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Sun, Feb. 1st, 2009, 12:31 pm
ifeedformula: Our first geocaching experience

So, I had heard via the web how great geocaching is, how much fun it is, the thrill of the hunt, etc etc etc. My husband has a Garmin Nuvi which he uses for the car and I thought, "Oh WONDERFUL! We can use this to go Geocaching! It'll be a wonderful, fun, exciting family activity for the three of us!"
So yesterday, while my son is taking a nap having quiet time, I go to the website and punch in our zipcode which brings up a whole slew of caches. I, being totally new to this and a complete idiot, write down some of the pertinent info for the first one on the list, "Werewolf's Bane". I write down the coordinates, what we're looking for (a camoed pillbox on the ground) and I figure all we have to do is punch in the coordinates. I neglected, like the n00b I am, to write down anything else or to pay attention to the important details. MINOR details, but important none the less.
You know, TEENY little insignificant things like the difficulty/terrain rating. Or the fact that it's out in the middle of the woods.
So the Teeny Weeny Little Superguy (that's my almost-5 year old son) gets up from his nap quiet time, my hubby plugs the coordinates in and off we go.
Twenty minutes later, we are as close as we can get in the car. I should've known this was not going to be easy and/or fun the minute we passed a sign that said "County Road Maintenance Ends Here". That should've been my first red flag.
The second red flag SHOULD HAVE been the fact that we, like the brave idiots we are sometimes, did not ask the geocachers coming OUT of the area we were headed into for advice, directions etc. As we parked the car, we passed a motley crew (two youngish adults, one pregnant woman and two middle-aged parent-y types) getting back in their car. They asked if we were going geocaching and we said yes, it was our first attempt. They told us it wasn't the easiest one to find, got in their car and drove off. It was only AFTER we'd been wandering out in the howling wilderness for at least half an hour that we realized we should've asked them for help. By that point it was too late.
So my husband takes control of the Garmin and marches off. He heads off towards where he THINKS it might be, blindingly and trustingly following the Garmin's lead. He tells us to wait there, in the clearing, while he heads off into a brushier area.
And proceeds to get himself thoroughly lost.
Twenty minutes goes by and I don't hear him stomping around anymore, which begins to worry me so I start to yell. Five or ten minutes go by before I hear him yelling back. Hollering to each other, he eventually finds his way back to where we are.
By the time we get back to the car we are hot and muddy and somewhat out of sorts. This wasn't exactly what we thought Geocaching was going to be. We thought it would be..y'know..easy. And not so out in the woods.
Our mistake.
I found out AFTER we got back last night that the thing we were looking for was a teeny little pillbox the size of the keychain pillbox my husband carries to work each day. And it was camoed. On the ground. In the woods. So virtually impossible for a newcomer who doesn't know what the heck they are doing to find.

I feel very fortunate that NOTHING happened to us..we encountered no wild animals and didn't hurt ourselves too badly. But we made every n00bie mistake you could have possibly made. We didn't even carry our cellphone with us when we got out of the car so had we become REALLY lost we would've been up a creek.

My husband is seriously tempted not to try this again as it was less fun than either of us expected. Mostly because I am an idiot and failed to plan correctly. Also I think my expectations of how much fun it would be and how easy it would be were blown all out of whack. I've read stories of how people just randomly were walking along somewhere (usually in the woods) and ran smack into a cache hanging from a tree or bush. I thought it would be that easy and it wasn't, which was kind of a let down.

I want to try again though. I've found some city caches near where we live that should be easier to find (difficulty 1/1). I'm still going to use the Garmin Nuvi to find them as well. I don't want to spring for a handheld GPS that costs god only knows HOW much until I'm sure that I really do enjoy this. It's just too much to spend on something I use one or two times and then never use again, y'know?

(Xposted to my LJ)

Sun, Feb. 1st, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)

Don't give up.

First of all, you've learned the important things about preparation.

Another thing: You might use Google Maps to get a map you can print out and take that with you. Many urban 1/1 caches can be done with JUST Google Maps.

If you get the chance, it might be good to have an experienced geocacher take you along. That's how I got started.

Sun, Feb. 1st, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
ifeedformula: Geicaching is srs bzns.

I've tried looking at the Google Maps and getting directions from my house to the cache. I'm really afraid though that I'll go out there and tromp around for god only knows HOW long and not find what I'm looking for. :(

Mon, Feb. 2nd, 2009 05:44 am (UTC)
0ccam: Re: Geicaching is srs bzns.

A while back I read in the geocaching forums that some cacher with thousands of finds will spend only 7 minutes on a difficulty one cache. If she doesn't find it within that amount of time, she lets it go and goes on to the next hunt.

So I tend to use this rule as well. 7 minutes for a difficulty 1; I allow 15 minutes for a 1.5.

Mon, Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
ifeedformula: Re: Geocaching is srs bzns.

I'm also afraid of looking silly. What if I'm rooting around in the dirt and somebody starts laughing at me? O.O

Mon, Feb. 2nd, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)
0ccam: Re: Geocaching is srs bzns.

You're supposed to be discreet. Discreet is different if there might be a single person that could see. On the other hand, if there's a crowd, especially in a high traffic area, discreet means something else.

So no one will laugh at you in low traffic areas because they won't see you doing anything laughable.

And in high traffic areas, if you DO hear laughing, it's probably not at anything you're doing.

Tue, Feb. 3rd, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
ifeedformula: FOUND ONE!

On the list of caches near my house, there was one that was actually at the public library. I found it within like 5 seconds. :)

There's another one near my son's school which I might check out tomorrow after I drop him off.

Tue, Feb. 3rd, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
0ccam: Re: FOUND ONE!

Way to go!!!