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The Cachers’ Sixth Sense…” I see stupid people”

August 4, 2014

It’s summer time and the caching has been easy, travels have taken us to all over the land and there seems to be a prevailing commonality wherever you go…There are “accuracy snobs” everywhere.

Now to be fair to these people, let me say first off, I know co-ords are supposed to be accurate to save wear and tear by cachers to the surroundings and preserve the ecology of this land. I am talking specifically about those cachers who don’t seem to have any “caching sense” at all.

It occurred to me a short while ago, these types of players don’t use the most valuable tools a cacher has, what I have referred to as “geo senses.”

I was out showing off the sport to some friends of ours. I picked out a cache in a tourist area that only had been found once since published, (I was thinking there would be some good swag) The first finder of it claimed the co-rds were off by at least 15 to 20 yards, so knowing this, we headed out for a good hunt. The newbies were gung-ho for a find and started to look for it before we even got close to the cache. “Slow down” I said “this might take a while.” While explaining the art of looking for a cache, I said, ” once the GPS slows to only a few feet away, pocket the device and start letting your common sense kick in, there are only so many places you could hide a small box so look around for a tree or a bush or even a manmade object with a crevice in it.”  So, as it goes, I stood as a marker within a few feet of the cache location and let my friends poke around for a bit. “I see a box!!” my friend claimed, “but I don’t want to touch it.” “It’s ok,” I said, “I’ll get it out.” Our friends were just amazed by the box, the swag, the book, the official geo sticker on the side. So if I can get newbies to “get it” why can’t we get players with 2000 finds to figure it out?

It would seem the “accuracy snobs” of this world want the GPS to count them down to zero, then point a light on the cache hiding spot. I have said it before people, “It’s a searching game, search for it!” Put down the GPS and start thinking like a geocacher. Is it really too much to ask that you have to look for it for more than a minute? Are the co-rds really so far off it worth noting in your log, or telling on the C.O. to the reviewer of the cache? Probably not, but hey if it makes you feel like some sort of “bigshot” for the day , hey, you go right ahead…

One of the reasons this issue deserves a post is sometimes the “well meaning” individuals sometimes cause more harm than good…

On a recent cache outing near my house, a couple of finders of it had noted about a 20 yard discrepancy. So armed with 3 sets of co-ords for what should have been a a very simple find, it wound up being the “3 hour tour” of geocaching. On my first attempt at a find I used the co-ords added by a geo-friend of mine, surely a friend wouldn’t steer me wrong, correct? Nice try, but not near the cache location at all. The second set of co-ords tried were left posted by the local “Mr. know it all” in my area so I pretty much trusted they were right and gave it another go. Still no joy, so I convinced my ego that the cache had been muggled and set out for home. I did not log a “DNF” instead, I read over other logs that had been posted for the cache. One log was very simply put “The name makes sense once you find it! TFTF” Suddenly my cache sense kicked in and I then realized I had not used the co-rds left by the C.O.. Revitalized with what I felt would be the key to finding this one, I once again, darted out the door. On my second try, I counted down the feet until there were no more to be had, placed the GPS in my pocket and stood there looking around the full 360. There it was… a marker in the natural surroundings that matched the cache name, (if you use your imagination) only about 10 yards away. That was it alright , found, signed, and a celebratory picture taken with my smartphone. Marched home triumphantly to log my find feeling very proud of myself that I had not given up too soon.

It can be helpful sometimes when the cache co-rds get updated, but for the caches that are only a few yards off sometimes the “well meaning, do-gooders” have caused more harm than good. Would it kill some of these people to put down the GPS and have a look at their surroundings? Sometimes what they are bitching about is in plain sight if they would just stop glaring into their electronic devices. Give it some thought for a second, just because it did not count you down to zero and then give you an instant find, doesn’t mean it did not credit you with some common sense. A lot less damage to the area can be done by letting your “geo-senses” kick in, rather than ripping apart a landscape.

It would seem sometimes we are more focused on the find than the journey and the enjoyment of the surroundings caching gives us. How are we to expect the next generation of kids who are glued into their smartphone communications to put down the device, when we seem so incredibly reliant on ours? Put down the device people, enjoy, and actually look for it.

  1. dragon flyer permalink

    Amen… I’ve discovered there are geographical attitude differences, too. I was surprised and then amused to find that on the prairies it’s really rare to find a cache with a hint, Where I come from some cachers are inclined to practically send out a lynch party if a cche doesn’t have a dead-giveaway hint. Goddess forbid they should actually have to look for a cache for more than twenty seconds…

  2. Maypang permalink

    What I’ve always wondered is you made your GPS the boss? Last time I checked we were dealing with satellites IN SPACE. The hiders coords were accurate for her so why do you assume you have the correct ones? Get over yourselves. We have some local cachers that claim every cache is off by a bit and proceed to post the new coords.

  3. Infoferret permalink

    Depends on your definition of “a bit off”!

    There was a cache published recently within driving distance, so I headed out. I then found that the coordinates given were to a good location for a cache, but nothing like the cache description, rating and information provided. Fortunately, I knew the correct area well having searched high and low a year or so back for an AWOL (and now archived) cache. I eventually found it, given the cache description, but about 300 metres from the posted coordinates. As I cache using a smartphone, I expect it to be ‘variable’, so all I did in my log was post the distance out, and let the local ‘professional cachers’ figure out what the real coordinates should be.

    I don’t have a problem with a couple of metres out, I DO have a problem with bad cache placements and / or lack of proof reading of multi / puzzle caches (there is one culprit in my area becoming notorious for these errors) or widely inaccurate ratings (a recent hide was rated a D4, merited a 1.5 at most – but Hey I’ll take it as it makes my stats look better).

    Love your comments, please keep ’em coming.

  4. I see the problem where the cache owner deliberately gives bad coords, almost always to a spruce tree or other geo beacon, just to waste the time of people looking for the cache. It is not hard to average three readings a few minutes apart and double check the coords on Google to make sure you are not way off. You should always be within 10 feet. Even Google will get you about 15 feet away without even using a GPS.

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