If you are a geocacher, the odds are you’ve encountered the ever-so-famous stone wall hide. These can be done in several different ways, be it hidden at the base of one, in the middle of one, or even accessing from the top. The thing about these hides, too, is that it evokes a lot of different sides regarding them.
Are they good? Are they bad? Should they be banned? So many questions come from this topic.
The reason this came up to me is because I recently received an e-mail about these hides from somebody, asking my thoughts.
Basically, it was at a presentation. Somebody, during the question period, mentioned “not hiding caches on or in stone walls”
Obviously, this will depend on things. This presentation was for state parks, so there’s likely going to be different thoughts and regulations in that setting. One person noted it was part of the state permit (it, apparently, is not) and they also said it’s a geocaching.com rule (which, in my research, doesn’t appear to be truth, either).
The person who I was e-mailing with about this noted state park rules do note that you can’t hide caches in ‘archeologically sensitive’ areas, meaning somebody could say a stone wall fits in the category. However, he said, an “old farmer’s stone wall” doesn’t necessarily qualify for that distinction. An abandoned foundation in the woods is different than something archeologically sensitive.
This got me thinking, though. A stone wall hide can be good, if respect is shown to the area. Geocaching, though, has grown a ton in recent years. Heck, even since I started in 2008, it’s grown rapidly. There’s now apps and all sorts of ways for people to play the game much easier than when I began.
My response was as follows:
If I was to hide in a stone wall, I’d want it to be very obvious. Reality is the game has grown to huge levels, and not all for good. With it so easy to play via phone and all, so many people are doing it and not learning it. When I started, it was before paperless, so there was a lot of “work” to do. A lot of newer cachers think the cache should be right at the coordinates they see (despite not understanding an iPhone in the woods isn’t going to be great), so if they are close, they’ll torch a stone wall before realizing maybe they needed to be patient and look. You can always tell when a set of newer cachers have looked for one in a stone wall though …
In the end, when it comes to state parks, I think it’s up to the person giving the permit. You have to make the distinction of what can and can’t. I always believe it’s better to make caches like that easy, though, in the hopes that people don’t destroy the wall looking for an ammo can.
So what say you, geocachers? What are your thoughts about stone wall hides? Should they be done? No? And if so, how should they be done. Drop a comment below and I’ll make sure the person who originally contacted me sees the responses.