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    Stuff - Wee links
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    You know.. I love sharing and hearing stories.  I love to sit and hear the stories from peoples caching.  So after all the time involved I thought I would share some of what I am experiencing with those around me.

    Monday
    Sep152014

    One Million

    Congrats to the one millionth cache published in the US.  Daddy's fishing Hole.  A cache placed by a newer cacher that looks interesting.

    It is interesting to think that it was only a few years ago that the one millions cache was published worldwide.  i do not know the numbers of caches that were outside the USA but it is interesting to think about. 

    There are 1 million in the United States and that means another one and a half million outside the United States.

     

    Sunday
    Aug242014

    The 7 Souvenirs of August

    It has been a while since I wrote anything.  As i am home sick, enjoying the view out the window i thought i would take the time to type out a few rambling words.

    I was happy to see there was not a return of last Augusts 30 days of geocaching.  I despise streaks.  I did 100 days and it seemed to suck the life out of the game for me.  Some people love it, DrJay and his 2750 days in a row loves it. That would send me over the edge.  Of course it may have driven him crazy a few times, and it takes some planning on his part.  However, this part of the game is not something that I have ever enjoyed.

    So this month when they announced the 7 Souvenirs of August I got exited.  I have saved some caches that are nearby so that I could grab something like this, busy day challenges, or something similar. 

    This meant that I could pick the caches I wanted to grab.   I had a daughter get married earlier in the month, and a week long scout camp, so I missed a number of events people needed to be first in line to complete them all.

    Well I went to an event Saturday thrown by a young man at a nearby park.  What was different about it was the logs of people that will attend.  The area I am in is notorious for the fact that most of the cachers do not log will attends.  So people have no idea who will show up.  Howver I saw a number of people I had never heard of log that they would attend.

    When the time for the event came I drove over a few minutes late.  When I got there I could see a crowd.  I saw two familiar faces that I spoke to for a minute before i headed over to the group.  Then there was only a face or two that I recognized.   I think there was about 30 cachers at the event maybe a little more.

    I gave a call out at one time, and asked how many had attended the event in the past.  Only 10 or so raised their hands.   I found that interesting that the majority of people were there to complete their 7 souvineers and broke with their caching solo routines to join the bigger crowd.

    Personally I think this is a great thing.  It is nice to see new faces, hopefully this was repeated far and wide and everyone saw a number of new cachers appear in their midsts and they will join us going to other events in the future.

    Happy caching.... See you on the trail

    Sunday
    May112014

    Thanks for the Favorite points

    I had a few discussions this last week with people about favoriting caches.  You know, selecting the little ribbon to give to a cache that you really enjoy.  There are a number that do not take the time. That is kind of funny seeing as how many people will not hesitate to share a page, or hit "like" on facebook.  Those same people have never given a favorite point on caching.

    What is it?

    Well lets first just say what it is. Every 10 caches that you find you can mark a favorite.  Simple, and there is not much more to go into detail about. This is a reward for cachers that place them, it also lets people hunt for caches that have favorites so they know the cache they are hunting for may be above average. That may be more important if the cacher is traveling through.

    How do you choose? 

    That is up to you, everyone has a different rule.  I seem to have given a high percentage to caches that are Earthcaches, Virtuals, or wherigos.  Then a number that are larger containers seem to fall in the mix.

    It is actually the hardest to go back.   I jumped in and went through cache types.  The ones that I might only have a hundred or less to go through.  Then jumped into GSAK and sorted out the larger caches.  They tended to be high on my list.

    Great container, great cache, great location, are all a few of the  reasons that I gave them favorites.

    Begging for the favorite.

    This was a killer for me.  I had one that may have been on my list, and a got an email that was kind of snotty, saying that I should really take the time to favorite his cache.  I did not get around to it for a bit, and I got another email saying something along the lines of "everyone else has favorited the cache I should as well."  and "If I did not favorite the cache they would not favorite mine" 

    I sent an nice email back and said I never give favorites to people who beg for the point, so stop bothering me.  They lost the point with their pestering.

    A thank you from a cache owner.

    For me I say thanks.  Nothing makes me happier than looking at my list of caches and knowing that someone really enjoyed it.  For whatever reason.  I have had them favorited because of location, type, even that it was a milestone for them.Yet I still feel like someone gave me a pat on the back when someone gave me a point.

     

    Sunday
    Mar022014

    The Smaller Caching Comminity

    Some general thoughts on caching. This time frame can really be different based on different places, based on the cachers and the caches that are there.

    The first few years.

    I have had some discussions with cachers about "the good old days".  They discussed that they ran around the state finding caches.  Even a few that traveled farther.  There were few caches then, and to actually keep interest in caching meant that you had to travel far.

    Mega Events?  What mega events.  It was hard to get 500+ cachers together in an area, there were not that many in some areas, so people had to travel.  In fact events were few and far between.  Cachers planned long trips to make some of the few mega events that were around. 

    Events? I just checked in Utah.  There were six events in 2001, 11 in 2002, 14 in 2003, 28 in 2003. 

    In otherwords the caching community was smaller, in order to participate you traveled and visited with the other people.  You had to, If you wanted to find 1000 caches it was a lot of work.  Power trails were non existant, cities and rural roads did not have a lot of caches to grab.  I was thinking that when i started people were bragging about getting 100 in a day, it was hard, and took a ton of planning.

    Evolution

    I am primarily thinking of the 2009-2010 time frame here in Utah.  We had a few big events, Utah Association of Geocachers still had good attendance, that drew people from around the state every spring and fall. 

    Caches were scattered about, but the numbers were far less. In Utah there were 14,000 caches.  You could stay in your region and gather caches.  Rural areas started to see more and more

    With events things were changing again.  2009 showed 93 events, 2010 was at 150.  The numbers climbed dramatically.

    Mega events were appearing in more and more locations.  You did not have to plan a trip to one of the few.  Why?  Because there were double the number from the years before.

    Today

    Events hit a high in 2012 at nearly 174, and in 2013 were still about 150 events.

    Mega Events?  They are everywhere.  Ok maybe not everywhere.  There are currenly 16 on the map for North America.   There are 20 in Europe

    Caches in Utah are approaching 30,000.  You most likely would not need to leave your county for many.  If you live in Washington,  Iron county, or along the Wasatch front there are so many you would not have to go far.  I was just thinking I rarely cache farther than 5 miles away.  There are enough to keep me busy.  I do like to take trips into the hills to grab them, but not as often as I used to.

    Results

    I think geocaching dropped from States, to regions to counties to communities.  Many people rarely leave those areas.   Why travel to get one of the events, when there are so many  nearby.  We have seen a change.

    If I made a list of Mega events, I would pick the closest.  Not necessarily Geowoodstock. Times have changed.  Statewide caching groups have slid into smaller regional or city groups.  That is not necessarily bad, just different.

    Some will aways miss the friends from around the state, or region that gathered to share stories.  I think the stories are still there, just in a different form.  I don't think of the caches that were the big adventures.  I remember reading about the cache at the bottom of the Great Salt Lake, or the Wreck of the Hesperis. We all thought of going after those, or a few on the peaks.  Now things have changed.  No one knows about them anymore.  People talk about the great caches in the areas, but not about those in wider regions.

    I had a cacher contact me (actually this has happened a few times) and complain how things are not as cool as it was.  Yet some of the coolest caches in the state were popping up in their backyard.  They were not even aware.  They just looked at the older caches, and wondered why so few were going after them.

    Challenge

    So I leave you with a challenge.  It is not to go back to the old days, or even do something in another county or state.  It is simple, I challenge you to make it better.  Make your event better, make your cache better.

    Take the time to see something new, and share it with others.  I think the future of caching is your comminities.  Take what we have and add to it.  Perhaps it is archiving an old cache to add something special.  A cache type that most never see, a challenge that people can find and talk about.

    Make what you have just a little better so everyone can smile at what they find.

    Wednesday
    Jan222014

    Part 3 - Topics for EarthCaches

    This is one of those things that myself and the other Earthcache reviewers deal with the most.  It is the most problematic, and can doom the Earthcache before you start.  Pick the wrong topic and if you are not willing to change the topic, and there is nothing you can do to get your EarthCache published.

    Guidelines and Advice

    1 - EarthCaches must provide an earth science lesson.

    This is the line that causes the problems and "earth science" is the phrase that actually causes that problem.  Remember who the sponsor of the EarthCache program is, the Geological Society of America.  Earth science is defined better defined in the Help Center:

    An EarthCache provides an Earth Science lesson through a visit to a unique geological site, and generally focuses on one aspect of the site...

    ...EarthCaches focus on the solid earth and the processes that shape it.

    The other section from the Help Center has the dos and don'ts of the process.

    Acceptable:

    • Geological materials - Rocks, minerals, fossils, sands, soils, etc.
    • Geological processes - erosion, weathering, deposition, volcanic activity, glacial action, etc.
    • Geological land form evolution - glacial valleys, reverse topography due to rock properties, waterfalls with geological explanations, use of geological materials - building stones, etc.
    • Geological phenomena (not included above) - impact craters, geysers, mineral springs, etc.
    • Tools used by geologists - index fossils, rocks, historical geology sites.

    Not Acceptable:

    • Biology
    • Botany
    • Zoology
    • Ecology
    • Atmospheric observations
    • Oceanographic observations, Geodesy (unless specifically linked to the location)
    • Archeology
    • History (unless it has a geological theme)
    • a building (unless it has a geological lesson)
    • Engineering (unless it has a geological theme).

    Common Issues

    We see a number of Earthcaches that focus on those and we have to push back.  The ones that get kicked back tend to be these (and the reason why):

    Swamps/wetlands: Most of these focus on what they create; homes for animals, trees, plant life, etc.  A cache on a swamp or a wetland should focus on how they are created.  The trick with these is that the logging tasks should be on what you can see in the area of the wetlands.

    Coral Reefs:  As you can guess these are the underwater version of the swamp/wetland above.  Coral reefs tend to focus on the living coral and the plantlife around them.  Once again having an obersvation for a logging task can be problematic.

    Mountain Top/Hillside View/Lackshore: These tend to be caches that are "check out where I have been".  They usually do not have logging tasks that are very good.  In trying to get logging tasks they tend to scramble for a logging task. One cache that I reviewed said "tell me what kind of rock is here".  When I asked what the answer was, they said "I don't know, I figure they would tell me."

    The Endangered Three Toesd Mole (or some other animal):  Well, you can guess here.  Someone wants to highlight the endangered animal, their plight, and their plight.  Sadly they do not fit in the program. 

    Ancient Indian Burial Ground or Old ghost town: Archelogy comes in as another common one.  They are not related to geology, and would be better served by a Virtual if the door ever opens on them.

    And yet more Advice

    Make it something interesting.  Writing up a technical paper on the various geological layer names and babbling about the ages they were depositied will make peoples eyes glaze over.  Also try and avoid creating so many in depth questions that people just dont care about it.

    I know of a few caches where people do not want to do them.  They are in a place that is not interesting, or they are Doctoral thesis papers that are too much for people. 

    Part 1 - Happy 10th Anniversary to Earthcaches

    Part 2 - Before You Begin Your EarthCache

    Part 3 - Topics for Earthcaches