Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Two digit GC numbers

The planning has already begun for the annual summer camping trip. Last year, our adventures took us east of Flagstaff, AZ to Wupatki, Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon National Monuments, and then north to the Grand Canyon. In 6 days, we found 43 caches, just slightly more than 10% of the total caches that were in all the route queries and spot queries that I had loaded into the PDA and GPSr right before the trip. Weather was the determining factor, especially the lightning part, which prevented the numbers from being slightly higher than that. All in all, it was a very fun trip and very enjoyable.

This year, the Tadpole and I have decided that we want to explore the north coast of California, so we’re going to be camping near Point Reyes National Seashore and in Redwood National Park. We’ll actually be camping in two of California’s many state parks, Samuel P. Taylor State Park which is near Point Reyes, and Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. As always, the goal is to have fun in the process. If we’re not having fun caching, we stop. One of the main goals this year is to find caches in some new counties to get us closer to the 58 County Challenge that I’ve written about in the past. This trip will get us closer, but not get all of our missing counties.

The route that I’ve chosen to take this year, is not a very direct route like it was last year to the Grand Canyon, so I’m using a different method for figuring out what caches we want to find. Last year, four route queries and two spot queries were enough to get all the areas that we were going to travel through. This year, I estimate that the route queries alone would number in the double digits, two many probably in my estimation to make a lot of sense to them. Add the fact that I would only be able to run five per day and it’s starts to become a logistical nightmare to make sure all the queries get run.

I decided that it would be better to use the Geocaching Google map feature and trace our intended route, manually moving the map and checking out the caches that pop up on the map. We’re probably not going to be going too far off the main roads that we travel, except for hikes that we’ve planned, so this seemed to be the best solution. The next step was to methodically start moving northward and check out the caches. The Tadpole can take or leave micro caches, and in fact, if push came to shove, he rather leave them altogether, so I decided that we wouldn’t look for too many of those. The nice thing about where we’re going is that it’s fairly rural, so micros are fewer and far between, so that made it easy.

Now the question that arose was how to keep track of all the caches? I could write all of them down, but then I remembered the bookmark feature. Why write them down, when I can keep track of them electronically on the computer? Once a bookmark is created, a list of caches can be added to it. In this case, our bookmark is listed as 2008 camping trip. Once all the caches are added to the bookmark, I can easily run one PQ for the entire trip.

The next thing that we wanted was a couple of hikes. I found a cache that looks to be on a nice fire road near our campground at Samuel P. Taylor. Checking out the trail, there are about three or four other good sized caches along it, so I started at that point adding those. A bonus was that one of the caches, Firestone, has only a two digit GC number. That means it’s a very old cache, predating my finding out about geocaching. This particular cache was hidden in the fall of 2000. It’s one of the oldest active caches in California, so that will be one of our goals as well, to find it. That also got me to thinking and I looked up other old caches in California. You can do it for any state. Just do a state search on Geocaching. The first page lists all of the newest caches in the state. Logic dictates at this point that the oldest caches would probably be on the last page, so it’s just a click away to get there. On page 2593 of all the California caches, there are the old ones. Some of the ones listed on that page were hidden in 2001, but it doesn’t take too long to see the ones that were hidden in September and October of 2000, less than 6 months after the first cache ever was hidden.

There are three of these that we will be near on our trip, so we’ll, at least, try and make an attempt of them. The oldest caches I’ve ever found were hidden in February 2001, but they had only been hidden a couple of months when I found them. These caches that we’ll attempt to find have been out there for close to 8 years. That’s durability. As one of my own caches attest, back then, most caches were a hike to get to their location. The Tadpole is pretty excited about finding a cache that’s only about 5 years younger than he is. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

There are other aspects of this trip that I want to write about which will take up more space than necessary, so I’ll stop here for now. I’ll revisit this as I continue to develop the bookmark for the trip.

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Steve Natoli said...

You've picked some beautiful country up on the Northern California Coast. Be prepared for some windy conditions at Point Reyes!

Tracy said...

I love geocaching too! A great area you may want to look into for the summer is Telluride Colorado. There are lots of caches around the passes and you get to see old mining historical sites on the way. Plus it never gets too hot to hike around to look for them.Camping Gear

Hick@Heart said...

I just started looking at the oldest caches a couple weeks ago, I ran across the bookmark list of California's oldest caches by county. It looks like the oldest in CA is in San Diego. I'm thinking of making a trip to it after the summer. Maybe you and the tadpole will want to go with me.

Geocaching With Team Hick@Heart