Finding and Logging your First Cache

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Geocaching, Tutorials
Tags: , ,

So in the last tutorial we figured out how to make a pocket query.. Enough of this computer stuff, lets get to the outback and find that ellusive dingo! Now what?

Grab your trusty GPS, turn it on, and lets hit the road.

First hit ‘geocaches’. Again we are using a geocache aware device like a Garmin Oregon. If you are using another device, there should be something similar.

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Now touch ‘Find a Cache’

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Which will now show you all the caches that you loaded from the GPX you downloaded.

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Lets go find the 3rd cache called Tennis Anyone 2. Touch that button.

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Now press ‘GO’ and the GPS will plot an ‘as the crow fly’s’ route to the cache. If this is an urban cache (which I personally detest) you can follow the basemap streets on how to get there, using the + and – keys to zoom in and out. If it is wilderness, bust out the map and look for a trail on how to get there.

You will eventually find the cache (hopefully) and need to log the find… click on the ‘treasure chest’ icon in the upper right of the screen.

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Which will lead you to the log menu. At this point, you hopefully ‘Found’ the cache, or not.

NOTE: There are a couple of other options here to help you in finding the cache such as the description, and even a hint. Use those at will.

From this menu we are going to ‘Log Attempt’

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Which will lead you to the type of log:

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There will be times when you want to select something other than ‘Found’. Below are brief descriptions of the available options:

  • Did Not Find – You couldn’t find the cache for whatever reason. Many people will not use this option as they think its a mark of dishonor, but marking it as not found does a couple things.
    • Alerts the CO (Cache Owner) that an attempt was made and resulted in not finding it.
    • Alerts other cachers that you didn’t find it, and it either might not be there, or, is difficult. More than likely it is the latter. It is a mark of honor for the cache owner to have a cache not found and gives them feedback on whether the cache is too difficult or not desirable (because of brush, in a bad place, whatever). PLEASE if you don’t find a cache use this option, it is important.
    • Multiple DNFs (Did Not Find) will prompt the CO to either research why, revel in its difficulty or give guidance.
  • Needs Repair – Some of these caches are OLD, or victims of weather, poaching, you name it.. a NR log tells the CO that they need to get to this cache ASAP and do some repairs… Its the obligation of a cacher to do this out of respect for the sport.
  • Unattempted – This might be used in several instances, but mainly it tells the GPS to abandon tracking this cache to choose another. I often will be on a trail, thinking im going to one cache only to find the path leading in the other direction. Ill choose ‘unattempted’ and select a cache in the direction im going. Please do NOT use this option if you attempted to find the cache and were unsuccessful. Use the DNF (Did Not Find) option for this instead.

Moving on, lets assume you found the cache. Press ‘Found’

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There are 3 options:

  • Done – Logs the cache as found — Don’t use this one.. Ill explain why in a bit
  • Find Next Closest – This is the same as ‘unattempted’ and will give you the option to find another cache. I use this sometimes, when i find I am no longer heading to the cache i wanted and in another area and want to reset.
  • Add Comment – ALWAYS add a comment. In a given hike (or stroll) you will find several caches. In this section, put a brief description of the cache you found. Ill explain more in a bit when we log the cache to the website.

click on Add Comment

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This is the comment field. You basically want to use the keypad to put something brief yet informative to remind you of the cache when you log it on the website.

In this example, the GPS was ping ponging signal all over the place and i ended up moving in circles until i found it, but it was brilliantly hidden so i typed ‘neat camo’

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When you are done, hit the green check box, which takes you back to this screen

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and then hit ‘Done’ and repeat the process.

So after a few hours of running around, finding caches, you will eventually get home and want to upload all these logs to the geocaching website.

Go to the geocaching website at http://www.geocaching.com click on “Your Profile’ and Field Notes.

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You will be brought to a page with specific instructions on various methods of uploading, ignore all that stuff. You will want to click on “Upload my Field Notes’ at the bottom

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Which brings you to the following page. Make sure the checkbox is checked for “Ignore logs before…”. This site will remember the last time you uploaded and attempt to help you from uploading logs which have previously been entered

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From this window, click on ‘Browse’ and navigate to the file on your GPS acts as the log file.. On garmin products its called ‘geocache_visits.txt’

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Click on the ‘geocache_visits.txt’ file, and click on ‘Open’

You will then see this window again with the path to the file populated

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Now click on ‘Upload Field Notes’ which will grab the log, upload it to the web site and present you with the following:

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Notice now that the Tennis Anyone 2 cache that you marked as found is there. Now click on ‘Compose’ and you will see that the quick note you put in there has been uploaded.

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Go ahead and change this note to something more descriptive.

NOTE: Release that cache owners took the time to find the area, mark the coordinates, drop a cache, and log it on the website. That takes time and effort. The VERY least we can do is put a log in there describing your experience. Often cachers will put in tips (but NEVER spoilers) on where to find the cache.

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Once you put in a note, scroll to the bottom and click on ‘Submit Log Entry’

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Now just rinse, wash and repeat.

NOTE: There are a couple of other options here to help you in finding the cache such as the description, and even a hint. Use those at will.

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