goes down:
While I was in Flagstaff camping, I got to check up on all the caches I placed last August. I was really excited to see how they had fared after a winter of snow, wind, and rain.
I haven’t hid that many caches (13) so I’m not really sure how often I needed to check on them. The ones in Flagstaff are kind of tricky, since I live about 2 hours from them; not really practical to scoot over to check after the first DNF!
The first cache we checked on was The Quiet Zone. This cache is a favorite of mine, but I was concerned about the container; the prior three people searching for it had been DNF. As I drew closer to the cache, it was clear to see what had happened.
A bear had made off with the cache!
Do you remember that commercial? That one where the company launches their website on the Internet and the owners are all gathered around a computer in an otherwise empty room. They’re watching the counter. Nothing.
Watching the counter. Nothing.
Watching the counter. Nothing.
And then suddenly, a click, an order. Then another! Then the numbers shoot through the roof and one man turns to the other and says…
I think that might be one of the experiences new geocachers have with placing their first geocache. A few people find it and then WHAMMY! your geocache shoots to be the most popular cache in your area. People are talking about what a great location, what clever clues, fantastic swag. It’s worth driving two hours JUST to find it.
Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration! But, still, when I placed my first geocache, I expected it to be found regularly. And to have comments about it more exhaustive than TFTC SL.
The very first geocache I placed is called High Gear. And it IS in a fantastic location, if I do say so myself. A friend of mine explained the location: a bike frame hanging about 15 feet up a ponderosa tree. Wow! What a neat place. AND, there’s a bike shop in Prescott that happens to be called High Gear — a perfect name.
I spent WEEKS getting ready to place the cache. The friend who knew exactly where the bike was made a trip to the site to take a GPS reading to make sure there wasn’t a cache there. At the time I didn’t know about how I could use geocaching.com to figure out if this was a good location WITHOUT heading up there. (I’ll write an article about how I do that!)
I’m always very interested in the best cache camouflage that’s out there in the “wild”. Like in the animal kingdom, camo can make or break a cache. If it lacks camouflage it’s just too easy. Of course, too hard of a hide isn’t always fun either! In my opinion, there’s a big difference between camouflage and unique hides. Camouflage is designed to be that thing that you look at and look at and you’re not sure that the cache is there and then you get an “a-ha!” moment when you find it.
Unique hides are for location or whimsy. They’re usually evident that the cache HAS to be there.
Here are some examples from my favorite caches. I’m purposefully leaving the GC codes out (the codes provided by geocaching.com that give the name and coordinates of the caches) so there won’t be any spoilers.
This metal javalina is on the side of the road, nearly in somebody’s front yard. A park-and-grab style cache that gets serious props for it’s whimsy.
Now, this man is in the middle of nowhere. And NO, before you ask, it wasn’t built to hide the cache! The person who hid this cache actually says that he found it out hunting in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s — that’s long before the creation of geocaching. Of course, this stone man in Northern Arizona gets my whimsy vote since it was the ONLY place the cache could be hidden. Plus, the cache container was hidden in the man’s chest. He is a geocacher at heart!