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GPS Geocaching 102

GPS Geocaching 102

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Published by: runneals on Nov 10, 2009
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Also, seeGeocaching 101 (http://www.hobbycache.com/page_2.html) -Geocaching Glossary-GPS Guide
Finding Your First Geocache
The quickest, easiest way to get started geocaching is to go to a cache listing to find a specific geocache listing. Wewill demonstrate this using thegeocaching.comwebsite.
First, type in your zipcode in the upper right-hand corner of the geocaching.com home page
. The zipcodesare good for the US, Canada, Britain, and Australia. Click GO. This will give you a list of all geocaches within 100miles. The center of this area of caches is a pre-determined point (sometimes the location of a post office) and maynot be the closest to your home. Browsing around the options at the website will help you access a way to filterthese results to show the caches closest to your current location, but we won't go into that now.
In order to find a good starting cache
you need to pay attention to a few different things on this list of geocaches. Under the 'icons' column there is a green and white icon that signifies a traditional cache. You can hoverover the icon (with your mouse) for each icon's description. If you look under this 'icons' column, you will notice thatthere is also a difficulty/terrain (D/T) rating and a 'last found' column.Once you've found a traditional cache on the list, scan right to the (D/T) column and you will see two things: first,how hard the cache is and second, the size of the cache. The difficulty of the cache is indicated in stars. One starsignifies an easy cache and five stars identifies the most difficult. The first set of stars refers to the intellectualdifficulty of finding the cache. The second set of stars refer to the terrain difficulty. Is it flat and paved or steep andextreme? For your first cache, you probably want it to be easy, so any cache with a 2-star rating or under isadvisable. Also, notice the cache size which is marked with small dots for micros to large squares for largecontainers. Again, hover over the icon to see the sizes for that particular cache. Micros are generally more advancedand harder to find.Next, look at the far right column which will tell you when it was last found. You don't want to start off with a cachethat hasn't been found in many months because it might not be there anymore. Any cache that has been found inthe last month or more recently should be okay.Once you've decided on a cache that interests you, click the name of the cache to find more information about it.Read the description to see if it is something you might like to attempt. If not, go back to the cache list and findanother. When you have the cache you want to be your first cache you're ready to go.Now, around the middle of the page you will find a link titled 'additional hints.' If you click "decrypt" next to it, thiswill show you some additional hints that the hider of the cache provided to aid you in finding the cache. You don'thave to read the clues. After all, a lot of the fun of geocaching is finding it with no more than simple coordinates; Butif this is your first cache, having these extra clues could be a big help.A really smart thing to do in preparation to go out and hunt is to print the cache description page and take with you.There is a link in small text towards the top of the page next to a small overview map. Look for the 'make this pageprint-friendly' link and click it. If you want the additional hints to print out then click 'decrypt' again before you printit out.
After you find that first cache
, read and sign the log, mention what items you traded, or if you didn't tradeanything, log that and thank the owner for the cache. You can really write anything you want; just make sure yousign the log as proof of your visit.When you are finished, be especially careful to replace the cache exactly where and how you found it. Be carefulabout being observed when replacing the cache, especially if you are in a more urban hiding area. A cache candisappear if a geomuggle gets a hold of it.
After you return from your hunt
, it is polite to notify the cache owner of your visit. Most people do this via theonline log function of the site.
In order to do this, you need to be a member of the site and logged in. It is easy to
Geocaching 102
register and free to create your own account.
Navigate back to the cache page that you found and look in the upperright corner. Click the 'Log Your Visit' button and fill in the form.If you picked up or dropped off a hitchhiker (called a 'travel bug' or 'geocoin' on geocaching.com) at the cache, besure to log those after logging your find.
When you pick up a travel bug it is expected that you will depositthe hitchhiker in another cache soon after.
Both when you picked it up and when and where you placed it needto be mentioned in your log for the travel bug. We hope you had fun! There is a procedure for determining the exactcoordinates of your hidden cache. You'll need to put these on your cache's listing page so that other cachers will beble to find your geocache. Geocaching.comhas an excellent tutorial on how to use your GPS to do this. Okay, if you have stayed with us through all of Geocaching 101 and 102, you certainly know - ad naseam - mosteverything there is to know about geocaching.
. Practical experiencegeocaching will teach you much more and be much more fun than these explanations will anyway.But, just
one more thing
. Here is a brief list of things you'll want to bring when you go geocaching:
GPS receiver
pen (for signing the log if there isn't on in thecache)
spare batteries
cache information
Depending upon the terrain, you may alsowant to bring:
mobile phone
food & water
Depending upon the terrain, you may alsowant to bring:
mobile phone
food & water
walking stick
pocket knife
simple first-aid kit
sunscreen and/or a hatIf, after all this, you still want more information about geocaching, you may want to check out the links to othergeocaching sites we have on ourlinks page. There are also a few geocaching books we can recommend to you: 1.Complete Idiot's Guide to Geocachingby Jack W. Peters, ISBN: 15925723592.The Geocaching Handbookby Dave Ulmer, ISBN: 07627304473.The Letterboxer's Companionby Randy Hall, ISBN: 0762727942
Geocaching; Hike And Seek With Your GPSby Erik Sherman ISBN: 1-59059-122-4
Hiding Your First Geocache
Choose which type of cache out of the varioustypes of cachessuits your style. Next, choose acache location, which in turn will sometimes dictate your choice of cache type. This can, of course,be done inversely, first choosing a location and then creating a cache with the size to match.Now, one of the big rules for hiding a cache is to not dig a hole to create a place to hide yourcache! Caches are not buried. However they are frequently placed under tree branches or rocks,under bushes or even under water. Micro caches tend to be stuck to metal objects, using magnetsor in clever containers disguised as normal rock, but with a hollowed out underside in which tohide the log.

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