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September 2014 Northern Zone:
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Upper Dells SNA

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February 27, 2014 09:21 PM CST


Written by Linda Hobbs, aka LostCheq

Author: NL_Admin. 178 Reads
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By Linda Hobbs, aka LostCheq


Every geocacher has their own approach to finding a cache.  After reaching my 2,000 cache milestone, I just thought I would share a few ways to “Get to Ground Zero” I use to help increase my success rate of finding the cache.

Before stepping foot on-the-ground, I spend time at to research the GC list and map of the area where the caches are located.  I note the location, the type, the D/T rating and favorite points, how old the cache is, and the last date it was found.  If I decide on the location, I’ll do a query to select those I have not found; ones enabled, and probably select at least 100 for a narrow search and over 500 for a larger search area.    I then open the query and map the location to narrow down the search for what I want to decide to seek.  I will use “print the screen” function, paste to a word document, crop the picture, and print out the map portion I want to take with me to the field.

After I select my caches, I would open those I wish to find, make a few notes on paper or in my mind, and spend time reading the latest logs and any hint.   I may print a few, but with my Oregon 450 most of the data is loaded to the GPS.  Now here is where my smartphone is a huge bonus if there is cell coverage while out in the field.  With the smartphone I can view ALL the logs, not just the last 5 loaded to the Oregon 450.  Here is where the planning phase is really used to solve those “Unknown Mystery Caches” before leaving home.  I’m sure there has been more than one Geocacher out there who just can’t find that “Unknown Cache” because it’s not at the posted location!   Yes, increasing success to GZ, does require some homework.

Tools of The Trade, (TOTT) certainly should include a vehicle GPS navigation unit if you cache alone.  Eyes on the road, not your handheld GPS, are just common sense.  The vehicle unit gets me close to GZ and the handheld GPS fine-tunes the search to GZ.  Other maps are valuable tools, for long distance travels, vacations, or searching in unfamiliar territory.  DeLoreme maps, county maps, trail maps, etc. can augment your printed copies and screen maps. 

With my GPS in hand, I am ready to step out of the car.  I wear a waist pack with at least these basic TOTT -- Gel ink Pen(s) more than one since I lose or misplace 1-2 per trip, a pencil, a small note book, spare batteries, compass, and a multi-tool.  Of course I have found I carry far more than this, but the rest of the pack contents will be enough for another article. 

One last hint, before leaving your car on an extensive search, take a waypoint of its location to help you navigate back.  I’ve lived up to my name just a few times, but when the light wanes winter caching, it can be a bit scary coming back in the dark and cold to try to find the car.  The panic factor makes for a hard lesson learned. 

Earth Caching at Miners Castle, Pictures Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, MI Sept. 2014


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Category: 2014 Spring Newsletter
Tags: How To Geocache
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