Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-05-08

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The P.T. Cruiser said, "I think I'm a Jeep."

And, with that, off we went, up the newly-graded road to the Bear Valley caches, and finally to Rangers 'N Rattlers and beyond.

There is such a variety of cache types, and containers, along this rugged road that traverses thousands of acres of BLM land, it all becomes a blur at the end of a long day. Although I took pictures at many of the caches, I didn't at many others. I need to be more methodical about this. It's not like the "film" costs anything.

One of the fun cache containers is a relative of Al at "Al's Cache" in Sloan Canyon. This guy has been using some Crest WhiteStrips however.

T. R. Violin placed three additional caches out there while he did the loop of caches himself. One of T.R.'s caches was "Chocolate Bear." The views from way up there were really fantastic.

On the cache page for "Dooley's," as the hint, T.R. provided a portion of the lyric of an old song and both Princess Toadstool and I were humming, "Hang down your head Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry" as we climbed the "ladder" to the "hangin' tree."

From this location, we parked the car and walked the 7/10 of a mile to "Rangers 'n Rattlers." After stumbling around trying to find the trail, which is actually the road, we continued on to "Bear Valley -- Lunch Stop." Lunch? It was almost dinnertime for us! From there we walked to "Off-road Fun," a cache I never thought I would get to, but two feet work just as well as an ATV or motorcycle.

Finally, we turned around and walked back to the "Jeep" and headed back the way we came, exiting the gate well past dinnertime.

Although there was a cache up the PCT on the way to the La Posta Cafe, dinner was more important, so that will be one for a future caching adventure.

After having dinner, we went out to get a cache owned by a brand new cacher. It was up a very steep hill, but not as bad a climb as that to "Golden Hammer." It was almost 8:00 and close to dark. When P.T. reached down to move the rock where we thought the cache might be, a rodent poked its little head out. When we finally got the rock moved, the packrat ran off in P.T.'s direction, but he startled both of us.

I hadn't brought my walking stick along for this cache because I wasn't worried about snakes at this time of the evening, but I guess the walking stick is also good for moving members of the Order Rodentia out of the way.

The cache contents were good and for a first-time cacher, he did a good job, even if the terrain was rated a bit too high. If the difference between the terrain rating on this cache, a 5, was averaged with the rating of "Golden Hammer," they might each have a correct terrain rating of about 3.5.

I would much rather go to a cache that is rated too high, than go to one that is rated much too low . . . just like I would much rather find a cache beneath a too-obvious pile of rocks than never find a cache so deviously hidden I cannot find it without the hint that isn't provided . . .

At the end of the day, I thought we had found ten caches, but when I got home and turned on the computer and the Palm and started comparing notes, we actually found 15, 17 if you count the two of mine P.T. logged that I don't get to log.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Hints arrived by email today

After my disappointing day yesterday, I was feeling very discouraged. I emailed the cache owner of the five caches I couldn't find and this afternoon received a very nice email with some hints for finding the elusive caches.

The cache owner even shared her phone number and said I was welcome to call if I had trouble when I was out on a search. Only problem -- I don't have a cell phone.

So, I'll add those email hints to my cache pages in Cachemate and someday, I'll give those caches another chance to be found by me.

I'm sure when I do see them I'll slap the palm of my hand to my forehead and say, "Doh!"

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Well, a hint would be nice

After several days of marginal weather, the sun came out and I took off. I had several caches ready to be hidden so I did that first and took pictures of the beautiful flowers that were out in the area.

The meadow where my new cache is located had a profusion of a type of white lupine.

After hiding my caches, I headed over to Old Highway 80 where there is a new string of caches. I hoped to add ten or more caches to my total after that walk of more than two miles. The very first one in my GPSr didn't have a description in the Palm (Actually it did, I just didn't figure out how to access it until later.)

At the next one the past logs were recent, so I had confidence the cache was there. That is why I looked for more than half an hour. However, the cache was simply located in area with too many rocks and trees and poison oak and way too many nooks and crannys. I walked around those rocks and carefully through the poison oak several times and left "geo trails" that make it look like a whole herd of Geocachers had been there. In fact, here is what my "Track Log" looks like:

Since the "Hint" section of Cachemate in my Palm is blank . . . I reluctantly moved on to the next cache location.

This time I didn't look for more than about 10 minutes. There were just too many possible places to hide a small container and, once again, the "Hint" section of Cachemate is blank . . .

Before I moved on, I stopped the search to take some pictures of the flowers that were blooming.

One of the other ones I searched thoroughly was one that had experienced problems by other Geocachers. I found a suspicious looking pile of rocks, and read Chuy's log several times as my GPSr sat on a rock getting a secure reading at what should have been the cache's exact hiding spot.

Was this where the original cache was located?

At the next location, it took me only a little while to find the cache. I was so dejected as I started the search, it was a good thing I found it or I might have been giving up this game/activity/sport/obsession . . .

Obsession . . . hmm. Not an easy thing to give up, even after discouraging DNFs.

At the next cache location, I put down my pack, walked a couple of feet and saw the cache hiding spot. Finally. I'm not blind afterall.

I found the last one in the series almost as easily, but didn't find "The Anchor." Once again I couldn't find the description in my Palm, but even if I had it, I don't know that it would have helped because once again, the "Hint" section in Cachmate is blank . . .

Since other people found the containers today, I know they are there, and since I found a couple of them very easily, I know I'm not completely blind, but . . . a hint would be nice.

A little editorial about hiding caches

I enjoy getting out to search for Geocaches. I love following that little arrow and watching the numbers go down. Once I arrive at the location, I enjoy the hunt for the cache. I really enjoy finding the container, no matter how large or small. However, going out on a search and not finding the cache after a lengthy, serious search is not very fun.

I guess my philosophical question at this point is "Why do hiders put out a cache?" Is it to motivate people to get out and see a bit of nature? Is it to frustrate the seekers? Is it to challenge the seeker to "think outside the box?"

Regardless of the reasons, shouldn't the cache be "findable." If someone drives out to the country and walks along a trail only to arrive at a jumble of rocks, poison oak, shrubs, and trees that the GPSr says is the location of the small container, shouldn't that person ultimately be able to find the cache? Shouldn't there be a hint for the stumped cacher?

Without a hint, and after a very serious search, what is the motivation to return to the site?

It isn't to not have fun for another half an hour . . .

I have hidden four caches so far and I'm writing the descriptions for two others. I want the cachers to find my caches. I don't want them to make a trip to the location and not be able to find the "treasure."

That just doesn't seem like fun for me, or them. Just my humble opinion . . .


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