CacheCrazy.Com: In Defense Of The Urban Hide

Friday, August 16, 2013

In Defense Of The Urban Hide

We've probably all found one at one point or another.  It goes by different names:  LPC, Cache-n-Dash and Park-n-Grab, just to name a few.  It's that cache located under the lamppost skirt at the hardware superstore.  Perhaps it's on the guardrail on the side of the local fast food joint.  It might even be tucked inside a phone booth (remember those?) at the gas station.  No matter what we call it, or where it's hidden, we all know what I'm talking about.  It's the urban hide, and it's place in geocaching has debated ever since the first geocacher went to a hardware store and said "hey, that Hide-A-Key would make a nifty cache container, but wherever would I put such a thing?"

If I were to poll one hundred cachers, and ask their opinion on this topic, I'd probably get one hundred unique responses.  I've seen such polarizing thoughts about these urban hides.  There are some out there who feel it taints the game.  They feel geocaching is all about connecting with nature, not connecting with a parking lot.  It's cheating.  It's watering down the game.  Are people that lazy that they can't go to the park and find a tree to hide a cache in, and insist on littering every shopping center with Hide-A-Keys and orange pill bottles?  Others, however feel it adds something to the game.  It's easier to build up numbers when you don't have to hike two miles to log one smiley.  Caches closer to the road are easier to maintain.  I can't venture too far from the car to look for a cache.

Ground zero.

These are all valid points.  One of the great things about geocaching is the subjective nature of the game.  Other than a few basic ground rules, laid out by Groundspeak, the ins and outs of the game are pretty much open for interpretation.  No two geocachers are the same.  We all have our personal opinions on how the game should be played, and how a cache should, and shouldn't, be hidden.  One of the most common mantras I hear, in regards to geocaching is that geocaching should take me on a nice walk or hike, to somewhere of interest, that I've never been before.  Speaking as a geocacher who enjoys a nice hike, and seeing new things, let me be the first to say- that's a bunch of garbage.

For starters, there is no rule as to where a geocache should be hidden.  Groundspeak's rules (requirements and guidelines, if we want to get technical about it) tend to tell us where we should NOT hide a geocache.    In addition, I believe there would be a mass exodus of the geocaching community if they started telling us how and where we should cache.

Your basic 35mm film canister.

Then, there is the issue of the numbers.  It may not be about the numbers for you, but for Joe Schmoe, it may be ALL about the numbers.  How many caches can he find in one day?  One hour?  He likes the power trails and LPC's, and as long as their hidden by the rules, and he's playing by them, then by all means, game on.  I hope he finds 200 caches today.  Personally, I'd get bored after a while, and tired from getting in and out of my car all day.

Nothing gets the old ticker going like a good hike.  One of my favorite days caching was spent on a 15 mile hike.  I can do it.  You might be able to do it.  Personally, I know of many who can't.  It has nothing to do with being lazy.  There are many cachers out there who may not be able to spend more than a few minutes, or walk more than a few yards, in hunt of a cache.  Should they be robbed of that sense of accomplishment when they find that tricky hide, hidden in plain sight, or that cache container made from a rubber snake, which gives you a good chuckle, after you've regained your composure?  Absolutely not!

If only that bridge had a guardrail...

Lastly, there's the notion that urban hides are uninspiring and half-assed.  It's all about perspective, my friend.  I've seen some really good parking hides.  GCN5RK-Right On Target is a prime example.  It's a hide in a parking lot, and from the cache name, you can probably guess where.  However, the cache owner thought outside the box, and in the process, created a cache which regularly gets rave reviews.  Conversely, I've seen some pretty awful hides out in the wilderness.  Some cache owners, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, fail to use common sense when choosing cache containers, swag, and location.  As a result, a physically challenging hike to a cache produces a disappointing outcome, when you find the cache, only to see it's been gnawed by the local habitat, leaving a rugged box with a wet log and contents.

The best of both worlds?

I'll sum up my experience with this:  cache however, and wherever you want.  In my opinion, it begins and ends with the cache owner.  Whether it's near a waterfall, or near a water park, it's up to the cache owner to use his/her creativity, and awareness of surroundings, to provide the "WOW" factor.  And while they're not my favorite type of cache, I'll hunt the urban hide from time to time, just because. 

I'll leave you with this thought:  Why do supermarkets put candy bars near the checkout aisles?  We like candy bars, and if they're within an arm's reach, we're more likely to grab one.  Why?  Because we like candy bars, and they made it easy to get our fix.


Big_Dog1970 said...

Dave I gotta tell ya, This is probably my favorite article of yours so far.
As you know, I am one of those cachers who are physically limited to a lower terrain level.
I do enjoy getting out on a trail for a nice stroll in the woods with my furry four legged Son(Shadow), but only if the trail is level 3.5 or less.
My favorite caches are ones with easy access but still challenging to find.
I remember one cache in particular that I looked for while out caching with you. You had previously found this one so you stood back and watched me search for it.
At one point I touched the cache and still continued to move along searching. I was so embarrassed, but also very impressed by the clever hide.
That was a fun day of geocaching with a lot of laughs, especially at the cache I just mentioned.

Well a lot of laughing for you anyway...LOL.

Great Job on this one Dave.

This one gets an "EXCELLENT SMITHERS"

Cache Ya Later

Heather Cook (Lady-Magpie) said...

Dave I have been guilty of being one of those geocachers that have not liked the urban cache, let's get out into the countryside I have declared. Well since my long illness I have been having to take it easier getting back into my favourite hobby.

Thankfully there has been a few urban caches turning up so I have been able to get back out there again, mind you I do believe the old age is beginning to take it's toll as well. I promise not to dish the urban cache again.

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

Some of the best urban caches I ever found were on Bourbon St, New Orleans. They were creative and fun. Some urbans can be awesome, it only takes a little imagination to make an average cache, a COOL cache! Nanos and urbans go hand in hand and those tiny little magnetic containers just drive me freaking NUTS!AND there is always several muggles around at all times. Part of the difficulty???? I'll take my 4/4 - 5 miler down near a nice river on a crisp spring day! I can't wait!
Some of your very best work Dave. Two thumbs up! BH

sarah saad said...

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