I went geocaching last week.
Yes, I admit it. In the hopes of not letting geocaching pass me by, I visited a local state park to do some caches I had never done. Some were easy, some harder. But in the end, the hope was to find a way to get the “caching bug” again.
It all leads me to the next installment of this series, however.
Creative caches (in the urban setting) vs. the old-fashioned ammo box in the woods after a fun walk and/or hike.
See, it seems in recent years that creative hides have become the norm. The micros go extremely far in testing a cacher’s mettle, patience and creativity when finding a cache.
Some of the “creative” hides I’ve come across in recent years include:
- Cut-out logs
- Fake mushrooms on trees
- Fake pieces of gum
- Fake bolts on guardrails
- Fake sticks (sometimes in the woods)
- Fake sprinkler heads
- Tops of chain-link fences
- Fake plants
- Fake electrical covers
- Fake rocks (sometimes in a pile of rocks)
- Fake broken beer bottle
- Flat magnet caches (can be on anything, including signs etc.)
- Fake fruit (hanging in a tree)
- Fake reflectors
Some others, which I’ve not personally found, but have seen photos of or have heard about:
- Fake electrical outlet (seriously)
- Fake cables (such as at the bottom of a phone pole)
- Fake bugs/insects
- Fake cigarette (seriously)
Of the caches above, I’ve enjoyed some. Others I’ve thought they were a waste. I understand being creative. But there’s a difference between being creative and just thinking you are all evil.
Is that the point of geocaching?
People have also started to actually unhinge official signs (such as on a electrical pole) and drill a hole, place a micro and put the sign back. You have to find the right way to remove said sign, take the micro, replace and get it all set. My issue here? Not only being potentially dangerous (depending on how it’s done), it’s illegal. I’m pretty sure most companies didn’t — and won’t — give permission to drill in these poles. I’ve seen this a few times and it blows my mind each time when I see it. I realize it’s supposed to be a “devious” or “evil” hide, but when you are doing something that likely has not been OKd, then it’s bordering stupidity.
There’s a difference between being creative and doing something illegal and potentially dangerous. I don’t say dangerous necessarily for personal safety, per say, but in the situation that someone could get in quite a bit of trouble if the wrong person/people saw them messing around with the pole.
Look, I have an evil hide of my own. It’s a nano on a square in my town. It’s easy to get, but it’s a tough little bugger. Over time, I’ve tried to make things easier (through hints etc.) because I don’t want people going away not finding the cache. I especially felt this way after once receiving a nasty e-mail about the hide.
I say right off the bat that it’s not easy and people may be aplenty. So I warn. But I also want to make sure people can find it.
Outside of that one, most of my caches are pretty straight forward. Some of them include harder puzzles (I know, many people don’t like puzzles), but I have a geochecker so people can check coordinates and I’m more than willing to help. When they solve said puzzles? It’s a decent walk to good caches.
I do, too, have a couple of park-and-grab micros. Some of those will be archived soon as I start my quest of placing more quality caches (and the archiving after a certain amount of time idea).
But that shows geocaching growth, I always thought.
Still, when I go to an area, I look around. I see micros. Many times, I see notes about evil hides. When I see a 3, 4 or 5-star difficulty rating, I know it’s going to be some sort of a “clever” micro hide. I don’t mind them sometimes. But it’s becoming more and more of the norm.
Seriously, the electrical cover cache is getting real old. It’s time to move on. Same with the fake bolt.
That leads me back to the beginning.
After writing the first two stories in this series, I decided I’d see what I could do. Get out and walk a few miles. Find a few caches. Take my time with things. And, let’s see what I could come up with.
So I hit up Gilbert Lake State Park, just outside of Laurens, NY.
For the day, I explored many trails and found about eight caches. Many were larger size, whether lock-n-lock containers or ammo cans. I took the time to look through the caches and reading the log books.
That also showed my point I’ve made a few times — nobody cares about the log anymore. A sign-and-dash and on their way.
There was one cache, however, that I enjoyed more than the others — Gilbert Lake Split Tree Family Fun Cache (GCAC2). It was placed in May of 2001 — a year after the game got started.
For those who have logged online, I’m the 162nd finder of the cache, which is pretty cool. It’s historic and one of the, if not the, oldest active cache in our area. It’s a traditional ammo can, placed the way ammo cans often are. The find isn’t too difficult. The coordinates are quite good and the end result was a find of an oldie.
Though there was some useless swag in the box, the fin part was the log. Surfing through it was like surfing through some geocaching history in our area.
This also showed the trend I was talking about, however.
It was about 2009 or so when the logs in the book went from being longer and written out to signing just names. And that trend continues. I put a bit more than a signature in the log, but it really was interesting to see where things started going a little different.
Is it the smart phone? Is it just people not worrying about the log anymore. Is it more of a situation where people would (sometimes) rather write longer online (though isn’t always the case, of course).
Still, that the log book was in good shape and in the cache was a testament to the age and hide. It was fun to sift through the pages slowly and check out what people back in the older days of geocaching wrote. The funny part is that it seems like this was the first find for many people — whether local or not. The logs were longer, though. Some about their experiences. Some about finding the cache. Some just having fun with the log.
But they shared their experience.
I laughed at the one on the first page of the log that talked about taking a photo and that they will upload when they get it developed. Not many people use film anymore, so it’s fun to see that.
In the end, it’s nice to see some old geocaching exploits.
For the day, I had the chance to hike several miles, get outside and find a few boxes hidden in the woods. That’s what I think caching is about. I don’t mind the occasional quick grab, but it’s nice to still be able to get out there and find things how they used to be “back in the days.”
It’s proof, to me anyway, that one doesn’t always have to try and outfox another cacher or something like that. Take them somewhere, let them enjoy the area and let them soak things in. This is why I started playing this game and hopefully I won’t get chased out!
I have one or two more stories for this series and they will follow in the next week or so.
I do want to leave you with something from that old cache — one of the logs I found. It made me chuckle quite a bit, so I hope you enjoy it, too! (This is another reason to sift through the log books — you never know what you’ll find!)
Fundraiser: I am, again, trying to raise money for the Relay For Life. If you donate to me — even a small amount — you will be entered to win a super-sweet quilted scarf. Click here for all the information!
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