View Full Version : 10 Years - What changes have you seen?



brdad
04-08-2010, 01:53 PM
An email from a reporter prompted me to start this thread. Perhaps some of the information we provide here will be used in the article. Regardless, it could be a fun topic. For that reason, let's stay on topic and to the point, off topic remarks will be edited or deleted!

Please post when you started or how long you have been caching at the start of your post.

Then just write what changes you have witnessed or been a part of and or how geocaching may have changed you.

brdad
04-08-2010, 03:14 PM
I started caching June 27, 2002, so I have been caching almost 8 years in which I have seen quite a few changes.

You can't really mention the changes in geocaching without mentioning the numbers. The numbers of caches and cachers have grown exponentially. There were 145 active caches in Maine the day I started caching, now there are over 5600. There were a handful of Mainers who cached on a regular basis, now I would guess that number is 150 or more.

I think the type of people are cachers has changed a lot as well. In the early days, I think a large majority of cachers were hard core geeks or outdoor enthusiasts or a combination of both. They often already owned a GPSr or had a desire to get one and just needed one more reason to get one. Myself, I had been using my GPSr to map ATV trails as well as to locate old dwellings marked on some old maps I had found for nearly a year before I attempted my first cache. As geocaching grew and it attracted more media attention, it's appeal reached a larger group of people. Families were seeing it as a benefit to get their kids out to enjoy the world. For others geocaching provided a much needed reason to get some exercise and/or lose some weight. Others just loved the appeal of looking for a treasure. Geocaching was taking people into the woods who previously had no desire to be there and often little or no knowledge of GPSrs.

Cache types and caching styles have changed a lot as well. A few cache types have been moved to waymarking.org but the ones that existed are grandfathered. Some cachers claim that the removal of the virtual cache prompted the micro cache explosion. Micros started out as the cache type to use if there was no way to hide a larger cache. Now that are considered by many to be acceptable to be hidden anywhere any other cache could be hidden. I believe their heavy use has been a factor in the increase both in the number of caches hidden by cache placers as well as the desire by many to find as many caches as possible. This has attracted some people to geocaching not necessarily for the outdoor activity or the fun of technology, but for the competition and/or numbers , creating another breed of cacher.

I think with the increase in numbers many friendships have grown as well - people who might have had nothing to do with each other seem to easily find common ground while looking for a box of toys in the woods....

As for how caching has changed me, obviously the biggest change would be meeting Msteelee in 2003 while attending my first event (and eventually getting married to her on a caching trip to VT). But it goes beyond that. I am not the type to usually get involved in anything and take charge. Caching has given me something that is worthy of promoting and taking part in, and cachers are a very diverse bunch but a great group overall.

TeamHorwich
04-08-2010, 09:14 PM
We/I have been caching since July of 2002. Introduced by a friend, I quickly became more interested in geocaching than he was...we only found a few our first couple of years. We would only cache on weekends, holidays, or vacations with his borrowed marine gps unit (boy was that big and bulky! No maps - just follow the arrow and the gazetteer)...I think it was the summer of 2004 when I received a pedometer and eTrex for Father's Day and decided I would try and exercise more and use geocaching to get outside more and walk everyday. I had never been an outdoors type, being more of a city kid growing up. I think our move to Maine was made so much easier and better because of my new found love of the outdoors and wanting to discover new, beautiful and amazing places and trails. Like brdad I remember how few caches there were and my kids interest in the prizes waiting for them in the seemingly huge ammo cans...that probably has changed the most as my children hardly ever want to go geocaching anymore and hate it when we stop along the way somewhere...Besides the proliferation of micros and guardrails, I think the thing that has changed for me is "notifications" and how that has changed when and where I am willing to go out just to be FTF...I am surprised at the competitive aspect in myself and others, but somehow that has become a big part of the fun for me. The other thing that I have really come to appreciate is the social aspect. I never would have thought I would have made so many great friends through this sport...I went to my first event in 04 and have really enjoyed going, hosting, and just hanging out and talking about the craziness. Lots of changes, but mostly good from my point of view...Happy Cachin'!

Ekidokai
04-09-2010, 03:36 AM
I started in August 08. My view is limited. I have not seen many changes. Everything is new and exciting to me. I realize now that I stirred things up in a big way. Never intended to or could have expected it. I don't really know that this adventure has changed me. I do go out and climb mountains and I would not have considered that before. The interesting places, clever hides, crafty abilities is a big draw. Meeting the most interesting people ever is gravy.

NativeMainer
04-09-2010, 10:10 PM
I found my first cache on 4/30/03. When I first started, I learned pretty much by trial and error, as I didn't really know what I was doing. I didn't realize the social aspect of this activity until a few years ago, and since then I've made some wonderful friends.

One of the things that I noticed when I first started is that all the caches that I found were ammo boxes or large containers of some sort placed down a path somewhere. I'm not sure when it started, but I had a hard time finding my first micro (film cannister) because I didn't know what I was looking for. Same with the nanos. Now I'll hunt just about anything.

Hikenfish
04-10-2010, 09:24 AM
I found my first cache in 12/03. At this time I did not own a GPS, but I owned a compass. I would bring my maps with me, and triangulate to find about where the cache was. I would almost always use the hints, because the search area was so great. From then until 2006 I only found 10 caches or so this way. In 2006 I had enough money to buy a gps. I started seriously geocaching around this time. The caches were usually not found immediatly. Somewhere around here is when i saw the change in geocaching, The hides were regular sized caches. I found my first micro which was really difficult. Then shortly after I found my first magnetic nano out in lisbon. Right after I found it, I could not belive how small the container was. Many of the caches at this point were located at a point of interest. There was a new cache published every now and then.

Now there is a magnetic nano on a street sign every few blocks, The bulk of the caches out there today are micros. The caches also seem to have gained elevation. I am almost 6 feet tall, and have a hard time reaching some of these caches. Never mind a young kid trying to find the cache. The cleverness of the hides has gone both ways, some hides are super easy. The evil hides are much more evil and better caches.

The biggest thing that has changed for me is the ease of caching. I started Manually entering each geocache as waypoint. I brought a "Packet" of paper with all the cache information. Now I have a garmin oregon, a premium membership, and GSAK. 30 seconds to load 500 caches(vs a few hours for 20 caches) and no paper.

Haffy
04-11-2010, 12:07 AM
I found my first cache in 12/03. At this time I did not own a GPS, but I owned a compass. I would bring my maps with me, and triangulate to find about where the cache was. I would almost always use the hints, because the search area was so great. From then until 2006 I only found 10 caches or so this way. In 2006 I had enough money to buy a gps. I started seriously geocaching around this time. The caches were usually not found immediatly. Somewhere around here is when i saw the change in geocaching, The hides were regular sized caches. I found my first micro which was really difficult. Then shortly after I found my first magnetic nano out in lisbon. Right after I found it, I could not belive how small the container was. Many of the caches at this point were located at a point of interest. There was a new cache published every now and then.

Now there is a magnetic nano on a street sign every few blocks, The bulk of the caches out there today are micros. The caches also seem to have gained elevation. I am almost 6 feet tall, and have a hard time reaching some of these caches. Never mind a young kid trying to find the cache. The cleverness of the hides has gone both ways, some hides are super easy. The evil hides are much more evil and better caches.

The biggest thing that has changed for me is the ease of caching. I started Manually entering each geocache as waypoint. I brought a "Packet" of paper with all the cache information. Now I have a garmin oregon, a premium membership, and GSAK. 30 seconds to load 500 caches(vs a few hours for 20 caches) and no paper.

Great synopsis!!!! It's how I started but I still have my good ole' Etrex Vista or sometimes it's not so good....I have to hit it for the screen to reappear...LOL:eek::D

firefighterjake
04-12-2010, 03:08 PM
Joined July 4, 2005 . . . found a cache a few days later.

What was supposed to be just something to do on the side once in a while turned out to be my main hobby . . . really I only bought a GPsr for use while ATVing!

Change . . . hmmm . . . change happens . . . some good, some bad . . . some things are just change, neither good or bad.

Numbers: I still try not to be into the numbers, but I tend to notice there are a lot more cachers and caches these days (good in my opinion), but the caches are different from the "old days." There is still some friendly competition with numbers -- I'm not sure if the power trails are making things better or worse for folks. For me, it's never been about the numbers . . . sure I watch the numbers go up . . . but I still prefer to be brought to those scenic views and historical sites.

Caches: Honey, I shrunk the cache . . . there are a lot more micros out there. I remember when finding a nano was a rarity and these were considered positively evil since they were rarely seen. Nowadays micros and nanos are quite common. I think they have a place . . . but I really hate finding lots of micros in the woods . . . especially when you could easily hide a regular cache. The micros in the wood deal to me is partly about the frustration of trying to look for a very tiny micro in the woods . . . partly it's my belief that young kids like the trade aspect vs. the searching aspect of caching . . . and partly because I look at hiding a full size cache in the woods as an art form . . . anyone can skillfully hide a micro in the woods . . . but how well can you conceal a regular sized cache . . . hint: check out Laughing Terry's Right in Plain Sight caches and BrDad's Battle ship Final if you want to learn just how sneaky you can be.

Virtuals: I really miss the virtuals. I still maintain there is a place for them. I understand why they went away as folks were supposedly doing virtual fire hydrants, telephone poles, etc. . . . but that said . . . they had a place and I do in fact miss them.

Personal change: I've met many good friends thanks to geocaching . . . including one of my best friends (next to my wife) -- Hiram. I've also started going to some events, realizing that caching alone can be fun, but sometimes, oftentimes, sharing the adventure with others is more fun. I've also evolved from toting around reams of paper to using my Palm . . . and then there is the fact that if I were to buy a GPSr today I would give up my beloved Magellan for a Garmin Oregon.

Hides: Mixed feelings here . . . some hides are better hidden than when I first started. In the old days it seems like hides tended to fall into one of two types of hides: hidden under a pile of sticks or hidden under rocks. Nowadays some cache hides are quite clever. On the flip side you have the caches hanging in trees . . . and no I'm not talking about the power caches . . . I'm talking about "regular" caches.

Gut feeling . . . times change . . . caches change . . . the sport changes . . . it's the nature of the beast . . . some things are good, some things are bad . . .

WhereRWe?
04-12-2010, 03:15 PM
Brdad - I hope that journalist is reading these comments. Some of them are GREAT! :D:D

Kaching Karen
04-13-2010, 06:43 AM
I really don't know when I started... May of 2003, 2004? Something like that.

The big change that I have seen, is the more environment-friendly placement of caches. I use to complain about the placement of caches in areas that people should not have been. For example, a rock wall in a historical site that was being destroyed, or coordinates written on the back of a "Do Not Walk on the Grass" sign, where you had to walk on the grass to get to them. People and the guidelines have become more "Leave No Trace" friendly. Thanks to the publishers and the geocachers.

Ekidokai
04-13-2010, 04:30 PM
Karen you started April 18, 2004 A good year in deed.

brdad
04-13-2010, 04:51 PM
Brdad - I hope that journalist is reading these comments. Some of them are GREAT! :D:D

Yes, there are - but I'm still waiting for posts from you and many other members! I know you all have something worth saying!

vicbiker
04-13-2010, 06:35 PM
I started caching in the spring of 2006 and became addicted to the sport right from the start. I have done almost every kind of cache imaginable and have enjoyed them all. To me they all have there own unique draw, some take you to places you never knew existed and others provide a challenge to find something hidden right in plain site, while power runs challenge you to see how many can be done in the shortest amount of time. All are great.

I have a very addictive personality and if it wasn't for other commitments, I know I could spend everyday looking for treasures hidden in the woods.

The biggest change and the best thing about caching for me, without a doubt, is all the friends Cheryl and I have made along the way. When we started the JD Foundation Cheryl asked me where we were going to find the help and support we would need to make this work. We turned to the geocaching group and asked for help and the response was and continues to be overwhelming. All of us as geocachers are fortunate to belong to a group that does so much to help one another, great causes, the environment, while all the while having fun.

Rattish
04-14-2010, 07:17 AM
I started caching in December 2005, though didn't find my first cache until February 2006. I haven't been able to do a lot of caching (was injured in Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war and have had several and may still need a few more surgeries), but caching isn't about the numbers for me. I view caching as my therapy. It allows me to enjoy the outdoors in ways I never would have thought possible. And it gives me something to look forward to when I am recuperating from a surgery or just plan soreness. The biggest difference from when I first started until now is the number of available caches. I personally like the small micros though sometimes my hands aren't strong enough to open them. I dislike the larger cache sizes, especially the ammo cans. For one, I have a hard time opening them, and I generally have anxiety attacks as I get ready to open them. Silly I know, I've never heard of a cache being booby trapped, but it happens. I know I don't have to go for these caches, but not going after them defeats the purpose of using caching as my therapy. Over all, I like the way caching has progressed over the years. I love the unique hides as well as the simply guard rail caches, though not all are simple (I still can't find Mapachi's Brutal cache after four separate hunts). Someone said there doesn't have to be a cache in every guard rail and on every street sign just because there can be, but it wouldn't upset me if that was the case. I'd still grab my GPS and enjoy going out to grab them. I can't wait to see what the next ten years of caching brings us.

Rattish
04-14-2010, 07:31 AM
After reading what I posted, it sounds like I was saying some caches have been booby trapped. Sorry about that! That wasn't what I meant to say because as far as I know, none have ever been. What I meant to say that as silly as having an anxiety attack before opening a cache sounds, I still have them.

firefighterjake
04-14-2010, 08:04 AM
After reading what I posted, it sounds like I was saying some caches have been booby trapped. Sorry about that! That wasn't what I meant to say because as far as I know, none have ever been. What I meant to say that as silly as having an anxiety attack before opening a cache sounds, I still have them.

Not silly . . . we all heal differently in our own time . . . some wounds are obvious . . . some many never see.

Be healthy . . . stay well.

JustKev
04-14-2010, 08:18 AM
After reading what I posted, it sounds like I was saying some caches have been booby trapped. Sorry about that! That wasn't what I meant to say because as far as I know, none have ever been. What I meant to say that as silly as having an anxiety attack before opening a cache sounds, I still have them.

I agree with FFJ, not silly. I'll take his comment a couple of steps further. My hat, sir, is off to you and I give you a heart felt thank you for your service to our country.

benandtina
04-14-2010, 08:49 AM
I agree with FFJ, not silly. I'll take his comment a couple of steps further. My hat, sir, is off to you and I give you a heart felt thank you for your service to our country.

I agree wholeheartedly with FFJ and JustKev. Thank you to you and to other service men and women.

brdad
04-14-2010, 10:29 AM
Rattish, thanks for all your have sacrificed so that us geocachers can do something so trivial as finding tupperware in the woods. And that goes to all the other people who have served and are serving currently. We seem to have a good percentage of military members on this site, thanks to you all.

Regarding any anxieties or difficulty opening containers, you are not alone. There is at least one member here with the same fear, and probably more. If you're ever looking for one in my area (Bangor) let me know and I'll be happy to accompany you and help any way I can. And I am sure many of our other members would be willing to match that offer as well.

We're getting a bit off topic, but supporting cachers who have served is important. Perhaps we need a new thread for that, perhaps named the Military Cacher Thread (http://www.geocachingmaine.org/forum/showthread.php?p=64388#post64388)!

dubord207
04-14-2010, 12:42 PM
I just recently met Rattish and we did a bunch of caches together. He's definetly one of the good guys and a quick study as well. I helped introduce him to the so-called "Stud Mill Road" style caches. He and his fellow soldiers that served have introduced me to the humility we should all have when recognizing the sacrifices that have been made for all of us.

Anytime you want to cache with me, I'll be the first to stick my hand in the stump, GR's or whereever is necessary. Great to have you and a lot of other great folks that have served as part of this community!:)

brdad
04-19-2010, 10:31 AM
Two other things that have changed.

First the technology! In the beginning very few GPSrs had maps, they held very few waypoints and no cache data. Now there is not much you can't do if you want to spend the money. Even wifi access was limited, now nearly every town has wifi at the library at minimal. And the software (GSAK/Cachemate/etc.) has improved dramatically. Auto navigation GPS has improved greatly and the price is more affordable, making it easier to drive from cache to cache. And then there's the cell phones. There are a lot fewer excuses for not having accurate and current cache data then there ever has been.

Secondly, my use of watch lists have changed as well, I'm not sure about other cachers? I used to watch every cache I found for a month or so, just to see who else found it and if they took anything from the cache I put in there, like my sig item. I would keep some of my favorite caches on my watch list indefinitely just to see who was finding it. Over time I have thinned out my watch list dramatically. I watch some of the challenge caches and One virt in DC, just to see who is passing through. I watch a few of my DNFs just to see what happens with them. But overall I pay less attention to most of the caches I find.