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3 Ideas for Creating a Deviously Clever Geocache

A decoy from Before You Can Torment, You Must Learn to Annoy (GCK2BA). Photo by geocacher calipidder
A decoy from Before You Can Torment, You Must Learn to Annoy (GCK2BA). Photo by geocacher calipidder

I recently attended a the Berkshire Geobash #3 Mega-Event in Massachusetts and came across one of the most devious hides I’ve ever seen. So devious, it inspired me to write a whole blog post dedicated to creating geocaches that some may consider “evil”. Not evil in the possessed by spirits evil, but evil in that when searching, frustration is inevitable. If you’re ever in western Massachusetts, near Pittsfield, finding My Wife Thinks I’m Nuts (GC1MW7), created by Gary, is an absolute must.

The gum nano.
The gum nano.

Step 1: Decoys

Geocachers with a few finds under their belts will have developed a keen geo-sense, i.e. they know common places to look for geocaches. Some of these folks have seen it all, so getting past them can be hard. This is where decoys come in. Some geocaches have containers in all of the obvious spots, but instead of a logbook, it’s a note that let’s them know they’ve only found a decoy. Placing multiple decoys can create a fog of frustration that may cloud geocacher’s judgement when looking for the real container. (See image above.)

Step 2: Really Clever Camouflage

Don’t get me wrong—I love camo duct tape. It’s an easy way to add a little bit of cloaking to your geocache. However, when it comes to being truly devious, the right camouflage can make or break your hide. The real challenge is to make your geocache look like everything that’s around it—like it belongs there. Think fake logs, fake rocks, fake gum (ew) or even the always maligned fake dog poo.

 

Step 3: Hide in Plain Sight

You read that right. Hide in plain sight. This might mean skipping the traditional geocache container for something a little more creative. Just think: if your geocache looks like it’s just part of the surrounding decor, geocachers may not be apt to look there. This step is crucial for clever urban hides.

This just looks like it's supposed to be there. Surprise! Geocache! Photo by geocacher Lady Nomad.
This just looks like it’s supposed to be there. Surprise! Geocache! Photo by geocacher Lady Nomad.

 

These are just a few ideas. How would you make your geocache truly devious? Tell us in the comments. You can also check out some devious geocache containers at Shop Geocaching.

 

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Airstream Find & Go – A Geocaching Trackable Giveaway

 

airstream 1

 by Christy: 

Do you enjoy summer adventures and a good geocaching road trip? We have just the treat for you! Geocaching has teamed up with Airstream for a trackable tag designed for those with a penchant to roam, a heart for exploration and a willingness to Find and Go.

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The Airstream Silver Bullet Trackable Tag will make its debut at select Geocaching events in the United States in August. 2,000 tags will be released among the events. If you can’t make it to the events, keep an eye out for Airstream Silver Bullet Trackable Tags in the wild as they make their way from geocache to geocache and travel across the country. Find one and take it some place incredible, whether it’s a big city or the great outdoors, it’s all about having an experience and sharing it with others.

Submit photos of where the Airstream Silver Bullet Trackable takes you for chances to win prizes from Airstream. Photos of the trackable can be submitted to the Airstream Facebook Page. A winning photo will be selected each month starting in August, for Airstream prizes including a t-shirt, a journal, a flashlight, and more! See contest rules for details.

Geocaching Premium Member, FluteFace, is planning to attend the Airstream event in Redmond, WA. “As both a geocacher, and an Airstream (1984 Sovereign) owner, I’ll be there! What a great combination!!” She adds, “We have enjoyed caching with our Airstream and, since we’ve recently equipped it with a solar panel, we intend to find more caches in cool places, off the beaten path.”

To make things even sweeter, geocachers can earn the Socializer Souvenir for attending an event in August as part of the 7 Souvenirs of August program.

airstream 3
A photo of FluteFace’s Airstream on a caching/camping trip with other geocachers in Washington State’s Deception Pass State Park, about a month after she purchased the Airstream

 

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Time to Phone-a-Friend: Sometimes hiding a geocache takes two

FTFers in action
RandolphAgarn and I camped out to (sneakily) watch the FTF in action.

2 x 2 Makers and Hiders Unite

It takes all kinds to make geocaching the quirky, wonderful, interesting hobby/game/community that it is right now. Some like to solve puzzles, others like to trek across mountains; some are serial geocache finders, and others are serial geocache hiders. Altogether, these different types make for a healthy (and fun!) geocaching ecosystem.

Within this geocaching ecosystem, I’ve always considered myself your everyday, traditional finder—like moss (a little bit boring), but surely important for some unknown, ecological reason. That is, I used to think of myself like moss. Then, a few months ago, I attended a Maker Madness event hosted by Geocaching HQ. I walked out of the event knowing that I too wanted to create great geocaching experiences for others to enjoy… But I didn’t want to hide just any old geocache. I wanted to hide the Mona Lisa of geocaches.

There was, however, one small problem. When it comes to any and all geocache making skills…well, I don’t have any. I never took woodshop. I don’t know anything about Arduino computers. And (much to my puzzle-loving grandfather’s disappointment), I cannot solve the Monday crossword puzzle, let alone design a worthwhile puzzle of my own.

Hiding without Making

So how does one hide a masterpiece geocache without having any relevant Maker skills?

Luckily, I discovered that geocache hiding, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has a built-in Phone-a-Friend option. You see, like the broader geocaching community, geocache hiders come in all shapes and sizes. There are the Makers, who imagine (and implement) the future of geocaching containers; then you have the location hiders, who have a knack for finding breathtaking hiding spots; and finally, there are folks like me.  I am nothing if not reliable, which as it turns out, is a key ingredient to a great geocache. (Ahem, you’ve heard of a little thing called geocache maintenance? No one likes a soggy log.)

RandolphAgarn
RandolphAgarn makes final adjustments to our geocache.

So, I used my Phone-a-Friend card to call up my friend and Geocaching HQ mobile developer Arne Moen (Username: RandolphAgarn). He is everything that a Maker should be: creative and innovative with more than a few DIY tricks up his sleeve. And fortunately for me, he enjoys making geocaches more than maintaining them, so we formed a geocache hiding partnership. He built the container and I will be in charge of maintaining his creation going forward.

RandolphAgarn and I were so excited/nervous about putting our geocache out in the wild that we decided to sneakily camp out on a nearby bench to watch the FTF (first-to-find) in action. Given our geocache’s proximity to Geocaching HQ (home to 70 plus geocachers with instant notifications set up), we weren’t shocked to see the FTF go to a couple of HQ staffers within 20 minutes of publication. ScatterMyCaches and ReidSomething were pumped to earn their first FTF (but less excited to FTF the giant spider that had been quick to make the geocache its home).  A big congrats also to MedicineManOfSeattle and TrailGourmet for the STF (second-to-find).

Okay, so our geocache may not be the Mona Lisa of geocaches, but it sure feels good to have played a part in creating a quality experience that many will be able to enjoy.  And, unlike moss, it’s nice to know that we all have the ability to choose what role we’d like to play in our geocaching ecosystem.

3 reasons to hide a geocache with a friend

  1. It’s more fun. ‘Nuff said.

  2. You can share the workload. From building a container to maintaining it, hiding a geocache can be a lot of work! Splitting up or sharing responsibilities makes it a whole lot easier.

  3. Collaboration inspires creativity. The brain is a wonderful thing. Two brains are even better.
FTFers
The FTF team!
FTFsandCOs
RandolphAgarn and I talked the FTF’ers into taking a celebratory selfie with us!
Earlyfinders
Early finders Jwlatona and COOP.

 What’s the story behind your first geocache hide?

 

 

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DIY “Wow Power” for Your Next Log

geocache log types

5 Steps to Craft Award-Winning “Found it!” Logs

There are plenty of log types out there, but none more fun than earning a smiley by logging a “Found it!” Check out 5 quick tips to inspire your fellow geocachers with your next log entry.

  • Tell Your Story – The geocache log you write is like the preview to a movie. You’re telling geocachers about an adventure they could experience. Maybe your journey involved seeing the first leaves of spring, looking out from a mountain top or meeting other geocachers on the trail. Your logs help other geocachers decide if the geocache looks fun and exciting enough for them to find.
  • Add a Picture – A picture of a geocacher’s crooked smile after a find says a lot about a geocache. It’s easy to upload pictures on the fly with a Geocaching mobile app. If you’re wondering about the power of a picture in a log check out the 1000 most recent log images. It’s an ever-changing visual gallery of geocaching pictures from around the globe.
  • Name Some Names – Geocaching is all about community. Share the geocaching usernames for those who joined you out in the field. It’s a quick way to help build the local geocaching community and it makes meeting people at Geocaching Mega-Events or Event Caches easier.
  • Add a Favorite Point – Geocaching Favorite Points let you compliment the geocache hider and nudge other geocachers to check out this geocache. While only Premium Members can earn and reward Favorite Points, every can see them.
  • Say Thanks – It’s easy. Watch this, “Thank you for reading this Geocaching Weekly Newsletter.” It feels good. When you log a geocache and say “thank you” it means so much to the geocacher who hid and maintains the geocache. And don’t forget if the geocache needs maintenance leave a “Needs Maintenance” log.

Tell us your tip for great logs in comments!

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Beware the Tall Grasses! Or, Death of a Battery

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This geocacher reached GZ happy, healthy, and totally tick-free.

 

MailerImage_06022014_SafetyTips_vFINAL_BLOG“Hey there Southern Hemisphere! This is the Northern Hemisphere calling. How’re things? It’s about the third week of May, and…well, we’d like our summer back.”  Depending on what part of the world you’re in, the latitudinal phone call that happens around the fifth month of the year signals the start to another summer of geocaching. The longer days, the warmer air, the leafier hiding spots…It’s a season so ideal for geocaching it’s hard to imagine spending your time doing anything else.

Though not to the degree of winter, even summer can have the pesky habit of preventing you from getting to GZ and finding a cache safely, effectively, and enjoyably. We’ve got some tips that will get you from working at cross-purposes with summer to working in tandem with it. (Assuming that is a thing.)

1) Make peace with your battery

Remember how we mentioned those longer summer days? They’re very good for longer sojourns into the wild, increasing your per-day find count…and draining your phone battery. Consider borrowing or purchasing a portable charger similar to this one available in Geocaching Shop, or this one on Amazon, to keep your phone from puttering to a halt at exactly the wrong moment. Compatibility with several types of devices is an especially useful trait when you’re geocaching with a group.

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” -John Steinbeck
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” -John Steinbeck

2) Ticks are not your friends

Bees, mosquitoes, thistles, and poison ivy are common culprits of summertime discomfort, but ticks should equally be on your radar. Although only a few of the many species of ticks found around the world can bite and transmit diseases to humans, those that do can really ruin your day. Here are some tips to avoid them:

    • Check out a tick distribution map for your area, like this one for Europe and this one for the United States.
    • To be extra vigilant, invest in a bottle of tick repellent.
    • Since it’s not always possible to avoid the high grass or bushes when you’re searching for that cache, dress with ticks in mind. Geocaching HQ’er Heather suggests, “Tuck your pants into your socks to keep the ticks from crawling up your legs. You’ll look really cool, and you’ll be tick-safe.”
    • Conduct a tick-check of yourself, your gear, and your pets after coming back inside.
    • Tick-removal is an art. Know the correct technique.

3) Sunscreen is king

The sun’s rays may have a pleasing effect on the hue of your skin or the shade of your hair, but don’t make that a reason to forget the sunscreen on your geocaching adventure. Even if in the end you DNF, always protect yourself with SPF, preferably 15 or higher.

What tips do you have for ensuring an excellent summer geocaching experience?