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The 4 Most Common Geocache Hiding Mistakes

Make your geocache smile... 4 things to avoid when hiding a geocache
Make your geocache smile… 4 things to avoid when hiding a geocache

(Cough Cough) Hello class, and welcome to a quick installment of the 4 most Common Geocache Hiding Mistakes. Why read on? It’s like knowing the four common routes where there’s a bridge out, or heavy road construction, or a locust migration. These are all mistakes a new hider doesn’t have to make. Let’s learn together and if at any point you’d like to know more, check out the Hiding Overview for all you need to know.

Here are the four guidelines that potential cache owners most commonly overlook:

1) Choose an Appropriate Location

Think like a non-geocacher and ask yourself, “Self, am I placing this geocache somewhere where it could be mistaken for something dangerous?” Also ask yourself if geocache hunting behavior (i.e. looking through bushes) might draw attention in sensitive areas, like schools. And make sure you know whether or not geocaches are allowed in that location. Some areas require a permit, are private property, or don’t allow geocaching altogether. Ask a land manager or owner for permission when needed.

2) Consider Proximity to Other Geocaches

Geocaches must be at least 1/10 mile or 528 feet (161 meters) apart. Check the area for other geocaches before settling on a spot. There’s a great new planning map tool to help you, with red circles showing places that are already blocked by another geocache. It won’t tell you about secret locations, but it will catch a lot of the locations that have already been taken.

3) Avoid Commercialization/Agendas

Geocaches cannot be commercial or used to publicize an agenda. Sometimes people get tripped up by the commercial guideline unintentionally. There are lots of platforms that you can use to get the word out about your important cause or a business that you really (really) like, but geocaches are not an appropriate platform for that.

4) Don’t Damage Property

Telephone poles and stop signs seem like they are public property because they are so familiar, but they are the property of the city or utility company. Don’t damage things in the environment. Screwing or drilling into a live tree creates an pathway for insects and disease. Never bury a geocache, even partway. If you have to make a hole in the ground, it’s not OK.

 

Follow these four tips and you’ll avoid many of the common hurdles geocache hiders face. And while this is the end of this blog post, it’s not the end of what you need to know. Check out the Hiding Overview before placing a geocache and avoid these pitfalls and create smiles like the one below!

This is the "OMG" look we're aiming for.
This is the “OMG” look we’re aiming for.
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Lab Cache Evolution: STEMLandia Adventure!

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Panoramic of the Arboretum
STEMLandia Geocoin
STEMLandia Geocoin

STEMLandia in the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston taps into the power of the Lab Cache Geocaching Adventure experience to reveal a world of nature and education. Thanks to HQ’s partnership with EdGE at TERC, this is the next evolution of Lab Caches. Premium Members around the world tested Lab Caches during I <3 Geocaching in February.

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STEMLandia challenges geocachers to find 10 creatively hidden lab caches. It’s not your typical adventure. Geocachers must explore the Arboretum grounds using Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills to unlock the finds. Those who participate may be eligible to receive a fancy, limited edition Geocoin. The First to Find geocacher wrote, “Great series! Well thought out with some  tricky hides.”

The STEMLandia adventure runs through the end of May 2014. It is open to all geocachers and is most appropriate for youth ages 12 and up, as well as adults. Other adventures are on the horizon and you can help. Submit ideas for a future Lab Cache series.

Geo-Knot and Brumble! the First to Find for most of the geocaches
Geo-Knot and Bumble! the First to Find for most of the geocaches

 

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Geocaching.com and Geocaching App Downtime on Tuesday, April 8

MailerImage_040714_Maintainence_vFINAL_mailerGeocaching.com and the Geocaching apps will be temporarily offline on April 8. We’re adding horsepower and beefing-up* Geocaching.com and our apps. They’ll both be much more stable after the upgrade. The site outage is expected to run about six hours starting at about 2pm PDT (convert to your local time here).

Yeah, you read that right. Apologies, six hours is a little bit of time right? So, during that time you have a two-part assignment, if you choose to accept it. Step 1: Load up your Pocket Queries and offline lists so you can still go geocaching. Step 2: Use that time to get inspired to “make” an amazing geocache. Check out this blog post with all you need to know.

*technical jargon

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Geocache Hider: Tips to Level Up Your Geocache

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Revisit Your Geocaches, Leave Them Feeling New

 

Let’s paint a mental picture: on cold, dark, rainy, frost-bitten, locust-infested nights—and all other nights—your geocache waits, hoping for intrepid explorers to sign the logbook. But if your geocache is lonelier than you expected, it might ultimately be waiting for a very special someone: you. Geocaches don’t just require maintenance; some may need some more tender loving care. If your geocache isn’t getting the “Found it!” after “Found it!” logs you think it deserves, there are options to help up the find count.

  • Rewrite the description: Be creative, add some humor, local insight and upload a few pictures to the geocache page.
  • If you’re not fundamentally changing the experience, choosing a sturdier container or adding a splash of personality to your geocache will help cultivate Favorite Points and lead more people to your adventure.
  • Double-check your coordinates. People might be trying to find your geocache, but are led astray.
  • Did you choose a container size on your geocache page? If the container is listed as “size not chosen” it might discourage people from searching for your geocache.
  • Get advice from a notable geocache maker in your neighborhood, attend a Maker Madness event to up-level your geocaching hiding game.
  • And if you’re not interested in maintaining the geocache anymore, it’s okay to archive your geocache and open up the location to other hiders, or even adopt it out to another geocacher.  ​

What advice would you offer to new geocache hiders? Share your maker advice in comments below or on the Geocaching Facebook page.

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I <3 Geocaching Inspiration

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Get ready for a test of a new way to explore through geocaching on February 3. It’s an experiment and we’d love to hear what you think once you’ve played or created a new I <3 Geocaching Lab Cache. Whether you create a trek through nature, a romantic quest or even a trip guided by robots, the I <3 Geocaching beta-test is a new way for Geocaching Premium members to experiment with what might be part of the future of geocaching.

Beginning February 3, Geocaching Premium members can take part in the beta-test by using the Lab Cache creator  to craft a one-of-a-kind adventure for someone special. (Hint: It can even be indoors.) Each I <3 Geocaching Lab Cache will be a personalized, temporary Lab Cache meant for just one person.

This new test is different than normal geocaching and is open to all sorts of creative interpretations. To help get you started in creating a cool adventure, here are a few ideas we put together:

 

1. Say thanks to your favorite geocaching buddy.

It’s no secret that geocaching is better with friends, so why not use this opportunity to say thanks to your favorite partner-in-find. This could work by having your Lab Cache lead them to the outside of their favorite movie theater. In the description, you can leave a clue like, “Check under the bench outside.”  You could hide a typical geocache that contains two tickets to that movie they’ve been wanting to see. And don’t forget to include the find code inside, too. When they enter that in the web app, they’ll see a picture and your thank you. Who knows, maybe they’ll even have an a Lab Cache created to say thanks to you, too!

 

2. Make it really special.

Just like any other day, your loved one wakes up and heads to the coffee maker for their morning pick-me-up. Except this morning, there’s the URL to your Lab Cache with the words, “I can’t wait to see you!” When they open the Lab Cache on their phone, it leads them to the park where you two first met. Upon arriving, they see you sitting there with a delightful picnic waiting for them. And if you want to make it really special, maybe the find code is “MARRYME?” (No pressure.)

 

3. Create an all-day adventure.

We all know someone who thrives on adventure. For them, you could create something like a multi-stage puzzle cache. It begins by leading them to their favorite rock climbing crag and has the clue “Head to the top.” Once there, they find another clue: “It’s time to go for a hike, visit the top of the hiking trail we enjoy.” After safely rappelling from the rock climbing route, they’ll head to your favorite hiking spot and make their way to the top of you favorite trail, only to find another clue: “Now it’s time to get wet. Grab your kayak and paddle out to that spot we swim in the summer.” Your friend will paddle out to the floating platform to find a fluffy bunny, some balloons and of course, the find code to your Lab Cache. Epic!

Ready to begin? Click on this Premium Member link to start your limited time, single use Lab Cache: http://www.geocaching.com/iheartgeocaching/

An I <3 Geocaching Lab Cache is easy to create. You’re only bound by your imagination, a Find Code and, of course, local laws, regulations and just common sense. Need more info? Check out the I <3 Geocaching FAQ.

Tell us your creative ideas in comments below.  You might help inspire a once-in-a-lifetime experience for another geocacher.