Friday, January 21, 2011

I Think I Suck at Geocaching

Getting out of the house is tough, because we can't leave the dogs outside in this weather, and being little dogs, they can only hold their bladders for a couple of hours.  Going to the nearest city to run errands is a one hour drive round trip and I like to run multiple errands to save on gas, which usually means I have to spend at least 4 hours away from home.

I went to the fabric store to see if they had anything I could use for the border of my sheer drapes, but they didn't, so I'm going to have to just stretch what I've got across the glass without any draping.  While up there, I wanted to visit my old college and see how it has changed.  I hardly recognized it.  There are so many new buildings and it is surrounded by houses and apartments that weren't there before.  But the parking is still free.

Anyway, I had written down the directions and GPS coordinates for four geocaches around the college thinking they would all be quick finds.  Right.  The first one was in a drainage run-off tunnel behind a sign that read, "Regenerating vegetation.  Stay out."

At the same time I was standing in front of this sign reading it, a cop was driving by just daring me to step past the sign.  Obviously, I had to respect it, so I turned around and hiked all the way back to the car.  The second one was beautifully planted just off a trail that led between the observatory and the college.  I only saw one other person off in the distance, so I had all the time and privacy I needed to sign the logbook.  That one felt more like a letterbox, because it was planted away from civilization.

The third one was located at a light pole behind an abandoned K-Mart.  I was scared to be back there by myself, because the bushes appeared to be someone's bedroom.  If I were homeless, I would have chosen the same spot, because it was very private and protected by walls.  I looked all around and could not find any evidence of a geocache, despite many other people finding it recently and saying it was super easy.  Someone found it just two days ago, but I guess I'm blind, because I looked high and low.

The fourth one kept me wandering around in a huge parking lot trying to follow the coordinates.  As soon as I realized where the geocache had to be  hidden, I turned around and headed back to my car without even trying.  This one was ridiculous.  Someone planted it in the drive-thru of McDonalds.  There were all these people and cars around, so there was no way I could sneak it out of its hiding spot.  I guess most geocachers must come out at 3:00 in the morning to go on their hunts or something. 

There was one other geocache nearby, but as soon as I discovered that it was planted on a golf course, I crossed it off my list.  You're supposed to pay an arm and a leg before entering golf courses, and golfers have very specific etiquette and rules regarding who can stand where when.  

Anyway, I've decided that I'm not going to waste any more time searching for geocaches within cities.  I'm only going to hunt down the ones on mountain trails where I can look like a dork following my GPS in short, jerky steps to the north, south, east and west while digging around in bushes without anyone seeing me and saying, "Mommy, what's that weird lady doing?"

Oh yeah, and on a really gross note, I read a comment from someone who said that her husband peed near a geocache and has been known to barf near others.  Yuck.  Remind me to read the comments from people who have visited the site before actually going there, so I can be forewarned and wear my toxic quarantine suit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.


fernvalley01 said...

Reading that last bit tells me that geocaching would not be my thing ! yuck.People are strange

Laughing Orca Ranch said...


Well, you know how I feel about geocaching. The few times we've tried it, I've just felt so dirty afterwards. And there is nothing special to bring home to remember the beautiful vistas or unique locations, like we get with letterboxing.

Nope. Not my cup of tea.

Bummer that you had to experience such weirdness and creepiness, especially by yourself. Be careful, k?

Could you take Midge and Scrappy with you when you head to town? I take my Dobbie with me everywhere, unless it's summertime and supposed to be hot. I always keep a fleece blanket, a bowl and bottle of water for her, and a leash. And in between errands, I can take her outside for potty breaks and enjoy a walk with her. Dobbie has separation issues anyway, so she'd rather go with me and wait in the car instead of sitting at home lonely and waiting for me to return.


BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Ewwww! Yep, I'm with fern. Don't sound like my cup 'o tea. Hopefully you find the rural ones more fun.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm with fernvalley on this. I'm pretty sure it's not my thing either and people are very strange. double yuck.

Cheryl Ann said...

I don't think it is my thing, either. YUCK!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Me too, I suck at letterboxing. I look and look and can't seem to find the darn things. Or there's too many people around. Have you taken up geocaching over letterboxing or are you trying both? I usually end up just enjoying the area instead.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - I guess the reason why I don't bring the dogs with me is because people around here are funny about you leaving your dogs in your vehicle. If they think it's too hot, they'll call the police or Humane Society. This time of year it isn't too hot, but spring through fall can get into triple-digits inside a vehicle after a few minutes. Even if you know you are only going to be in the business for 30-seconds, you'll come outside and find someone standing next to your vehicle talking on a mobile phone.

Fantastyk - I started geocaching because we have hundreds of them planted in my area, but all the letterboxes are quite a ways away -- mostly across state lines. I'd rather be letterboxing.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to have a more light grey opinion about geocaching than pitch black...

I like geocaching, because it brings you to places with great views or gorgeous natural displays (some of them are places where no letterbox could be placed because of the lack of potential hiding places. Geocaches can be way smaller, because they don't need a stamp inside of it)

Even in towns and cities you may find interesting buildings/places you wouldn't have ever found.

The downside:
Today there are way more geocachers than letterboxers - lots of them want to hide one in their area just because they happen to live there. And they don't care that there's nothing really interesting. They just drop the container and it gets published, so people can go look for it. They choose to place caches on parking lots and planters etc., because in a city these are preferred spots. (your cache at the light pole is probably stuck under the cover of screws that you can lift at the bottom of the pole - a very common hiding place... clever, when you see it the first time, boring after 10+)

Letterboxers seem to be more careful where to hide their containers. They would need a different stamp for each one, this makes it harder to place one.

Maybe letterboxers don't like to write publicly about the fact, that they pee next to letterboxes as well. Even in the woods it might be possible that someone totally innocent accidently choses the tree with the letterbox to... especially if there's no public restroom nearby.

The question is, in the end: Why are there so many bad geocaches in your area, but almost no letterboxes?

My guesses:
- no interesting enough, nice places, where you can place a big enough container for a letterbox
- no interesting enough, nice places at all - or else they should have at least a geocache
- not enough letterboxers in the area.
- not enough geocachers who care about the image of thier hobby.

It's true: there are yucky geocaches. But I think that's a problem of the people. Chances are that you find even very nice geocaches in every area. But you have to look for them.
Maybe the new Favorite feature on the geocaching webpage helps to decide where to go and where not.

lytha said...

hi NM

my husband posted an anon comment about his feelings after i told him to read your blog today.

we've certainly seen a lot of crappy locations for caches, but maybe the hiders are new to the hobby, or maybe there is some other goal in mind (to have a cache every 160 meters), etc. it certainly doesn't help when you're standing in the middle of cars in the drivethru at mcdonalds, going, "oh, reallY!?!" but in that case i just say, "screw it, if they think we'll be sneaky in a drivethru, they're wrong!" i just pull it out and don't worry about muggling.

i admit i pee while geocaching in the woods, cuz often we're out there all day long and the woods where the cache is hidden is finally a private spot. i thought all horse people peed in the woods....don't we? : )