It’s nothing for me to plan to do a whole series of caches in a day. I always plan for more caches than I know I can possible get to in a day. That way, if one turns out to be muggled, or the quest for lunch takes me a different direction, I have plenty of back up caches ready to go. A lot of pre-planning goes into a caching adventure; especially with MY caching buddies!
Caching with ESP Boss means that we simply MUST take the geocache printout with us.
Gee, one time of writing down the PARKING coordinates instead of the cache coordinates! Just one time of saying “Oh, it’s a terrain 1.5!” when it was ACTUALLY a 3 and the man just won’t let me write it down!
I know there’s a lot of discussion in the geocaching world about caching paperless or printing out the geocache’s information before heading out. For those of you that just need to hang on to something, here are all my tips and tricks to taking printouts with you when planning a caching adventure.
The advantages I like to printing out the cache information are:
You can see the size and terrain. This is especially important if you have kids, limited mobility, or are really into swag. When my family & I first got started geocaching, it was really important to us to be able to trade swag. That meant that not knowing it was a micro was always a disappointment when we got to the cache and there were no trade items to be found.
You have the hint! I know a lot of experienced cachers don’t decode the hint until they absolutely have to, but as a novice cacher, that’s just making the game harder than it has to be.
You can see the inventory. Doesn’t always mean the travel bugs will be IN the cache, but at least you can get an idea.
Prior logs. Wow! This has helped a LOT. I like to know that the cache was found so I’m pretty sure its still there. It’s also helped when the logs give subtle clues, like mud, muggles, or which side of the fence to park on.
Overview map. As the navigator on most caching adventures, this is a big help for me. It’s not very large, but usually enough for me to warn my father (ESP Boss and designated geocaching chauffer) when to start slowing down.
You have plenty of room to write your notes. I can say found, if it was in good shape, what I took, what I left, etc. That way, when I’m back at the computer and typing up my logs, I can say something intelligent.
And the biggie: You don’t have to rely on your memory for the details!
Now, if you live in an area where you can drag a wireless laptop around and see the screen, that’s really cool. A friend of mine, kmazy, actually opens all the cache pages on her laptop screen and then leaves them open while she’s driving. When they find a cache, she closes the page. That’s GREAT if you have a good battery on your laptop!
And, if you’re lucky enough to have a web-capable cell phone then you can always look caches up on the fly. That’s especially nice if you find you have a spare minute or two. I’d LOVE to have this ability since I always look at a spot and think, “Gee, I wonder if there’s a geocache there. It’d be perfect!” There’s this one spot in Jerome, Arizona, that I always look at and think would be PERFECT for a micro.
So, here’s my system if you simply MUST take the print outs with you. But be warned, this might not work on all printers!
Click on the printable version: ‘5 logs’
On the printable version, be sure to click on the ‘Decrypt’ link for any hints! (If you’re into decoding the hints before time, that is!)
Then, click on Print from the ‘File – Print’ menu. You want to do it this way so you get your printer dialog box.
Somewhere in this print dialog box, there SHOULD be the option of how many pages to print per page. You want the print 2 pages per page. On my HP printer, it’s under the ‘Finishing’ tab. But, I’ve found this option on EVERY printer I’ve looked at!
Click ‘Okay’ until you get back to the main print screen and then print away!
In my family, we then punch the pages into a 3-ring binder and take it on the trail. If you wanted to get REALLY fancy, you could tape a string to a pen and then fasten the other end of the string to the binder so the pen is handy for making notes on the sheet.
Me? I’m not that “with it” so I just lose the pen after EVERY CACHE in the truck!
Here are my questions for all you cachers out there: