Forum: Just Getting Started In Geocaching
Topic: Getting started, What was moste needed?
started by: Quinn

Posted by Quinn on Mar. 11 2002,9:20 pm
With the sport growing as fast as it is and many new people joining at a daily basis, I wanted to find out from each of you cachers that have been doing the sport for a while just what it is that you think would have helped you the most as far as Geocaching information goes if you were just now getting started.

In other words if you could go back to your first cache hunt all over, what is it that you think you could have used back then or what is it that you might have done differently?

i think these idea's and or opinions may help those just getting started.
Posted by mikechim on Mar. 11 2002,9:37 pm
Bug Spray without a doubt bug spray, my first find was in July at a state game lands here in PA.  Basically it was a glorified swamp, me and my brother went and after running through tall grass to what we thought looked like the right tree I decided to check the GPS  :withstupid and realized we were still 500 ft off or so.  Anyway we found the cache but must have gotten bit 20 or so times in the 3 minutes we were there signing the log book and trading items, it would have been a much better experience with bugspray.

That being said overall, I'd say directions to the area, a road map if your caching away from home, batteries, and water.
Posted by Morseman on Mar. 12 2002,3:05 am
Quote (Quinn @ Mar. 12 2002,04:20 am)
With the sport growing as fast as it is and many new people joining at a daily basis, I wanted to find out from each of you cachers that have been doing the sport for a while just what it is that you think would have helped you the most as far as Geocaching information goes if you were just now getting started.

I'd say that I'd have liked to have known that GPS receivers are not as accurate as some of the hype suggests.  You can only follow the arrow up to a point, and then it's often a good idea to be able to follow a bearing on a 'normal' compass.

That, and the need to be able to hunt around for the cache in various hiding places.

Oh, and then again the cache may have been removed by non-geocachers as well.
Posted by Gimpy on Mar. 12 2002,3:42 am
Maps,maps,maps. On my first hunt, going after one of Quinns' caches, I had no idea what a topo map even was. If I had, I probably would not have parked a mile away & on the wrong side of the pond. ???  The bride will never let me forget that one. We bushwacked thru 3/4 of a mile of snow covered hills to come out on a road right near the cache area. We then slid down a snow coverd embankment to the edge of the pond. We traversed along the side of the pond until the gps had us within about .2 mi. You guessed it. The pond was about .15 mi. wide. Had to double back & head down the other side of the pond. She was not impressed. :0o
Posted by DxChallenged on Mar. 12 2002,6:06 am
I gues I would say a couple of things...

1. Take a look at your surroundings. Make a mental note of land marks.  If you have an option on your GPS to leave a cookie trail do so....Our first cache was back in the woods where Mike grew up and we spent a few dates  ;)  but even so we ended up in a area that he hadn't been in. The hike in was over 45 minutes and we made it back ok..But the next family went out too late, got lost, got stuck in the dark, batteries died and they had to call 911 on cell phone to get out....BTW that park is now closed as the park system doesn't have enough funds to man it.

2. Be aware as others have said, that the GPS isn't 100% accurate.  Really I think that that makes it all the more fun.  When you're close to the cache scan the area, know what size/color box you are looking for and scope it out.  The more in the group the better as each person has a different vantage point.

3. Start off "taking time to smell the roses".  I must admit that when we first got into the sport I wanted to hit as many caches as I could.  I pushed the family to do 5 caches in Letchworth and in the process missed some most amazing scenery.  When you get into this sport you WILL see areas that you would have been otherwise exposed to.  That's the part I crave now......We spent 3k to go to Disney a few years back.  Pushed to try to get the most out of our money....Now I can honestly say that the family gets more out of this sport than we ever did on commercial destinations.

4. Proper footgear.  Seems we are always replacing hiking boots for the kids.  But it is well worth it.  You never know what to expect from the terrain so it is better to be prepared. Best bet hiking boots that are waterproof.

Ok ....sorry so long but I'm a morning person  :grinnin
Dx
Posted by barrington on Mar. 12 2002,9:16 am
First, get an idea of what you're getting into.  If the cache description doesn't spell out terrain and distance, check a topo map and decide if the hike is within your comfort zone.  I've turned back a few times when it became apparent that I was only half way up a 45 degree slope with a quarter mile to go to the cache; I'm not in bad shape for an old fogey, but I ain't stupid! :p

Spend some time learning the basics of how to use your GPSR before heading out the first time.  I did a couple of hunts that were much more difficult than necessary before I learned the Mag 315 could be set to three decimal places instead of the default two places.  Also, take a compass; the GPSR will give you a bearing to the cache, but if you're stopped or not moving in a straight line the compass is a lot more accurate in telling you which way to go.  And it doesn't need batteries.

If the hunt is more than just a walk in the park, take a friend, or at least communications (cellphone or radio).  And remember to set a waypoint where you parked.

And, of course, the same stuff you'd take on any hike, plus spare batteries.  And don't forget the trinkets to swap!
Posted by YardBoy on Mar. 12 2002,12:19 pm
Openness in reporting/advertising was needed when I started last April.

A forum discussion on WheresGeorge.com got me interested, a websearch led me to this website, where I hooked up with Advanced GPS for my unit.  None of the above told me what would have made  < Creek's Edge Cache > a lot less frustrating:
1. most GPSrs don't work unless you keep moving at a good pace.  If you're stumbling on a steep slope with tough Springtime footing, you might get difficult readings
2. less expensive units work pretty poorly under tree cover

I also remember being pretty thirsty.  I learned to bring water, but several caches should have been refrigerated with Becks  :oo:
Posted by Rob on Mar. 12 2002,2:55 pm
Know what Poison Oak looks like. Of course poisonous plants vary with location but here, Southern Cal, it’s Poison Oak. It’s everywhere, gets on your boots, moves to your hands then gets on your face, then you spread it to your wife & kids. I’ve had infections that have lasted well over a month.  Even when the dog runs through the stuff it can be spread to you off his fur. I've seen poison oak on just about every cache hunt I've done.
I’ll see if I can find a website that shows a picture. Come to think of it, there’s a link on this website.  < www.navicache.com/links.html >
Posted by Quinn on Mar. 12 2002,4:02 pm
I don't always know what the poison plants look like so I have developed my own way of testing...
I go caching with my mother-in-law and if I suspect that the plant life the cache is hidden in could be either poison Ivy or Sumac I just shove her in it, then if she comes out scratching and breaking out in hives I know better than to go in there.  ;)

But yes...there is a link in our links section which offers some great pictures as well as advice on things to avoid, you can also buy some sort of cream there to help with the itching as well as it protects and could prevent the infection in the first place.
Posted by mikechim on Mar. 12 2002,6:04 pm
stashed somewhere in my truck is a poison ivy cleansing treatment, I've had to use it a couple times on my travels.
Posted by DxChallenged on Mar. 12 2002,7:35 pm
We have one of those bee allergy shot things in our backpack.  Fearless is allergic to bees........So if anyone in your party has the same allergy this would be a good thing....Although I do like Quinn's litmus test for itchy plant testing  LOL :rotflmao

Dx
Posted by PC Medic on Mar. 12 2002,8:30 pm
Quote (Quinn @ Mar. 12 2002,6:02 pm)
But yes...there is a link in our links section which offers some great pictures as well as advice on things to avoid

You can also get to some Poison Ivy info on the FAQ page.
Posted by 300mag on Mar. 17 2002,8:14 pm
The thing I remember most on my first cache is walking over lots of mountains in above knee high snow. Also being very thirsty and pretty tired. So lucky for me the cache had a energie bar but Something cold would have been great. Now I always bring food and drinks. I also try to stay on the trails.
Posted by Blackwatch Clan on Mar. 20 2002,7:33 am
:) First time out I was lucky to have Roadkill teaching me to use the GPS.  After getting lost after the find once,  I realized the importance of a walkie talkie unit to tell Coyote back at the main path to yell so I could hear which way to go to get out of the woods.  Then good old Roadkill cued me in on the simple procedure of setting the car's location in on the GPS.  Coyote says using a compass helps a lot but I haven't mastered that yet.  Getting lost in a large wooded area is very frightening to me, especially now that they are trying to introduce more bears into the area.  Now I worry, what if I meet a bear?  Gamma Kitt   :0
Posted by Rocky on Mar. 20 2002,8:06 pm
I think slowing down as you get near the cache is the thing I do now that helps the most.  It allows your GPSR to catch up with your actual location, and gives you the chance to take in more of the area and cache hiding spots.
Posted by Choberiba on Mar. 21 2002,1:33 pm
So many head nods - so little time.
Poison oak, bushwhacking, bugs, water, patch antennas, accuracy expectations, trinket purcheses, trail maps, and a bulk purchase of ammo boxes.

Mostly though, I'd love to have known about the hobby a year earlier. I've only been active for about six months.
Posted by Firemedic on April 06 2002,6:42 am
Quote
Mostly though, I'd love to have known about the hobby a year earlier. I've only been active for about six months.


I wouldn't have been ready.  I was still in extreme couch potato syndrome. In the last 8 weeks I have started excercising, eating less and have lost 12.5 pounds.  (please don't send me the coodinates to where I lost it, I don't want it back!) :rotflmao
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