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Thursday, April 24, 2014

GUEST POST - Creativity in Geocaching

Welcome to guest blogger Emilie! Emilie is 13 years old and is 1/3 of the geocaching team athenagrrlsx3. She is active in her local geocaching group, SEPAG. This is her first post here at CacheCrazy.com, please make her feel welcome!

clip_image002 Creativity in Geocaching clip_image003

Above is an image that is familiar to geocachers. The coveted favorite point, a simple digital token to say, "I think your cache is interesting." Most cachers may not remember their first favorited cache. But cachers who have been in the sport for a while know pretty much immediately when they come across one deserving of a thumb's up for awesomeness. Favorite caches are the ones that motivate cachers and put a smiley on their faces.

However, cache hiders may struggle to make their caches unique or interesting. Most hiders would only dream of getting the number of favorite points like in the image above. Sure, guardrail hides, ammo boxes, bison tubes, lock and locks, and key hides all get you another smiley. But it's nice to find something a little out of the ordinary, that shakes things up.

Putting together a creative geocache does take some effort, but in the end there is a payoff for both hider and seeker. There are many ways that a cacher can make a hide a little more unique. Thinking outside the box–or rather the lock and lock box–is one way to express yourself. And this can be one of the hidden benefits for a CO–the chance to let your imagination and creativity loose. For example, why not dress up that lock and lock? You might want to add some camo like below. Or maybe it's not about what your lock and lock looks like, but more about where it's placed that makes all the difference. Either way, you don't need to limit yourself to the simple hides like you may have placed when you were a beginner CO. This doesn't mean that the cache has to be a ????? difficulty due to evil camo. But caches that require effort and craftsmanship from the CO are usually a ton of fun to find!

Whether it is a hollowed out log, or a magnetic piece of bark, there is a fine art to geocaching containers and their placement. Hiders must have an artistic eye to make unique hides, and finders must have one to find them. Finding a hide that required craftsmanship can be gratifying for the finder, and sometimes this rises to the level of a favorite point. So when you want to make a unique cache, consider whipping out your power tools, or repurposing a household item. Make a note of that really awesome location that made you think, "Wow, this would be a great place for a cache!" And then make sure you go back and place one!

Beyond a creative container, a hide that takes you to a unique destination is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of caching. If you are a local resident and know of a cute little pocket park, place a cache there! After all, if you live in the area, you know where the best locations are. Maybe it's a cool fort kids have built in the woods behind your house, or an abandoned silo. If there are no proximity (or safety) issues, it's a good idea to place a cache there before someone from outside the area who doesn't know about it puts an LPC too close to your secret location and ruins it. Caches in unique places make people stop and say, "Wow, I never knew this was here!" Location caches are ultimately more about the experience and surroundings than actually putting your signature on the log.

Some destination caches are a notch above: think earth caches, places of historical significance, and geotrails in really unique surroundings. These hides can be quite unusual or difficult to achieve or require special equipment, like in a coral reef you have to dive to retrieve! These may not have many finders, but man, the ratio of fav points to finds is likely close to 1:1.

If you aren't too skilled with your hands, perhaps a puzzle cache is more down your alley. For the brainier cachers out there, designing a puzzle may be easier than crafting a cache container. Puzzle caches are a type of cache unto themselves. They require the cacher to decode a type of puzzle in the cache description in order to come up with the correct coordinates for a physical cache container. Like a regular cache, there is no limit to the amount of creativity that can be packed into a hide. Just like other caches, puzzle caches range from pretty simple to very difficult to decipher. Every puzzle cache designer brings their own unique style to the game. Puzzle caches are a unique way to score a find. You can also have the best of both worlds by placing a cache container with a built in puzzle, like in the photos below.

As you can see, whether it's a puzzle cache you've worked on for days, or a unusual container that you have retrofitted, creativity and geocaching go together like an O-ring on a bison. Well, they can. Even if you feel as though you are not the world's most creative person, anyone can improve. There are many ways to gain inspiration if you wish to up your game in placing hides: there are many blogs, Facebook groups and YouTube videos dedicated to placing geocaches. Another avenue is to attend event caches. Sometimes handmade containers are given as door prizes and raffles that you can win, and then these things can lead to ideas of your own. Geocaching truly has no limits. Happy caching!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Why Not Wednesday

"That does it Bloodhounded! This time you went too far
with your crazy cache containers!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Update On A Recent Caching Trip

A week ago REI had their great used-gear sale. I met a friend there and afterwards we went to get a nearby cache owned by a friend of mine. HMMMmmmmm! What I thought would be an easy grab resulted in a DNF after a lengthy search.

Without really planning our next caches, we just went to the nearest one according to the GPSr. It was an easy find. The next nearest cache was located in a canyon. I'm finally learning about these and how difficult it is to gain access. Most of the canyons in the San Diego area are surrounded by residential neighborhoods with cheek by jowl private property lines. I've driven around and around these areas with the GPSr saying the cache is only 258 feet away without finding any way to access the cache location.

So, after some of this driving around, we finally found a recreation area that offered a trail into one section of Tecolote canyon. We found "Druid Hollow" cache. In fact, I didn't even have to look for it. It was sitting in its spot completely exposed. After signing the log, I replaced it and hid it with some bark and leaves.

The next cache in the canyon was the "TecoloteMagnetExchange." This fabulous tree is located just downhill from the cache location.




It was somewhat ironic that I didn't have a magnet to exchange because when I started out Geocaching that is what most of my trades were. I got a whole bunch of refrigerator magnets at a Thrift Store and those were my early swag items.

We attempted to walk to another cache, but it turned out to be too difficult from the canyon, so we walked back to the car, getting a bit "lost" and losing the trail back to the parking area at one place. 

I've found that sometimes I look at the Navigation arrow so much on the initial cache hunt that I forget to make note of the trail and general surroundings as I would without the GPSr in my hand.

Maybe setting a waypoint for the car, even in such an urban setting, is a good idea . . .


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This post was written by Miragee from her personal blog Musing About Geocaching. You'll find a lot of great articles and awesome adventures there. Karen is a regular contributor to CacheCrazy.Com.
Thank you! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

GUEST BLOG - Jenny from Jenny Goes Geocaching - Geocaching: More Than A Hobby

You're Monday morning just got much better!


Meet Jenny who owns and operates Jenny Goes Geocaching  a great geocaching blog that contains excellent works. She's a 4th grade teacher in Maine and that keeps her busy but when the time allows, she's off on another adventure geocaching and having fun! She also brings a unique view and I have enjoyed her work and writing style. So enough about that, let's get to some Monday morning geocaching and what it means to Jenny. 
Thanks Jenny!


Geocaching: More Than A Hobby
Many geocachers list the hobby as just that, a hobby.  Admittedly, that’s how it started out for me.  I’ve been caching for almost a year and my attitude about it has changed dramatically since my first find in August of 2010.

Geocaching satisfied two things I was looking for at the time.  One was a hobby.  I’d previously tried knitting, scrapbooking, and other arts and craft type things but I didn’t have the creative chops to keep going after I got started.  The second thing I needed was exercise.  I spent most of my day standing or sitting at the front of a classroom and needed to get my body moving.  I considered it a miracle that I could satisfy both of my needs by picking up geocaching.

jjtuttle and peaceout
I had been at it for about a month when I realized another benefit of geocaching: a social life.  On a hot summer day in August, I was approached by a lady I had been teaching with for a year.  She asked me how geocaching was going.  I was shocked!  Apparently she found my profile on www.geocaching.com.  We soon made a date to go geocaching together.  Since then, we’ve chatted about First to Finds in the hall, sent and received emails about newly published caches, and even gave small gifts related to our shared interest. 


My sister, Lacey
The next year, my husband and I moved to Bangor, about an hour from Lincoln.  I have to thank geocaching for taking me on a tour of my new home base and for helping me meet new friends in the area.  We’ve had two geocaching meet ups at the Bangor City Forest and several smaller get togethers.  Geocaching has helped me fit into a place that I was initially scared of.
My sister, Holly
Not only was I able to build new friendships, but I discovered that I was also strengthening my old relationships.  At Christmas, my entire family went trudging through knee-deep snow to try out my favorite new pastime.  Now, every time we get together, my sister Holly asks if there are any new geocaches that we can find.  Most of my family has been on an adventure or two with me.  


My friends Christy, Jordan, and Derek have been on numerous occasions, often with them initiating the hunt!  Two of the ladies I used to teach with have started their own accounts and one plans to write a murder mystery with a geocaching theme!  My husband Brad has been across Maine and New England in the pursuit of a Bison tube or ammo can.  He and Derek even took me to Pennsylvania on my birthday so I could attend my first ever GeoWoodstock even.


Speaking of GeoWoodstock, there’s another benefit-the travel.  I never realized how many beautiful sights there were to see within 25, 50, or 100 miles of where I live.  Often times after traipsing through the woods, I’ll go to move a branch from my path and stumble across a beautiful lake or the sun sharing its last rays of light on the calm water of the river.  Once I even saw an overturned, rusted out car on the shore of a lake.  I’ve seen grave stones older than the towns they’re mounted in.  You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”?  Well that couldn’t be more true than with geocaching.


So if someone were to laugh and say that geocaching is an obsession for me, not a hobby, I’d probably have to agree with them.  

Sounds to me Jenny, that you may have a case of CacheCrazy!


Thanks again Jenny, we really appreciate your contribution I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Jenny's work in the near future.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The "Real Truth" about the Easter Bunny

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The "Real Truth" about the Easter Bunny

 Long before geocaching was ever possible, before GPS and even before the construction of the ammo can, the Easter Bunny has been hiding eggs and baskets for seekers to find. I have done extensive research on the subject and find the lack of the “truth” about the Easter Bunny upsetting. There are many stories about Pagan Tradition, Egg Dumping and Christian Symbolisms but let me set the record straight right here and now; The Easter Bunny is the first known Geocache hider. So move over Dave Ulmer, the bunny's' coming through.

There are many who agree with me but still some skeptics exist. For your information, there is a little known lawsuit involving the Easter Bunny and Groundspeak. It appears that the Easter Bunny was seriously discriminated against by Groundspeak when selecting a mascot. It’s still tied up in court but, I think there is a settlement on the horizon. Signal had a very impressive resume and does look pretty cool but the Easter Bunny has it all over him in experience with over two million hides. His age came into question but the Easter Bunny can still kick some butt.  The truth be known, in a toe to toe tussle, my money is on the bunny.  And, in all actuality, Energizer had a much more attractive offer anyway.

Where did the Easter Eggs come from anyway?
Rare photo of Peep and Peter aka The Easter Bunny

The story, as I know it, has steamy romantic details of the Easter Bunny and a chicken named Peep who had a very unconventional relationship.They were in love! For years they skirted the public, hiding their relationship from those who cast shame and negativity. Together they created the most beautiful eggs and to cover their tracks, the Easter Bunny hid them from the eye of the public. Do you see where I’m going here?

So, Why an Easter Basket?

The Easter Bunny and Peep were so in love and made so many "Easter Egg"s that they had to use a basket to keep them all together. At times instead of just hiding the individual eggs, he would hide the entire basket to save time. Children took a special interest in the Easter Bunny because of the beautifully colored eggs. Because the Easter Bunny loves kids, he would occasionally add treats and chocolates to the baskets for the children who looked for them. It didn’t take long before parents copied the Easter Bunny’s basket hiding and the Easter Basket was born. Egg hiding was also done in conjunction with basket hiding to make children believe that the Easter Bunny was actually real. Which he is of course. Makes sense, right?

I have seen the Easter Bunny!

I did, I swear I did. I was young with a raging imagination of this huge white bunny that hides eggs and baskets for kids just like me. A stir in my bedroom confirmed my belief, when I felt that tickle on my cheek and opened my eyes, there he was! As alive and real as you and I. To this day I can still see the image. I quickly pulled the covers over my head so he didn't see that I was awake or had found him out. This “real sighting” has energized my lifelong pursuit of the truth.

So, forget all those other stories and spread the truth about the Easter Bunny. On this Easter morning, while you enjoy your chocolates, candy, Easter Eggs and all the joys that Easter brings. Remember the Easter Bunny who has forged a legacy by caching eggs and baskets for many generations. A pioneer if you will, of the hide and seek game that spans the globe much like Geocaching. 
The Easter Bunny is a Geocacher, I just know it!


Happy Easter
Christ has risen hallelujah, hallelujah! 
Bloodhounded

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