There are often a lot of disconnected thoughts about geocaching running around my head at any one time and whilst no one of them really warrants a blog entry of their own, I thought that a collective “geocaching brain dump” might be called for. Just for the record… geocaching thoughts are not the only thoughts that run round my head… honest.
Our current find count stands at 319. I am extremely proud of this seeing as we only started caching back at the beginning of June this year. But how do I think this will continue? Well I reckon the colder months will see the find count slow somewhat but I predict that by the time we get to our one year anniversary in June 2014 we could be in the 5-600 mark. Just for the hell of it I predict a 555 find count. Now of course it is not all about the numbers, but then it is a bit about the numbers. I like numbers and statistics and I am not ashamed to admit that I want to amass lots of geocache finds and fill the matrix grids and all that stuff. I do, however, want the journey there to be enjoyable and memorable.
With the weather getting colder it has to be said that the geocaching days out do bring a whole new set of challenges. You have to be able to stay warm and dry otherwise the whole thing could turn into a misery and what is the point of that? Having scarves and gloves and hats and good boots are a must and a flask or two of hot chocolate or coffee really boosts the spirits when they start to flag. I can see us doing less full on caching trail days out and more smaller forays to pick up unconnected caches allowing us to pop back to the car more often to warm up. The winter will give us a good opportunity to collect some of the 75 puzzle caches that I have solved.
The puzzle caches are very enjoyable although sometimes they drive me mad. The last one I was working on was a Nonogram which is kind of like a Sudoku but different. It took me the best part of three days to solve it but I enjoyed it immensely. The reason I enjoyed it so much is that I solved it! If I hadn’t then I probably would have hated it… go figure. I would write something more comprehensive about puzzles and give tips to help solve them but this has been done many many times already and I would just be churning up the same old stuff. It is fair to say that the puzzle caches really add another dimension to geocaching for me. If it wasn’t for them then the experience would be the poorer for sure. Whilst I love the caching itself the puzzle solving allows me to feel in charge of the situation and as if I have contributed the lion’s share to the experience… a feeling that I generally cannot get when doing traditional caches due to my blindness. Don’t get me wrong, I would be happy to cache for just trads and multis etc. all the time but the puzzles, for me, elevate the whole thing to a higher level of enjoyment.
Our Street Name Scramble hides
We have four caches out there now and, whilst at the beginning I was a little disheartened at the slow interest in them other than the FTF’s, I am becoming more comfortable with them as a concept and where they lay in the whole scheme of things. I think that since we have increased the number to four this is of more interest than just an isolated cache would be. I also hope that when we place the 5th cache and the bonus, a complete series should attract even more interest. We hope to place the last two caches in the next week or so. The hide and clues are sorted for number 5 and have an idea for the location of the bonus which we hope to scout out tomorrow. Aside from minor glitches and errors I am very happy with the caches and have a renewed faith in them as being interesting and decent sized urban caches. On the whole being a cache owner is very exciting and I do recommend it to anyone as long as you are not of a nervous disposition that is. I say that because you sure do experience a whole range of emotions of varying intensities throughout the process of submitting and managing a cache. From frustration, paranoia and self-doubt all the way to joy and elation you get the lot!
I am so proud of Shar for designing our FTF badges, they are so cool and have been remarked upon by a number of people who have seen them or been lucky enough to grab one whilst FTF’ing one of our caches. I am now thinking about what FTF prizes to put in our bonus cache. There will be the badge of course but want to put something else in there too. Some people have put scratch cards which I think is a good idea. If you have any suggestions or want to share any of the cool FTF prizes you have found then please comment.
Our Next Hides
I really want to move on and place a series in a more picturesque location and we have somewhere in mind not too far away from us. The challenges of placing urban caches are quite tricky at times and I want to experience the other side of the fence and hope that placing caches along footpaths and through wooded areas are easier and more straightforward, although I expect they have their own challenges to overcome too.
We have only been to two events so far, a local Beds, Bucks and Herts one and the Halloween Mega and I enjoyed both of them. I would like to go to more but it is often so difficult to work them in around or along with family life. I want events that are aimed towards family so the traditional evening in a pub is not always going to work. Having said that I like the evening in the pub events and wish we could attend more… lol. One problem seems to be that the majority of the events around us are either in London or a bit further north towards the borders of Beds and bucks. It would be great to find some events local to Watford or the surrounding areas. There is an event in a couple of weeks in North West London which we are thinking of going to. I grew up in NW London and feel a bit of a draw because of this. I also recognize a lot of the caching names of the prospective attendees from cache logs that I have read and think it would be great to put some voices to names.
We have two Travel Bugs live now. The first is attached to my cane and goes everywhere with me. And so far it has racked up 188 miles! Our second TB, The rugby ball that wants to go to New Zealand and back in time for the World cup, has finally been collected from the British Library Cache. Actually it was picked up the day after we dropped it off but only just now been logged. It was taken to an event in North Hants and was then picked up there by someone else. Good to see that it is on its way. I love the idea of TBs it is just such a shame that so many of them seem to go missing. Let’s hope ours don’t.
I love, love, love doing the blog. As we cache I am always thinking of what will be of interest for the blog and what pictures to take. It is a fantastic way to record what our family does and I so look forward to revisiting it in the future and remembering all the good times that we are having. I really appreciate all those who follow me and comment on posts it is fantastically encouraging. I have had a staggering 1700 reads on entries in my blog in the 5 months since I have been doing it which is overwhelmingly cool. Thank you to everyone who reads and please feel free to contact me, or comment any time on anything in the blog or just if you want to ask me anything at all.
My Geocaching Philosophy
Have fun and don’t be afraid to push your boundaries a little at times. Mix it up in terms of types of caches you do, places you travel too and know when to give up… there is always another day and another chance. Make your caching experiences interesting and enjoyable for what they are and don’t try to cram in caching where it just won’t fit because it just won’t be fun. Most importantly take a little while to remember the moment as you sign the log. Take in the sights, sounds and smells… remember it, file it away, don’t be a georobot…. Oh and one last thing… don’t pay too much attention to what I say, everyone caches in their own way and gets different rewards from the experience. On top of that I do tend to waffle a bit sometimes and am in real danger of contradicting myself at the drop of a hat.
Wow my head feels a lot lighter after all that…