Gear Up for Geocaching Sweepstakes!

Groundspeak is sponsoring a sweepstakes for lots of geocaching stuff!   Deadline August 31st!

Go to: http://goo.gl/ZOmnpb to enter.

Fine Print-

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING.  VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. INTERNET ACCESS, AN EMAIL ADDRESS AND A GEOCACHING.COM USERNAME ARE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY.
BY ENTERING THE SWEEPSTAKES, YOU (“ENTRANT OR “YOU”) MUST AGREE TO THESE OFFICIAL RULES, WHICH CREATE A CONTRACT SO READ THEM CAREFULLY BEFORE ENTERING.
1. Eligibility.  The Gear Up for Geocaching Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry and who are members in good standing of Geocaching.com on the date of entry in this Sweepstakes.  Employees of Groundspeak, Inc., as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible.  The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.  Void where prohibited.
2. Sponsor.  Groundspeak, Inc.837 N. 34th Street, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98103.
3. Agreement to Official Rules.  Participation in this Sweepstakes constitutes Entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s decisions, which are final and binding in all matters related to this Sweepstakes.  Winning a Prize (defined below) is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
4. Sweepstakes Period. The Sweepstakes begins on or about August 1, 2013 at 12:00:01 a.m. Pacific Time (“PT”) and ends on August 31, 2013 at 11:59:59 p.m. PT (the “Sweepstakes Period”). Sponsor’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Sweepstakes.
5. How to Enter.
(a) TO ENTER:  During the Sweepstakes Period, you can enter the Sweepstakes by visiting http://goo.gl/ZOmnpb, filling out the registration form (the “Registration”) and clicking “Send Form.”   On the Registration, you will be asked to (i) provide your information including, your name, email address, and mailing address), (ii) provide your valid Geocaching.com username, (iii) answer some questions about how you found out about the Sweepstakes and whether you’ve been geocaching, and (iv) check the box indicating your agreement to the Official Rules (collectively, an “Entry”).
(b) Limit. Each Entrant may enter the Sweepstakes one (1) time during the Sweepstakes Period with a single Entry.   Any attempt by any Entrant to enter more than once using the same, multiple/different Geocaching.com usernames, email addresses, identities, registrations, or any other methods will void that Entrant’s Entries and that Entrant may be disqualified.
6. Winner Selection. Three (3) prizes will be available.  On or about September 4, 2013, three (3) potential winners will be selected in a random drawing from among all Entries received during the Entry Period.  The random drawing will be conducted by Sponsor, whose decisions regarding the random drawing will be final. Odds of winning the prize will depend on the number of eligible Entries received during the Entry Period.
7. Winner Requirements. Sponsor will attempt to notify potential winners by email or mail on or about September 4, 2013.  Potential winners may be required to sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability & Publicity Release (“Affidavit”), which must be received by Administrator within ten (10) days of the date notice or attempted notice is sent, in order to claim the prize.  Prizes will only be mailed to winner’s address in one (1) of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia. If any prize, prize notification, or Sweepstakes-related communication is rejected, faulty, or returned as undeliverable, if the potential winner does not respond according to the notification’s or Sponsor’s instructions, or if the potential winner fails to comply with these Official Rules, the prize will be forfeited in Sponsor’s sole discretion and an alternate winner may be selected (time permitting) based on the original method of winner selection in Sponsor’s sole discretion.  If legitimately claimed, the prize(s) will be awarded.  Upon prize forfeiture, no compensation will be given and Sponsor will have no responsibility or liability to that Entrant.  To claim a prize, winner must follow the directions in his or her notification.
8. Prize. Three (3) winners, subject to verification, will each receive a prize package (“Prize”) consisting of a one-year Premium membership to Geocaching.com and the following products:
Company
Product
7eye
Gift certificate redeemable towards any one pair of glasses up to $150.00 in value
Camp Chef
Rainier Rainer Campers Combo – Stove/Grill/Griddle
Greenlayer
Evolution Sleeveless Shirt
Evolution Closeout Short Sleeved Shirt
Evolution Long Sleeved Shirt
Twilight Half-Zip Shirt
Kor
Aura Hydration Vessel
MHM
Snack Stacker
Mountainsmith
Tour TLS Lumbar Pack
Skratch Labs
1-lb Exercise Hydration Mix
The approximate retail value (ARV) of each of the three (3) Prizes is: $581.82.  The total ARV of all Prizes is: $1,745.46.
All Prizes are non-transferable, with no cash redemptions, equivalents or substitutions except at Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion. No prize may be sold, auctioned or traded.  All Prize details not specified in these Official Rules will be determined in Sponsor’s sole and absolute discretion.  Prize details and availability are subject to change, and in the event that Sponsor is unable to provide a winner with their Prize or any particular product in the Prize, the Sponsor may elect in its sole discretion, to provide such winner with the approximate value of such item in cash or award such winner an alternate prize of comparable or greater value.  The ARV of the Prize is based on available information provided to Sponsor and the value of any Prize awarded to a Winner may be reported for tax purposes as required by law.  Sponsor is not responsible for and winner will not receive the difference, if any, between the actual value of the prize at the time of award and the stated ARV in these Official Rules. Each Winner may be required to provide Sponsor with a valid social security number or tax identification number before the Prize will be awarded for tax reporting purposes.  An IRS Form 1099 may be issued in the name of Winner for the actual value of the Prize received.  Unclaimed prizes will be forfeited.  Winner is responsible for all federal, state and local taxes and any other costs, expenses or fees associated with Prize acceptance and/or use not specified herein as being provided.
9. RELEASE.YOU AGREE TO RELEASE, HOLD HARMLESS AND INDEMNIFY SPONSOR AND PRIZE SUPPLIERS 7EYE, CAMP CHEF, GREENLAYER, KOR, MHM, MOUNTAINSMITH, SKRATCH LABS, AND THEIR RESPECTIVE SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, SUPPLIERS AND DISTRIBUTORS, AND EACH OF THEIR RESPECTIVE PARENT COMPANIES AND EACH OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, REPRESENTATIVES AND AGENTS (“RELEASED PARTIES”) FROM AND AGAINST ANY CLAIM, CAUSE OF ACTION, EXPENSE OR ANY LIABILITY WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND EXPENSES) ARISING OUT OF YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS SWEEPSTAKES OR YOUR ENTRY, INCLUDING FOR INJURIES OR DAMAGES OF ANY KIND SUSTAINED IN CONNECTION WITH GEOCACHING OR THE ACCEPTANCE, POSSESSION, USE, MISUSE OR AWARDING OF THE PRIZE OR WHILE PREPARING FOR, PARTICIPATING IN AND/OR TRAVELING TO OR FROM ANY PRIZE- OR SWEEPSTAKES-RELATED ACTIVITY, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY INJURY, DAMAGE, DEATH, LOSS, OR ACCIDENT TO PERSON OR PROPERTY.  WINNER AGREES THAT THE PRIZE IS PROVIDED AS-IS WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, REPRESENTATION, OR GUARANTEE, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN FACT OR IN LAW, WHETHER NOW KNOWN OR HEREINAFTER ENACTED, RELATIVE TO THE USE OR ENJOYMENT OF THE PRIZE, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, ITS QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
YOU UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT ALL RIGHTS UNDER SECTION 1542 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF CALIFORNIA AND ANY SIMILAR LAW OF ANY STATE OR TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES ARE HEREBY EXPRESSLY WAIVED BY YOU.  SECTION 1542 READS AS FOLLOWS:
“CERTAIN CLAIMS NOT AFFECTED BY A GENERAL RELEASE. A GENERAL RELEASE DOES NOT EXTEND TO CLAIMS WHICH THE CREDITOR DOES NOT KNOW OR SUSPECT TO EXIST IN HIS OR HER FAVOR AT THE TIME OF EXECUTING THE RELEASE, WHICH IF KNOWN BY HIM OR HER MUST HAVE MATERIALLY AFFECTED HIS OR HER SETTLEMENT WITH THE DEBTOR.”
10.Limitations of Liability. Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by Entrant, printing, typographical or other errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Sweepstakes; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, viruses, defects, delays or disconnections in phone lines, cable or satellite systems, computers or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the Entry process or the Sweepstakes; (4), technical, computer, network or human error which may occur in the administration of the Sweepstakes, the uploading, the processing or judging of Entries, the announcement of the winners or in any Sweepstakes-related materials, including without limitation these Official Rules; (5) late, lost, undeliverable, damaged or stolen mail or misdirected or undeliverable Entries; (6) electronic communications that are undeliverable as a result of any form of active or passive filtering of any kind, or insufficient space in Entrant’s email account to receive email messages or email addresses or mailing addresses that are incomplete, inaccurate or have changed or (7) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from Entrant’s participation in the Sweepstakes or receipt or use or misuse of any Prize (including any travel/activity related thereto). Released Parties are not responsible for any unauthorized third-party use of any Entry.
Without limiting any other provision in these Official Rules, Released Parties are not responsible or liable to any Entrant or winner or any person claiming through such Entrant or winner for failure to supply a Prize or any part thereof in the event that any of the Sweepstakes or the Released Parties’ operations or activities are affected, as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, including, without limitation, by reason of any acts of God, any action, regulation, order or request by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action, regulations, order or request proves to be invalid), equipment failure, threatened terrorist acts, terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any law, rule, regulation, order or other action adopted or taken by any governmental, federal, state or local government authority, or any other cause, whether or not specifically mentioned above.
11. GENERAL RULES.  Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Sweepstakes, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Sweepstakes, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion.  If terminated, Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, determine the winners from among all non-suspect, eligible Entries received up to time of such action using the judging procedure outlined above.  Sponsor, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the Entry process or the operation of the Sweepstakes, to have provided false information or to be acting in violation of the Official Rules of this or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner and void all associated Entries.  Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages and other remedies (including attorneys’ fees) from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.  Sponsor’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.  If the Sweepstakes is not running as planned for any reason, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Sweepstakes or to extend the Sweepstakes Period.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these Official Rules will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision.  In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these Official Rules will otherwise remain in effect and will be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained herein.  In the event of a dispute concerning who submitted an Entry, the Entry will be declared to have been made by the authorized account holder of the email address submitted at the time of entry, but only if that person meets all of the eligibility criteria.  An authorized account holder is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an email address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g. business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning email addresses for the domain associated with the submitted email address.  The potential winners may be required to provide Sponsor with proof that he or she is the authorized account holder of the email address associated with the potentially winning entry.  If a dispute cannot be resolved to Sponsor’s satisfaction, the entry will be deemed ineligible.
13. Disputes/Governing Law.  Except where prohibited, as a condition of participating in this Sweepstakes, each Entrant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the Entrant and Sponsor, claims and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Sweepstakes, or the Prize awarded, or the determination of the winner must be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action.  Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will an Entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than Entrant’s actual out-pocket expenses (if any), not to exceed ten dollars ($10.00), and Entrant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.   This Sweepstakes and any dispute arising under or related thereto (whether for breach of contract, tortious conduct or otherwise) will be governed by the laws of the State of Washington without reference to its conflicts of law principles.  Venue will be exclusively in the state or federal courts located in King County, Washington, and each Entrant accepts and submits to the personal jurisdiction of these courts.
14. Entrant’s Personal Information. Information collected from Entrants is subject to Sponsor’s Privacy Policy  http://www.geocaching.com/about/privacypolicy.aspx. By entering the Sweepstakes, you accept Sponsor’s Privacy Policy.  Additionally, Sponsor may use Entrants’ email address to request that Entrants take part in an optional survey following the Sweepstakes.
15.  Winner List.  To obtain a copy of these Official Rules or for notification of the winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:  Groundspeak, Inc., 837 N. 34th Street, Suite 300, Seattle, WA 98103.    Please specify whether you are requesting a copy of these Official Rules or a winner’s list and the name of the Sweepstakes.  Requests for winners’ lists must be received no later than three (3) months after the end of the Sweepstakes Period.   Vermont residents may omit return postage with Official Rules requests.
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The Indiana Fall Picnic is almost here!

Just a few short weeks away, the 2013 Indiana Fall Picnic is being held in beautiful Versailles State Park on September 6th & 7th.

The weekend kicks off with a Meet & Greet event on Friday the 6th.  This event will consist of a vegetable beef soup “dump” – bring soup to share (please, no frozen or canned!) and we will blend it all together into a delicious fusion of flavor!  We will also have a separate crock pot available for vegetarian soup, but please be sure you bring enough for your group.  You are also welcome to bring bread, a veggie tray, dessert…  Following the soup feast, put on your trekking shoes, check the batteries in your flashlights, and join in on the night cache.  See GC4AMFF for more details on the Meet & Greet event.

Saturday’s main event starts bright and (sort of) early, with registration/packet pick-up at 9am and official kick-off announcements at 9:45am.  Look for fun events like the Kids’ Challenge, and of course, Geo-Survivor – as much fun for the spectators as the competitors!  We’ll also have a pitch-in lunch, auction items, and lots of door prizes from generous sponsors and Geocachers (if you have item(s) to donate, please let us know… all are VERY appreciated!).  See GC4AMEH for further information regarding the Indiana Fall Picnic.

Lots of folks are camping at Versailles that weekend too.  If you’d like to see a campground map to see where everyone is gathering, check out our Facebook page here and look under the “Events” tab.

In addition to logging your “will attend,” the Committee also asks that you register through the website (a link is available on both GC.com event pages).  If you register by August 17th, you will receive a super cool, laminated name tag, along with a few other goodies.  If you’re seeing this after August 17th, we would still love to have you join in the fun, and will have label name tags available at the event.  SWAG in the form of t-shirts and pathtags, is also available for purchase through August 17th.

So come on down to Ripley County and Versailles State Park for a great weekend of fun activities and socializing… see you there!

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August 2013 Geocaching Events

For some this is the height of Summer, nowadays this also means for many it’s time to head back to school.  As you many have noticed during the summer, so many people are on vacation that the number of events dwindles.  Fear not intrepid cacher!  For there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  As people start heading back to school, that means that more and more events will be posted.  Have faith, all will be well.

Besides Events, Groundspeak has created a souvenir for each day in August.  Find a cache get one of those fancy electronic souvenirs… find one every day in August and get an even snazzier electronic souvenir.  They are calling it the 31 days of Geocaching. I’m calling it a reason to get out after a tough day a school.  Hmmm… could this be the reason for all the “AFM” (August Flash Mob) events?

If you are new to geocaching I do recommend stopping by an event and meeting some of the friendly (albeit sometimes strange- & yes, I speak for myself) local cachers.  If you are in Central Indiana, the monthly GiG (Girls in Geocaching) dinner is a great place to start, but every spot has something fun going on sometime.   Even though it is August, I would consider making plans for the Indiana Fall Picnic, and also GeoWoodstock (which may be out of State but still worth the drive to Missouri).  I haven’t seen Moonshine posted yet… but it has traditionally been over Labor Day weekend in scenic Moonshine, Illinoise (N 39° 11.437 W 087° 53.726)

Remember you can do this on your own to get the most up to date information by logging into GC.com and finding the “Newest in Indiana” link.  That will give you the most up-to-date list of Events in the state.

August 1

AFM I
by Jkparmfamily | GC4G3GQ | Indianapolis

August 2

AFM II
by Jkparmfamily | GC4G3H4 | Indianapolis

August 3

Broad Ripple Flash Mob-8
by -goat- | GC4G3H3 | Indianapolis

August 4

Shelbyville Big Blue Paddle Event #2
by TheLawsonFamily | GC4FH2Y | Shelbyville

Night Owl Flash Mob
by -goat- | GC4G3HW | Indianapolis

August 6

AFM1
by -goat- | GC4FH5M | Indianapolis

August 7

AFM4
by -goat- | GC4FH63 | Indianapolis

August 8

AFM5
by -goat- | GC4FH65 | Indianapolis

August 10

NEI-GEO August ’13 Meet-n-Eat:Return to Our Roots
by Lord Elwood | GC4GFP1 | Fort Wayne

August 13

AFM7
by -goat- | GC4FM5V | Indianapolis

August 15

AFM III
by Jkparmfamily | GC4G5DR | Indianapolis

August 16

AFM IV
by Jkparmfamily | GC4G5DZ | Indianapolis

August 17

International Geocaching Day 2013
by Bloomington Geocachers/ForTheLoveOfSunrises | GC4EXT4 | Bloomington

International Geocaching Day 2013 King of the Hill
by Chutch1035 | GC4FF8M | Indianapolis

Mr. Incredible! Hits 300!
by Mr. Incredible! | GC4G0EG | Fort Wayne

August 20

INKY goes Tex-Mex in August!
by LibraLady | GC4GAHT | Floyd Knobs

August 26

AFM9
by -goat- | GC4H3ME | Indianapolis

August 27

AFM2
by -goat- | GC4FH5Q | Indianapolis

August 28

AFM6
by -goat- | GC4FM5G | Indianapolis

August 29

AFM8
by -goat- | GC4FM60 | Indianapolis

August 30

AFM3
by -goat- | GC4FH5X | Indianapolis

September 6

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic Meet & Greet
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMFF | Versailles State Park

September 7

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMEH | Versailles State Park

October 5

Fritz’s Octoberfest Celebration
by katandkev | GC4G3PC | Fort Wayne

November 2

Geocaching with Abe 2013
by Lincoln State Park and sialis | GC4GJ5Z | Lincoln State Park

May 24, 2014

Geowoodstock XII
by Geowoodstock Committee | GC4BGXM | St. Charles, Missouri

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Smartphone Caching- Some thoughts…

So simple even a monkey could do it!

So simple even a monkey could do it!

Cecil would probably rant about this topic because as more experienced, aka “older,” cachers have discovered there is something about people using their smartphones to cache that has led to some grumpiness in geocaching community.  I hear it at events and in social media- Is it really the problem, or is the problem ignorance?

Let’s start off with “It’s a phone not a GPS.” Fine, it’s a GPS enabled device… still it isn’t designed to be a GPS, it’s designed to give you driving directions to Starbucks, and to play Angry Birds. Which means it isn’t as accurate.  You can easily find the Starbucks with it, but a nano might be a bit more difficult.  When I first started caching the advice given to me was when the GPS unit said you were around 20 feet away, start looking.  Better yet, turn off the GPS and start really looking.  This built up your “GeoSense,” but also GPS units weren’t very accurate.  If you are using a smartphone to cache, the same thing applies.  That also means don’t complain to the cache owner that the coordinates were off… Your phone triangulates its location partially by cell phone towers, so maybe it might be off by a few (dozen, hundred, thousand) feet.  So the device you are using, isn’t the best.  Like playing football with a Nerf Football.  You can do it, you can still have fun, but the experience is really different when you are throwing around a real pigskin.

There’s an app for that, and sometimes it doesn’t work too well.  There are a number of apps for geocaching out there, I’m not going to go into them now, each has their pros and cons.  I use the Geocaching.com app (Yes, I have been known to cache with my phone- more on that later) and there are some big limitations especially for new cachers.  Here’s what you can do for the most part- find a nearby cache, log said nearby cache, pick up or place a travel bug.  Outside of that… not much else.  What more seasoned cache owners are finding is that new cachers are logging their caches more than once.  Not giving the app time to send all it’s information through the ether.  I have had this happen on a few of Cecil’s caches and he does get annoyed over it.

Cecil also gets annoyed that many phone cachers have really not had any experience with geocaching-  the app has opened our little hobby to some great people who just don’t know any better.  They look for nearby caches and go find them.  If it happens to show up on the map in a color other than green, oh well.  Sadly for Cecil, he has a couple caches that are challenges, or that have specific requirements to be able to log them… The caches are at the posted coordinates, so someone logs them happily, not having met the requirements.  Cecil’s Dr. Who Finale is one that tends to get this more than others.  You can set the app to only show traditionals, but if you don’t know how or even that there are different kinds of caches this would not pop into your mind.

It’s a phone, and yet many of these people have no idea how to communicate.  Since you can even create an account through the app many of these new smartphone cachers have no idea about messages and have probably think that any emails from GC.com are just spam trying to get them to upgrade their free account. Hence sending a note to them explaining “politely” how the game is played, and that you need to delete their log is like talking to a wall.

They’ve never seen Geocaching.com so all they do is log caches… The app does not allow you (or at least I couldn’t find it) to delete your past logs or even edit them.  A limitation with the app, or the device… but still annoying.  If you only cache with a smartphone and never go to the site, you may not know about how the game is played.  On your smartphone you can see how many you’ve found, you can see your souvenirs so you can show off your “badges” and your numbers, outside of that… does it really matter?

Now I started off caching with an eTrex Legend, moved to an eTrex H and finally an Oregon 550.  For the most part now I do cache with my iPhone and iPad, it is easier for me to log caches and keep things paperless.  I know I can save field notes and log later, but I have moved to keeping the process as quick and simple as possible.  Does this make me a bad person?  I’m a bad person for many other things outside of my caching habits.  It does allow me to understand the process that new cachers who only use their smartphone are going through, plus guessing at what information they may be missing.  So as a teacher I offer this bit of advice for new Cachers who exclusively use their smartphone to cache with:

1. Learn about different cache types and set your app to display the ones you want to find (probably only traditional caches at the beginning)

2. Read the cache description every once in a while (not just the hint)

3. Check your email for friendly notes from other cachers through Groundspeak- You hopefully didn’t use your spam email address when you set up your account, if you did see #4.

4. Go to Geocaching.com and look around, watch the intro video, set up your profile, change your email address to one you really use.

5. Go to an event and meet some other cachers.  They are nice and will talk to you for hours about the places they’ve been and the things they’ve seen.  You’ll learn first hand about the really great caches in the area- plus You’ll get a smiley for showing up.  Don’t feel bad about asking questions, we were all new to this at some point so we get it.

As members of the Geocaching community we need to understand that this is a new breed of cacher, and like dealing with a small child we need to show some patience.  While there are some wonderful groups on Facebook that could help out new cachers, I have found that sometimes people in these groups can be rather rude when hiding behind a keyboard and monitor, which is why I suggest to go to an event first.  Now all that said-Do I delete their logs? Yes. Do I send a note explaining why? Yes.  Do I suggest in my note that they attend an event and learn more? Most definitely.  Do I expect a response? No.

So did I miss anything?  If you are new to caching and have a question or two send us a message, or leave them in the comments.

Posted in beginners, blogpost, technology | 4 Comments

Have Challenges become the Poor Man’s Puzzle?

ook!  I have floated this comment out to a few groups (that don’t always yell at me) and decided to post this moderate rant here.  As I talk with the people in charge of the upkeep of IndianaGeocaching.com they comment about the proliferation of “challenges” throughout the state.  The list posted on this site keeps growing and has almost taken on a life of its own.  Some people even get grumpy if their just published challenge hasn’t been put on the list.  Listening to Bruce go on (and on) about this I started coming up with a strange thought.  Being a monkey strange thoughts come easy to me.  Have Challenges – not the old red cape ones, but the “get so many caches” type, become a way to avoid difficult puzzles and still get the “Unknown” icon?

I’m not saying a good challenge isn’t a bad thing, I’m not saying that we all shouldn’t strive to be better cachers.  I’m just saying that in my history challenges seemed to have multiplied like rabbits and I’m wondering why.

As of this article there are almost 200 Challenges around the state of Indiana.  The variety is interesting-

  • Find so many of a certain type – The Challenge of the Century series is a great example
  • Time based challenges – 366 day challenges, fill your Geocaching calendar
  • The traditional challenges like Counties, DeLorme, Jasmer (finding a cache placed each month since May 2000), Fizzy (filling in the D/T matrix), etc.
  • lots of other challenges calling for so many different things…

Many challenges make sense are “Logical” and really do push you to be a better more well-rounded cacher.  Others in my opinion don’t – and I say this after putting out a couple “Challenge of Decade” caches in which you only have to find 10 caches- they at least make sense.  In my not so humble opinion if you need to take more than 140 characters to explain the challenge maybe it isn’t a valid challenge.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s some way so you can boost your ego and make yourself feel clever (like many puzzle creator do).  Do people really need to spell out their best friend from high school’s middle name using the first letters of cache names to prove they are a good cacher?  No that isn’t a challenge, but I bet it will be soon.  Do you really need to take an entire page to explain the rules for your challenge?  

So this brings me back to my original thought are these just “puzzles” for people who have trouble solving or creating puzzles?  In the past I would say no,  Indy Magic Man created the first Challenge of the Century caches, and some of the most clever puzzles this monkey has tried (and failed) to wrap his head around.  But puzzles are hard, and one thing I have noticed is puzzles tend to be skipped over by some cachers because they are looking for the quick find.

Is it distance causing an issue, many of these new challenges are repeats of other challenges, just in a different location.  Almost a “I have 100 traditional caches but don’t want to drive all the way to Indy get that challenge cache, so I’ll just put my own challenge in the park by my house.”  Could it be as simple as laziness or blaming the high cost of fuel?  Should there be a limit to the number of challenge caches in a state with the same challenge?

To those people who have put out some great challenges causing cachers to go out of their way to visit old caches, state parks, every county, or even keep a streak going, I applaud your effort, and hope that you keep it up.  Those who have come up with simple yet, clever challenges that push you to do things like cache with other people or go to events in other states, what a great way to push people out of their comfort zone and make the Geocaching Community better.  But that one where you have to find caches in which the third letter in the cache name spells the scientific name for your favorite tree… not so much- that’s just plain silly (although not as silly as some & less than 140 characters to describe).

So why does it seem like there are so many challenges around the state?  If you have a answer help a monkey out.

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Charge up your GPSr: 31 new Souvenirs to be released in August!

If you haven’t already heard, Groundspeak will be releasing a new virtual souvenir for each day of the month of August! So, just go out and find a cache and get a shiny new souvenir – cool huh?

What, you don’t know what a souvenir is? Stop right now and go to your profile page (but be sure to come back) and click on the button marked souvenirs. It’s over in the upper right part of the page next to ‘statistics’. If you’ve found any caches at all you’ll have at least one. You get them for finding a cache in a state, attending certain geo events, or finding a cache on a special day. This year EVERY day in August will be a special day!

IN

Here is what a state souvenir looks like!

So, start making your plans on how you’ll find 31 caches throughout the month. Are there hides on the way to work that you haven’t found? A long hike you’ve been meaning to take? August might be just the time!

GWX

To help everyone get ready for their August streak, Fort Wayne cacher Lord Elwood has issued a challenge:

“I am challenging everyone who reads this to place a brand new cache between now (July 7) and July 31. I estimate that approximately 50 people will read this post which means that if everyone who reads this places a new cache, there will be 50 new caches in the area!!! This will definitely help those of us wanting to get all the souvenirs in August and helping others who are working on other streaks! So what do you say?”

This is a great idea! If everyone places just one cache between now and the end of the month there will be plenty of new caches for everyone to find during August. Thanks for the push Lord Elwood – I think I know where mine’s going to be placed!

Leap

As a little preview, Groundspeak is also releasing a souvenir this Saturday, July 13 for Geocaching Get Outdoors Day! So go out tomorrow and make a find (or 10)!

Posted in beginners, blogpost | 1 Comment

Cache Ownership Your Right and your Responsibility

I thought I would open up the discussion dealing with cache ownership. So many people start off geocaching and after finding one or two caches decide that they know the perfect spot and then try to place one, not understanding what it takes to be a cache owner.

Being a cache is more than skimming the requirements and being able to fill out an online form, it takes more time than many people think.

Coordinates:

Many cachers joke about certain hides and hiders saying that they drive down the road and mark a waypoint as they toss the cache out of the window.  While I hope this isn’t true, having good coords takes time and effort.  I started off putting my GPS at the location for the cache and then walking away letting it settle, then marking the waypoint. I would then walk away with the GPS in my hand and then come back to the spot repeating the process.  I’d end up doing this about 4 or 5 times comparing the coords each time.  I know there are fancy GPS units that will now do this automatically, but I’m old school.  I then have to remember that every GPS is different.  Doobies used to swear by the old yellow Garmin eTrex-H which had no bells and whistles but was scary accurate in the hands of someone who knew what they were doing.  SO having the correct coordinates is the first piece to having a great cache.

Container:

If you are looking for favorite points this is something that you need to seriously 3609970136_8961c60084consider.  Even a park and grab or lamp post can be made memorable if you have the right container.  For me, sometimes it doesn’t matter, other times it is really important.  The biggest part is making sure that whatever you choose the log stays dry.  I’m one of those folks who still can’t understand how water can get into a decon container, but I also can see that a new cacher might not know that they need to snap shut to be watertight.

Maintenance:

This is really what brought me to this post.  It seems like so many times cache owners place and then forget.  I fall into this category sometimes just because I can’t find the time to go out and replace a wet log.  This is what being a cache owner is all about.  When you place a cache that cache still needs some TLC.  I once had a cache on the campus of ISU in Terre Haute, I was teaching a group of people about caching and they thought it would be cool to place one, so we did.  I live two hours away and was the listed owner.  Every time something went wrong, I had to figure out when I would have time for a 4 hour trip to check on it.  I thought the once a year check up would work, but, caches don’t work on your timetable.  When you have absolutely no free time is when the Geotourbus stops and 100 people complain about the log being full, or wet.  When I had a note about bees inhabiting ground zero I decided that maybe it was time to archive it.  The stings I got as I removed the container were a badge of honor and a lesson well learned.  So decide as you find that perfect location can you get there in a timely manner or know someone nearby who could check on it for you.

Other cachers can mark a cache as “Needs Maintenance”  which is a nice way to say, go and check this out.  Some cachers overuse this power (remember: “With great power comes great responsibility” – Ben Parker) and will mark it for any minor issue.  I tend to put those minor things in the log or email the cache owner directly.

Many cachers take it upon themselves to help out the cache owner when it comes to maintenance and as a CO I must say I do appreciate it in most cases.  The logs that say replaced wet or full log bring a smile to my face.  It’s nice that many folks keep supplies in their cache bag to keep a cache going.  This can be taken to extremes, sometimes with positive and negative results.  I think every caching community has tales of cachers who replace “lost” containers when they can’t find them, only to have the next cacher post that they found two containers and weren’t sure which was the real cache.  The best rule when it comes to major cache maintenance like this is- don’t do it.  OK, OK, for every rule there is are exceptions-  If you found the cache container and it was in pieces, replace it and contact the cache owner.  If you are going to find a cache that you’ve already found with a friend and it isn’t where you know it was… this is a grey area.  After a good search of the spot I’d probably replace it and again, contact the cache owner.  While you may think you are helping out, replacing a lost container can cause a lot of confusion.  A DNF is not saying your too stupid to find the cache.  It s a message to the cache owner that something may be wrong.

Disabling a Cache:

When you don’t have time to get right out there and check, your obligation to your fellow cachers is to disable the cache.  I follow a couple simple rules in order for me to disable a cache- if someone reports there is something dangerous happening (like bees) or if I have multiple DNFs on the hide.  The DNF rule is flexible.  If the hide is a lamp post and the person who DNF’d it has less than 50 finds I’ll ignore it since they may never have seen this kind of hide before.  Someone with 1,000 finds can’t find it I disable the cache and when I have time go out and check on it.  When you disable a cache two things happen- first the cache vanishes from pocket queries so other cachers will stop looking for it.  Second it is added onto a list for the Reviewers to politely remind you about after a certain amount of time – in the past it was at least a month (more than enough time to fix it).

Archiving a Cache:

Sometimes it’s just time to pull a cache.  Maybe it’s because it has been repeatedly muggled, maybe it’s just time to add something new to the area.  While longevity of caches can be important- take MINGO as an example of keeping a cache going  and The Mission 9: Tunnel of Light as an example of the time had come…  I do appreciate that CYBret kept “Get A Life” active long enough for me to find it and even replace the container (which days later got muggled),  in most cases the owner has their reasons and they have two options, first to archive and second to let another cacher adopt the cache.  Adoptions tend to happen more when a cacher has moved out of the area or given up caching (Yes, it happens sometimes).  I adopted a cache that I was FTF on, only to have to archive it later when I couldn’t find an appropriate container to replace it.

Thoughts?

Use the comments below to add your thoughts about Cache Ownership-  When do you think someone should start considering hiding their first cache?  What about how long a cache owner should wait before checking on a DNF’d cache?  How often should a Cache Owner check on their caches?  I’d love to hear your thoughts because we all come at it with different experiences.

Posted in beginners, blogpost, geocaches | 1 Comment

A Numbers Run – A Tale of Terror

I may be overly dramatic but as ProfessorZoom, Cecil and I headed out yesterday to cache for the day we had set ourselves two goals – first to complete the Back Home Again series (if you have not seen this I really recommend you give it a try- a lot of hard work went into the putting this piece of Indiana Geoart together) and a second push goal of getting 100 caches in a day.  Yes, none of us had reached that milestone of 100 caches in a day.  Usually it was because we had started out too late, but yesterday we figured it was time.  We had started on the Back Home Again series last year over Thanksgiving, but had stopped after awhile leaving us with around 80 caches to go to finish the series and 20 more to hit 100.  A pretty doable goal, that we thought would be easily completed in time for dinner.  So packing up the old Roadster with snacks and drinks we were off.  That would change as the day wore on.

Back Home Again in India?

Back Home Again in India?

The first 80 caches were easy, time seemed to be on our side, especially with the long summer days helping us out.  We had avoided most of the storms and when we got caught in some torrential rain we stopped and hunkered down at an old abandoned mine for a snack break.  As we bounced around the gravel roads we ran into another pair of cachers “I Hunt For Fun” from Georgia as they were going clockwise to our anti-clockwise route.  Then as we closed on the Scott County cache it started to rain again, this time with thunder and lightning.  All I could think of was that scene from Caddyshack where the Bishop is having the best game of golf in his life through a monsoon, only to be struck by lightning after missing a putt.  At that point we decided to seek shelter (and another cache).  The storm grew and after one lightning strike knocked out cell reception we counted how many caches we had to go and abandoned plan one and tried to beat the storm home while accomplishing our stretch goal of 100 caches in a day.

Little Known Fact:  The Chamber of Commerce in Brazil, Indiana has a special signal for when out of town cachers arrive and, like the volunteer fire department, a group of people get into their minivans and take up position next to every lamp post, in every parking lot and start talking on their cell phones. 

After many failed attempts at stealth we headed closer to Indianapolis hoping that those final few caches could be easily found.  This lead to a triage approach to caching which was interesting and might be a staple in the Numbers Run crowd.  One person would get out of the car, run to Ground Zero and do a quick search.  After about a minute, the second person would come out to help.  After 5 minutes the code words “Burning Daylight” would be spoken and we would pile into the car to try the next cache.  Looking at our caching rate, the first 80 were quick, the next ten to fifteen were pretty slow and the last handful were painful.

When we got down to two caches left the sun was starting to set and our “done by dinner” was turning into a “done before midnight.”  We decided to head back to our side of town and, as we pulled off onto Pendleton Pike, we snatched a quick park and grab (which unlike so many other attempted park and grabs was actually a park and grab) leaving us one more to make sure everything worked out.  Then we hit another wall.  With ProfessorZoom having twice the number of finds as Cecil-  The pickings were slim in our area.  So we ended up making an attempt for one that we thought would be easy…  then we tried for another one we thought would be easy… Finally a third cache that we thought would be easy… noticing a pattern?  By now the sun had fully set, the flashlight I thought worked I realized needed new batteries, we were hungry, we were tired, and with 99 finds we were ready to call it a day.  I pulled out my phone and checked a nearby cache asking the good professor if she had found it.  Then I looked at the publication date, and told her she must have, its almost 3 years old and this area used to be on her way to work.  She pulled up her GPS and announced that no, she hadn’t.  Hallelujah! So there we were walking through a neighborhood in the middle of the night.  Finally, an easy find and our 100th cache, and off to a late celebration dinner before the pizza place closed for the night.

Should we really be out here?

Should we really be out here?

So what have I learned about this whole numbers run thing?  It isn’t for me.  It seemed like as we got closer to our goal our geo-sense didn’t work.  I know many people count a good day as some large number that I’m happy to reach over an entire vacation.  What I really missed was the quality.  We have started to cache for quality, not quantity.  We look for caches with loads of favorite points, in interesting places.  Number runs, for me, make caching a chore (gotta make the donuts).  If you go into the day with a mindset of “I am going to get a bazillion caches today” that’s great.  At the end of the day I like to ask “What was my favorite cache?”  In an infinite series of lamp posts it’s hard to pick one that stands out in your memory.  With 100 caches done, the happy thought I have is I never have to do it again.  What was my favorite? GC3XT1T was a nice little break from running numbers.

Any advice for people going out for a numbers run?  I know I would make sure to pack snacks, and drinks. Planning out your route is important, checking before you leave how many have been DNF’d recently.  This is where having a pocket query is helpful and using your phone, exclusively may not be so helpful.  Basically once we ended up deviating from the plan, was when it became a lot more stressful, although we kept a good attitude throughout the day (until the last two or three caches).  If you are caching with a group-  Make sure the goal is known.  The first time I tried to get 100 in a day-  I didn’t know that was the goal until after we had stopped for lunch!  Involving everyone in the plan is helpful.  Although with power trails and Geoart becoming more commonplace, 100 in a day might not be that big of a deal anymore.

Posted in blogpost, geocaches | 3 Comments

July 2013 Geocaching Events

Has anyone else noticed the number of kayak events this summer?  While putting together this list I kept noticing that having a kayak might be as important as having a GPS… almost.  As we hit the height of Summer events do tend to dwindle as more and more people just meet on the trail (or the stream).  It will all change once school is back in session and the weather turn a bit cooler- in August!

July 2

2 late 4 lunch round #54
by cookie monster | GC4EECB | Indianapolis

July 8

Happy 3rd Birthday SCIG.
by pumpkinpie13 | GC4D513 | Huron

July 13

CITO With a View
by astralmonkey | GC4CNNW | Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center

Note: Get a special souvenir today by finding at least one cache today!

July 15

July 2013 GIG Gaggle
by lakedawgs | GC4EYZW | Indianapolis

July 16

Ice Cream Social #10 by Proxy
by Chutch1035 | GC4F3PP | Greenfield

InKy goes fishing on the river! #4
by jessjoe04 | GC4FCJP | Jeffersonville

July 17

Raise Your Glass – Round One 
by Curious Kaz | GC4F07V | Fort Wayne

July 18

Texas Meets Indiana
by sharon133 | GC4DJE2 | Indianapolis

July 20

Let’s Paddle Eagle Creek!
by kimmer845 and bailey46236 | GC4EFRX | Indianapolis

July 23

2 late 4 lunch round #55
by geowinnies | GC4FCNG | Indianapolis

July 24

Goat’s Fourth Annual Paddle Event
by -goat- | GC4G3GW | Indianapolis

July 30

Ice Cream Social #11
by Chutch1035 | GC4FF69 | Greenwood

August 17

International Geocaching Day 2013
by Bloomington Geocachers/ForTheLoveOfSunrises | GC4EXT4 | Bloomington

September 6

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic Meet & Greet
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMFF | Versailles State Park

September 7

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMEH | Versailles State Park

May 24, 2014

Geowoodstock XII
by Geowoodstock Committee | GC4BGXM | St. Charles, Missouri

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June 2013 Geocaching Events

Hey!  Look!  It’s Summer!  Time to start wearing your white hiking boots!  While the number of events tend to die down since everyone is caching, or traveling, or caching while traveling, this is a great time to go forth and explore.  I tend to enjoy this time of year unless it’s too hot, too humid, or the spiders are covering the trails with their webs (ewwww… spiders).  One big recommendation I need to make is Lord Elwood’s GSAK events this month.  They are worth the travel time if you really want to learn more about Geocaching Swiss Army Knife.  If you are into numbers or at least get curious every once in a while about where you are on that challenge in which you need to find a cache placed on the birthdays of the top 10 cachers you cache with whose caching names start with the same letter as the third letter in your last name (no, this is not a real challenge… yet) GSAK is your solution.

I also have added the link to GeoWoodstock 12 because St. Charles, Missouri could be considered a day’s drive (at least I’ve done it in a day).

June 1

Monticello’s Second Annual Trivia Event
by Da ruda lova | GC4B1KY | Monticello

Pirates of Pine Grove
by The Pine Grove Pirates Association | GC4BKJV | Lake Monroe

June 4

2 Late 4 Lunch? #53
by Chutch1035 | GC4B5Q7 | Greenfield

June 8

CITO Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore 2013
by superstutz | GC47WMD | Indiana Dues National Lakeshore

Aloha Bloomington!
by Mickey4jes | GC4CPG2 | Bloomington

June 15

Spring Fling at Camp Woodsmoke III
by palestar | GC48WGZ | Clarksburg

June 18

InKy Turns Nine
by Deermark | GC4CAVM | Jeffersonville

June 22

GSAK 101: An Introduction to GSAK
by Lord Elwood | GC4BRW5 | Fort Wayne

GSAK 301: Updating Database & Custom Profiles
by Lord Elwood | GC4BRWY | Fort Wayne

Shelbyville Big Blue Paddle Event
by TheLawsonFamily & brcross95 | GC4DAAW | Shelbyville

June 24

The MCC: Summer on the Patio
by Yodaboyz | GC4D6A2 | North Salem

June GIG Dinner – Benvenuti Amici
by tallulahtulip | GC4E1E1 | Speedway

June 29

South Hogan Creek Paddle Event
by jaypit and Darksky1 | GC482CQ | Aurora

Broad Ripple Flash Mob-7
by -goat- | GC4E94A | Indianapolis

July 2

2 late 4 lunch round #54
by cookie monster | GC4EECB | Indianapolis

July 8

Happy 3rd Birthday SCIG.
by pumpkinpie13 | GC4D513 | Huron

July 13

CITO With a View
by astralmonkey | GC4CNNW | Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center

July 18

Texas Meets Indiana
by sharon133 | GC4DJE2 | Indianapolis

July 20

Let’s Paddle Eagle Creek!
by kimmer845 and bailey46236 | GC4EFRX | Indianapolis

August 10

Darksky1 “Surviving The White River Event”
by Darksky1 | GC4DF23 | Edwardsport

September 6

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic Meet & Greet
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMFF | Versailles State Park

September 7

2013 Indiana Fall Picnic
by Fall Picnic Planning Team | GC4AMEH | Versailles State Park

May 24, 2014

Geowoodstock XII
by Geowoodstock Committee | GC4BGXM | St. Charles, Missouri

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