Good morning. You may have thought that I disappeared and abandoned my geocaching 366 endeavor with the dearth of posts over the past few days. No, I’m still here, and I’m still engaged in geocaching, but I just didn’t want to spam Twitter with my daily updates. I understand that the purpose of Twitter is probably to spam everyone 140 characters at a time. I’m just not sure that I’m ready to be that guy just yet. Maybe in a month. Maybe over the winter when I have nothing better to do. Stay tuned!
Well, since I last left you, I have had quite an adventure with geocaching.com and the first two caches that we hid. Approximately a day or two after attempting to publish the first hide, I received an email that it had been archived with the reason that the reviewer was unsure of hides in stone walls. I have seen many caches in New England that are hidden in stone walls. In fact, it is almost a cliche or staple of New England caches, so I thought it might be a nice tribute to all of those caches that I found. Nevertheless, the email mentioned that “novice” cachers might get a bit crazy and end up demolishing the wall in their zeal to find the cache. Immediately, I went into defensive mode. I’ve been a bit on edge as it is and I just despise situations like this. The cache listing was not the place to spout my personal beliefs on the guidelines set forth, but this most certainly is.
I hate it when people are asked to adjust based on the actions (or in this case, the supposition of actions) of a few. True, there has been evidence of stone walls being destroyed in the past by overzealous and perhaps “novice” cachers, it irritates me that the rest of us who are responsible and law abiding cachers have to change because a few people can’t get it through their thick skulls that they’re not supposed to adhere to the “forest code” of “Take only pictures. Leave only footprints.” Plus, the hide and seek aspect of caching means that you are supposed to be stealthy action where you leave no trace of your visit to the particular area.
Second, and I don’t know how prominent this is anymore, but there has been past evidence of so-called “anti-geocachers” who destroy the sites of geocaches in an attempt to discredit geocachers and geocaching. Who is to say that some of these individuals weren’t visiting the caches and tearing apart stone walls to make it look like geocachers had done the damage. This is all my conspiracy brain working, and from what I’ve seen of the “anti-geocaching” crowd, they’re not exactly the rational bargaining types, but I wonder if there isn’t a way that the two sides can negotiate so that everyone is happy.
Heck, maybe it is just “novice” cachers tearing the places apart. I can’t say definitively one way or the other because I wasn’t there and I didn’t take the time to research. Still, being an educator at heart who sincerely believes in the power of education, I feel that instead of demonizing an entire activity because of the actions of a few, perhaps we should try to take the time to educate the few who are “going rogue” to borrow a phrase. I can’t say that will work but, for me, that is a more reasonable first step than banning the activity altogether. Granted, I don’t know if that step hasn’t already been taken. That is the other reason that I didn’t want to jump to conclusions and put the reviewer at geocaching.com on blast. After all, the guy was just expressing his concerns and he does this voluntarily. I held it in and out it came here.
(Finally) An update on Geocaching 366
Instead of blasting the poor geocaching.com reviewer, I genuinely thanked him for expressing his concerns, moved the geocache on Tuesday, resubmitted it for review and it was finally published in the new location yesterday. Also, Liam and Aiden came with me to hide number 2, as you remember, and they also thought that a stone wall would be a good hide for their cache. However, I don’t want to contribute to the senseless destruction of stone walls, so I visited that cache yesterday and grabbed it to hide it somewhere else.
Wednesday, I decided to find a multi-cache to cross off one of the 50 non-traditional caches that I promised myself I would find over the next year. I was a little worried because the last log was a DNF and the last found log was over a year ago. I set out to find if it was still there. Being unfamiliar with the area and the sometimes novice at orienteering, I parked at what I thought was the trail head. It turned out to be a horse trail that led from one street to another and I actually could have parked 1/2 a mile closer to the cache. It was still a nice little trail to hike down (notice that I said down there) and I found the first part of the cache no problem. I was a little worried about my caching sense because I’ve been stumbling a little bit to find some of these latest caches. This time, though, my caching sense honed led me right to the first part and I was off to find the second part. My caching sense left me in the 10-15 minutes that it took me to hike to the second part, because I did a fair amount of stumbling and head scratching. I also startled a nice woman riding a horse, who “thought she heard something” as I came out from behind a tree looking like I had just taken a pee there. See what I say, geocaching is all about stealth. Actually, the looking like I took a pee thing was completely accidental, but it did provide a nice cover story. When the nice lady left, I stumbled for another 5-10 minutes before stumbling on the cache. Then, on the hike back up the horse trail that was such a nice hike down, I learned (or relearned) a valuable lesson. It is a bad idea to go hiking in flip flops. My hips and back still hurt from that trip.
That brings us to today and a possible trip into Boston. I remember once that I was going to try to find my 100th cache in Boston as a little celebration of the number, but it didn’t materialize. Instead, I found this neat little journal travel bug with stories and the like on the top of Hockanum Hill as my 100th cache. I’m not near any milestones this time, but maybe I’ll find something else that will make for a good story.
Consecutive Days: 9/366
Caches Found: 8/300
Caches Hidden: 1.5/16 (1 published)