A geocaching primer by BaytownBert (Bert Marshall) 12-24-18
|This is an example of a tiny geocache being hidden in an evergreen bush in a subdivision. Neighbors will wonder what you are doing, as you look suspicious.|
Since my first find in 2003, this game has exploded with a plethora of ingenious and yes… many poorly hidden containers. For every unique and well placed hide, there are 40 crappy micro/nano caches hidden in places no one wants to remember. The placement screams, “Why on earth would anyone hide a cache here?”
For instance, I recently found an LPC halfway up the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. I parked in the lot and walked beside 2 cars waiting to get their order from the window. Did I feel stupid? No; I felt uncomfortable, but I lifted the skirt and signed the log anyway. Did I take care (as the instructions stated) to preserve the integrity of the hide from watchful muggle eyes?
No. I did not. In my opinion, this cache should never have been placed here. Placing a geocache in a high muggle area at one time was supposed to signify that it made it more difficult to get in and out undetected. These days you look like a terrorist drug dealer pedophile sneaking around and I simply will not do it. I don a safety vest and walk up like I own it. Of course I try to position myself to block the view of muggles, but frankly, I almost resent being put in this uncomfortable predicament. Was the lone smiley worth it? I say no. More and more often I drive up and seeing the placement, I shake my head and drive off with the intent of ignoring that cache in the future.
Seriously, how do you think you look scouring the back side of a Redbox DVD kiosk in front of a pharmacy? I’ll go ahead and tell you. You look suspicious and that is not something you should welcome or be subjected to. Many of these newbie hides go unmaintained and if it were not for generous geocachers helping to maintain them, they would be archived by a reviewer.
|A veteran cacher placed |
a container here.
The introduction of Smartphones and free Apps has caused many interloping newbie geocachers to sprinkle thousands of weak hides similar to the one I found at JIB. When you look at the geocaches in your area, there are so many that are totally forgettable. Many are placed in the corner of a parking lot either under a light skirt or 8 feet into the woods among the ton of litter on the ground. So much for CITO’ing the area because there is simply too much trash. After a day of geocaching, my 30 gallon plastic trash can in my Jeep is over-flowing. This literally happens every time I go out to find caches.
I say it is time veteran cachers dump these types of caches from their personal hide inventory and clean up their respective areas for new, higher quality hides. Newbies will continue to litter the landscape with weak hides and nothing can be done to stop that short of Groundspeak putting a find quota on when you can place a hide.
In the Houston/Beaumont area of Texas, there are thousands of poorly planned hides, sprinkled almost in a random fashion. I still own some of them that I plan to archive. It’s as if there was no forethought went into the hide. Sure its fun to log 10 quick hides, but the truth is nothing was gained other than 10 smilies were added to your total. Easy caches placed for travelers can be excused from my rant. I believe in accommodating travelers as a safety issue. Get them in and out of their cars and back on the road.
|Plan your caches. Do the homework.|
I currently have 187 active geocaches even though I recently archived 125 to make room for new hides, or just to flush the toilet on uninteresting hides. I am putting my money where my mouth is. No one seemed to notice and the reason for this is there are many thousands of caches available and the bulk of them are weak in placement. It’s true. The descriptions and hints are either absent or vague and it appears the planning stage was absent also. As an example, one forum user wrote they intended to put out a power trail of 50 LPC’s. My eyeballs almost popped out in disbelief over that post.
Another example of what I am saying is I archived 29 caches in a series to make them more suitable to children. I could have simply rehid each cache with a new container, but I wanted to start over. The original series took folks down a seemingly haunted country road and each container was well hid. The new series are all (small or larger) black and have a red lid to help kiddos find them. I want them to find them, so each cache also has a good hint. The series for veterans will be easy peasy and a quick 29 caches, but for newbie’s it will be a training ground for further adventures.
Hopefully their success will excite and educate them enough to tackle the harder geocaches. The outcome could be that they will continue to play the game for more than 2 weeks and hold off hiding one until they learn more about the game. The landscape is constantly littered with inflationary and meaningless caches regardless of how much scrutiny the reviewers use. World’s of information is currently available on cache placement and seeing that veterans can eliminate their own low quality hides, the game could be invigorated again. It surely needs a shot of adrenaline, IMO.
|Is it time for a moratorium on LPC's?|
The same is happening with events and I’ve written about this before in another primer. Make events more than just a meet and eat. At one time years ago, there were maybe 6 events planned for the Houston area over the next 2 months. Currently in this same area there are 20-40 events scheduled at any given time. There are so many events that attendance is usually under 10 people. Like the low quality hides, events are meaningless other than to eat or to talk to the same 6 people and no one bothers to post photos. It has become so pervasive that I’ve all but stopped hosting events. Now if you live in an area of few caches, then forgive me for this suggestion, but it may still apply. Don’t fret archiving them to place better caches. Build it and they will come.
Hide a variety of caches for all skill levels, but a “power trail” of cricket micros in evergreen bushes might need to be reconsidered. Plan it in such a way that geocachers will give your hides favorite points and you will know you are doing it right.