It would seem everyone has their own take on what rules and courtesies are needed in our sport.
Bloggers, local clubs and Groundspeak have all made etiquette lists in an attempt to get everyone in the game to “play nice.”
Today, we are going to examine this a little further…Do we really need this? Will it work? and Does it go far enough?
Let’s break it down, “Bitchy” style and try to find out.
So we are going to start with the things most cachers seem to agree on;
“Trade items in a cache equally or up”
Ok, so normally this one is a no brainer, even newbie cachers know this one before heading out for their first cache find. Its a good idea but
without checking the integrity of all cachers in our game, who is going to police this rule? Who is to say what is equal? So. of course it is left up to the individual.
Just because you spent five hours making personalized bookmarks for trade doesn’t mean I should have to leave you a car stereo when I take one. Who is going to know?
This idea is a little useless. No one is ever going to know what is coming and going out of a cache unless it is checked daily, and even then, it is all on “the honor system”
Reminding players of this one is a little insulting and just the fact it has to be reiterated shows players don’t really do this. Nice try, but I am never going to hold someone to this idea when
their child saw a troll doll they want and have nothing to leave in exchange for it. It is a cache owners responsibility to keep a cache stocked with swag not the finders of it.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless idea.
“Keep trackables moving, and try to honor the goals set for them”
Does anyone do this? I have kept a few trackables I have moved on a “watch” after releasing them, only to find almost no one gives a rats behind what the goals for it are.
On one trackable in particular, the person moving it after myself, decided to schlep the item all around europe, when releasing it would have gotten it closer to its goal of going to
North America then they ever could have. No one seems to care if or when they move a trackable despite what it says in its mission statement. How is a player supposed to know whether or not to even take a trackable when rarely is the goal attached physically to the item. A player has to go home and look up the mission first before deciding whether or not they can help at all with its goal, and if they can not, is it ok to just keep it in you caching bag for a few months? Once again, nice idea but not practical by any means.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless idea.
“Be discreet when looking for a cache”
Ok, so I don my trench coat, beret, sunglasses and gloves and head out to try to blend in when searching for a cache. I sneak up on the unsuspecting cache box and voila!
A muggle standing right before me! What to do? Should I kill them? Should I explain what I am doing? Should I lie to them? Should I run? Once again this one is a nice idea but
unless you are caching in the middle of the night in Antarctica, there is always a chance of being seen while caching. I am sure most players in the game realize if they are caught or seen while caching, the chance of the cache getting muggled is always a risk, but then again the chance of the container going missing is a risk we all take when just placing one.
The only way to absolutely ensure you are not caught while geocaching is to find caches in areas where no one is around, there are too many urban high muggle area caches for this idea to of any use to anybody. We all try to be discreet, but there is never any guarantee we were not seen by someone.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Not practical.
“Respect the environment while caching”
This is a good one, but frankly, from my experience no one really seems to care to follow it. A distinctive geo trail is damage already caused by cachers to the environment.
Do you see that trampled grass? Do you see the broken twigs? Do you see the nail in the tree the cache is hanging on? If you are going to find the cache and sign the log you are probably going to step on a living organism to do it. The only way to ensure we leave no trace while caching would be to make sure all caches are accessable while standing
a paved road or a side walk. We as cachers have already caused a lot of damage to our environment, so if we are truly serious about this we should be calling for the archival of caches that have caused damage to an area.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Nice, but in a user based sport, pretty useless.
“Obey local laws while finding a cache”
Ok, terrific, fanastic!… So what are the laws? That is the problem with this one. Unless a cache description spells these laws out for you, how are you supposed to know what they are?
It would seem a lot of cachers don’t even read a description anymore. I have read log entries complaining that a cache is on private property and should be archived, but somehow this did not seem to stop the logger from finding it and signing the logbook anyway. We can not be taking this idea seriously if we find it, and then complain it goes against the laws of the area. Did they not see that big “no trespassing” sign when hiding it? or finding it? If there are laws that must be observed by finders looking for a cache, we shouldn’t expect someone staring into a GPS compass to know exactly what they are espcially if they are just on a vacation to the area.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Good in principle, but without some listed guidelines for finding, not really practical.
“FTF logging and etiquitte”
This is probably the most useless of the ettiquette rules. Yes, it would be nice if everyone could instantly record the find if they are first, that way others won’t waste thier time and
feel dismayed. Let’s get real here people, if I am first to find on something, don’t have a smartphone, and return home to find my kids are starving and my basement is flooded, trust me logging that find is just going to have to wait a few hours until my real life is back to normal, I will not care if you are pissed off and call me out in the local forums, too bad, real life comes first, suck it up and find another. You have no right to judge me when you have no idea what’s going on in my life. I hope you do feel like @#$% when I finally do explain myself.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless.
“Geocaches should not be of a commercial nature”
Now, do we really care here? A cache is a cache, if we did allow these types they might actually have some really cool swag or some coupons in them. Apparently a charity cannot even be mentioned in a cache description. The reason this rule is so @#$% useless is; Groundspeak has already done these. So, if they really are going to make this an article of etiquitte we have to make sure even the authority on the sport isn’t allowed to place them either. So once again we all being hippocrates here, We either call for the archival of all the caches groundspeak has been paid to place, or we allow others to place them as well. Don’t worry commercial companies won’t be any better at maintaining thier caches than lazy cache owners are. Does this mean the cache next to the Dairy Queen will have to be archived if I mentioned I got a yummy hot fudge sundae after the find? Does it mean my log entry will be removed? Let’s not be stupid here, we are advertised at everywhere we go in life. Why should caching be any different?
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Useless.
“Be sure to write in your log entry if cache is broken or needs maintenence”
This one is also a good idea, but only in a perfect world with conscientious cache owners. I once told someone in a log entry that their cache container was cracked on one side and no longer waterproof, only to have them yell at me in a cache note, “I was just there last week, YOU must have broken it!!” I hate to say this, but really I have a secret desire to go out searching and make unnessesary remarks in my log entry. (just wanted to see you would run out in a snowstorm to fix it) . Let’s get real here people, we have all seen cache logs with comment after comment about how a cache is in bad repair, and the owner obviously does not give a @#$#%.
Bitchy Cacher rating on this one; Nice, but pretty much useless without good cache owners on board with it.
Now to be fair to all the cachers that worked really hard to hammer out these etiquitte rules, the Bitchy Cacher wants you to know you did great, it was a worthy idea.
But unless you are going to make every cacher sign a contract that includes penalties for breach of contract, even you got to admit it is pretty useless unless ALL players are going to sign it. So once again we are left with the problems of being a user based sport, it is not policed, it is not penalised, and it is not practical in real life situations. Be content knowing you follow your own ideas and hope you can get the word out to others in the game. The Bitchy Cacher is on your side with the idea of an etiquitte list, but forgive me for being a realist here it is all pretty much uselss we can trust the moral compass of other players in the game (which from personal experience I can tell you, we cannot.)
Carry on Caching folks!
My apologies for taking so long to get back to this reader with an answer.
I have been geocaching now for about a year and a half, I finally decided it was time that I went to an
event cache to meet the locals. The event was held at a local restaurant over breakfast. Upon arrival
at the restaurant, I shook a few hands and found a seat at the end of the table. The waitress was
polite, cheery and very good considering we were such a large party. The event went well, I even won a
door prize just for attending. The problem is; at the end of the meal when the bills were being
presented, I could overhear some of the other cachers finding really shallow and trite reasons not to
tip the waitress. I sat around after most of the other cachers had left, just finishing my last sips of
coffee. I was able to see a few of the cheques with cash left on top, I noticed hardly anyone had
tipped, or if they had it was only the end of the change. So, feeling badly for the waitress I gave her
a compliment on her service, and told her I noticed the crappy tips left behind by the others. She
responded by saying “It’s o.k., we kinda expect this from them, they hardly ever tip, myself and the
other waitresses consider them a write off and take turns waiting on them when they come in so no one
has to get shafted from them more than once.” I stood up from the table to leave, but grabbed another
ten dollar bill from my pocketbook and placed it on top of what I had already left. “Have a good day!”
I told her on the way out and headed for my car. My intentions were do find a few caches on the way
home that morning, but somehow the whole experience at breakfast had left me a little soured. My
problem is; there is a breakfast meeting every month. I am recieving e-mails from other cachers asking
me if I am going, and rather than join the “cheap asses” again I SO just want to tell them all off. Any
Well, Tipper, I am with you on this one. I would have crawled out of there ashamed too if it had been
me. What these jerks don’t seem to realise is they are all giving the sport itself a bad name. You
could just make lame excuses next time you are contacted by cachers to see if you are going to an
event. (sorry, dog needs de-worming, hangnail needs cutting etc.) Basically let them know you would
rather do just about anything else but join them and be ashamed by thier behavior again. This is
defineately one of those situations where you are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” Perhaps
there is one reasonable member of the group you could explain your position to. (It could be you are
not the only one who feels this way.) Either way, you are screwed here. You are either going to have to
“grow a pair” and tell them, or ignore the invites and be considered a snob. My best “Bitchy Cacher”
advice here is to just ignore them, you are not the first cacher to be disillusioned by the locals and
from what you have told me you won’t be the last. The e-mails and invites will eventually stop coming
and they will forget all about you. Enjoy your game the way you have always been, and forget about
these guys, they obviously have no common courtesy anyway.
Twas the eve before christmas,
just at the start of the night,
a young cacher was stirring,
turning on a flashlight.
His GPS was hung by the door on
its perch, in hopes that
tonight would be a great time
for a search.
The other cachers were nestled
all snug in their beds, with
dreams of big find counts
dancing round in their heads.
The young cacher donned mitts,
coat and a cap, while other
cachers settled in for their
Out on the cold trails the lone
cacher heard chatter, he turned
down the path to see what was
Backtracking his trail, he flew
like a flash, jumping a
creekbed without making a
With the moon shining down on
the new fallen snow, He
discovered a man, dressed in red
head to toe.
“Santa?” he thought, “does he
really exsist? But wait…,
where’s the reindeer, the
sleigh, and the gifts?”
The muggle was standing there
shaking the snow from his hat,
“Damn reindeer!” he muttered
“I’ll get them back!”
The lone cacher thought quickly
and offered his help, but the
red man looked skyward, and let
out a yelp.
“Get back here!” he screamed,
then he turned to the youth, “I
fell out of my sleigh, I need
to finish my route!”
The cacher pulled out a iphone,
he then downloaded
an app. He passed it to Santa,
who gave it a tap.
“My goodness!” he cried, “this
is a marvelous app, the
reindeer are near, they’re just
taking a nap!”
So the young cacher and Santa
set off on a walk, they climbed
up some hills and all the while
Santa thanked the young man
while he boarded his sleigh,
and in true Santa style he flew
up, up, and away.
The cacher went back and found
one more hide. He opened the
cache box, and smiled with
There was his letter to Santa
he had written age three, he
placed in his pocket, and hid
the cache in a tree.
As he started for home he
walked into some fog. He was
mulling over what to write in
The cacher returned home, to
find santa had been there, he
left a new GPS and some clean
The log for the cache was
written that evening, it read
“Thanks for the cache,” and
“Don’t stop believing!”
I was contacted the other day by a cacher who was fed up with other players in the game placing challenge caches that have impossible criteria listed in the cache page description. My first thought when I read her letter was “Why don’t you go and find them anyway?” You may not get a smiley for the day, but I have always thought the fun was in the finding of caches, not the tedium of logging them. She went on to say that she felt other, bigger players in the game were “thumbing their nose” at casual cachers such as herself, and pointed me in the direction of a few listings. It got me thinking…Why do cachers put out caches that will not be found by many finders, if any at all?.
Well, first let’s go to the groundspeak rules and see how it is someone would be allowed to put out a cache that can only be logged by a few players in our game. So, according to the rules….”A challenge geocache needs to appeal to, and be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers. A challenge geocache may not specifically exclude any segment of geocachers.” Well, I guess bending the rules is OK once in a while as long as it is groundspeak doing the bending.
In my research to look into this further, I found a few geocache challenges that had not been logged by anybody.
One cache listing requires cachers to find 21 separate caches at specific longitude and latitudes. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC28FH8_michigan-degree-confluence-challenge. Now to be fair to these cache hiders, I don’t really see why this is not attainable by anybody in the area, however after almost 3 years of being listed no cacher has logged a smiley yet. (perhaps criteria could be loosened up a bit) Placing a cache no one has logged yet couldn’t possibly seen as friendly to all who read the description or you would have had finders by now.
Another cache with no finders requires finders to specifically find ammo cans in 100 different counties in a U.S. state. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1ZWQH_the-north-carolina-ammo-can-challenge It has been 3 years and no finders yet, there is a small chance there are cachers qualified to do this one, but if it was me personally, I wouldn’t bother doing the research to find out whether or not I qualify for it. (no wonder you have no finders)
A popular challenge cache has always been “the grid challenge” This type of challenge requires cachers to log cache finds in each of the difficulty and terrain ratings. 81 different finds in total. It was a nice idea, but now there are double, triple and quad challenges of the same idea. This might be seen as “thumbing your nose” as it is not attainable by cachers with physical limitations or who have no use of specific equipment such as a boat or ATV. (So much for the rule, ” needs be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers”)
There are all sorts of challenges out there, some require travel, (also not attainable by persons with limited income). A few that require you to cache a specific number of days in a row (be glad you have a life outside geocaching) , a few that require you find an incredible amount of trackables. (good luck with this one)
So to respond to the lady who sent me her rant, my advice would be find them anyway, leave a note on the cache page saying when you have no life outside geocaching you will be happy to make the qualifications for their cache and log it properly. Be glad you have more to do in life than get 1000 smileys in a month, discover 10 000 trackables, or geocache in 50 different countries. The Bitchy Cacher has found a few of these caches, and even though the real finders of some of these need to spend thousands of dollars and cache around the clock to be able to log a find, the caches themselves are nothing special. In some cases they were only a nano, no special swag, no clever hide, no special redeeming qualities whatsoever. Makes you wonder why you bothered to make the requirements to log it when there was nothing interesting for you to find after all your hard work.
So are they “thumbing their nose at you” ? Maybe, but probably not you specifically. More likely they are bragging about their own accomplishments without actually publicly bragging. Feel free to start a public bookmark list and call it “The Bitchy Cacher Ignore list” Perhaps some of these hiders will make their next hide a little more casual cacher friendly.
In my attempt to research the alternative side of our sport I ran across quite a few websites that seemed to be simply “hater blogs” for our game.
Here is a prime example;
I commented on this guys page a long time ago, he doesn’t seem to give any reasons or valid points to ponder. He quite frankly seems like someone who ran into some rude disrespectful cachers within his caching career. He claims to have at one time been a geocacher himself.
Another prime example of just hate without any valid points made;
http://muggled.net/join-mdn/ — these people promise to muggle your cache if you place one…( BTW, How is that working for you so far? ) only 5 million more geocaches and you’re there! Apparently it is NOT working for you because your site has been closed down.
Another closed down site for anti caching…
http://anticacher.npage.de/— Guess this guy couldn’t take the scrutiny from cachers or could not pay his web hosting bill.
And lets not forget facebook….
http://www.facebook.com/groups/6260992578/ —- This page refers to geocaching as organised littering, but only has one person seems willing to post his name to the members page.
a few articles about a group that has an eco friendly side to their hate.
Apparently if you find an environmental excuse for your hate then you are golden. The people muggling caches here are known as the “forest defenders”–http://forestdefender.blogspot.ca/
And if you really hate the “forest defenders” there’s a page for that too…
As a geocacher myself I can come up with about a dozen reasons not to geocache and about the same in arguments against our sport, but yet people who make a website out of hating our game couldn’t do any better than “it’s littering” and it “tramples small plants causing damage to environment.” These sites also could not stand up to any scrutiny once the users at the GC forums got wind of them. (he he…)
So, The Bitchy Cacher is once again here to help sort things out. This is for all you haters of our sport… Let’s get it right this time shall we?
1. Do not allow comments on your blog . So, you came home to 200 hate mails because your blog caught the attention of the GC forums. ”my bad!” just doesn’t seem to cover it here. you should have known better… if they want to offer their own opinion they can start their own blog correct? Do it right next time.
2, Have a better argument than “All geocachers are assholes!” There are assholes everywhere you go in life. Chances are these people aren’t just assholes when it comes to geocaching. So, please come up with examples of these types of cachers, and go ahead and call them out on your blog page. (you disallowed comments right?)
3. All geocachers already know that our game is essentially organized littering so if you are going to go out and muggle our caches…DO IT! , Find like minded people and organize it, only a troll goes around saying they are going to do this, without actually doing it. Don’t worry The Bitchy Cacher has a back-up cache at home for every cache I own, I alone could keep you guys busy for months. Don’t just talk about it, actions speak louder than words.
4. Have valid arguments and points to ponder, show pictures of damage caused by geocachers, show log entries of players who broke the rules or trespassed on private property to get a cache find. These type of examples are out there, but hey you just opened up a blogspot account, that’s enough for one day. Worry about having actual proof geocachers are causing damage for another time.
5. Have followers, (even if it is only your grandma and her sewing guild) having no followers or comments supporting your opinion just makes you look disgruntled and crabby. You DO have many valid arguments against geocaching to make. If you just would make them from an environmental and socially responsible stand point you might actually have a few real followers.
6. Keep up on your blog, if you really felt geocaching was a waste of time, you would update your blog once in a while. Writing one paragraph 6 years ago does not make you an active advocate of “anti geocaching” It makes you look lazy and as if you have not one single good point to make in the last half decade. Come on, how about a new post once in a while? Surely there has been a geocacher who has pissed you off recently, write about it!
Now, my original intent on this blog post was to give the haters some free press. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I was actually in search of valid points against our sport, but found only a few. So in the name of ”live and let live” I am going to let the haters have their fun, and leave my comment section open for them to have their say, after all if we hate “the haters” then we are no better than they are…
If anyone has a website you think The Bitchy Cacher should see on please post it here in the comments section
In today’s rant we will rundown some of the observances I made while travelling to several different European countries on our recent vacation.
1. The event cache.
Noticed quite a few event caches that simply were cachers from North America saying “I’m here, come meet me!”. Nice.., but wouldn’t it have been better if rather than trying to create your own event you had joined in on an already existing one by the locals? In several listings the only cachers who seemed to be joining in were also coincidentally in the country from North america. On one listing for an event , the cache owner archived the listing, ( because no one signed up to go), with a cheap parting shot at the local cachers. A bonk on the head goes to this asshole. If only you had not been so self absorbed you would have noticed there already was an event that same day placed by the local association. Well at least now they know what they would have been in for if they had shown up at your event.
2. Nobody cared that the cache was in bad repair.
In more than one find along our travels we found really crappy containers being held together with sticky tape or band-aids wrapped in a zippy bag. Some of these caches were quite old and get this…. nobody cared. Log books and new zippy bags were replaced by locals to make sure a cache in a significant location was still around for the future, even if they did not know who placed it. A big thank you to these people, I found some of these caches and was grateful for it still being around.
3. Favorite points.
Hurrah, they give them out generously over in Europe, even a “tic tac” container hidden in a sidewalk crack got favorite points. Some tourist caches had hundreds of favorite points just for the location alone. Back home, it would seem that if you want a favorite point you have to be really creative and put out tons of effort and money to make a favorite points worthy cache. Kudos to these players, they bring the word “grateful” to a new level. On one cache listing I noticed a note on the cache page that read: “As soon as I earn another point, you’ll be getting a favorite from me!” ….This guy really “gets it”.. he had over 900 finds.
4. Caches placed in areas of significance.
Unlike the city in which I live, caches were not crammed in the minimum distance apart. There did not seem to be the over saturation of crappy caches we have on our side of the pond. Most were placed in interesting areas to explore. We never found a nasty dumpster cache or parking lot skirt lifter. Might explain the favorite points thing too… It would seem, not everyone is out to see how many caches they can pack into an urban area. Thanks again to the locals for this, I never had to waste my time on anything that wasn’t worthy of a log entry.
Now, to be fair… these were only our experiences. Our tour around Europe, mostly took us to urban centers. The one pair of local cachers we actually met were very nice. They commented in their log entry on how they got the opportunity to try their english on us. (extremely gracious of you!) We did not have geocaching as our specific focus for our trip, but it did make a walk in the local city parks more interesting and filled in the gaps between tours and opening hours for museums nicely. The couple rural area caches we found all seemed to be placed by only a few cachers, a big thank you to these folks, you certainly “get it” when it comes to attracting tourists….(If you leave it… we WILL come!) and we did…,and we left feeling better than when we came….