Random Shots – Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon NP

Yavapai Point

The view from Yavapai Point on a winter’s day. We came here for a virtual geocache and left with some great photos. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon 10 times or more over the last 30 years and it never ceases to amaze me. Since I’ve taken up photography, it has been a never ending source of material. Sunlight, shadows, color, clouds and terrain make the canyon landscape a natural kaleidoscope. Take a shot, wait five minutes and another great shot will appear. In case you were wondering, this photo was taken at GPS coordinates N36.06599, W112.11670.

Top 10 Geocaching Tactics – #5 to #1

Our last post was Top 10 Geocaching Tactics #10-#6. Today, we’ll finish up our geocaching tactics with #5-4-3-2-1.

#5. Check everything.  Except for burying it, almost anything goes when hiding a cache.  We’ve seen them disguised as rocks, pine cones, reflectors, light switches, bird houses, bolts and sheet metal. Look for something that doesn’t belong – a shape. a rock in a tree, a stack of sticks, a color variation, a glint in the sun. Don’t take anything at face value. Look everywhere. Tug, twist, prod, kick or whatever it takes to inspect something.  Don’t forget to be discreet about it.

Winter Caching
We are all-weather cachers. It can be tough in the winter. You have to read the descriptions carefully and see if it’s accessible then.

#4.  If something near GZ looks like a good hide site, check it out. If you’ve done your background work, have a good idea of what your cache is and see a likely hiding spot, go for it.  Don’t ignore a good place because the GPSr says it’s too far away. We’ve found caches as far as 100 feet from the posted coordinates. You can post corrected coordinates in your log or you can keep quiet and let the next person fumble around cursing their GPS.

Ground Zero
In the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania, here’s Ground Zero. It was a three mile hike on the Laurel Ridge Trail to get here and the bugs are out. Let the search begin. We’re looking for an ammo can and we’re not leaving until we find it.

#3.  Take some cache tools. Once you’ve found the cache, you may have other things to deal with.  The cache may have to be pulled from a tight place. It may be so small that it takes tweezers to extract the log.  It may not have a pencil. The log may be full or wet.  The ziploc bags may be torn. Carry a “cache extraction and repair kit” to deal with all that. If the cache is really FUBAR, do what you can and send a note to the owner.

The Find
Here it is, an hour later. It was well hidden and tucked away in the rocks. We find our caching sticks, which are five foot lengths of 1 1/2 inch dowel rod, to be indispensable. In terrain like this, they give you a third leg, which comes in handy around here.

#2.  Don’t expect the GPSr to take you directly to the cache. This is by far the biggest mistake that new geocachers make and even experienced cachers get lulled into it. All GPS does is get you close. Don’t keep pacing and walking around waiting for it to go to zero and then expect the cache to be at your feet.  Once it starts bouncing around in single digits, its job is done. Then it’s time to start looking.

#1.  Think like a geocacher.  Don’t bury your face in the GPSr. Do your research. Evaluate the terrain and route. When you get to GZ, ask yourself  “Where would I hide this?”  Leave the cache as you found it or better. Pick up some trash along the way.  Geocaching is huge and growing all the time. It is self-regulating and most places are very receptive to it.  To keep it that way, we have to be good stewards of the sport and the places where we do it.

Cache on … The Cachemanian Devils