Saturday, November 6, 2010

Spoiled Geocachers and Regional Quality

What is the geocaching environment like where you live?  A ton of micros?  An endless supply of rural ammo cans?  I've said a few times that I believe I'm spoiled here on Okinawa.  I've cached a couple of times in Southern California and was disappointed both times.  Is there such a thing as regional quality when it comes to geocaching?  I believe so.

Here in the tropical paradise of Okinawa, the majority of the caches are placed at various points of interest.  In addition, most of the caches have trackables in them (geocoins and travel bugs).  The folks over here are very generous with their coins, and we have pretty good luck with them staying in circulation.  There are a couple of suspect geocachers over here, and most of us know who they are, but the rest seem very reliable about logging and moving trackables.

Stateside caches that I've found have not had any trackables in them.  When I did a couple of pocket queries (downloading of geocache listings for a particular area), I was amazed at the lack of geocoins that are out there.  Many folks that leave here talk about how most geocoins get stolen in America, so most cachers don't put them out, or only place them in caches with very high difficulty ratings.  I have a couple of coins that have made their way to The States and (searching for some wood to knock on...) those coins have done pretty well so far.  Are they the exception to the rule?

In addition to the lack of trackables to enjoy, stateside caches seem to be placed in some of the most mundane locations.  I like finding hidden caches, but shopping center parking lots?  Are you serious with that?  Urban micros have their uses, and it's neat to be able to go grab a quick geocache if you're short on time, but some of those lamp post skirt hides are just plain silly.  I must admit though, lamp post hides in hotel parking lots are cool because you can check into your room, and grab a cache two minutes later!

Those of you that have cached extensively in The States may have seen enough areas to weigh in on this; are there regions that are more "lame" than others when it comes to the quality of the geocaches?  What's it like in your neck of the woods?

Herein lies one of the coolest features of this hobby:  I don't have to go search for those geocaches that I don't like!  If a cacher wants to hide a leaky film canister under a lamp post in a supermarket parking lot, they are free to do so and somebody, somewhere, will get some enjoyment from that.  I would never point at a geocacher and say they are somehow inferior because I don't like their particular style of geocache.  Personal taste is exactly that, but have any of you noticed trends in particular areas?

What say you?


Erika Jean said...

It Def. depends where you are, and if you have (or don't have) micro happy cachers who place one at any ol' spot they can find.

Where I am, I can pretty much decide if I want to do some quick (and usually boring) micros or head out for an adventure. It's nice to have the mountains nearby!

Caching seems to be better in the middle of nowhere in my opinion ;-) I LOVED caching AZ->Ohio and back.

But as I look for caches in Michigan for an upcoming trip...I'm just not feeling the area! A lot of the "open spaces" are parks with fees. Who wants to pay 5$ and up for one or two caches?! :(

Just John said...

So, you have a variety to choose from. Cool! Do you have areas that you avoid? Have you noticed certain cachers that you avoid (caches)?

I can't wait to get back Stateside and do a few trips here and there...

P.J. said...

I don't think it matters where you are in the states, you're going to get a ton of unimaginative micros. But, you'll also get the good stuff. There is a bit of everything in my area. Good hikes. Great hides. Blah micros. It's whatever you feel like doing. Though the parking lot skirt lifters aren't my favorite, they have their place too -- like when I feel like making a find and don't have a lot of time or energy to go on a long hike.

As for the trackables. The coins seem to disappear more than TBs, in my experience. Although TBs aren't immune to it. If there's something good attached, people will sometimes take it. It's unfortunate, but it happens.

I think it gets mentioned a lot about the states because there are more caches here than anywhere, and more people playing the game, so it's magnified.

Example: When I travel, I try and leave a TB to start in that spot. The last four that I remember are:

- A beer bottle opener (from a local brewery) that started in NJ.
- A Montreal keychain started in Montreal.
- A Dublin keychain started in Dublin.
- A Maine keychain started in Maine (more recent).

Of those -- the beer bottle opener was picked up by a newbie cacher and never moved again; the Dublin keychain never moved out of its cache before being marked as missing by the cache owner; the Montreal tag is currently in Finland and is active, last being put into a cache on Oct. 30; and the Maine one has bounced around a bit but seems to be moving at least.

So it all depends, I think. You just hope the person who picks it up is honest and will move the TB and not keep it.

PastorDIC said...

Unfortunately we have someone who is now caching in our small town that has just peppered the area in town and for miles around with micros as dense as possible.

Just John said...

@Pastor: That's too bad; that really eats up viable areas that could hold quality caches. Thanks for stopping by!