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!
CarolinaCacher Recommends:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Geocache ethics - Doing geocache maintenance on someone else’s geocache!

Geocache Ethics Let me preface this by saying this blog posting is as much directed towards myself as anyone else.  I am not preaching, but, rather giving a little perspective on my limited experience with geocaching.  I am sure you have read a log that goes something like this:

Found the geocache.  Couldn’t sign log.  It was so wet it was falling apart.  The rubber o-ring is gone.  Maybe the geocache owner should check on it.

Yes, the one who placed the geocache is responsible for maintaining it.  But, it really is nice when someone helps out!  So what should you and I do when we come across a geocache that is need of a little tinder, loving care?

First, if you are not prepared, you can do very little to help other than report it.  I took a year off of geocaching.  I used to carry a bag of goodies when geocaching.  Of course, the bag contained things like swag, water, wet-wipes, etc.  I also carried several other items that would help in maintaining my own geocaches and any found that needs some help.  Here is a simple list that will help you be the one praised for keeping the sport fun for all.

  • Zip-lock bags of all sizes.
  • Several paper towels in a zip-lock bag.
  • Small bottle of alcohol.
  • Paper and small notebooks.
  • Assortment of rubber o-rings.
  • Three complete geocaches (regular, small, and micro).
  • Camouflage duct tape.
  • Children’s scissors.
  • Swag

This sounds like a lot of stuff to carry, but, you should be able to carry it in a small bag.  It’s probably obvious why you should carry these items.  I will go over a few just for clarification.

Zip-lock bags are used in most geocaches.  They keep the log and swag dry.  The problem is that with time, these bags will wear out.  Maybe the pen or pencil poked a hole in it and the log is getting damp.  You can find the bigger zip-lock bags at your local grocery store.  The smaller ones are a little harder to come by.  I have found all sizes available on eBay.  The prices are usually very good.  I’m sure there are other sources.

Paper towels can be used to clean yourself after searching for the geocache or to dry out a wet geocache container.  I like carrying the blue ones you find in the automotive section.  They are tough as nails!

The alcohol can be used, like the paper towels, to clean yourself of clean out a messy geocache container.  The alcohol based hand sanitizer is great for cleaning your hands, but, can make a messy container even messier.  Alcohol can take the itch away from insect bites, also!

Take a couple sheet of paper and a notepad size notebook.  The notebook can replace a full, missing, or damaged log in regular size containers.  The sheets of paper can be cut to size with the children’s scissors to fit most small and micro size geocaches.  Why children’s scissors?  They will get the job done without poking a hold in your bag.  They’re also very light weight.

The rubber o-rings that come on some of the metal pill containers (bison tube) used as micro geocaches are usually not UV (ultra-violet) proof.  With time when exposed to the UV light in sunlight and weather, they will become brittle and crack.  When that happens, you get a damp log inside.  Take one of these containers to your local hardware store and get some replacement o-rings.  Make sure they are UV rated.  I usually get them a little “thicker”.  They seem to work better for geocache use.

It may seem that carrying around three complete geocaches will be a little bulky, but, if you plan it properly, it will take very little space.  Get two lock and lock type containers.  One medium size and one small.  Also carry a micro container like a 35mm film container or bison tube.  You only need a few swag items.  Make sure you have a couple pens and logs.  You can “nest” the geocache containers together to save space.  If you run upon a missing geocache, you can replace the container and notify the geocache owner that you placed a temporary container.

Why camouflage duct tape?  Well, with duct tape and WD-40 you can fix anything!  You can also use the camouflage feature to repair a camo job if needed.

Bringing a geocache back to good health gives you a rewarding feeling.  The geocache owner will be grateful and you will be making the sport better for everyone.  Now I must get my geobag ready so I won’t be such a hypocrite!

No comments: