Ghost Hunting with Geocachers

In October 2009 a local geocacher, WitzAbout, wrote an article “Ghost Hunting with Geocachers” that you might enjoy (given the encroaching season of goblins and jack-o-lanterns).

Ghost Hunting with Geocachers

This past Saturday, we were invited to go ghost hunting as part of a group of Geocachers. A Geocaching friend, ‘QZ’, from outside Denver was making the less than 2 hour drive down to Colorado Springs for the weekend, and decided she wanted to check out the haunted tunnels she read about on Gold Camp Road in our area…

Jump to the full article at MadCacher’s Blog

One-Up

It wasn’t until I was in college that I found out one of our family secrets that both my Grandfather and Great Grandfather were on the initial construction crew for Disneyland.

It’s one of those things that when you tell someone you get one of two responses: “Yeah, Right!” or “Wow, Neat!”, though the first response is usually silently spoken behind a polite smile.

My grandpa would come home from work and try to describe what they were building and the details that went into it. Nobody at the time could understand what he was talking about “Your building a … castle? For real? You built a … tree? Why not just plant one?” He and Disney actually had a personal relationship as well. Disney would sit on one of the docks for lunch. None of the other construction workers felt comfortable enough, but my grandpa would sit right next to him and have lunch together talking about families and dreams.

Disneyland has far more educational value than half the school slums in our country, but you have to dig for it. Try reading a few books on how Disney performed his work before the next time you visit… or just to learn a few tips and pointers to improve your own personal business and achievements. Our family favorite is the “One-Up”.

When Disney walked into a room to see the story boards (a concept he invented and everyone uses today) he would listen to people’s ideas and envision something fantastic. When it came down to building the parts, whether it was a ride in an amusement park or a frame still for a movie, he would look at it and say to the engineers and artists … “That’s great. Now one-up it.” One-up means to overachieve… to excel.

When we build something we get stuck in the forest and can’t see it through the trees. When we step back we can see areas of improvement. “One-Up” means changing how we see things for a minute… to step out of our mind, or to step into a fresh mind depending on how you view it … and making the experience better.

With the common proverb (by Julius Caesar) that “experience is the greatest teacher”, it makes sense that walking through one of the greatest creations of the greatest teacher of details, magic and experience (speaking of Disneyland and Disney) would lend to teaching a thing or two.

The problems with paperless geocaching

Those with GPS receivers know the problems of their devices all too well.

It’s frustrating when your unit claims that you’re just a few feet from ground zero just to have the GPS suddenly jump and say you’re 20 feet away in the opposite direction… then you walk to the new coordinates to have it jump again saying your now 50 feet away in a different direction altogether.

This dance involves staring down at the GPS while blindly walking in circles that could include stepping into piles of excrement or into oncoming traffic. The problem could be blamed on signal echos or signal obstruction, both which make sense in areas with dense trees or tall buildings, but the root of the issue is too much dependence on the electronic device.

Such was my fate last weekend. It’s okay now … the gummy fecal canine deposits have been kicked, scraped and walked off … but as a result I’ve decided to review the rudimentary way I work the caches.

I know a couple of geocachers who worked almost solely off of printed maps. The maps had handwritten scribbles and notes to suppliment the printed Geocache codes and pins. We drove or walked about locating the next item on the list, but navigated solely off printed maps. This has me thinking about the printed map advantages:

  1. Better planning
    By planning what you plan to do, you’ll be better prepared. Are there caches in the woods? Bring hiking gear. Are they in the city? Wear walking shoes.
  2. Less chance of overzealous hunting
    Knowing that there are ten other caches on the map, hunters are less likely to spend an hour on one difficult to find cache.
  3. More attention to the environment and surroundings
    Instead of going strictly off of coordinates, there was more observation work going on.
  4. No accidental puzzle caches
    Some cache owners accidentally put the wrong category icon for the cache. Going off of the iPhone app, the result is spending time to get to a location then, after ten minutes of searching around, reading the details to find out it’s a puzzle cache. However, if you prepared the trip through a printed map, you don’t depend on instant information so you have to print all that information out at the time, meaning you likely noticed this snafu beforehand and either solve the puzzle before heading out, or don’t waste your time going to the original coordinates… either way makes a happier outing.

On our next outing we’ll try the other extreme and put away our GPS receivers, using a purely printed approach and report what happens. Stay tuned.