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The Next Rant…Geocaching…, It’s NOT Rocket Science.

January 21, 2013

If you have ever tried to source information about our sport, you will notice a lot of opinions and differing info on how players play the game.  For starters, I found that there is over 150 published works on the subject.  Some are so specific, they narrow down the types of caches by category or type.  Others are  dedicated to the use of the technology in the sport, and of course some are complete works of fiction with geocaching used as a theme in the story line.

You can also find forums, blogs, info pages, workshops,  e-books, apps for smartphones, websites, and live chat.  But the question is;  Which ones do I need to read before heading out?,  and which ones are the best sources for info?

A player may be overwhelmed if they try to learn everything they can before finding a cache, looking up such things as, Which GPS receiver should I use?  What should I bring with me?  What am I looking for exactly? What are the rules? and of course, How do I do this? The Bitchy Cacher feels your pain people, and is here to help simplify things.

First off, the only thing you really need, is to sign up for a free membership at geocaching.com. The rest is all just things to make the sport easier, you can even make do without a GPS if you are clever enough. Until you know whether or not you enjoy the sport dont bother making an expensive purchase.  You can start very simply by using your car GPS, inputting cords manually.  Car GPS wont  be able to find any deep in the woods caches for now, but side of the road ones should be fairly easy if you’re just willing to look around for a bit. You can go even simpler than that by just cutting and pasting the co-rds into google earth will give you an idea of where to look locally for a cache. Try zooming in to  some geocache co-ords using  google street view.  Above all other things, read the descriptions carefully for each cache, don’t head out and find just anything, choose wisely, some are easier to find than others.

Secondly, get out there, you are never going to know if you enjoy it or not, without finding a few.  There is no genius to this, there are only so many places someone can hide something. You may not find anything the first time you look, but keep trying, the more you find the easier it gets.

That is basically it, I know a lot of cachers would want me to make it sound more exciting and complicated than that.  Each user is going to have to decide for themselves whether or not they want to take the sport a little more serious. You don’t really need any advice you just need to go find one.

Take any and all advice you hear from other cachers with a grain of salt, the problem with the game is it is user based and 95% percent of what people are going to tell you is opinion, instead form your own opinions, by going out and finding some caches first.  I have seen players arguing back and forth on forums about matters of opinion, don’t aggravate yourself. The only opinion you need is your own.  No books, no forums, no websites, no apps.  You don’t even need to invest any money, you can still find caches without a GPS or premium membership to groundspeak.

So for all you die-hard geo  types giving lectures ,advice, offering lessons, writing books, trolling forums and generally touting yourself to be an expert on the subject, the sport is only about a decade old, come back in about another 20 years and then tell me you’re an expert on the subject.  I have seen user with over 20,000  finds say some of the dumbest things, and users with only 300 finds give me the best advice I have ever heard.  No one player is an expert, some just have more opinions than others.

There is not a book, or a lecture, or a website, that is an expert on the subject of geocaching,  Groundspeak may be the authority on the subject,  but you don’t even have to take their advice or follow their rules to enjoy the game.  Above all, don’t let the massive amount of info on the subject confuse you. It’s really easy, I know some players would like to think of themselves as super clever and intelligent by finding difficult caches, but really, it’s not all that difficult.

Bottom line is here,  don’t read too much into it,  just do it, after all it is not rocket science, it’s just finding hidden objects.  You don’t even have to log them if you don’t want to, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  Books, lectures, local groups, online info, all are not needed to enjoy something that really is very simple.

I found the first 50 caches I ever found using a car GPS and google earth, after that, I upgraded to a handheld GPS  for 40 bucks at a pawn shop. The fun is in the finding of a cache, not analyzing the sport to death. Get out there, it’s the only real way to know if your’re going to like it.

Update;

I have recently learned of a university course based on geocaching;

http://bacon49.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/school-and-geocaching/

It is official; we have now analyzed the sport to death.

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