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Geocaching Tips and Tricks

#1 User is offline   S/S 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:17 AM

Im still kind of new to geocaching. Ive found two a few years ago and then pretty much stopped. I looked for a few more but couldnt find any so i basically gave up. Today I restarted and tried looking for a few (4 actually, but I found none). My GPS (Garmin etrex Legend) was acting up on me and i was discouraged for not finding the first two I was looking for. I guess im basically just having trouble with micros, since a large portion of them are micros or really small I cant find any. I just doint have any ideas of where to start looking and was wondering if anyone could give me some beginners help just to get me started.

Thanks

#2 User is offline   Semper Questio 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:42 AM

First, learn your gizmo. Take the time to learn how to use it before heading out.

Next, stop looking for micros. Look for difficulty 1 regular or large caches. Micros of any difficulty can be VERY difficult for new seekers. Get a few regulars under your belt in increasing difficulty before looking for micros. (Remember. Difficulty relates to how hard it should be to FIND the cache. Terrain relates to how hard it should be to GET TO it.)

When you go out after micros, be sure to go after difficulty 1 micros and take the time to read the descriptions. At first, only go after those that tell you what you are looking for, such as a bison tube, 35mm film can, altoids tin, etc.

Get to an event or two and contact other cachers online in your area. Meet up with them and have them show yo a few tricks and techniques. Go on some hunts with other cachers and learn from them. There are LOTS of techniques when you get to GZ. Hear about them from your local cachers and find the one that works best for you. For instance, some say stop looking at your gizmo when it says your are 40' away and start thinking like a cacher and looking for the cache. Well, a new cacher doesn't know how to think like a cacher. I prefer to get as close to 0 proximity as I can get (usually 10-15'), check out the area in the immediate vicinity, then start working my way out from there.

First and foremost, stop working so hard. It's supposed to be fun! :ph34r:

Give that a shot (especially meeting local cachers) and see how you do. Don't gie up. Once you get some experience, you'll have a ball.

#3 User is offline   chrisbernier7 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 11:24 AM

One trick I use with my GPS while caching is I use the map to get close to the cache waypoint, and than I change navigational screens to get to the screen that shows your coordinates. I use that and walk around until I come to the exact coordinates listed for the cache. I also check the logs on a cache and look for any comments that mention the coordinates may be off and by how much, to give me an idea of a search radius. And than one big 'hint' I can give is to make sure you really read each cache, and constantly be of the mindset that every word written is a hint. Cache hiders can be VERY creative, and sitting at your computer you have no clue what you're reading may be a hint, until you get there and see the cache area. Good luck!

#4 User is offline   StarBrand 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 11:40 AM

View Postchrisbernier7, on Jun 27 2008, 01:24 PM, said:

One trick I use with my GPS while caching is I use the map to get close to the cache waypoint, and than I change navigational screens to get to the screen that shows your coordinates. I use that and walk around until I come to the exact coordinates listed for the cache.
...

The compass screen with the countdown gets you to that same spot. :ph34r: B)



For the OP - A few hints - micros tend to be magnetic or velcroed so look and "feel" in areas for that kind of hide. Next look for holes, crevices, slots, openings and look in those. Think vertical, not all caches are on the ground or at eye level. Look for things too new, too old, too perfect, different colored, too regular in outline, different from all the others, look for things just a bit out of place. Don't be afraid of tugging gently on things to see if they are what they seen to be. OR - skip micros and go for small and regular sized caches.

#5 User is offline   Moobeat 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:39 PM

Micros can be somewhat discouraging at first. Personally me and my friends would go in a group at first to find micros since it can be challenging before you know what exactly to look for or get used to your average "light post caches".

#6 User is offline   sirwolfwood 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:19 PM

View PostS/S, on Jun 27 2008, 10:17 AM, said:

Im still kind of new to geocaching. Ive found two a few years ago and then pretty much stopped. I looked for a few more but couldnt find any so i basically gave up. Today I restarted and tried looking for a few (4 actually, but I found none). My GPS (Garmin etrex Legend) was acting up on me and i was discouraged for not finding the first two I was looking for. I guess im basically just having trouble with micros, since a large portion of them are micros or really small I cant find any. I just doint have any ideas of where to start looking and was wondering if anyone could give me some beginners help just to get me started.

Thanks


yes micro's are frustrating, especially if you don't realize how small some micro's are. not to be gross but if you chopped off the end of your pinkey at the first knuckle some are that small, and usually magnetic.

try to find the regular and large until you get some under your belt.

have a great day caching, and don't give up.

sirwolfwood

#7 User is offline   whodewho 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 07:52 PM

View PostSemper Questio, on Jun 27 2008, 10:42 AM, said:

First, learn your gizmo. Take the time to learn how to use it before heading out.


That is where I am right now -- learning my gizmo. I too have an etrex legend. I have figured out dl maps and coordinates, but now what?? I am feeling really stupid. There is a cache within 1/2 of my house that I can probably find just simply from using the google maps and zooming in, but I want to use my legend. Where can I go / what can I read to learn how to do this?

Thanks

#8 User is offline   Rattlebars 

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 08:22 PM

Micro containers which are the same size as a tire stem cap...... I just hate these.... sometimes called NANO caches

Posted Image

#9 User is offline   gr8johnson 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:27 AM

I am a newbie too. I was getting discouraged also. I was using the basic yellow eTrex that I was borrowing from some one. Well I did find a few using it, but it was not working in really cloudy weather or under heavy tree cover. So I spent $84.00 and bought a new eTrex high sensitivity unit. That thing works great. It has put me within 5 ft of every cache I have hunted since. I know a lot of people will say that thousands of caches have been found with units that are not HS, but I would rather spend my time looking thoroughly in a smaller area than a large area. That is even more true when looking for micros. You need to be closer when the cache is smaller. I believe the Garmin Legend is not HS. That is not going to help find the smaller caches. Also, I would listen to the veteran Geocachers when they say look for bigger caches at first. Also look for ones with lower rated terrain too. Usually the higher ones are in the heavier wooded areas and that takes a bit more experience to find. Lastly each person has a way of searching that suits them. I have found mine and have been on a really good roll even finding micros. Take your time and seek bigger caches, and don't worry about finding 5 a day. You will figure it out and find your own rhythm. Good luck.

#10 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 05:37 AM

Quote

I use that and walk around until I come to the exact coordinates listed for the cache.


Now talk about a way to make things harder! I used that method for my first few finds, before I learned how to use the unit. I probably would have given the sport up quickly had I not learned a better way. The coordinates are constantly changing, even if you are standing still, and sometimes a move one way will not achieve the predicted results, so trying to match up coords can be a time consuming and frustrating task.

Just use the navigation screen. The arrow points to the cache and the display tells you how far away it is. It can't get much easier than that.

#11 User is offline   whodewho 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 08:04 AM

View Postgr8johnson, on Jun 28 2008, 04:27 AM, said:

I believe the Garmin Legend is not HS. That is not going to help find the smaller caches.

The Legend that I have is the Legend HCx. I think that that is going to work well -- once I figure it out. But again, any help is appreciated.

Thanks --

#12 User is offline   Miragee 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:46 AM

View Postgarrisonwa, on Jun 28 2008, 09:04 AM, said:

View Postgr8johnson, on Jun 28 2008, 04:27 AM, said:

I believe the Garmin Legend is not HS. That is not going to help find the smaller caches.

The Legend that I have is the Legend HCx. I think that that is going to work well -- once I figure it out. But again, any help is appreciated.

Thanks --

The Legend HCx is a great GPS unit and it will work well.

The first cache I ever found was an ammo can hidden in a pile of rocks. Those are the kinds of caches I think every new cacher should start out looking for. Sometimes you'll spot the hiding place from 30' away. Those easy finds are still my favorite kind of cache. :laughing:

If you look for Regular-size containers in a park or trail setting, you won't be bothered by muggles and you'll get to see how the GPS unit works and how close it gets you to the container. Anything within 30' is acceptable, although I have found caches at '0'. Those are great!

Someone else will have to give you tips on urban Micros. I avoid those.

#13 User is offline   chrisbernier7 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 02:16 PM

View Postbriansnat, on Jun 28 2008, 05:37 AM, said:

Quote

I use that and walk around until I come to the exact coordinates listed for the cache.



Just use the navigation screen. The arrow points to the cache and the display tells you how far away it is. It can't get much easier than that.


I would love to do that, and will when I can afford a better GPS. I have an old Magellan Meridian, I only get an arrow and an alarm within 100'.

#14 User is offline   wapahani 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 02:19 PM

If you can find a cacher that is local to you to help you along, this will aid in your success.
Even small hints for a beginner help greatly in finding a tricky cache.

Once you get comfy, try a micro.
Some aren't that hard to find!

#15 User is offline   Bumplett 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 05:14 PM

my first few were with someone that could "show me the ropes" - all larger size.

Now, I'm comfortable on my own, with my gps, and I actually like the suburban micros. (gasp)

#16 User is offline   briansnat 

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 06:03 PM

View Postchrisbernier7, on Jun 28 2008, 06:16 PM, said:

View Postbriansnat, on Jun 28 2008, 05:37 AM, said:

Quote

I use that and walk around until I come to the exact coordinates listed for the cache.



Just use the navigation screen. The arrow points to the cache and the display tells you how far away it is. It can't get much easier than that.


I would love to do that, and will when I can afford a better GPS. I have an old Magellan Meridian, I only get an arrow and an alarm within 100'.


You must have a stetting wrong on your Meridian.. My Meridian counts all the way to 0 feet if I get that close.

#17 User is offline   michigansnorkelers 

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 04:03 AM

First of all, don't make this harder than it should be!

As others have stated, start with LOW DIFFICULTY, REGULAR or LARGE caches, that are TRADITIONAL (ie not multi stage). From what I can see, there are several in BOWMAN LAKE STATE PARK.

Go to an area with more than one cache within walking distance.

Read the ENTIRE cache page. Pay attention to the title and the cache description. Look at the hint. Read through ALL the logs for additional clues.

The logs also give you an idea of the true difficulty.

And don't forget, the GPSr just gets you to the VICINITY of the cache. Imagine being led blindfolded into the woods, then told the cache is within 50 feet of you.

Look for obvious hiding places...where would YOU hide a cache here. The cache owner had some reason for placing the cache here. An unusual tree or other formation. A pile of fallen logs. Whatever. And, don't assume that it will be on the ground either! I've found ammo boxes 6 feet up a tree. I've seen PVC tubes tucked down long holes under tree trunks. Oh, and I've seen fake or hollow tree trunks numerous times.

So, good luck and keep trying. If you don't find it, hopefully you had a nice walk in the woods.

#18 User is offline   Y2KOTA 

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 09:06 AM

I agree with everything everybody already said. I'll add two things to it.

1, The harder you look, the harder it will be to find.

2, Bring a walking stick to help find the cache. It helps to scare away things that might bite!!

Oh, one more, Keep it fun.

#19 User is offline   NYPaddleCacher 

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 04:07 AM

View PostSemper Questio, on Jun 27 2008, 10:42 AM, said:

For instance, some say stop looking at your gizmo when it says your are 40' away and start thinking like a cacher and looking for the cache. Well, a new cacher doesn't know how to think like a cacher. I prefer to get as close to 0 proximity as I can get (usually 10-15'), check out the area in the immediate vicinity, then start working my way out from there.


I prefer the first approach rather than try to follow the GPS until I can get as close as possible to 0 proximity.

Remember, a GPS only will help you get to the location identified to a specific set of coordinates. You're not looking for a location, you're looking for a cache.

Take, for example, a cache I placed a few days ago. From a parking area along a seasonal road a trail goes off into the woods. Given that 20' accuracy is fairly common with a GPS, following the GPS to 0 proximity might take you to a spot 40' from the cache. If however, you start looking around when you get 78-80' from the cache you'll see a prominent natural feature that matches the name of the cache. Walk directly to that feature and you'll be within 10' of the cache, and if you're real observant might even see it from 20' away.

How so you go into search mode, rather than follow the GPS mode depends on lot on the environment. If there are lots of potential hiding places you may want to follow the GPS a little longer. You may, however, find that there are very obvious potential hiding places as get near and area and you might as well head directly toward them and search there first. If you've been good, and read the cache listing carefully, it may be obvious exactly where you should start your search rather than do the drunken bee dance until you're standing at a location 20-30' from where the cache is actually located.

#20 User is offline   otahapet 

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Posted 08 July 2008 - 09:01 AM

pokus

#21 User is offline   mustangcats 

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  Posted 11 July 2008 - 04:59 PM

Here's a trick you can try if you know the cache container is a magnetic nano, blinkie, etc. Try moving a compass slowly around the area where you think the cache may be hidden. The magnetic field of the nano will cause the compass needle to rapidly spin around! The compass has to be close to the cache for this to work...but it does work...so give it a try. Sometimes these caches are hidden so well that you just don't see them...but the compass will help "flush them out". :rolleyes:

#22 User is offline   Howlingmoon 

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 07:10 PM

Cool trick! I'll have to try that out. :rolleyes:

#23 User is offline   gallet 

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 07:30 PM

View PostStarBrand, on Jun 27 2008, 11:40 AM, said:


The compass screen with the countdown gets you to that same spot. :rolleyes: ;)



Sure, but using the coordinate method one can follow the lat and long separately. ie move east or west first, then adjust north and south. Of course not of this is necessary but for the excessively anal it can be fun.

#24 User is offline   GeoCacherKid 

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 10:35 PM

I say: Don't be the Geofinder, be the Geohider. Think like someone that's looking for a great place to hide geocaches. Use your gut and keep an eye out for anything suspicious (Spot void of grass, moss, or leaves. Sometimes small hole in ground) to see if it's been muggled. Search for large geocaches, on 1 or 2 difficulty (two stars are just as easy). Try multicaches after you've found somewhere inbetween 10-15 regular caches. It's an easier way to train your eyes.

That enough to get you started?

#25 User is offline   Chief301 

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 01:13 AM

View PostGeoCacherKid, on 31 August 2011 - 10:35 PM, said:

I say: Don't be the Geofinder, be the Geohider. Think like someone that's looking for a great place to hide geocaches. Use your gut and keep an eye out for anything suspicious (Spot void of grass, moss, or leaves. Sometimes small hole in ground) to see if it's been muggled. Search for large geocaches, on 1 or 2 difficulty (two stars are just as easy). Try multicaches after you've found somewhere inbetween 10-15 regular caches. It's an easier way to train your eyes.

That enough to get you started?



This thread is from 3 years ago...he's either figured it out by now or given up a LONG time ago :D

#26 User is offline   Wenin 

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:31 AM

New geocachers like myself find such threads useful, so resurrecting a good thread is not a bad thing.

#27 User is offline   z0mbieCache 

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:59 AM

i have an etrex venture HC and here's what i do... I am only 13 finds so far, so this will be newbie advice to another newbie.

I leave my unit on for at least 15 minutes while driving to the cache location with it sitting on the dash

When I get close to the location, i check the "Sattellites" screen to see what the estimated +- is, sometimes it varies from +-12 to +-35, this will give me an idea of the circle or radius of area to search

Now i navigate around until I get the lowest feet from the target that the arrow starts bouncing and making you walk in circles, once I find the arrown starting to bounce, I stop and put the GPS in my pocket

At this point i recall my "radius" or "Circle" distance and search within that area... that usually yields a find!

Don't give up... these may be military satellites we are using, but we don't have the military grade receivers! ( i hear those suckers are DEAD on!)

#28 User is offline   SirDonB 

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 06:05 PM

As a newbie myself, I have just plain gotten lucky on a few. The real trick is the common thing everyone has been saying this whole time... experiance!!!! and the only way to get some is to get out there and look. Dont get down with a few did not finds. move on to the next one, and try again another day. You will not find every single one you look for the first time out looking.

#29 User is offline   popokiiti 

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:00 PM

When you get to the area that is deemed to be the cache site by your GPS, use your eyes, and put the GPS in your pocket. Look for piles of sticks or stones that don't look natural, a cachers' trail, look high, low and in-between and think "where would I hide it?" That last piece of advice came from local cachers and has helped us a lot.
Read the description, even if it is long......then re-read it. Often there is a clue there.
Do bear in mind that our GPSs do differ, so the the hider's coordinates and what you see at the cache site may be different.
Log your DNFs and put those caches on your watchlist to see if other cachers also have difficulty. Soon after we'd done that on a nearby cache, we were contacted by a fellow cacher and teamed up to get the devil. It worked!

edit-typo

This post has been edited by popokiiti: 11 September 2011 - 06:01 PM


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