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Getting Your Bearing

A cache by tomulus Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/10/2004
2.5 out of 5
2 out of 5

Size: Size:   small (small)

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How Geocaching Works

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Geocache Description:

This is a cache hunt with two main parts followed by the cache itself. The locations in all parts are defined by BEARINGS and DISTANCES relative to reference locations. The listing coordinates are for parking at the second part so don’t start there but instead begin about a mile away in downtown Sykesville.

BACKGROUND: As we all know, the typical approach when navigating to a geocache is to “go to” its coordinates (i.e. latitude and longitude). This works when you have the coordinates. But sometimes the coordinates of a location aren’t given but instead only the distance and direction to the new location. The usual method for finding coordinates in this situation is to “project a waypoint”. Both GPS receivers and smart phone software can project waypoints. But projecting a waypoint in the field may cause consternation because of unfamiliarity with doing it. This is where GFNT can come to the rescue! GFNT (“Go From Not To”) allows navigation to a point using distance and bearing from a reference point without projecting the waypoint.

It is important to appreciate Forward Bearing as opposed to Reverse Bearing when using GFNT. Forward Bearing is the compass angle from Point A to Point B while the Reverse Bearing is the opposite, from Point B to Point A. If Point A is the reference location and Point B is the desired spot, the Forward Bearing is used when projecting Point B’s coordinates. However, with GFNT the Reverse Bearing is used. Reverse Bearing and Forward Bearing differ by 180 degrees. Either adding or subtracting 180 degrees from the Forward Bearing will give the Reverse Bearing. The choice of addition or subtraction is made depending on the value of the Forward Bearing since it is convenient to keep the resulting Reverse Bearing between 0 and 360 degees.

The “Go From Not To” method:

1. The key to the GFNT approach is going away FROM the original waypoint instead of going TO a projected waypoint.

2. The GPS receiver is set to “go to” point A with the Bearing and the Distance (to point A) displayed.

3. To reach point B, move away from point A until the proper Bearing and Distance (from point A) are achieved.

4. The correct Bearing to use is the Reverse Bearing (B to A). Otherwise you'll head in the wrong direction.

GFNT is admittedly less convenient then “going to” a location. Instead of driving toward a zero distance, GFNT requires finding a Bearing and a Distance simultaneously. However, it has the advantage of being immediately available.

GFNT becomes less reliable as the distance increases. It works reasonably well up to 500 feet.

TRUE NORTH is the bearing reference for this cache.


Part 1. First GFNT Practice

Park at [N39 21.923 W76 58.195] or nearby. The setting for Part 1 is the center of Sykesville. You’ll be walking to several locations and crossing streets. Please be careful.

A series of questions must be answered to complete Part 1. Normal coordinates define the first location (A). Subsequent locations are specified relative to the first. The information needed to find these locations (B through F) is presented in the format “Distance @ Bearing”. When you are at the specified combination of Distance and Bearing (from A) the answer should be nearby. REVERSE BEARINGS ARE GIVEN FOR PART 1 AND THEY SHOULD BE USED AS-IS.

Question A: [N39 21.892 W76 58.173]

Centennial Park honors the founding Sykesville. HOW MANY PATHS LEAD TO THE FOUNTAIN?

A = ________

Question B: [190 feet @ 75 degrees]

Old “cars” are located here and are slowly being refurbished. HOW MANY SPOKES, INCLUDING INNER AND OUTER, ARE ON THE “WHEEL” AT CENTER?

B = ________

Question C: [195 feet @ 330 degrees]

The old train station is an attractive building with ornamental features uncommon today. HOW MANY WINDOWS, FRAMED BY COLORED-GLASS, ARE TO THE RIGHT OF THE MAIN DOOR?

C = ________

Question D: [350 feet @ 334 degrees]

You’ll find round tubing used here to create a safety barrier. Rectangles are framed by the tubing. A smaller section is linked by chain to the main section. HOW MANY RECTANGLES, COMPLETELY BOUNDED BY ROUND TUBING, ARE IN THE SMALLER SECTION? (Don't count overlapping rectangles - this isn't a trick question) Enjoy a stroll out while you’re here.

D = ________

Question E: [190 feet @ 247 degrees]


E = ________

(St Joseph’s church is at the top of the nearby driveway. You might want to check it out.)

Question F: [338 feet @ 198 degrees]

Walk up a few steps to a location where you can sit and complete the questions. HOW MANY SUPPORTS HOLD UP THE ROOF?

F = ________

Now that you have got the answers to A through F, FIND THEIR SUM.  As a check the digits in the SUM add up to 11.

SUM = ________ 


Part 2. More GFNT Practice

Park at or near [N39 22.468 W76 58.015]. From that spot, go 316 feet along the Forward Bearing 210 degrees (but use the Reverse Bearing with GFNT). Check out the monument. It used to be hidden inside a large clump of bushes but now, thankfully, they’ve been removed. NOTE THE YEAR THE MONUMENT WAS DEDICATED.

YEAR = ________


Part 3. The Cache

The cache is located relative to the point: [N39 22.468 W76 58.015]

The cache location, relative to the given point, is defined by the following Distance and Bearing.

DISTANCE = SUM (from part 1) x 7.74


Be sure to correctly get your bearing.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Byvir qeno zngpu pbagnvare va avpur ng obggbz bs ynetr gerr, pbirerq jvgu ebpx.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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