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Geocaching Manners and Good Taste: Get Some! January 27, 2010

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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Folks, there has been a disturbing trend in North San Diego County Geocaches of late: the repeated leave-behinds of inappropriate swag.  It isn’t genocide or anything but it’s still a big problem.  The reasons are several.

  1. If new Geocachers run across this kind of swag and assume it is just an accepted part of the game it may turn them off to playing entirely.
  2. Experienced Geocachers and reviewers are likely to complain and flag the caches for archival as a rules violation.  This is already a risk to some of our most treasured local hides.  Caches with hundreds of finds and on every “must do” bookmark list in the county are starting to see tasteless swag, advertising, vandalized log books and religious tracts deposited.
  3. Cache owners may reconsider the amount of work it takes to maintain a decent hide.  To the hours invested creating a good puzzle or creative hide, additional hours in replacement and checkups, now we add additional hours of “rules policing”.

In all of these cases the number and quality of Geocachers and hides are likely to decline.  We as a community then become marked as just another (well organized) group of professional litterers.  (more…)

More Geocaching Bomb Scare Nonsense April 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, In the News/Blogosphere.
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A thread got started in January on the Geocaching forums,  Caches to Ashes and Ammo Cans to Dust, one that is right up my alley because things get asploded!

Sadly, it’s a Geocache that gets blown up in this picture.  This is a fairly complete discussion as it features logs by the cache owner, the fire department and local eyewitnesses.  It’s actually a great backgrounder for anyone thinking of laying down a cache in a sensitive urban area.  Sure, it’s two months old but I don’t read the forums as much as I’d like.

All that, and it keeps with the theme of my last post!  Enjoy

-edit

After I posted, I found a whole bevy of them up there

A search for “Bomb Scare” on the forums nets 7 pages of threads.  That’s quite the tally…

Follow-Up to a Questionable Hide April 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Cache Construction, Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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About a month or two ago a new hide popped up in the area.  It was in a clearly marked “off limits” area but because other caches had been placed in the vicinity I believe the owner was under the impression a new placement would be just fine.  This is unfortunate as in my area we have seen “no trespassing” signs sprout up all around Geocaches.  No matter how off road a cache looks, development tends to encroach.  Such is life in Southern California.

A few folks piped up about this problem location and I was one of them, receiving a memo of irritation from the owner.  I responded rather verbosely and I thought the note important enough to share with you here.  I don’t plan on sharing the original memo from the hider unless that becomes necessary.  Let’s just say the owner was mildly upset with my position, which was “archive this cache”, and he/she was inclined to stop playing.  I respect his/her anger but don’t want the hider to give up on things.

My response, in 4 parts, was intended to help future hides and was a direct response to a comment by the owner concerning the  “I am your worst nightmare” section of my Geocaching profile.  All that, below the fold.  If you find it useful, please copy and use it in your own “counseling sessions”: (more…)

Map This Trail April 25, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation.
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If you load up Geocaching.com this morning you’ll see their new project with the Rails to Trails Conservancy.  If you missed the Groundspeak blurb on it, you can see it, here.

If you read up a little bit, you will see Groundspeak and Rails to Trails are seeking volunteers with a GPS to help map these trails.  I support this little “cause”  for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is that the process involves you, a GPS, and walking around.  That’s three simple things I can almost understand together. 😉

Seriously, though, the volunteer work is as simple as turning on the breadcrumbs feature for your GPS to record a track, then walk around on the trail and hit the “Mark” button when you see something interesting like a bathroom.  What’s more, there is a trail in San Diego County that needs help.  It is the San Diego Sea to Sea trail, stretching 140 miles from the coast to the Salton Sea.  But don’t let me monopolize the airwaves; from their site:

Our first area of focus is San Diego.  This branch is called the San Diego Trans County Trail.  It is also known as the San Diego Sea To Sea Trail.  The latter name is largely coincidental.  The two seas it connects are the Pacific Ocean in Del Mar, California and The Salton Sea, 140 miles inland.  This Trail crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, which extends from Mexico to Canada.

 

Our Current Focus:  Crossing San Diego County on the San Diego Sea To Sea Trail

This San Diego trail will pass gorgeous scenery that includes beach, coastal wetlands, mountains, lakes, streams, desert and an inland sea.  Such diversity within 140 miles makes it an exceptionally beautiful part of the national trail network.

Go to the site, take a look at the existing trail map, then note it still needs some handy folks with a GPS out there to map it for the rest of the world to use.  The cool bit here is the next phase, once the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail is done:

After completing the Sea To Sea Trail (Trans County Trail), the goal of the Sea To Sea Trail Foundation will be to create a network of interconnected trails crisscrossing the lower 48 states of the United States.  A person will be able to ride a bicycle, ride a horse or walk to every large or medium size town in the country.

Now I love my frequent flyer miles and freeway machines just as much as the next guy (ok, probably a lot more than the next guy) but this is just plain cool.  Hiking and biking trails to every densely populated town in the country?  I am freakin’ in!  Talk about a killer road trip, on foot!

If you’re planning a mapping or Geocaching hike on the San Diego Sea to Sea Trail, let me know. 

Fun Geocaching Stuff Around the Web April 1, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, For the Newbies, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation.
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I had 10 minutes so I took it.  Google can be fun!

  • Just what do you think this guy is after?
  • And it must have been a slow news day when they quote the “ardent” Geocacher of 70 finds in a year.  Must be all terrain-5 caches.  I do like the boy scout reference, tho.  Sorta.
  • Now I’m finding Geocaching blogs everywhere.  I need to read up on my outdoor wear more.  Check it. I dig a caching adventure in the rain.
  • And if you’re in the Boise Idaho area on a caching run, reach out to Tiggerz Travels.  Tiggerz’s first find was a dougandsuzy special (peanut butter jar).  Surely we can help find something a little more interesting for the next hunt!

That’s all you get for 10 minutes of research.  Back to work.  😉

Interview With Marko Ramius: The Reviewer (part 2) March 31, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com, Philosophy, Reviews.
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The Setup

In the first article on Re-Introducing the 3rd Player: The Reviewer I just covered a few basics. This time around I have a bona-fide Reviewer who was kind enough to indulge me a few questions on your behalf. So here you have it, 20 questions with your local reviewer, Marko Ramius.

Well, local if you’re in San Diego/Orange County. 😉

The Questions

Marko, thanks for agreeing to participate here, the folks should get a kick out of it. The general populace only sees your name at the top/bottom of a cache log under “Marko Ramius, Published”. The first question on their mind is “Who is Marko Ramius?”

(more…)

Planning for a “Crush” Event – Part 3 March 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Events, Geocaching, Software, Strategy and Tactics, Uncategorized.
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Part 3: All About the Pocket Query

In Part 0 we established the Crush event as something you should not treat lightly.  In Part 1 you have established your basic organization and planning structure, while in Part 2 you made official decisions on “Da Rules”.  Now it is time to get cooking on a Pocket Query and mapping out the actual waypoints you will seek.

This is where the fun really gets going, if you’re a geek like me.

Run a Pocket Query

You’ve already decided what types of hides you are going to seek in Part 2.  With that, go run yourself a Pocket Query on Geocaching.com.  Some thoughts, though, on building effective PQs are are in order:

  1. Make sure the details from Part 2 (terrain, difficulty, types, etc) are all plugged in (DUH)
  2. Consider running a separate query for each cache type and merging the GPX files later, this will make it easy for you to slice off the Mystery caches
  3. Always choose “not ignored” as a filter criteria.  This will become important in a second.
  4. Choose an appropriate waypoint to center the search on and fiddle with the search radius until the “preview” results come back with just under 500 results (475-499 is good).  This insures you have ALL of the caches in a given radius listed.
  5. Use Watcher to further filter your results when the PQ GPX file comes over.

(more…)

A Poll: What do you want to see next? March 27, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Geocaching, Uncategorized.
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I’ve asked, but you people are a shy audience, with only the lonely hot tub engineer brave enough to post commentary.  You Geocachers tend to be introverted, I get that.

Hence, a poll: What do you want to see more of on the blog?  Remember, I’m trying to be useful here and not just a news collector so I do take commentary seriously.  This one’s multiple choice, so pick more than one if you like, or add your own.

I will share the results in a few days!

Some Visitors March 26, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching.
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2 comments

It looks like I have a little more than the usual traffic, so welcome all!  If you have specific topics or how-tos you want me to cover please feel free to contact me through my Geocaching.com profile (handy link to the right).  Remember, I mind meld with your gear.  You may not know how to operate it but I love figuring it out for you.

Failing that, you can always try peterkraatz at cox dot net.  End of quarter has been evil, so stand by- I promise to finish my series on the reviewer with a few questions answered by Marko Ramius himself.

And remember, my resources pages have lots of handy templates for logs, stash notes and other goodies for your hiding/building pleasure.  It’s all free.

Re-Introducing the Third Player: The Reviewer (part 1) March 23, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Geocaching.com.
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Deep in the bowels of Groundspeak headquarters, somewhere in the vicinity of N47 37.000 and W122 21.000 lies an ancient and terrible cult with enormous power and influence.  Some call them the Tripartite Commission.  Some know them as the “new world order” or the Illuminati.  We know them only as

The Reviewers

They are a shadowy bunch, traversing the space between the Geocaching Hider and Seeker with no apparent finds of their own, but thousands of Geocaches reviewed, approved, denied or just plain ignored.  They are the third player in this game and it does not go on without them; their power is legend.

Hider
Seeker
Reviewer

It has a very western 1-2-3 feel to it, and you probably know nothing about what number 3 does, why they’re here and how they can help.  It’s time we fixed that in a two parter.  In this first chapter let’s just cover the reviewer’s role, shall we?  It’s essential and neither the Hider nor the Seeker can do their thing without the Reviewer.

(more…)

Geocaching Around the Blogosphere March 20, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Blogroll, Education, Geocaching, In the News/Blogosphere, Recreation, Somebody Else's Stuff.
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This one has more pictures per cache find than I have ever taken in my entire history with the game.  They appear to be in the process of getting hooked. 
http://dancinglight.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/geocaching-in-gainesville/

And this right here is the story of just exactly how one person got hooked (a retrospective).  http://clandelaney.wordpress.com/2007/01/17/geonesis/

And don’t ever tell me I don’t have an international flavor to this drivel I peddle here on the blog.  Geocaching is good for your health, or at least this blogger’shttp://healthskills.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/pictures-and-geocaching-not-really-a-painful-topic/

None of them have ever launched telephone poles to the moon, however, so I still have that going for me.

😉

Why You Should Wait Before Placing Your First Hide March 18, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I read in one of the forums and how-to guides on Geocaching way back when that you should wait until you have at least 20 finds before placing your first hide.  This was to give the new player time to experience good and bad techniques, camouflage, locations and terrain.  The thought was (or so I infer) the community will see higher quality caches as a result.

Sadly, that advice is not easy to track down anymore, nor is it widely followed.  At least in the North San Diego County area we have recently seen a rash of new cachers placing their first hides after just a handful of finds, sometimes as little as 1 or none!  They all generally suffer from some of the same problems with location, detail and longevity.  Those are the reasons you should wait a bit before placing your first hide.  Details on that, below the fold.

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To log check or not to log check March 15, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, Geocaching, Philosophy.
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I do, log check that is.  This is the practice of checking the signatures on paper with the online logs, deleting those that don’t have a signature to match.  It’s not popular and most people would rather be like the local granddaddy of Geocaching Kawikaturn and say “I’m not the rules keeper, it’s their karma if they want to log a find they really didn’t find.”  I absolutely respect that since it is a LOT of work to police your logs, particularly if you have a lot of cache hides.

I see a problem though, at least for my hides: maintenance.

(more…)

How’d You Do That: Printed Routes Episode March 6, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching, Mobile Caching, Software, Strategy and Tactics, Uncategorized.
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I received a few questions during the recent 100-Cache Dash about the preplanned route I provided to all the participants. So if you would like to plan a turn by turn route for your next Geocaching adventure, this post will get you started. If you weren’t there the first leg of the route looked like this…
Click to Embiggen

Palm Springs Route, Leg 1, From Mapsource: Click to Embiggen

Now I did provide it on regular paper and it was nicely carved up into “phases” for the day, but you get the idea.  If anyone got lost they could catch up real quick.  How 6 people with multiple GPSr units PER PERSON could possibly get lost is beyond me, and beside the point (but it is why we left Calipers at home).

Want to create something like this for your next hunt?  All that, and more, below the fold.

(more…)

Abbreviations 101 January 14, 2009

Posted by kinzuakid in Education, For the Newbies, Geocaching.
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[Update 1/19/09: added GZ]

[Update: for all you folks arriving from Google, this is Geocaching Abbreviations 101]

I actually got surprised yesterday.  Somebody asked me what “LPC” meant and I actually started laughing.  Thank goodness I was reading an e-mail, but then I thought to look up the questioner and discovered this was a 5-Find cacher.

Then I felt like a douche.  If you’re out there- I was in the same boat, too.  Because really, most of the jargon you take for granted was brand new to you too on day one.  Heck, I didn’t know what TOTT meant until mid 2007, but I had a good guess and it really just didn’t affect my caching experience.  So when I was told it was more of an “eh, that’s neat”.

But I know some of you are dying to get the definitive Geocaching language handbook, so here goes.  What I will do is start the post off and keep it alive with your comments and feedback- refreshing as we go, adding and removing as we need.  If I need to upgrade this to its own page, I will, but I will catalog the notes here and see what is the interest level.

  • ALR: Additional Logging Requirement.  Previously used to enforce “special” find logging rules, such as “must show picture of self with cache container in hand to log as found”.  These are no longer allowed.
  • FTF: First to Find.  Something dougandsuzy have their own log stamp for
  • GZ: Ground Zero.  The “Spot” where the Geocache is located, or where you think it is located.
  • LPC: Light Post Cache.  A hide technique that is clever the first 30 times you see it, up under the skirt of a utility lamp post.
  • POI: Point(s) of Interest.  Your GPS probably calls all waypoints “points of interest”, like the one in my car does.  Usually this is a waypoint with a user flag on it, like “hotel” or “school”.
  • SL: Signed Log
  • TNLN: Took Nothing, Left Nothing
  • TOTT: Tool(s) of the Trade.  All the junk you bring with you to cache successfully.  Usually refers to something specific needed for a cache retrieval.

It’s a short start, but something tells me it will grow.  😉