Saturday, August 23, 2014

Next week we are going to tackle Lawson #4, the closest cache to my house, and a very challenging hike and climb. So, we are trying to get in shape for that adventure.

Therefore, on Tuesday, instead of driving down the old Viejas Grade to find the four caches hidden along there, we walked down the road. One of the caches is called "Back Seat Driver." P.T. is checking out the car to see if it might run again someday.

Actually, the car got caught in the fire of Ocotber 2003 and anything on it that could burn, or melt, did. Only the metal shell remained.

It was a good long hike of nearly four miles and we collected lots of cans and bottles along the way.

After we got back to the Geomobile, we headed up Hwy 79 toward Cuyamaca State Park to find Duncan!'s new cache and continue on toward an Earthcache and the Sunrise Highway. Passing Wind's "Julian Schist Earthcache" was cache number 800 for me. The description of the rocks, and the gold-bearing veins, was very educational. When we arrived at the road cut, it was in shadow, so the pictures we took were not as vivid as they could be. When I'm back on that road, I'll stop and get some better pictures of the interesting geological feature.

Although the air was hazy, it was an absolutely beautiful day to be up in the mountains. One of the most fun caches on the Sunrise Highway was "Vista del Fuego." It was placed a few months after the devastating Cedar Fire in October 2003 that burned thousands of acres. On a clear day this view would really be fantastic.

From there we headed on to a cache I had found a few months ago. While P.T. climbed up the hill, I took some pictures of the "Guardrail Philosophy."

I have an alarm clock that runs on happiness . . . 

Everytime someone smiles, I wake up . . . 

Our last stop of the day was a cache I found a few months ago that has since gone missing . . . again. It is called "Vallecito View" and highlights a wonderful viewpoint. I hope Duncan! will replace it so people will stop and see the view of the desert to the east.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Wednesday morning we started out at my "Steele Canyon Park" cache. While P.T. found and logged it, I collected a few more cans and bottles for the recyling center. From there we drove just a little ways to the end of Par Four Street and started what turned out to be a very long walk to attempt the multi, "Par Four," and continue up the hill to the difficult-to-access "Golden 94."

At the first waypoint for "Par Four," we found this guy:

The second waypoint was difficult to find and we looked a long time. It shouldn't have been that hard; in fact I looked in a location similar to the hiding spot, but missed searching the actual hiding spot. P.T. ultimately made the find. We took quite a few pictures of the ruins we found there.

This amazing tree might have been the hiding place for WP #3. We may never know since we looked for half an hour and never found it.

"Golden 94" was only .22 miles away from that place, but we couldn't see any direct trail to it. I was certain it was at the end of a power line access road, so we started walking up the horse trail, in our Chaco sandals, not thinking we were going to be doing all the bushwacking we ended up doing after we went up, then down, then up, then back down, then up, up, up to the ammo can hidden in a pile of rocks that can just be seen in this picture taken from "See How They Run" later in the day.

We probably hiked four or five miles during our day and had quite a bit of elevation gain and loss climbing to both of those caches.

The last cache of the day was another new one by Pathfinder and Snoopy, two cachers who really helped me out when I was a brand new cacher back in January. There caches are always fun, well-cammoed, or in interesting locations. In fact, the very first cache I found, "Hollenbeck Canyon Cache" was a Pathfinder and Snoopy cache.

Thanks, Pathfinder and Snoopy for getting me started on this obsession/addiction . . .

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!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Logging your find, a CO's only reward!

By: Bloodhounded
Notes from the author: They put them out for you, they maintain them for you, they are the reason you have an opportunity to get a smiley, they are the CO's and the log you leave is their only reward. Think about it.

As a geocacher, I love to find creative caches and well thought out hides. It really doesn’t take too much to be unique; a nice container, a theme, and devious hide, a perplexing puzzle, multi with a story, a history lesson and oh yes, that totally awesome destination. Yet, many cachers just go with the Tupperware variety, unmaintained, damp log and a ground zero (GZ) that makes you wonder, WTF???? Deflating to say the least. Maintaining a good - excellent cache is a lot of work but, cache owners do it without regret. What keeps them going? The logs.

Being the owner of some 26 caches, I use as much time maintaining as I do seeking. There are few weeks that go by where I don't communicate by email and text, clues, explanation, requested missing series information, a kind "great job!" and at times encouragement to finish. I'm happy to do it! All I ask in return is a great log.

What makes a great log? It really is a matter of personal style and expression of the experience. Some cachers feel uncomfortable with writing a longer log. All I can tell you is the more you read and do the more you'll add to yours. The log is the history of the cache. Every geocache that I am aware of has two logs that need to be considered.

Physical Log - This is the log that goes inside the geocache container. It could be as small as a tiny piece of paper or as large as a notebook. It's your seal that you have been to the cache and by signing the log and dating it, you are confirmed. Some that are large enough have room for some additional fun. Jot down a few words of thanks, something that you experienced along the way and add your own style to it. I will draw a small dog paw on the log sometimes to add some individuality to the log. Dodger uses a very cool stamp that he had custom tailored to leave a DLC seal in the log book, it's quite impressive. He uses it on his posts here at CacheCrazy.Com as his avatar. When I maintain my caches I always read through the log book. I DO SEE all of the cool sigs and stamps, doodles and the like and enjoy them. Sometimes, I DON'T SEE an entree from a few that claimed it as a find on the cache page, hmmmm. You know who you are, lol! Whatever, there will always be that small percentage who play the game differently. 

Cache Page Log - It seems that most folks enjoy writing about the cache on their computer and in the solitude of their domain and as time allows. The longer you wait to log it, the shorter the log will be. All cache owners are receiving the log as it's uploaded to the page. I love it when I'm having a lousy day and all of a sudden BING, a new find, an awesome log and all of a sudden, I feel better. It's a sense of reward to read about the seekers fun and skill on your cache as you knew it would be when you put it there. I often communicate with my finders as many will attest to. I especially look for new cachers and bid them a "welcome to geocaching", offer assistance if needed and thank them for doing one of my geocaches. 

photo complements of Cache Mania
It's all a matter of what the cache is like. If it's a roadside micro, it's just not going to get the type of response that a well placed multi will receive and rightfully so. However, in my opinion, just writing "TNLN TFTC" is a little bit like saying, "this cache sucked" in my mind. Even a small one liner is better than that. The CO still placed it, maintains it, posted it and is responsible for giving you that smiley, don't you think a little " fun cache and was easy to find if you are looking, TFTC!" Is that asking too much?

In the end, the log should reflect the experience and take your time with expression. Sometimes I have to gather my thoughts before I write the log. When doing five or more finds in one day it becomes a little cloudy. I can assure you that other people will be reading your logs. make them special and if not for anyone else, let the cache owner know that you appreciate their effort and continued support to geocacheing through the log. After all, it really is the CO's only reward.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why Not Wednesday ~ Everyone is doing it!

Are YOU doing it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On The Art Of Logging

Logging is not just for you.
Over the last few years many older cachers have noted that cache logs have been getting shorter and shorter.  Many of the logs for my caches are just variations on TFTC (Thanks for the cache).  With the prevalence of geocaching apps on smart phones with canned logs ready to go, and a general lack of mentoring of new cachers, it is not a surprise that the art of good logging is falling by the way side.  This post is an attempt to explore this cachers thoughts on what makes a good log.

To be clear I am talking about online logs, not paper logs.  Often caches do not provide a log sheet big enough to write anything more than the date and your name.  The online logs, however, never have this constraint.

So what is the purpose of the online log?  You may be surprised to learn that it is not just about keeping score of the caches you've found, but much more important than that. It is also about contributing back to the community.  A well written log adds colour to a cache description.  Often logs provide context to the cache that is not in the description: things like how hard the terrain really is; if there are a lot of muggles around the cache site; a beautiful view along the way that you just shouldn't miss.
See anything interesting along the way?

A well written log also provides useful feed back to the cache owner.  It can let them know if the cache is in good shape, or needs some attention.  It also provides encouragement to the cache owner. Putting out a cache takes time, and often money.  It is disheartening as a cache owner to put in all the effort it takes to get a cache placed and published, only to get a short TFTC in the logs.  A good log is a real ego booster.  I have been known to show off good logs to my non-caching wife - "look at this awesome log left on my cache!"

My sons first log signing.
You bet that made the online log!
So at this stage  of this post you may be asking yourself "What makes a good log, anyway?"  Everyone has different writing style, and it is important that you write your logs in your own style, whatever that may be.  I know one cacher that write a poem for every cache they find.  However most just write in normal prose. You need to find our own voice and practice using it.

Whatever your style, I feel a good log should be at least a couple paragraphs (or longer if it is an epic story, or an epic cache run), and should capture the story of the cache hunt.  I use the following questions as ideas for content when I write my cache logs:
  • What was the weather like?  Bright and sunny?  Torrential rain?
  • Did you hit any milestones on this trip?
  • Did you cache solo, or part of a group?  Who was in your group?
  • Did you see anything interesting along the way?
  • Does the cache have any issues the owner needs to be made aware of?
  • Any interesting muggle encounters?
  • Did the hunt provide any interesting challenges? i.e. long hike, hard climb, tricky hide etc.
  • Did you trade anything, or exchange any travel bugs?
  • Any particular reason you went caching today?

Who did you cache with today?
Combining several of the above ideas into a few sentences can quickly lead to a good story about your hunt.

So you may be thinking "This is all well and good, but when I am in the field, I don't have time to write that much".  This is a valid point.  With smart phones you can log your caches when you find them, and if you don't you may forget important details.  The solution to this is not to post logs from the field, but generate field notes.  Toss the details into a field note, which can then be uploaded to, and when you get back to your computer you can access these notes and use them to generate your cache logs.

Caching: full of memories for a lifetime.
Share them in your cache logs!
If you are doing a lot of caches in the same day, especially if you are doing a power trail, you may not want to write a unique log for every cache. (and rightly so - I wouldn't want to try to write a unique log for every cache in a 100 cache power trail either :)  I would suggest that you write one log detailing the entire day, and then copy and paste that into each log.

Finally, you may ask "what if I didn't find it?".  Good question! This is why there is a Did Not Find log.  I use this when I honestly gave the cache my best attempt and could not come up with the find.  Posting DNF logs is important for one very good reason:  it lets others know the cache may not be there.  As a finder of a cache, I use a series of DNFs as a sign that the cache is missing and may chose to not waste my time looking for it.  As an owner I use the DNF log as a sign that one of my caches may have issues and I should plan on checking on it in the near future.  When I write DNF logs I still tend to write a bit about the hunt, and point out anything interesting that may have happened.

So I have shared my opinions on proper logging.  What are yours? Post your thoughts in the comment section below!

This post was written by Dave DeBaeremaeker. You can follow his geocaching adventures on his blog: Only Googlebot Reads This Blog.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Running Wild with Bear Grylls

OK, so the first few episodes are over. In my opinion, it's one of the best shows on TV! Bear is a beast and he just doesn't let up. He faces a special challenge tonight. Tom Arnold recently lost 100 LBS! He's been working out and eating right so, what do you think? My bet is Bear puts together a journey that will bring out the MAN in Tom. Tom will be complete after Bear's beating. We'll just have to wait and see Monday August 18  8/7c  on NBC.
What do you thing about the series?


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