Category Archives: CSG Blog

Were event cache guidelines ignored?

Groundspeak recently published event cache GC27P27 – Going Ape This event is one of the many front end events leading up to Geowoodstock VIII. What caught my eye, was this event cache was to ‘Take a scenic hike to the last remaining Project APE cache in the United States – Mission 9: Tunnel of Light (GC1169)’

The ‘Project APE’ cache is the last remaining one in North America. These caches were used in promotion of the 2001 remake of ‘Planet of the Apes’  The caches also originally contained props from the film.

Almost immediately, more then a few ‘danger, danger, Will Robinson’s’ went off in my head.  I headed for the guidelines for placement of event caches and found the following.

Event caches are gatherings that are open to all geocachers and which are organized by geocachers. While a music concert, a garage sale, an organized sporting event, a ham radio field day or a town’s fireworks display might be of interest to a large percentage of geocachers, such events are not suitable for submission as event caches because the organizers and the primary attendees are not geocachers. In addition, an event cache should not be set up for the sole purpose of drawing together cachers for an organized hunt of another cache or caches. Such group hunts are best organized using the forums or an email distribution list.

So the next question, is why and how this is approved, when the guidelines clearly state this cache should not have been approved from the start?  I understand the ‘special nature’ of this event, as they are trying to mitigate environmental concerns and it is around a mega event.  But in my mind, this event clearly breaks those guidelines.

What are your thoughts.  Are the guidelines not enforced consistently?

Lessons Learned

My writing focus has been toward My gig at Examiner.com This post does not fit within the guidelines, of an Examiner article, so I finally get to update the blog.

Having good weather on  January day is a rare occurrence in Colorado.  Karen and I had discussed making a cache run into northeastern Colorado for the purpose of completing map squared for the state Delorme challenge.

I was able to quickly run a pocket query for the route heading up I-76.  We even had a few caches in nearby Nebraska.  A contingency if time allowed us to ‘color’ in another state on the US map.

I loaded Karen’s GPS first. A Garmin GPSmap 60cx with the query results via Geocaching Swiss Army Knife, and also updated her GPS with the weekly local caches in out area.

I repeated the exact procedure with my new Garmin Oregon 300. I was looking forward to work the GPS through its paces. A few minutes later, we were off.

As we entered the area of where are first caches should be, Karen said, “There is one at the next exit” , my GPS showed nothing.  Karen guided me to the first cache, but still did not show up on my GPS.  Since we were relying on  the Oregon for the cache descriptions, we thought we were dead in the water for this trip.

However, having a smartphone saved the day. I was able to use the browser to access geocaching.com and get the first cache description.  Success followed soon after.

We were able to complete the map segments in a few hours.  We also had time to make a quick run into Big Springs, NE. Where we found our first Nebraska cache at a truck stop just off I-80.  After that, we began out return back to Denver.  We only found a total of 12 caches on 12 attempts.  It wasn’t the quantity, but the adventure into a part of Colorado we had never visited.  I would like to return to the cities of Fort Morgan, Sterling, and Julesburg to explore their Colorado History.  We met two very nice gentlemen that were operating the welcome center in Julesburg.  We introduced them to geocaching, and told us about the 10K volkswalk that starts and ends at the center.

Lessons learned
Redundancy is a good thing:  Having a second GPS loaded with our caches to hunt saved this trip and make it for a fun day for us.

Learn how your GPS works BEFORE you go: I figured out since I was loading two different files of GPS points, I need to give them two different names. I had overwritten the NE Colorado caches with the local caches.

Have fun:  Our goal was not to kill ourselves logging a large quantity of caches, leave some to return and explore the area in depth at a later date.

Caching with Trash or Treasure

The truly neat thing about Geocaching is that after the initial investment for the GPS there is not a lot more you need to purchase. But you can.
Part of the fun in Geocaching is placing caches out for others to find. That is one of the big reasons I like to share my hobby with others. I want them to place caches too. There are some rules and guidelines on placing caches. Geocaching.com has a nice section on it and you local reviewer will point out any problems that he is aware of when you post your cache placement.
What is a cache? I mean physically what is it? What am I looking for? These are common questions from someone new to the sport. The simple answer is that it is anything that can contain a logbook as that is the only requirement for the cache itself. The idea is to have a container that blends in with the environment well so that you would be unlikely to spot it unless you are looking for it. Some folks take this very much to heart and the term ‘hidden in plain sight’ becomes the bane of my existence at times.
Common urban and suburban caches containers are fairly small. Often you find a well camouflaged Altoids tin or 35mm film canister as a container. I have seen drilled out pieces of wood and pinecones used as well. Local hardware stores provide a treasure trove of container ideas. Spare key holders are popular. They might be a small magnetic metal box with a slide lid or something like a rock that is often used for a house key hidden in landscape. Good selections of heavy duty plastic boxes are often available and paint or colored duct tape for camouflage. Be sure to check out the aisle with magnets. These attached to your container gives countless hiding possibilities.
The Army Navy Store sells Ammunition boxes. These are virtually indestructible, watertight and already painted a dark green. These boxes are great in some of the more naturally landscapes parks under fallen stumps. An assortment of other camouflaged boxes are available too as you scan the aisles.
The grocery store can be a place for your imagination to go wild. There is the section with plastic boxes. Spend a little more and get ones that will stand up to the weather. Sometimes the boxes can be free because they contain your favorite foods and a cache container is better than the trash bin for the container. Peanut butter jars, plastic cocoa mix boxes and seasonally there are nut, cookie and candy tins ready for you to use. Sometimes there are large lidded buckets for the asking at the bakery department (frosting comes in them.) Some plastic juice bottles and frosting tubs are possible containers. My check on these common containers is the dishwasher test. You need to make sure that the container and lid are really clean so that bugs and critters dints get into your cache. The containers need to be sturdy. I figure if you can put them in the dishwasher and if they come out still able to seal tight and in the original shape, they are worth a try as a cache container.
The favorite hobbies of your friends and families will lead you to find other unique containers. There are mail order places for geocachers to find great containers and I will talk about them in a future post. Remember that occasionally a container must be replaced so be sure to have several alternatives on hand.

Garmin mandatory software updates

Do you own a Garmin nüvi 75 series, nüvi 800 series, nüvi 85 series, zūmo 660, GPSMAP 620 or GPSMAP 640? If so, you are entitled to a free firmware update to ‘correct a software issue that has been discovered to cause select GPS devices to repeatedly attempt to update GPS firmware, and then either shut down or no longer acquire GPS satellite signals.’

If you own a nuvi 75 series GPSr, and the device will not turn on, you are eligible for a free exchange.

More information available here.

On any other day…


On any other day, this cache would have been ignored by those who do not know of geocaching. . But because it is April 20th, the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, suspicious looking packages get more then a second look.

On the right is a picture of the cache called “A Knight’s View. (GC1240D) This cache was place with permission of The Boulder County School district on school property. The cache owner is a instructor at Fairview High School. Normally, caches placed near public school grounds would not be approved by the local reviewer, but approval was granted for this particular cache based on the circumstances above. The cache had been at its location for two years without incident.

According to a online article in the Boulder Daily Camera, it seems to me that a lack of communication among all parties, from the cache hunter to the school officials to the cache hider, were the main contributor to the events of the day.

In geocaching, communication with those who do not play the game is critical in insuring safety for all. Because we as cachers feel a need to be elusive when ‘muggles‘ are around, we can cause suspicion as to our intent. We can jeopardize the game by not being honest with others.

Link to the Boulder Daily Camera article is here.

When it rains, it pours.

No this isn’t a post about the very late season winter weather we are having in Denver. This post is about the joys of PC ownership, and the lost weekend of restoring my computer.

This computer is the workhorse of the Centennial State Geocaching Podcast. All recording and editing happens on this machine. So any downtime is not good for our product.

The symptoms appeared almost all at once a few weeks ago. I lost the SD card reader, fingerprint reader, webcam and touch screen. After a few e-mail exchanges with HP customer support. It was determined that a restore to ‘the original factory settings’ was necessary to determine if there was a hardware failure.

I scheduled this past Saturday to perform this task. We were expecting a blizzard over the weekend, so this was a good indoor activity. The restore was going to erase all I had on the computer, so I performed a inventory of the software on the computer, insured that I still had access to the programs, and backed-up the documents folder to our home server.

Late in the morning, after a quick prayer, I executed the complete restore option. In short order, I had a ‘brand new computer’ with all the missing functions successfully restored. I spent the remaining day copying back the saved documents and installing most of the software. I shut down the computer that evening, feeling confident that all was well.

That was until Sunday afternoon. Upon bootup, the built-in wireless connection failed. After spending most of Sunday in correspondence with HP support (via a wired connection) we got nowhere. The driver to run the build in wireless would not install. I shut it down, defeated.

This morning, I stopped in the the Office Depot near the office and purchased a USB wireless adaptor. (Consider it mental health insurance.) Was on sale for $40 US. I just finished installing and now have wireless again.

I’m waiting to see if I get any further reply for HP. I expect to have them say I need to restore to original factory settings. If that happens, A executive carpet bomb will be happening.

There, I feel better…