Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hamster Wheel Caching!

"Go, go, go! Hurry and get in! The next cache is .3 miles away and if you punch it right now, we can make the light!" Here is another common scenario: "I ran this macro in GSAK and if we follow it and don't fool around, we can get all the caches in this geotour in less than 3 hours! We won't have to spend a dime and can be home by 5pm!"  One more: "I got 50 geocaches yesterday!" "Did you see anything interesting other than the caches?" "What? Well, we ate at Subway..."

I remember finding my first 100 or so geocaches and what an adventure and how exciting each and every one was. I can still read about them in my profile and describe everything. Sure, we all have total recall on caches, but we do it now at hyper speed. We speed eat and chain smoke our caches, for lack of stating it properly. We have become more focused on our wake than on the pursuit of the adventure. Sure numbers matter, but honestly, is filling in your grid or calendar the 3rd time to qualify for a challenge actually important in the scheme of things? What about the 4th time, because its on the horizon.

Amberita13 & HoustonControl
At one point do we actually take time to savor the game rather than seeing how much we can cram down our throat to get a daily full stomach? Do we really need a power trail to get us excited, or make a run with friends on 59 LPC's taking turns signing the log? I have contended for some time that burdening ourselves with a daily find streak is nothing more than placing a curse on us and takes away from the fun of the game. Why put yourself under something like that?  Why not return to your kindergarten days and just have fun finding caches? Sorry, but your streak means very little to anyone but you and sooner or later, you will fall into failure.

If you think like I do, you set a target of say 500, 750, or 1000 caches a year. If you make it, great. If you don't, well, maybe next year. Seriously, other than numbers, what is the difference if you have 5300 caches and 7100? Or 18000 and 22000? Does it impress anyone to the point that they lose their breath and fan themselves when you arrive? Do you get free 14 ingredient pseudo coffee when you walk into Starbucks because of this amazing accomplishment? Is there shekinah glory surrounding you when you make your appearance at an event with accompanying fireworks and a 5 jet flyover with F-16's?

Make no mistake, I recognize these folks as senior geocachers, but guess what? They have  trouble finding the same caches I do most of the time and the LPC's are just as easy. Truth be told, they far surpass me in experience, so finding lots of caches is a plus, but often people cache in groups and if you phone a friend (PAF), they will confess someone else in the group found it and they can't help you.

A geocacher I admire is skunkonthefog. He only searches for geocaches that interest him. When he finds one, his log reflects the first thing that comes to mind when he puts a pen to it and this is often quite humorous. Another couple is 2katz and KeyResults and they are serious about the game and work it whenever they can into their busy schedules. Both of these geocachers don't have giant numbers, but love the game and play it for the long run. These 3 and many others embody what this game is about and I'm not taking away from those who run the power trails.

What I am saying is, are you on the hamster wheel of caching? If you are, you will never get enough caches to get off it. Never. You are like the billionaire trying to get more money, or the hamster with its cheeks so full of food and trying to stuff in more. The numbers will never satisfy you. The numbers game is addictive and illusionary. It is not the game. The game is fun and savory and log worthy. Remember when you wrote logs? Remember when they weren't rubber stamp copies? Remember when logging your caches was actually fun or logging trackables was specific to the TB or geocoin? I can't either.

"Discovered at blah, blah, event," has become the norm and doesn't say anything about an interaction with you or the TB or coin or your knowledge of its mission. Why? Because we are in a big hurry, that's why. We are on the geocaching hamster wheel, where speed is more important than content. I'm not pointing fingers because I feel it too. Why can't I log 80 caches in a day, or even 40? Its because I am repairing, or replacing the logs to keep the game going. I want the cache to succeed. I want newbies to feel the fire. I want to see the spark.

I'm ready to get off the geocaching hamster wheel and start enjoying this game the way I did when I had 10 caches under my geoname. Who will join me?


Steve said...

Well said Bert.

Anonymous said...

Stan Roby: You are not alone! I certainly have more enjoyment when we slow down to enjoy being outdoors. Biking, kayaking, or hiking are much more pleasurable and gives you some exercise to boot!

Anonymous said...

Julee Denton: One of the things I enjoy most about geocaching is that there is room for all kinds of cachers, and everyone plays the game differently. I don't think I know anyone who only does one type of caching all the time. Personally, I admire anyone who can keep a daily streak going...the 31 days of August made me want to poke someone's eye out with a fork.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Schaudt-Seal: i agree Julee - 31 days of august taught me i'm not cut out for streaking (at least i did finish it!). but i do like challenge caches that give me goals to work towards and cache types/names/etc to search out. and since i often have to forgo caching when i want to because the other two in my house want to go with me, but are working/scouts/with muggle other parent, i wait for them

Anonymous said...

SR: Well said. Although I am guilty of many of those things in the article, I'd much rather spend 5 hours on a trail in the woods finding a few caches, than spend 5 hours in a car, stopping every few feet to get 100's. I still enjoy that "first Light pole cache" feeling when I find something unique. I found a few unique hides in the Brenham area yesterday and today. The cacher called SockMonkey69 has some good hides.

BlueStarsForever said...

I have been geocaching for 15 months now and I really see what you are talking about Bert. I could not agree more. I'd like to add that even sadder than those who chain-smoke caches for numbers to stroke their ego is those that armchair log, not even actually finding the caches, to build their numbers. I am well aware of a cacher in my general area who is a prolific armchair logger. I think they believe it will impress other cachers, but in truth most of the other cachers in the area have easily recognized what is going and and laugh at him when his name comes up. Everybody thinks he is pathetic. I never want to be a numbers hound, I choose to have fun playing the game. Really enjoyed reading this post.

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