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Old 04-11-2004, 10:05 PM   #1
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Real Life: Geocaching for Fun

I decided to try a real life thread. This one will be based on my recent introduction to Geocaching.

First, a little background. I heard about geocaching a couple months ago from a couple poker buddies. My initial reaction was to laugh at the idea of getting coordinated from a web site and usnig a GPS to find a box with small trinkets, just to sign a log and exchange trinkets (or just sign the log).

The next month, my curiosity began to peak a little as I was regailed with afew of their adventures in geocaching. Everyting from being kicked out of a park after dark by police to being waste deep in a swamp. My curiosity had begun to get the best of me. I had begaun to think a little more about the hobby and looked it up on the internet to see just how large of a community there is.

The community is international and there are caches all over the world. It was an amazing thing to see.

At the last poker night, a coulpe weeks ago, another one of my friends mentioned that they had just purchased a GPS and had begun geocaching. I head how much his family loved it and how much excercize the walking was giving them (something that I could definitely use).

I finally gave in and decided to give it a try. Like always, I went head first into it and picked up a GPS. My reasoning was that it is something that can also be used for gettig directions when driving somewhere.

My GPS arrived a coulpe days ago and I ended up setting aside Saturday afternoon to go out with one of my poker buddies who had been doing this for the past month. He usually goes with his wife and daughters but it would just be the two of us for this adventure.

He printed out three locations at a state park near where we grew up for us to try for my first time out. We would often take his old Subaru out and explore the back woods areas or hike to find different objects of local legends so hiking through the woods would be nothing new to us, just somehting that we haven't done in quite some time.

After first parknig at a location about amile away from the closest point, we began our trek only to find that we put ourselves on the opposite side of the lake from the points. We decided that trekking back to the car and driving to a parking area on the other side would be our best option so we went back and drove to an area that was about a half mile from the closest cache.

Our clues for that cache was that it would be near a metal spike, you 'could' boat to the area and 'I love George'. We found a wooden foot bridge at a few feet from the coordinates that we entered into the GPS. That bridge had the words 'I love George' etched into one railing and a metal spike was just below that.

We began to search from there for quite some time and came up empty. We found nothing within about a 30 foot radius of that spike. There was twine on the spoke that looked like it had been cut. We believe this could have been where a cache was dangling and maybe lost.


At that point we gave up and headed to the next location. Our clue here was two bridges and a metal pipe. We came upon a slightly less traveled trail that led us across 2 wooded 'bridges' (if you want to call a couple feet across a runoff area a bridge).

Past that point, we came across a metal drainage pipe. That put us within about 25 feet of the corrdinate (with about a 27 foot margin of error at that point). We fanned out off the path at that point into an area that was not that thick. Within about 5 minutes we spotted a plastic container that was camoflaged with tape. This was the cache. There were small trinkets inside but we merely signed the log as we brought nothing to exchange (usually the exchanging it more for the kids when they are along, though I have been told of a local one that has CD's that are exchanged inside). We did leave what is called a CITO (cache in trash out) which is a container with a garbage bag that fututre cachers can use to remove any trash from the area on their way out.


On to the biggest adventure of the day. We headed towards one with only one clue, about 150 feet of bush-whacking. The cache was a 2.5 on a scale of 5 in difficulty based on location, which meant I should expect something a little more difficult to reach.

We reached an intersection in the path that we were on that led eitehr right or left. The GPS said the cache was striaght ahead about a quarter of a mile. After looking a little in each direction for a path, we decided that this must be the bush-whacking that was mentioned (though a quarter mile is wuite a bit mroe than 150 feet (next time IO do the navigation ).

The area that we entered weas rather gwon up and it kept getting worse. At one point we were balancing on fallen logs with thorny branches in our face and about 6 inches of muddy swamp below. The growth was extremely thick for most of our travels and we kept having to go parrallel with our destination as there was not possible way that we could have gone forward without having any better equipment.

At one point, my fruiend stepped on a log and I saw a tail of a snake quickly slither under the log. After pausing to size up the suituation, we felt it best to head in a different direction than where the snake went (which was right where we had to balance past). That snake was probablhyk more scared of us than we were of him, though I wouldn't bet the over-under on that one.

Finally, we pushed through a thick area only to find a path a few feet away. We travelled on that path and it took us to a point about 100 feet from our destination. The 'bush-whacking' involved to get to that opint was minor at best, compared to what we just went through. We found the cache and it had been lefft slightly open so the contents were soggy. We signed the log and headed back down the path.

As we got to the end of that path, we found that the path came out near where we started our cross-county trek. In fact, if we had just checked about another 100 feet in that direction we would have seen the path. It looks like we had just turned a 2.5 into a 5. At least it gives us a good story about our geocaching treks. Stories like that make life fun.


On the way back, we had to pass the area where we searched for the first cache. He had received a call from his wife, who was in the area with the kids and she said that she would meet us where we parked and help us look for the cache.

Unfortunately after quite a lot of searching we came up empty. All we had to show for it was my friend's half soaked pant leg as he was venturing too close to the edge of the bank to see if anything was under the bridge and the amount of recent rain made that part very unstable.


My first ever day of geocaching was over. We had logged 2 of 3 caches that we set out for and had several good stories to tell. The only remnants of the trip was finding either a deer tic, or baby tic, on my leg later. Hopefully it was just a baby. All in all, the DEET did it's job keeping the tics off us (when compared to a past adventure several years ago where 5 of us ended up having a good couple dozen tics on each of us by the end of the day as they were dropping out of the trees and everything that day).

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Old 04-11-2004, 10:15 PM   #2
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Round 2

Found out that the caches that we couldn't find on Saturday had been moved a few times, according to logs of past geocachers. There could be a very good chance that the cache is not anywhere near where we were looking, or taken all-together.


It's a rainy Easter day but I wanted to get a cache in. We decided to do a virtual cache. That is one where you find something like a statue or building or some other oddity. To log the cache, you just answer questions about it. We chose a local Padre Pio statue, it's on our way to her fatehrs, who we were going out for Easter dinner with.

We stopped and my wife went over and got the information we needed to log the cache. It was an easy cache to log. This was her first, and the idea was just to get her into it a little with something easy at first.


On the way back from dinner, it was no longer raining and I had the coordinates of one a couple miles from our house. It is off a bike path. We deccided to stop and went out there with the kids. I found the general area and began looking off teh path. There was too much litter, which kept looking like it could be a cache until getting closer to it. Add the rain that made everything reflective and the fact that we were quickly losing daylight and we ended up comnig up empty handed.

The good part was that my wife truly seemed to be enjoying looking for it, and liked the added exercize (after havnig a baby a couple months ago, she is eagerly looking for enjoyable exercize). Our 3 year old loved the walk as well and I will be picking up trinkets to exchange so that when she is with me, she will be able to exchange it for something (she should love that).


When I arrived home, I checked out the site and erally felt like a failure as the site that I couldn't find was found 4 times over the past 3 days. I will go back out there next week, durnig the middle of the day for best daylight. I have to find that thing now, it's just eating at me.


I am truly surprised by my reaction to this hobby now as I went from joking about it to actually doing it, and enjoying it. I have jury duty this week and have printed out a few cachesin that ares to see if I can find any either durnig lunch or after being let out for the day. I guess we'll see what tommorrow will bring.
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Old 04-11-2004, 10:24 PM   #3
sachmo71
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: TX
That sound really cool, Eaglefan. I'll be following.
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Old 04-12-2004, 04:37 PM   #4
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Lousy Weather and Jury Duty

Having jury duty today, I figured it would be a good day to attempt to get a couple virtual cashes in AC (as that is where my jury duty was, plus I work there). I hoped that jury duty would mean an early day.

We did get let out early and I headed towards the first of the caches. It's a monument to stupidity (IMHO). A 'boardwalk and lighthouse' in a park a couple blocks from the beach at the foot of the expressway entrance. Why waste the money on this when the real boardwalk is just 2 blocks away, and when this area is not in a place where any tourists will ever really come to.

Anyway, I'll step off my soap box. It was an easy find and I had to count the stairs that are inside. This was not easy with my eye problems and with them spiraling up to the top. I had what I thought was the number and wrote it down. The weather was getting worse as it was rainy, cold and windy. I headed on to the next cache from here.


The next cache was called "Supermen" and I beleieved iot to be the Korean War Memorial. I walked up to the boardwalk and followed it right to the coordinates, which was the memorial. It required gettnig the last name of the first and last person on the wall that honored those who fought and lost their lives in the war. I was a nice place to see as I had never actually walked around in it before. It had a little extra meaning for me as my father had served in that war.


At this point it was feeling quite cold and damp and the final virtual that I had planned on going to was a mile away. On a good day, I would do the walk but not today. I settled witht hose two and thought I might try a couple regular caches later if it clears up.


I logged the two and now have decided not to venture back out, though I really want to find the one by the bike path that I couldn't find last night. It's just getting too crappy to be walking around in the woods.
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Old 04-14-2004, 04:44 PM   #5
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Treasure on the Trail

Went out after jury duty today, went looking for the one that I couldn't find the other night with my family. It's a nice bike path which makes for a good place to walk, or ride for that matter.

This time my GPS narrowed me in a little closer and I noticed that it looks like it was on the opposite side of the track that I thought it was on the last time. IT didn't take too long and I noticed something under a part of a log. It was a tupperware container with 'Official Geocache' on the lid. This was what I was looking for.

Inside there were a few trinkets, like one of those McDonalds Lion King Happy Meal toys, a mouse pad and even a dollar. I had nothing to exchange yet so I just signed the log as it was the satisfaction that was the reward.

I placed it back in it's position and went about my business. The trail was empty, with it being misty all day, so I didn't have to worry about people riding by while I was looking for, or signing the log to the cache.

This will be my first solo find, something that I am proud of. With my eyes as bad as they are, I had worried if I would be able to find things easily enough.

Now it's back home and time to relax a little with a game of Far Cry. I'll be planning a weekend of geocaching since the forecast looks nice. hat will be something fun for the family.
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Old 04-24-2004, 08:01 PM   #6
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
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A little late posting this, about a week, but we went to the Phillies game last Saturday and we planned on doing a few locationless caches for the day. We hadn;t done one of them before (key to later in the post) but they are basically finding something like a Vivil War Battlefield, or something like that.

It's something that there are more than one possible find for. Many require that the some place or maker cannot be logged by more than one person, which makes it even more interesting (and creative).


We went with some of the more boring items, due to the time and location that we were going to be at.


One was getting a picture of a mascot of some sort. To log a cache like this you need to have a pitcture of the place, item, whatever it is, along with your GPS in the photo. I took a picture of the Phanatic to use for the cache.


Next up was a picture of a statue of a hall of fame baseball player, but not from the hall of fame. I took a picture of my daughter in front of a statue of Mike Schmidt while holding the GPS. After taking the picture, my wife read more about the cache and poingted out that this cache would not count as it couldn't be within a mile of a pro ballpark.


On the way home, we stopped outside of a diner to take a pocture of that, for another cache.


We figured that we would settle with those three as it was getting late by the time we got back to my mom's to pick up our youngest. There were a couple regular caches we were thinking of going after if we had the time.


We we got home, I tried to log the caches only to find out that I needed the actual coordinates of the places that we took the pictures. My batteries were on their last legs in the GPS or I would have written down the coordinates (but it wouldn;t get a lock on our position with the low batteries.


Oh well, it was a fun day anyway.
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Old 05-08-2004, 01:59 PM   #7
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Another messed up after noon. Had planned on taking my 3 year old out for a nice walk around a local park, where there are 3 caches listed. My wife got stuff together for us and I headed out with my daughter, her bag, my GPS and camera. Stopped off for lunch first and afterwards my daughter threw a fit about having to go to thebathroom but would not go in the bathroom there.

This led to a frustrating attemtp to find a bathroom that she would use and eventually an accident. Come to find out, my hadn;t packed a change of clothes for my daughter. Had to come back home and at that point I was too frustrated to go back out at the moment. She's napping, hoping that she'll be in a better mood and we can go out after her nap.


Found out at poker last night that a coulpe of my friends have begun setting up caches and have one listed. It's a multi-part 'murder mystery' cache. They came up with an entire story of the crime and start you out at the 'scene of the crime' cache which has detaiols within about the crime. From there you get coordinates that will eventually lead you to a list of suspects possible weapons. You get statements for each and you actually need to do a little reaearch that cuol make it a two part cache where you may bneed to look up a coulpe things on your computer before finishing it.

Then, based on who you think it may be, and some other hidden clues, you get other coordinates and, if you guess correctly and get to the right cache, you will end up solving it. It sounds kind of cool. I'll have to check it uot when I have enough time to do so.
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:14 PM   #8
EagleFan
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Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Mays Landing, NJ USA
Totally forgot about this one. That was a long time ago. My oldest was only 3 (she will be 17 on Monday) and my youngest was only a couple months old.

Haven't done geocaching in a very long time and they made things harder here in Jersey as they outlawed it in the parks.

Think I need to find something that I can use for exercise. Maybe revive this thread in some way.
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