Welcome to CarolinaCacher

Welcome to my CarolinaCacher site. I'm Randy Hefner. My caching screen name on GPSgames, Geocaching, and TerraCaching, is RanHefner. I have been caching since June 24, 2005.

You may be asking, "What is caching?" You would probably know it as Geocaching. Geocaching is the combination of technology, outdoor activities, and treasure hunting. You use a GPSr (Global Positioning System receiver) to locate hidden containers of different sizes and shapes. All cache containers will contain a log (piece of paper, notepad, or notebook) to document your finding of the cache. Some containers are large enough to contain trinkets for trading. The rule is that you take somthing and leave something.

There are many handheld GPS receivers on the market ranging from around $75 to over $400! All of them will get you started with geocaching. The more expensive ones are good for geocaching and road navigation. The two most popular companies offering GPS receivers are Garmin and Magellan.

Garmin offers a GPS Guide For Beginners. It is a little "technical", but does offer a lot of great information about how the Global Positioning System works.

The online "How To" manual, wikiHow, offers a very good guide to geocaching. This is a good article for beginners. This article takes you step-by-step from selecting a GPS receiver and how to log your find.

A good place to start is to join a local caching club. There are several in the Carolinas. If you live in North Carolina, you should join the North Carolina Geocachers Organization. This "club" is for everyone in North Carolina or anyone interested in caching in NC.

If you live in the foothills area of North Carolina, there is a group for you! The NC Foothills Geocachers is affiliated with the NCGO above, but is targeted towards the members living in the foothills.

If you live in the Asheville area of North Carolina there is a Yahoo! Group called Western NC Geocaching.

If you live in the upstate of South Carolina, there is an organization for you. The Upstate South Carolina Geocachers Association covers the 10 counties in the northwest portion of South Carolina.

There are two South Carolina state-wide geocaching organizations. South Carolina Geocachers Association and South Carolina Society of Geocaching.

Join the organization that best fits your needs and participate in their events. You will get more out of geocaching by making new geocaching friends!
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Do you "preserve" or "pilfer" the geocache?

When Dave Ulmer created and placed the first geocache, one of the rules was "take something, leave something". He didn't say so, but it should be implied that when you do trade, you trade equal or better.

I placed a large geocache a little over a year ago. In it I placed about $50 of good, new items. I wanted it to be a very pleasant surprise when they found the "Big Store" of geocache swag. After several months I stopped by to check on the cache and to my surprise the cache had been pilfered. No, everything was not taken, but most of the very good, new items was traded for used McD's toys and plastic army men.

So, I did what any geocache owner would do. I restocked the cache with many new items. Several high quality baseball hats were placed in the cache. Now, these were not the cheap hats, but even if they were, they would be worth $5.00 each!

Another few months went by and I checked on the cache again. PILFERED! I just don't understand it. After examining the logs I surmise the following:

Geocachers are not prepared for trading items. They have their GPSr, camera, cellphone, but not much else. When they arrive at the geocache, they see the nice goodies and decide to "just take one". Also, some geocachers cache in groups. Maybe it is their friends, or maybe children and their friends. When the children see all the goodies, they must have one.

Now understand, I don't blame the children. They are just doing what kids do. The adults are the ones who totally miss a teaching experience. BEFORE going geocaching with the children, the parents/adults should explain to the children what it means to trade fairly. The adults should encourage the children to pick a couple of their own toys that they really like. That way, when they trade, they are trading equal or better. If the adults arrive at the cache with the children and the adult was ill prepared, they should explain to the children what fair trading is and since they didn't bring anything nice to trade, they would have to come back another time when prepared.

But, I think, what really happens is that the privacy of the moment just "excuses" the parents/adults from having to exercise parental responsibility. I know it is difficult to tell a child no, but that's part of parenting! Not teaching a child when not to do something is just doing that child a disservice.

The lesson to learn is that if you go geocaching, be prepared to trade or don't take anything from the geocache. Parents should prepare their children in advance so the geocache is not pilfered. If you find the geocache and are not prepared to trade equal or better, then just sign the log and take nothing.

We all need to take care of the geocaches we visit. Be prepared with trade items, blank logs, paper towels to clean out damp caches, etc. Make sure the experience of the next geocacher is better than yours!


tonka_boy said...

Same thing happened to one of our caches. Placed it full of quality swag. A while later we got a post that the thing was empty. Everything gone but the log book.

I might suspect muggles in that instance???

P.J. said...

I'm not a big trader. I rarely do it and when I do, it's usually signature items as I like to collect other people's items.

That being said, it makes for an interesting discussion. What makes for good swag? What should people carry with them to trade? I know some people who have a bag of interesting items -- useful, too. But nothing that would "break the bank." Though I find it great that people still stock caches with quality stuff, I usually just like looking and putting back. With as big as the game is now, it's hard to think that everyone out there will trade evenly or up.

When I put my caches out, I always try to put some decent stuff in it. Nothing to make me go bankrupt, but pending on the size of the cache, I'll add some decent stuff. I know when I do the runs to these caches that they'll be pilfered, but I think that seems to, unfortunately, be part of the game.

That's why I rarely trade. I don't want to be the guy who trades down or "pilfers." I just like finding sig items and going with those.

Good post!

A 'lil HooHaa