ook! While working on my next series (or two) of caches I stopped for a moment when confronted by a check box on the form – Do you want this to be a Premium Member Only Cache? I was really torn since I would prefer as many people as possible recognize my genius, but I also get tired of the drudgery that can be cache maintenance. Even having to send minions out to check on a cache becomes just one more thing on the to do list… laundry, re-wire death ray, check on lamp post at the WalMart… In many cases I have minions spend time and effort to create a nice looking container only to have it get muggled. So why go with premium membership for my caches? I am an elitist monkey, but that’s not the only reason, I have my thoughts and you have the right (until I completely take over) to disagree.
Back in the day when Geocaching first started there was a cost of entry… you had to pay to play. Entry level GPS units were not cheap so you had a vested interest in making sure that your caches were quality and that when you found a cache you did exercise some stealth so that it wouldn’t go missing. When I first started out I remember if a cache went missing that I had recently found I’d think through, did I do something to tip someone off? Was I wandering around the Federal Building wearing camo and looking suspicious? Now days that initial cost is actually fairly cheap, just a smartphone app and you are set to go, so while it is great that anyone can enjoy caching, not all new cachers take the care they once did. Am I against smartphone caching? In all honesty I have three GPS enabled devices I use when caching: an iPhone, an iPad, and a Garmin Oregon. While urban caching I tend to stick with the smartphone, it is easier, but on trips I always have a minion load the Oregon up with caches.
This brings me back to the argument about Premium Member Only caches. As of right now, this is the new barrier, the new proof that you take Geocaching seriously. That you’ve decided to give something back to caching and in return you get a new world of caches available (plus other goodies). This is not a rant to convince everyone to become a Premium Member, it is more just an observation about many of those who complain about why some caches are “Members Only.” For me, I want them to stay around, I hope that the person who finds it takes caching seriously enough to not post a needs maintenance because the log is just damp, or ask that it be archived because it is 100 feet away from a business, or puts it back in the wrong location, or… you get the idea. The cacher who knows enough to learn more- to become a part of the community of cachers. So while discussing this topic with other cachers one person suggested that it wouldn’t be bad to make all my new hides Premium Members Only as long as I didn’t broadcast it to the world… Thanks for the idea.