I bought a GPS for unrelated reasons. Since I had the thing, I figured I might try this wonderful “geocaching” thing.
I’m underwhelmed. Its like a treasure hunt, except you don’t really hunt and there is no treasure.
I live in the middle of nowhere, sort of. Its 3 miles to the nearest gas and 12 miles to the nearest store. Yet, in that 12 mile radius, there are 138 geocaches! They are not challenging, interesting or even relivant. They are so thick and redundant you might as well just call them litter! I really am missing the point, I guess.
I could see how it could be entertaining if they were a little more challenging to find and had something worthwhile to see when you get there, but Jeez, it seems every single hill from here to the horizon has one on the top of it! Hell, I took the kid to one (telling him it was a “Treasure Hunt”) and you could see 3 others from there!
Well, I’m not a big fan of the “urban microcaches” or the roadside drive-ups, but if you pick and choose which ones you go after it can be a nice way to spend an afternoon. I usually find an interesting area, either a series of parks, hiking trails, or some out-of-the-way-but-geographically-interesting place that have some caches within a few miles of each other, then take the wife and kids out for a day of walking around outside and hunting some caches. They seem to enjoy it, and it sure beats sitting in front of the TV all day. YMMV.
You’re doing it wrong ;). Geocaching can be quite fun if the caches are, as you say, ‘relevant.’
A good cache is at an interesting location: somewhere with a view, a hidden stream, maybe a tiny city park. The reward is not in the tiny little collection of crap, but in enjoying the outdoors and discovering something new. It’s basically a different excuse to go hiking. I had a lot of fun geocaching in Yellowstone (virtual caches).
Another fun aspect, particularly for your kid, can be geobugs, which are tracked from location to location.
Unfortunately it sounds like your area is filled with a lot of chaff, and I don’t have any sound advice on how to identify worthwhile sites. Maybe do a little map recon first?
One more thing. Are you actually finding the container that has the log sheet in it, or are you just going to the spot the GPS directs you to and then saying, “Huh, nothing much here to look at”? Because the GPS receiver will only get you within so many feet of the actual cache (depending on weather, obstructions, etc.) it’s then on you to find the actual container that’s hidden somewhere nearby.
I can’t speak to the caches in your area (especially since I don’t know where your area is), but some of those little suckers can be a real challenge to find even when your GPS says you’re within a couple of feet. Some folks go to great lengths to be creative with how they hide the cache.
If you want to let me know where you are, I’ll see if I can point out what should be some interesting caches nearby.
Set up pocket queries that will get only large caches and eliminate all the annoying little micro and pill bottle caches. Save them into GSAK and use it to set up your downloads into your GPSr and Palm. Makes life a lot easier and caching a lot more fun.
Anyway, what Duckster said: it’s all about getting out a doing something. Not sure how old your kid is but it might be fun to bury some money or something he/she would find valuable and take them out on a treasure hunt. My nephew goes crazy for crap like that and watching him get excited and happy is well worth the effort. He’s 5 and, obviously, YMMV.
Yep. I’m finding them. I’m leaving left-over crap I couldn’t sell on ebay in them, too.
So far, I’ve found that the GPS will lead you to pretty much on top of spot. I’ve had no trouble finding the “cache”. I even ignored the driving directions and only used the coordinates, but its still no challenge. Drive right up, there it is.
Part of “my” problem is that I do a lot of off-roading and motorcycling. I’ve been pretty much everywhere around here. What I’m finding is that there is a damn cache on the top of every mundane hill that I’ve been past a hundred times already.
Maybe I’ll try to find one a little more “out of the way”. They all seem to be pretty damn accessable so far however.
If I decided to make one (like the world needs one more), you better believe it will be a challange to get there. Would give me someplace to dispose of the huge collection of Airline Minitures someone left me.
There are ratings for each cache on geocaching.com and some of the ratings give difficulty(how well it’s hidden) and terrain(how difficult it is to get to) metrics. You may want to look for caches with higher ratings for these. Also, look for multi-caches(stage 1 may be a magnet stuck to the underside of a park bench, with co-ords for stage 2, which is in deep woods, and has the co-ords for stage 3 on it, etc) and puzzle caches. One we did a while back in a state park had three stages. The first was pretty easy to find, off the trail in a eyeglass case. The second was a locked ammo box, shoved up under a large tree root growing in the side of a dry creek bed. It had the co-ords for stage 3, which had the combination for the lock, on it. You had to find 1, 2, 3, and 2 again to get the whole thing. The third one was a rusted can of Aqua Net hairspray in a rotten log a good little distance off the trail.
We also like the sightseeing tours. There was one with twelve photos and ten sets of co-ords and a challenge to find which picture(zoomed in and out of context) went with which location and which weren’t there at all. We took the kids to all of them The cache owner later updated it with another layer of puzzle. Each picture had a number with it and when put together in the right order they would give the co-ords for an actual cache. So you had to visit ten locations, identify exact marks for each one, put together an eleventh set of co-ordinates, and then find the 11th one.