CacheCrazy.Com: Making Geocaching better one cache at a time

Monday, March 28, 2011

Making Geocaching better one cache at a time

By: Bloodhounded

Notes from the author: You can make a big difference in the longevity of a cache and Geocaching in general.




When I first started geocaching I was enthusiastic to find as many caches as I could. Not that the numbers where really important but, I wanted to see all different types of caches and find what was out there. What I found was an eye opener and I knew right away that I needed to change the way I looked at caches and started to bring additional stuff with me in the field.

I found caches that were filled with water, smashed all over the place, completely missing, empty and basically done for with nothing but an “archiving” fate. If I archived every busted and soggy cache, I knew I would be limiting the opportunities. Instead, I decided to send emails to the cache owners (aka CO’s). Many got right back to me and promised to fix it however, others never responded. I knew I couldn’t just leave them like that for the next cacher so, I made it my mission to “rescue them” and that I did. It made me feel good that even though the cache didn’t have a responsible owner, it now had a safe and secure home. I know, I have problems. Mind you, these are not my hides.

On subsequent caching trips I went prepared with what I called my “Cache First Aid Kit”. It was assembled using the following items:

• A medium size Lock N Lock container (which I used to stuff everything else inside). The medium size is small enough to fit in a hip pack but large enough to sub for a damaged large container.

• (2) spiral notebooks (large cache logs)

• (2) small replacement logs

• (2) micro replacement logs

• (2) small plastic containers

• (4) sharpened pencils

• (1) roll of clear tape

• (2) ziplock sandwich bags

• (2) ziplock freezer bags

• (4) small ziplock bags

That sounds like a lot of stuff but it fits nicely in the container and I’m ready for any cache container s in the field no matter if they are minor or critical injuries. No cache dies on my watch!

As a CO, I really appreciate when someone goes out of their way to fix up one of my hides. I always add a comment of thanks to the log and make sure I send a Thank You email. Here are some signs that you might have to spring into action and break out the survival kit:

1. Check the logs of the last three cachers who found it last. Many will make mention of the log being wet or full, the container being cracked or something to that effect. I target these caches because to me it’s a twofold adventure, I get to find the cache and I get to fix it up too. For some strange reason, I find pleasure in that.

2. A cache that hasn’t been found in a long time is suspicious. Email the cache owner before you go and let them know you are prepared to do maintenance if needed. Sometimes they will email you back and tell you what it needs and offer additional support (cell number) to get field support if needed. The caches that haven’t been found in a long time are usually the ones that are a 3+ mile hike and you don’t want to come away without a smiley.

3. Great caches that just got a bad break. These are caches that are in a great location and get a lot of seeker traffic however no one has the stuff to fix them. The logs usually spell out what is needed.

4. If you come across a full log you can replace it with a new one BUT PLEASE, do not remove the original log. They are the history documented for all to see.

5. Don’t forget your swag bag! I have some “secondary” swag that I don’t mind parting with and some caches have nothing! So I dump some swag in there and it’s all set.

6. Some caches need a complete overhaul. You’ll find yourself basically doing everything because the cache is so badly damaged there is no hope for the container and its contents are gone.

By making a geocache fully functional, you are insuring that the cache will not be archived in the near future, adding to the longevity of the location and insuring that the next seeker has a positive geocaching experience. Who knows, it could be someone’s very first cache adventure (we all remember that one don’t we?) or some little kid who is all excited about the treasure.

By helping out the CO’s, they have more time to plan a cache and do additional hides. This insures the growth of the sport and keeps a smiley not only in your cache count but on the faces of everyone who participates in the adventure of geocaching.

Yes, you CAN make a difference, one cache at a time!

TEAM BLOODHOUNDED

6 comments:

Dan the Wodsman said...

I like this! I think I will start doing this after I get a little better at geocaching!

Dodger said...

I'm all for helping out, but if a CO is no longer maintaining a cache, there's only so much you can do. For caches that are in that bad of shape, I started using the "Needs Maintenance" log. That's why it's there. If a CO does not want to fix it, then that cache should be archived. Instead of constantly trying to plug the hole in a sinking ship, I'd rather get the junk cleaned up.

BigAl said...

I'm all for helping out too. I try and carry some of the stuff you mentioned, but I think I'll have to make a Geocaching 1st Aid Kit to take along now. This is a good idea. I really don't like to find caches that are water logged and neither does anyone else. Thanks for the great tips.

BLOODHOUNDED said...

I guess the rule of thumb is to "pick your victim". I want all of the caches around my home field to be great, so I'll gladly do what it takes. State parks, well placed hides and cache potential all factor into my efforts. I can't fix them all and yes, I have had caches archived HOWEVER, remember that every cache you archive is one less opportunity for another cacher to relive the experience and sometimes, that's a good thing.

Benizerith said...

I don't have a "first aid kit" so to speak, but I do carry a roll of each gallon, quart, and snack ziploc bags. Plus regular-sized and micro log sheets. I have so much swag and crap in my caching bag, I don't have room for much else! I agree that it is a great idea to try and help out wherever you can. And while I haven't hidden a cache yet, I know I would want it done for me.

Anonymous said...

I've been caching for about a year and a half now and making repairs and dropping off swag is one of things that makes this a fun hobby.

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