Friday, 22 March 2013

Top Caches in Any Area

Now that we've been bit by the geocaching bug, we of course want to "go caching" whenever we visit somewhere - whether it be a different country, province, state, or city than we call home, we want to check out the caches available.

Initially, we did this by simply puling up the Geocaching.com map, toggling the side panel, and typing in the name of the region we were planning to travel to in the "Search by Address or Coordinates" box. Then we'd manually inspect the caches nearby where we'd be staying, and try and see what is accessable, available, and interesting.  subsequent to that, we'd load them onto our GPSr one-by-one.This was a tedious process, and it wasn't always super effective... for the most part it's worked out, but it is very time consuming.

More recently, we've been learning how to take advantage of Pocket Queries to give us much more refined lists of the caches we should try and find while visiting.

Not only does creating pocket queries (reminder: this is a Geocaching.com functionality that may not be available on other geocaching related sites) allow enormous granularity and flexibility in the types of caches and containers, but other important criteria can be set including:
  • difficulty (greater than or equal to, equal to, or less than or equal to 1 - 5)
  • terrain (greater than or equal to, equal to, or less than or equal to 1 - 5)
  • date of placement
  • inclusion/exclusion of any of the geocache attributes

Once your pocket query is configured in the simple & effective interface, you can have it emailed or download it directly from the site in either gpx or loc format, for quick upload into your GPS or tools such as GSAK.

This has become a much better way for us to plan our caching trips to different destinations, including the ability to sort those caches by order of "most favourite" so that we can make sure we visit the "top caches in any area."

We've been able to use exactly that mechanism to identify the most "favourited" caches, so stay tuned to our YouTube channel for an upcoming series of videos on the top caches for some different geocaching destinations.

If you have tips or tricks for how to plan your geocaching away from home, please share them with us!

Thanks for stopping by, and remember:
Cache safely, and cache often!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

It's Not About the Numbers...

Recently, a log entry on one of our caches in the Vancouver area piqued my interest, and resulted in a story I wanted to share with all of you who read our blog.

In the caching community, I've learned we have an expression that "it's not about the numbers" implying to me, that a major part of the fun of the geocaching hobby/sport is the relationships you forge, the experiences you have, and the stories you learn.

In that spirit, I wanted to share a story that was shared with me recently by a visiting geocacher.

"We were looking for the cache when this gentleman came along and asked if we had found it. Apparently he had been here looking for it so he could bring people here to find it. He said he comes and looks for the caches ahead of time so he can bring people here using geocaching as a therapy. We had not found the cache at that time but kept looking. The cache container had been pushed way back and we need something to get it out of it's hiding spot. We found a handle from a bucket but it was to big to fit in beside the container so the gentleman said he had a coat hanger in his car a went and grabbed it. We had the cache in hand shortly after that and signed the log. I went to pass the log to the man but he said he never signs the log as he takes people numerous time to find the caches so I have no idea who he is or even what his name is. but we are always happy to meet up with fellow cachers. ... I think this would be a fine story to tell about a wonderful man doing great things for other less fortunate people."

As far as I know, we aren't sure who the man is, or where he works/volunteers, but the cache itself is proximate to both Children & Women's hospital and G.F. Strong.  I thought this was a really neat story about someone using our recreational fun of geocaching for more than just a little fresh air and exercise.

It is really refreshing to hear a little more than the usual (although always appreciated) "Thanks for the cache."  So thanks to Harleymama for sharing this story, and allowing me to blog about it, and thanks to the mysterious stranger for the work he does and for inspiring us all to "keep on caching."

Cache safely, and cache often!
LANMonkey