View Full Version : Tips for Newbies (Please share yours!)



The G Team
07-13-2004, 08:45 PM
1) *ALWAYS* waypoint the car! :D

Cache Maine
07-13-2004, 09:17 PM
2) Be VERY aware of your surroundings...people, cars, terrain, weather...etc.

3) Use common sense, your gut instinct, and the proper gear to keep yourself safe.

4) Don't stick your hand in a hole and feel around. :eek:

J_Cyr
07-13-2004, 11:05 PM
Don't go by yourself, go with another person or a few people.

brdad
07-14-2004, 06:47 AM
Always carry spare batteries! They're an easy way to score points with your girlfriend when her GPS dies 500 feet from the cache.

Lear to use the track feature on your GPS. Waypointing the car will get you back to the car, but backtracking will get you back out the way you came in (One method often works much better than the other, depending on the situation).

"Found it" log means you FOUND the cache - or at least remnants of one - not just the spot where it was.

"Didn't find it" log means you DIDN'T find it. Whether because you just didn't look in the right place, or you found where it was and it was gone and may be missing, you still didn't find it! Cache owners ned this information to properly maintain their cache.

pjpreb
07-14-2004, 05:40 PM
Bring bug spray (and tick tweezers)

Bring First aid Kit & keep your cache partner downhill from you - they are usually softer to land on than the rocks. :o

Team Trout
07-14-2004, 06:24 PM
When you get close to the coordinates, put away the GPS and start looking for the cache.

Pooh and friends
07-14-2004, 07:01 PM
If you key the coordinates in manualy always double check them, and bring the cache print out with you. Sooner or later it will save you a lot of walking.

Bluegrass Gyrl
07-14-2004, 08:26 PM
Remember that the GPSr will usually get you within 30 feet of the cache in ideal conditions (no tree cover, clear day, accurate coords from the hider). When you get close stop staring at that little screen and look for what may seem out of place.

WhereRWe?
07-17-2004, 08:31 AM
1) *ALWAYS* waypoint the car! :D

This is probably THE BEST hint for any cacher. I've always had an EXCELLENT sense of direction, but when you're been watching an arrow on GPSR for 20 minutes, you absolutely lose all sense of where you are.

Now I ALWAYS waypoint the car when I start, and it's always a fast trip back.
I also waypoint the car when I go hunting. It's nice to know the fastest way back when you either bag your deer or decide it's time to give p because it's almost dark.

RanMan22
07-17-2004, 06:19 PM
1. As others have said, always mark your car as a waypoint....
2. Bring a bottle of water with you -- especially on hot days. You may not think you'll need it, but if you get way out in the woods for a longer period of time than you expected, you'll be thankful you have it.
3. Cache with a buddy, if possible. It's easy to slip and fall and get hurt...trust me on this one. Also, believe it or not, it's easy to get disoriented and perhaps lost in the woods -- even with a GPS in your hand.

-RanMan22

WhereRWe?
07-18-2004, 07:57 AM
1. As others have said, always mark your car as a waypoint....
2. Bring a bottle of water with you -- especially on hot days. You may not think you'll need it, but if you get way out in the woods for a longer period of time than you expected, you'll be thankful you have it.
3. Cache with a buddy, if possible. It's easy to slip and fall and get hurt...trust me on this one. Also, believe it or not, it's easy to get disoriented and perhaps lost in the woods -- even with a GPS in your hand.

-RanMan22

Also helps to have your cell phone with you - just in case...

Team Trout
07-19-2004, 11:23 AM
Also helps to have your cell phone with you - just in case...

It does, but a lot of the remote caches in Maine and NH are in areas with no cell phone coverage. :(

Beach Comber
07-19-2004, 09:45 PM
Though it has been said before, I can't emphasize enough how helpful (perhaps important is a better word!) it is to enter the location of your car before embarking on a trek. I have been off trail more than once and wished that I had. One time in particular, I completely lost my bearings and began paying attention to where I could hear traffic. Fortunately, I was near some! Even more fortunate was the fact that I eventually bushwacked my way out of the thick brush that I somehow got into and found a trail. I laughed when I was in the situation and laugh now, but you can be sure that I mark the location of my car now! A good friend suggested that I do this before I even had a single episode of confusion off the trail, but my inattentiveness (perhaps stubborness!) to listen to his good direction kept me from taking the step. I would highly recommend that you not do what I did and instead heed the good advice of others - LOL! :eek:

Beach Comber
09-01-2004, 06:47 PM
It's been awhile since anyone posted a tip here, but I thought of a couple while caching this week.

1. Keep your mouth closed at all times while walking in the woods - unless of course you are interested in eating a few bugs along the way. :p

2. BELIEVE that you look beautiful covered in sweat, pieces of wood, leaves, dead bugs, cobwebs, or whatever else you may have on you when you have successfully completed that cache!! :eek:

3. And, well, while I am here - might as well reinforce the mark your car thing - if you are ANYTHING like me - you WILL lose your sense of direction! :o

J_Cyr
05-16-2005, 02:37 PM
Always bring a pen with you. Sometimes the logbook is there and there is no pen. People sometimes accidently take them.

WhereRWe?
05-16-2005, 02:42 PM
Always bring a pen with you. Sometimes the logbook is there and there is no pen. People sometimes accidently take them.

Bring several pens, and leave one in the cache!

(Hint: Marden's has a LOT of pens/pencils/etc. right now) :D

lefty
05-16-2005, 04:27 PM
Dont forget your water bottle. I did a what I thought would be a quick cache and it took me ten minutes to hike in and over 45 minutes to find (insert rookie jokes here). I wish I hadn't forgotten my water bottle at home.

Nuffer
05-16-2005, 04:49 PM
A winter trek to the Etna Bog requires snowshoes!

Sabby
05-16-2005, 06:42 PM
Learn how to identify the poisonous plants where you expect to cache and keep as sharp an eye out for them as you do for the cache. It is no fun :mad: putting up with something like poison ivy (none of that in Maine - right) for days after looking for a cache.

Beach Comber
05-16-2005, 10:33 PM
Nuffer - you are right about that!! Unless of course, you want the extra challenge of breaking trail in knee to hip deep snow with boots on - ai yi yi! LOL What an exhilarating experience that was!

bearfirefighter
05-17-2005, 11:44 AM
;) It helps if you are caching at night to bring a flashlight, and a cell phone, and go with a friend if possible-keep on the look out for muggles, and if the cache is readily evident, leave it better camoflauged.

WhereRWe?
05-17-2005, 01:12 PM
;) It helps if you are caching at night to bring a flashlight, and a cell phone, and go with a friend if possible-keep on the look out for muggles, and if the cache is readily evident, leave it better camoflauged.

Even better advice: If the muggles are in their car, DO NOT shine the flashlight on them! :eek:

Team Nirvana
05-18-2005, 08:00 AM
When the gps says the cache is 0.67 miles away, don't head straight for it. 90% of the time there is a pathway to be found that will be easier walking than the straight line path. Straight line travel is always harder.

Be aware that the pathway it likely to to double or even triple the distance you cover. However the journey is usually more interesting, so look around and enjoy the sites. Sometimes the walk is the point of the cache owner.

Account for the increased travel time both in time and energy. It is dangerous (and a drag) to suddenly be exhausted (and late) and still have quite some distance to travel to complete the journey. (OK, maybe this piece of advice only applies to me.)

Team2hunt
05-18-2005, 02:27 PM
1) when the GPS'r doesn't move much in distance, it's in miles not feet.

2) just when you feel wicked geocaching smaaht. Someone puts out a cache that hits you in the mellon, and makes you feel numd as a hake.

3) if your gonna carry those snowshoes, use'em.

4) NEVER tell your navigator, " no it's not over there ".

5) with only a GPS'r and an internet connection you can go geocaching. Right , whats all this other stuff for.

brdad
05-30-2005, 09:15 AM
Don't log a find on your own cache, nor on a cache you have allready found before without expecting someone to say something about it. :D That's what the "post a note" logs are for!

Tink
05-30-2005, 09:01 PM
hehehehe....I have a good one....never take only this 1/2 of the Blazing Trolls with you....I can't ever remember how to work that dang GPS LOL !!

rookie riegel
06-06-2005, 10:54 AM
I guess better late than never! It only took me 4 years to catch on to this "new" sport! I was so excited to give it a shot, at least the easy ones! I was gangbusters yesterday printing out caches in my area when my husband, the police officer pointed out one danger hadn't thought about.... people predators. Has anyone figured there may be danger of someone using geocaching to lure people to secluded areas for other purposes? Frankly, the mere thought of it has put quite a damper on my enthusiasm. Has there been any reported cases of something like this? How do I know it's safe? Anyway, didn't mean to start out with such a bummer of a post. I'm still looking forward to caching, but I think I will have to get myself a very large and viscious dog for a partner! ~R.R.~

Trezurs*-R-*Fun
06-06-2005, 12:15 PM
I guess better late than never! It only took me 4 years to catch on to this "new" sport! I was so excited to give it a shot, at least the easy ones! I was gangbusters yesterday printing out caches in my area when my husband, the police officer pointed out one danger hadn't thought about.... people predators. Has anyone figured there may be danger of someone using geocaching to lure people to secluded areas for other purposes? Frankly, the mere thought of it has put quite a damper on my enthusiasm. Has there been any reported cases of something like this? How do I know it's safe? Anyway, didn't mean to start out with such a bummer of a post. I'm still looking forward to caching, but I think I will have to get myself a very large and viscious dog for a partner! ~R.R.~
I can't answer your question regarding reported incidents of violence (I'd be curious also) but their always exist the potential. Most caches are assigned with the creators/owners name so that may help alleviate some concern. The fact that a potential perp. would have no indication when you were planning to go to caching and which caches you intented to locate also helps reduce the possibility. As with any activity outdoors and away from home excercise caution; tell people you trust where you intend on going and what sights you plan on visiting, bring the right equipment, etc. etc. Read the other post here for great advice. Also, their exist no rules that say you can't go with someone else or with a group. This would be the safest way to get out an enjoy. There are most likely cachers in your area that would like nothing better than to go caching with you. Just post here and I'm sure you can find a caching buddy.

As you have most likely been told by hubby, don't get in a situation that can go bad. If it looks questionable leave immediately. Come back with a group or with hubby if you have to, but just be safe by staying safe and taking no chances.

As for you getting a big mean dog, just remember if you run into someone at a cache site, they will most likely be looking for the cache and nothing more. Speaking for myself, I don't want to be eaten up by a big mean dog by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fortunately, the only cacher I have met at a cache sight was friendly and curteous. He assured me that he has had many of my singular experience with the same outcome.

Please be safe and take as few chances as possible, caching is great fun and it would be ruinous if even one person got accosted or threatened.

My two Cents

Steve

attroll
06-06-2005, 12:24 PM
Rookie riegel

wbdent I suppose someone could do this. But then someone could also jump you while getting in you car at the grocery store at night. I have never heard of this being done yet. I think if you look at the cache logs and see that others have cached there before then that would be a good sign that someone is not doing it just to lure someone in. If you are that worried and really like geocaching then a good thing for you to do is to hook up with someone else that likes to geocaches and you will have a caching partner. It would be better to go with someone else if you are worried. If you do not know anyone else then you have a good opportunity to come to the 18 June geocache event this month and meet some of us. Here is the link to the cache event: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=135953de-dcf3-4fd4-a088-45645930ca07.

wbdent But like some else always mentioned there is always exist the potential just like walking to your car in the Wal-Mart parking lot late at night.

TwoMaineiacs
06-06-2005, 04:02 PM
Rookie -

Like Atroll I always remember the woman abducted right out of the parking lot at Shaws Grocery store in Scarborough - broad daylight, etc. etc. Many police departments (and the NRA) offer personal protection courses designed for women. I've taken a couple and look at my surroundings and safety much differently now.

On a lighter note - most of the caches we have been to have been deep in the woods and only reached after some strenuous walking, scrambling over rocks, etc. I think muggers would pick much easier prey. Have your police hubby go with you on a few so he can see what's up. We've also cached once with friends and it was fun to be in a group competing for that cache!

Anne

WhereRWe?
06-06-2005, 06:24 PM
I agree with the previous posts. So many geocaches are located in public parks and on public trails, that the risks are undoubtedly no greater when geocaching than when visiting these locations for any othe purpose.

I'd be willing to bet that the chances of getting hit by lightening while geocaching are a lot greater than being confronted by someone with evil intentions.

:)

rookie riegel
06-06-2005, 06:51 PM
Thanks for all the reassurances! I guess it just freaked me a little when I first thought about it, but after reading your posts, I realize that the danger is probably far less than when I was a teenager and used to run at night..alone! Sometimes when you get older, your mind tends to gravitate toward the negative and or danger in a situation. Other parents here would likely agree! I feel much better now and will heed your suggestions. Anybody in southwest maine lookin for someone to cache with??? Maybe start a group of newbies? I am excited to go on my first geocache adventure! Thanks again all. ~R.R~

TwoMaineiacs
06-06-2005, 07:00 PM
We're over in the Durham area so not much good to you on a regular basis but I'd be glad to meet up with you and show you some of the things I've learned. Email if you want. I'm still a newbie with only 36 finds but have already probably made all the normal newbie mistakes <G>

Also there is a gathering announced for June 18th announced at Waypoint GCP1GV ("Slipping into Summer Cache 2005" on the www.geocaching.com (http://www.geocaching.com) site. We're going to meet some of the faces here and also maybe get some help with a few questions.

Anne

Haffy
06-06-2005, 07:00 PM
I would love to go caching with you but I am a little ways away here in Fairfield Me. We go as a group of cachers quite often,in fact 4 of us went on a caching extravaganza just this past Saturday to Deer Island and Stonington and picked up about 12 new caches while spending the day together and having lunch and dinner together. It's a blast.

WhereRWe?
06-06-2005, 07:02 PM
Thanks for all the reassurances! I guess it just freaked me a little when I first thought about it, but after reading your posts, I realize that the danger is probably far less than when I was a teenager and used to run at night..alone! Sometimes when you get older, your mind tends to gravitate toward the negative and or danger in a situation. Other parents here would likely agree! I feel much better now and will heed your suggestions. Anybody in southwest maine lookin for someone to cache with??? Maybe start a group of newbies? I am excited to go on my first geocache adventure! Thanks again all. ~R.R~

With your location, you may alss want to consider hooking up with some New Hampshire geocachers. There are a LOT of great caches not too far from you in that state (North Conway area is good for a start), and I've met several great cachers from there as well.

Check the forums at http://newenglandgeocaching.com/

EGSG
06-09-2005, 08:06 PM
If you are at a cache site and you get a call from nature, always find the cache first. That way you will not accidently "mark" the cache. :o

brdad
06-09-2005, 08:08 PM
If you are at a cache site and you get a call from nature, always find the cache first. That way you will not inadvertaly "mark" the cache. :o

Anyone can sign a cache log for you. It takes a little more work to talk someone into leaving your DNA at a cache site. :D

covefarm
07-14-2005, 09:20 AM
Hi_ I am new to this sport and bring along a gaggle of kids. I have read complaints about the quality of the contents of the cache. Do you season cachers have suggestions of good deposits?......silly putty, cards, play dough....................
I am also having a little trouble dechiphering some log shorthand. I have figured out TB, FTF, TN but help me with some of the others. Thanks for your help.

gpsxplr
07-14-2005, 10:21 AM
Hi,

I found a good post on geocaching.com with helpful links:

http://forums.groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=8749&hl=tnln

scroll down to the post titled:
"Meanings of Acronyms and Terms Used in Geocaching"

The Lexicon of Geocaching:
http://home.earthlink.net/~prime.suspect/geolex/

On cache deposits I'm not sure, but I try to keep my eye out for small interesting items when I'm out shopping. I once found a nice spider man tin box with spiderman play cards for $1.87 hopefully someone will like. I have found several items in target and ac moore(little dinosaur toys) south portland. I once found some cool keychains at payless for a dollar.

Haffy
07-14-2005, 05:04 PM
You would be surprised at the nice objects you can find at your local dollar store.

brdad
07-15-2005, 05:55 AM
Hi_ I am new to this sport and bring along a gaggle of kids. I have read complaints about the quality of the contents of the cache. Do you season cachers have suggestions of good deposits?......silly putty, cards, play dough....................
I am also having a little trouble dechiphering some log shorthand. I have figured out TB, FTF, TN but help me with some of the others. Thanks for your help.

The idea is to always "trade up" at caches, but unfortunately a few people think a stick of gum or a used, non-winning lottery ticket is a fair trade for a Mapping software CD. :(

I like to see anything unusual in a cache - something not seen at every Wally World you go to. As for kid items, stick with ones that can hold up to some possible moisture as well as abuse from getting tossed around in the cache, and it never hurts to place them inside a ziplock bag.

But my main reson for posting is to remind you and any others to be careful when placing any items that have an odor to them - the silly putty and play-dough may fit into this category. Any smells might attract local critters. Obviously this is more of an issue in a Gladware container than in an ammo box. Also, be careful of anything with liquid in them, they can freeze and break open in winter, and can leak any time of year.

WhereRWe?
07-15-2005, 07:16 AM
The idea is to always "trade up" at caches, but unfortunately a few people think a stick of gum or a used, non-winning lottery ticket is a fair trade for a Mapping software CD. :(



I fully agree. Seems like that I've seen more and more logs lately where someone has taken a "nice" item and left something totally undesirable. We try and make sure we "trade up", and do not substitute our signature item - our Maine Geocacher permit - as a trade item. We leave them without regard to any oter trade. We've seen some signature items that are beautiful, and certainly a "trade up" item. But some are just computer printed "business cards".

Play fair! LOL! :D

drbugman
07-15-2005, 08:03 AM
Greetings from Maryland. I sure miss the Maine woods.
1. Bring a compass with you and learn how to use it in case something happens to your GPS. I use mine when I get close to the cache in addition to the GPS anyway.
2. Do frequent "look backs" so that you will recognize an area when you approach it from the reverse direction.
3. If you're going on a long hike, mark significant waypoints, such as easy places to cross streams, trail heads, etc. as you go. You may (usually??:D :o ) find a much easier way back to the car from the cache (finding a major trail near the cache, avoiding briars, streams, etc.) but it's good to have these places marked.
4. Bring a small medical kit. Benadryl is also a good idea as you never know when you'll become allergic to an insect sting. I heard a report that one cacher down here in MD was bitten by copperhead and now carries a snake bite kit.
5. Carry some food, matches, spare socks and gloves, and other type gear if you're going into the woods, especially in the winter.
6. Check out the rules on travel bug etiquette. If you are going to take a travel bug, please log it in properly and send it on its way in a reasonable amount of time. If you are unable to do so, please send the travel bug owner a note.
7. HAVE FUN!!!!!

drbugman
07-16-2005, 07:08 PM
Lesson learned the hard way today: bring ziplocks for your cell phone in case you find yourself caught in a sudden rainstorm. Sure hope it dries out OK...

WhereRWe?
07-17-2005, 12:45 PM
A reminder when setting out your first caches: make your terrain/difficulty settings as accurate as possible. I visited 2 caches today that I thought were highly inaccurate - one with a terrain rating of "4", which was less than 20 feet off the road and down a slight bank. I would consider it a 1.5, and certainly not more than a "2".

Here is a great resource for judging the terrain/difficulty ratings:

http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/

(I used this on the cache I just mentioned and got a difficulty rating of 1 and a terrain of 2)

The Family Three
07-03-2006, 05:11 AM
This is a very helpful thread...I never thought of doing a waypoint for the car! Duh!

Kacky
07-03-2006, 06:17 AM
Hi_ I am new to this sport and bring along a gaggle of kids. I have read complaints about the quality of the contents of the cache. Do you season cachers have suggestions of good deposits?......silly putty, cards, play dough....................


Ditto on the smells, and critters don't know if it's food or not. They will chew first, ask questions later.

If you're leaving business cards, trading cards, stickers not in the original package, or anything paper, I notice it doesn't take too long for them to get ruined in the cache. In a pinch, those can be tucked into a ziplock that's already in the cache.

WhereRWe?
07-03-2006, 06:49 AM
This is a very helpful thread...I never thought of doing a waypoint for the car! Duh!

I think that this is one of the most important tips. You'd never realize how often you'll get turned around even on a short bushwacking trip.

Once you've established a waypoint for "car", you can usually reposition the cooordinates to your car's current location so you don't have to keep entering the coordinates manually.

I rarely get turned around (lost?), but waypointing the car has saved me extra walking on many occasions. Especially helpful when the mosquitoes are hungry!

:D :D

Quoddy
07-03-2006, 06:53 PM
A thing I learned very early in my caching "career" is to have a solid lock on as many satellites as possible BEFORE entering heavy cover. Once you are in there without a good lock, you may never acquire it. (OK, all you "x" model folks can just go blasting in).

chinacachers
07-04-2006, 07:35 AM
Thanks for all the great posts. We are still really new to this game and need all the help we can get. :)

WhereRWe?
07-04-2006, 08:30 AM
A thing I learned very early in my caching "career" is to have a solid lock on as many satellites as possible BEFORE entering heavy cover. Once you are in there without a good lock, you may never acquire it. (OK, all you "x" model folks can just go blasting in).

:p :p ;) ;)

Fismo
08-15-2006, 08:51 PM
It's a very good idea to waypoint your car.

It's also a good idea to do a little research about the area that you are going to be operating in. You should have an emergency direction to travel if lost and carry a compass. Take a bearing from your car to the waypoint and the reciprocal can be your emergency direction if lost.

I like to know what it is that I am looking for and when the last time it was found. Reading the most recent logs may help you find the cache, but may also indicate that nobody has been finding it. Sometimes saves a lot of time looking for something no longer there.

My cardinal rule of geocaching is never assume anything!

Good luck!

ribnag
08-15-2006, 09:12 PM
Fismo : It's also a good idea to do a little research about the area that you are going to be operating in. You should have an emergency direction to travel if lost and carry a compass.

On the same note - Find the nearest enclosing roads of the area in which you plan to hike. A half-mile bushwhack through a swamp may suck heartily, but at least knowing you'll reach pavement at the end (which you then know how to follow to your car) beats the uncertainty of "I've run out of water and don't see anything I recognize, I may die here".

And yes, dumb ol' me has experienced that, on a "just a half-hour in and out" hike - Which actually prompted me to buy my first GPS and thus enabled me to start geocaching. But ignore the happy ending there and take the safety lesson to heart. :o

MoxieMan
08-15-2006, 09:31 PM
A tip for the upcoming winter caching....

Don't eat the yellow snow

Haffy
08-15-2006, 09:33 PM
A famous tune by Frank Zappa!!!

WhereRWe?
08-16-2006, 02:07 PM
On the same note - Find the nearest enclosing roads of the area in which you plan to hike. A half-mile bushwhack through a swamp may suck heartily, but at least knowing you'll reach pavement at the end (which you then know how to follow to your car) beats the uncertainty of "I've run out of water and don't see anything I recognize, I may die here".


RULOST2? and I went blueberry picking a couple of days ago. It was on paper company lands, about 40 miles from home. We were in young growth, thick, but plenty of open spaces where there were berries.

I asked RULOST2? if she knew the way out. NO! So I asked her to listen. AHA! Trucks on the highway a mile or so away. Since she knew we were between the car and the highway, she just had to go opposite the sound of the trucks to get to the woods road the car was on.

Great example of knowing your surroundings! :D :D