For those of you who have been into geocaching – or even those who are new – the world of trackables in the game is something cool.
Sometimes, though, it’s a pain.
Let me do a quick explanation, though. Trackables are a subculture, of sorts, with geocaching. Basically there’s an item – a coin, a dog tag, something else – with a trackable number. The idea, normally, is to take it out of a cache, note that you picked it up, move it to another cache, and then drop it. Along the way, the item might acquire photos, and miles, and all sorts of fun.
Well, that’s the hope anyway.
Sometimes, you see, things go wrong.
A lot of times these items will go missing – especially geocoins. Somebody drops them into a cache, a person will come along and just snag them and they are gone – just like that.
That’s tough to swallow when you are paying $8 or more for a coin. Even the official travel bugs are in the $4-$5 range. In the past few years, people have been coming up with proxies of their coins and such (either replica coins, or something completely different) to send out instead of the coin. There are different opinions on proxy coins, but that can be left for another time. I’ve actually blogged about proxy travelers before, so feel free to go back and read that.
People can also discover a trackable – basically just saying they saw it etc. Some of you may remember a while ago, I did a social media experiment where I put a geocoin out there just to see how much it would get discovered. I actually may revisit that at some point down the line (spoiler alert!), but the idea was to see how people would react to “finding” a coin virtually.
Anyway, let’s get to the point of today’s post – what to do when you find trackables in a geocache.
Here’s one thing to remember about a trackable – it’s still owned by the person who set it out etc., it’s just out in the woods. That means that another cache owner can’t put limitations on it. That will make more sense in a moment.
What should you do?
If you think you can move the coin and/or help it on its journey to its goal, then grab it. If there are five in a geocache and you think you can move them along, then do so. The reality is owners want things moving – not just being discovered.
Now, if you can’t help move them along, then by all means discover. It’s a nice way for owners to see that the trackable is still out there. But if you can move one (or many), do it. But, if you do so, try and log them as fast as possible so people know the traveler has been picked up.
The reason I say all of this is because I’ve seen some recent talk online about this whole situation. It’s been something people have talked about for many years, but it’s always worth revisiting.
An example: Somebody puts out a new travel bug hotel and places rules on it – basically the “if you take one, leave one.” In theory, it’s a good idea. And when I can, I do try and leave trackables. But this person is the owner of the geocache – not the trackables (unless, of course, they put several trackables of their own in there), therefore that person doesn’t have the right to say whether or not a trackable should be picked up and what one has to do to take one.
So, again, if you can move them all along – do it. Now, I don’t think somebody should wipe out an inventory of like 10 trackables, but if there are a few – don’t feel like you aren’t allowed to grab it if you don’t have something to leave behind.
As a trackable owner, I want to see my trackables moving – not staying in a TB hotel (or jail, as some will call them) because an owner wants to see many trackables in there.
Some things to remember:
- Try and look at the description of the traveler to see its goals, as you might be taking it in the opposite direction.
- Move them along as much as you can
- Add photos to the traveler page as the owners enjoy seeing that
- Don’t keep the trackable
In the end, trackables should be a lot of fun. Enjoy that part of the game as it’s something that can be shared. The only true rules are to make sure you log said trackable and move it along – don’t fear taking more than one or worrying about leaving one in its place as long as you can move them all. If not, discover away to let the owner know the travelers are safe!
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