Yesterday I released my first 4 caches into the geocaching wild. Each cache holds a pen, log, some curios, and a travel bug. 3 of the 4 were placed in the Evil Cache Containers I’ve constructed over the past few weeks. Two of those containers I’ve shown on this blog as part of the “How To” series. What made if fun also made it exhausting.
Never am I going to release 4 caches under these circumstances again.
My intent was to show how to do it right. After 50+ caches of happy meal toys, paper coupons, and even a bobby pin. I vowed any cache I released would have meaning, dammit. These were going to be ones to impress people, caches which would set standards. In years to come, grandfathers would tell their grandkids, “Yeah, years ago there was this geocacher named Benson who did some amazing work.”
So I wasn’t satisfied with just building just any Evil Cache Container. Hell, no. I had to make sure each and everyone had a travel bug. Because, as we all know, nothing pulls in the geocachers like a travel bug. And my TB’s were going to be a part of a series.
Furthermore, my caches were going to have neat stuff in them. No balloons, no disposable plastic crap. GeoCoins. And significant objects to impress everyone finding the cache. I wanted caches to create awe and inspiration. I wanted caches which, when opened, would bring about a moment of silence from an assembled crowd. In other words, I wanted caches of brilliance.
Where to place these caches? I suddenly remembered the Schuylkill River hiking trail had just extended past my modest borough. There were two caches, both micro, on the new extension already, but they were placed at the beginning. The rest of the trail was virgin territory! Here was the perfect spot.
I contacted the park ranger (via email) responsible for this new section of the trail. He was aware of geocaching and emailed a form to fill out for each cache. And here is where things became very interesting: the standard park form for a cache in this county (Chester, PA) is two pages long. I am not making this up. They have regulations where it can be placed, how long it can be there, etc. I really don’t mind all these rules; every game has to have them. But imagine my shock upon discovering the details.
So I filled out the forms and sent them in. And waited for a response. No response. I emailed the ranger. Yes, he got the forms, but he’s busy and needs to check on the coördinates. This exchange goes on for over a month. What I finally figured out was the ranger in charge of the trail had a lot more on his table than a bunch of geocachers wanting to hide some loot. But we finally agreed to meet and check the coördinates.
While I was waiting for the park ranger to return my emails I managed to gather the goods for the caches. I’d opted for the small cache approach, which limited what I could put in them. I ordered the travel bug tickets and found small figurines I wanted to use as TB’s. Getting them registered wasn’t too difficult, Groundspeak’s system works mighty fine. The real challenge was remembering which TB went in which cache.
When the ranger rolled into the parking lot to meet me, I was ready. All caches had been place in their hidden containers. I had a trusty list on hand for what was to go where. I even had my stalwart Garmin E Trex 10 on hand with the coördinates. I thus jumped into his vehicle and went out looking for the spots.
And this ranger was sharp. He recognized every patch of poison ivy, every blackberry (thorns!) bush and every trail limitation on the route. The first scene had to be moved because I’d put the coördinates at a drainage area. It floods from time to time. He moved it a 1/2 mile downstream to another pile of rocks where the Evil Cache Container could blend in and be less likely to get compromised. The other three locations where just fine after some minor adjustments. We both checked the coördinates, me on the Garmin, him on his I-Phone.
The caches in place, I went home and notified Groundspeak. There was a little time lag the next morning as the local reviewer informed me I needed to place an image from the park service on each cache page approving it. No problem. Image in place. One hour later all four caches went live. I wasn’t sure how many geocachers were in the area, but I didn’t expect much activity the first week.
By noon the same day, three of the four caches had been FTF’d. And other geocachers were on the heels of the first wave. The only reason all four weren’t discovered at the same time was the coördinates being off on the first one. I’d loaded the original coördinates into the Groundspeak page for it, not the corrected ones. The corrected ones were easily updated by yours truly after walking out the trail, checking each of the four. I then returned to the house and uploaded the correction to the cache page.
One hour later the last cache had been FTF’d.
Most geocachers who wrote on the page log enjoyed my Evil Cache Containers. Still, it didn’t slow them down the least bit. Either the “cache sense” is strong in these, or my locations are painfully obvious. I suspect it’s a combination of the two. Notes for future Evil Cache Containers.
I’ll be checking them all in the upcoming week. My big concern is cache trails forming off the path. Where they are placed makes any such trail suspect to the civilians walking the trails. This time of year the trails have a lot of activity. As long as the four aren’t compromised, I’m not going to worry.
Geocaching Gone Wild: Unleash The Bugs! is a post from: GeoCache Creation