Sunday, March 8, 2009

"The Good Ol' Days"

Last weekend, we literally stumbled into Gumby and Pokey out in the desert while doing the Smiley series of caches. About halfway around the smile, near the chin, I started noticing their signatures on logs. At first we weren't sure whether they'd driven in from the south, or were also working their way around the smiley. I consider Gumby and Pokey, like myself, old time cachers, cachers that were geocaching before the hobby had it's first birthday.

Back then when you logged onto to geocaching.com, the first page of caches nearest your house would stretch for miles and miles away from you. On my first page of caches nearest to me, there were caches in four different counties, which is quite an accomplishment considering how large the counties are in Southern California. The closest cache to ours was 7 linear miles away and a half mile hike. Geocaching was all about the hiking at that time.

When I started, the first page had a cache that was fairly near me called the Lost Cache of Lytle Creek. This one was hidden by Gumby and Pokey. It was getting on toward spring and summer and reading the logs on the cache page there were constant reports of rattlesnakes on the trail. With two small boys who would cache with me, I wasn't really keen on encountering a rattler at that time, so I waited on that cache until January. I'm glad I did, since at that time, the cache spot was covered with millions of ladybugs hibernating for the winter near their cache. It was a wonderful experience with a nice hike involved.

Back then, geocachers knew each other by the logs. Logs were signed and notes were often left in the logbook. Very few electronic logs were TNLNSL (for Took nothing, left nothing and signed the log) or TFTC (Thanks for the cache). Logs were interesting to read, because usually there was some kind of experience that people wanted to write about after finding a cache. People got a feel where others lived by where the caches were hidden and there was a certain etiquette about hides. People asked before going down into someone else's region to hide a cache.

With so few caches at that time, it was easy to run into lots of cachers back then. We all seemed to want to go out and find a couple on a weekend. I met Stantastic at my second cache find down in Orange County. That cache find was Gumby and Pokey's first cache find. Exaibachey and Satisfyd were met at another cache near my house. The elusive Erik, who hiked everywhere, yet never seemed to be on the trial when you were on the trail was another name that we saw frequently in logs back then. Interestingly, I'd never bumped into Gumby and Pokey until this past weekend.

It was really enjoyable talking about some of the old timers who were still around. We commiserated what we perceived as changes that we didn't necessarily feel were in the best interest of Geocaching. We talked about the proliferation of micro caches. It was an enjoyable chat with fellow cachers who went way back to the beginning. There was the added bonus of finally putting a face to the name that I'd seen around all these years. My only hope is that we don't have to wait another 8 years before we meet up again.

Picture courtesy of Gumby and Pokey taken at 3.14 Miles of SMILES - by RHINO, Mr.G, BigDaddyGRC, DogWillHunt

L to R in Picture - Gumby, Webfoot, Tadpole95 & Chaosmanor Behind the camera - Pokey

Profile for Webfoot

2 comments:

Just John said...

I, for one, am thankful that there are "old school" cachers, such as yourself, to pass on all of that knowledge and experience to noobs like me.

Webfoot said...

Thanks Just John. I fear that too many people are learning about caching via finding lamp post caches. What people find, is usually what they hide and in my opinion, we have enough skirt lifters to last us a lifetime and then some. We really need to have more caches hidden along those park trails that get people out and enjoying nature.