You would think that there is only one way to geocache but that is not the case. Even just within our little family I can think of at least 4 distinctly different ways in which we choose to pursue our hobby and each of us has our favourite.
When we go out as a family I have to be careful to choose caches that are not too far apart and offer some interesting possibilities for swaps to keep Sam happy. In those situations it is also important not to plan to do too many, about 10-15 is about Sam’s limit before he turns into whinging kid.
Then there are other times when we go out and we plan only to do one or two, or in the case of our recent exploits chasing Your Mission, part of one. These trips must be in interesting surroundings, include specific challenges like a tree climb or getting wet, or be accompanied by an engaging narrative to keep people interested. Even then I know that I can only stretch this type of smily-less action so far before he, and for that matter Shar, get bored.
Shar on the other hand loves the numbers and likes nothing better than a nice straight forward series of anywhere up to 20 or so caches that are nice and close together and can be generally found within a minute or so when at GZ. She couldn’t care less about TravelBugs or swaps but just loves the thrill of the find and adding another smiley to the pile. She is not a fan of multi caches, especially long involved ones, as these offer only 1 smiley for a lot of work.
If I ever go out on my own, which I have only done a couple of times in the last year then I have to plan to the max just to enable me to stand a chance of finding one. Having only about 15-20% of the vision of a fully sighted person I can realistically only travel to and find nearby urban caches and even then this is a serious challenge and I need to make use of quite a lot of technology and lateral thinking to locate and log the find. When out with the family my favourite surroundings are in the woods, preferably miles from anywhere. I like to stop and listen and hear nothing but nature. The absence of any sort of road noise is a real bonus for me.
Over the last year we have learnt a lot about how to geocache in such a way to keep everyone happy. What to take in the bag – lots of water and some sweets to boost flagging energy levels, what type of surroundings we prefer – some shade and shelter from the weather is good and not too many hills, and realistically what the expectation level should be on any given day. The best chance to keep us all happy is a trail of around 15 caches set in woodland that has reasonably well defined paths and ideally not too many hills. The caches should be around 2-300 metres apart at the most and they should include some interesting hides if possible such as a pulley mechanism on a tree or a water flotation cache. If there is a decent car park with toilets near the start then it will be smiles all round. I hope this doesn’t make us sound overly picky because, believe me, this is just our ideal and we are happy to compromise in lots of ways …. Just not all the ways! Some of our favourite days out include Hockeridge Woods, Stubbings Wood and Shenley.
The above are just the broad types of caching adventures we undertake. There are so many other factors that determine when, where and how we cache such as weather conditions, time available to us, whether we are caching alone or with friends, if we are caching as a consequence of being somewhere for some other reason or if we are there purely to cache, the terrain and a whole host of other variables.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, [drumroll]… is the beauty of geocaching. The game has so many possibilities for the way you play that you can always find a way that will suit anyone. As long as you develop a desire to actually find a geocache then you can rest assured that you can mould this game in such a way as to bring a smile to everyone’s face. If, god forbid, you have a family member who just doesn’t get it, or thinks the whole idea is daft… then you have another problem and thankfully that is one that I don’t have to deal with because despite the fact that Sam, Shar and I all like different things, we all like the concept of getting out there and making the find.