Monday, March 11, 2013

Goal 40: Hide a Geocache

Our family first tried geocaching in September 2010 and we were immediately hooked.  After a few finds, we couldn't wait to introduce others to geocaching.  It was only a short matter of time before we were full-on Geocaching Evangelists, sharing our love of geocaching with friends, family, and a variety of different groups.

Early on, we agreed that we'd hide our first cache after we'd found 100 caches.  Well, the 100 milestone came and went back in 2011 without us hiding our first cache.  Definitely time to finally make it a priority.  

But what to hide and where?  There are very specific rules on the geocaching website about what can be hidden, how and where, but there are a wide variety of options within those parameters.  Our favorite caches are medium-sized (large enough to contain treasures), located in scenic and kid-friendly places, require a bit of a hike (but nothing extreme), and are in places where you're not likely to look like some sort of criminal searching through bushes.  So that's the type of cache we wanted to create.

Next was deciding on the location.  When you hide a cache, you need to be able to maintain it regularly as needed.  So we mapped a wide circle around our house and considered the areas where it would be easy to pop over for quick maintenance.  Then we did some reconnaissance.  We set out on a beautiful day, waiting for the perfect geocache location to reveal itself.



And then we found our perfect spot.  We'd be able to tuck a large cache amongst the rocks and no one would ever notice it unless they were specifically looking for it.



We headed home to make our cache.  You can buy geocaching containers and other supplies, but I wanted our first cache to be a DIY project.  We started with a jar of delicious honey-roasted peanuts, transferred them to some Tupperware, and washed the container thoroughly.       

 
Then we covered the entire thing with several layers of masking tape.

 
It looked like this when we finished. 
 
Trevor and I used a variety of inks to try to match the rocks and the shadows where the cache would be hiding.  

 
I gave it a bunch of coats of Outdoor Mod Podge, letting it dry completely between each coat, then let it cure the recommended 72 hours.  I sprayed it with clear lacquer, then filled it with a logbook and some treasures.  

We headed back out to our chosen spot.  Here's the container sitting on the rocks.  I think we did a pretty good job getting the color right.  It's especially well-matched to the rock in the lower right.
  
 
Backing up a few feet, you can't see it at all.   


We headed home and filled out the form to activate our geocache.  Then it was a matter of waiting for it to be approved.  There are volunteers who check each and every cache before they're made public.  I was a bit nervous that we might have done something wrong or that maybe it wouldn't be approved before my self-imposed due date of March 12.

Fortunately, we didn't have to wait long, as it was approved very soon after we submitted it. Hurray! Goal 40 accomplished!  I've been waiting all year to say that and it feels GREAT. 

11 comments:

  1. Very awesome!! How cool to be a part of that!!

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  2. That is so awesome! I have never heard of that before! Now I am intrigued and will be doing some research on the topic.
    A couple of questions:
    Was the prize the peanuts? Did you put them back in the container after you painted it? And once someone finds the prize is it removed form the Geocaching list? How is that done: by the person who finds it?

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    1. No, the prize is not peanuts. Geocaches can't contain food or animals would get to them. Most geocaches have small trinkets, like the stuff in kids' birthday party goodie bags. We filled ours with an assortment of frogs (pencil toppers, temporary tattoos, eraser, etc), inspired by the thousands of frogs we heard when we hid the cache.

      When you go out geocaching, you carry small trinkets with you. When you find a cache, you take an item and replace it with something as good or better. That way, the cache is always full of fun goodies for the next person. A cache isn't removed from the site unless its stolen or ruined in some way. So hiding a geocache is a long-term commitment. If we get word that our cache has been damaged (water being the main problem), we have to get it and fix it asap so that it's back for any future geocachers to discover. In theory, a cache is there forever.

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  3. Oh wow! That IS a commitment!!!
    Thanks for the reply!

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  4. Awesome! I especially love the camouflaged peanut jar.

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  5. Oh wow. Congrats on your accomplishment. I always learn something new here.

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  6. Congratulations! What a great accomplishment and wonderful way to celebrate this special year!

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  7. Cindy, congratulations on completing your list! What a fun thing to end your year of trying new things with. Sounds like a lot of fun. I have looked into participating in geocaching and have fine as far a assigning up and mapping out some local caches, and just never did the actual hunting. Hope you have an active cache!

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  8. That is pretty cool! :) Congrats on completing all your 40 Goals - that is one awesome achievement!!! :)

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  9. Does the site let you know if anyone has tried to find it yet?

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    1. Yes, I get an email every time someone logs a find. It's been found three times so far, which is so exciting!

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