Sunday, January 31, 2010

The long and winding trail

With January finished tonight, I ended up with 38 cache finds for the month, averaging slightly more than a cache find per day.  Most of those were on a couple of cache runs on a the weekends, so it was not a sustained cache streak.  I did that one other time, finding a cache for 56 days in a row.  I will never do that again.  It was exhausting and not much fun near the end.

There weren't many longish hikes during this month, mainly because weather didn't cooperate much this past month and because caching has evolved as a hobby and sport over the past 9 years.  Back in the "olden" days, the majority of caches were placed on trails, far from civilization.  You'd hike to a cache, find that one cache and you were done for the day.  With so few cachers around, this was to be expected.

I didn't hide my first cache until four months after I'd started finding caches.  I learned from others and how they hid caches.  Since most cache hides were hikes, hidden away from the crowds, that's what I decided to do as well.  Today, it's different.

Now, caches are hidden everywhere, on almost every street corner and every Wal-Mart parking lot.  The lamppost hide, which has become rampant, was original at one time.  I remember trying to find my first lamppost cache hide.  It was hidden at the exit of a drive through of a burger place, not the best placement in my opinion, especially at lunchtime.  It took me three tries at this cache before I "got" it.  Now, if many of us were to be led to a lamppost today, probably the first thing we'd do, would be to lift the skirt of the lamppost.

Many of the trails around here have caches hidden on them, many of them my own caches.  I don't hide micros, and most of my caches, a hike is needed to get to them.  That's the way I learned about caching and that's the way I'll proceed.  And no, I'm not above finding a micro or two or three from time to time, but every now and then, I need a hike like I took several years ago up to the top of Potato Mountain.

The hike took me beyond the spots where my furthest two caches, Black Friday and The Cats Made Me Do It, have been hidden.  To get to the top of Potato Mountain, which is actually a smallish hill, the hike is probably a four mile hike from the parking lot down in the flat lands.  It's a killer hike, but the reward is great.  From on top, you have views of the mountains beyond, the valley below and on exceptionally clear days, you could probably see all the way out to Catalina Island, 24 miles away from the coast of California.

Back then it was simple.   A four mile hike, one cache and a day well spent.  Now?  It's different.  Some would say different in a bad way.  I say, it's just different.  We all get out of the hobby what we put into it.  If I choose to go on a  hike, I can do so.  If I choose to hunt micros on a particular day, that's also my choice.  To whine about "micro-spew" does everyone a disservice and serves no purpose except to develop discontent among the geocaching community.  I am probably guilty from time to time of sniping about the proliferation of micros and lamppost hides.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in the debate of the day.  In the future, I will try to remember what I've written here.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Potato Mountain Flat Place Reminiscence #1 - by Carharty
Scenic Value - by Webfoot
Trail Junction Cache - by catrunr

Profile for Webfoot

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