Caching again

With the weather vastly improving, it’s time to go out geocaching again!

A week ago, I came by the charming little town of Buren when I tried to avoid a huge traffic jam on the highway. It looked like a cool place to visit (if you’re a geezer like me). And with the good weather that was forecasted for today, I took a look at the geocaches nearby. We’d do a cache and then visit the town.

We went for a multi that had a set of traditionals along the route, around a very small wooded nature preserve wedged in between meadows. It was very, very quiet — well, you could hear lots of birds singing, bees buzzing and the wind rustling through the trees. You just couldn’t hear any motor noise — which is rare in the Netherlands: you can reach almost every point by car within 10 meters…
We did find the multi, but we didn’t find some of the traditionals along the way. One of the traditionals that we did find, was a nano cache. I don’t think we’ve found one of these before, and the reason for that is that they’re so damn tiny!

Also, allow me to sing the praises of the c:geo Android App (Play Store link here). It used to be that I would look at the maps on the geocaching.com website, find the caches that interested me, and then collect the descriptions, edit them into a document, print it out… Lots of work.
With c:geo and the associated Greasemonkey script, I can send the cache descriptions straight to my smartphone. It’s fast and easy, and we’ll be caching paperless from now on. Well, we take a small notepad to take notes along the way (because during most multi-caches, you need to record some information so you can calculate the next waypoint/the cache location).
Then, from within c:geo, you can export the caches back to GPX-format (an open XML format for geospatial information). By putting the file on my Dropbox, I get the GPX back on my desktop, so that I can upload it to my GPS receiver in one go.
If you have an Android smartphone and like geocaching, then c:geo is the best app for that. And it’s even free!

Caching again

Last Sunday, we went geocaching again. It was good to be outside and walk around for a bit. We’ve still got the caching skills, because we found everything without too much trouble — including the cache.
The upside of not caching for so long is that there are new, good geocaches placed closer to home, so we don’t have to travel that far anymore if we want to do another nice multi-cache again.

Colleague J. and his girlfriend M., whom we have infected with the geocaching virus, have done a few nightcaches: geocaching multi’s that can (only) be done at night. Their stories intrigued us, and so we made a deal to do a nightcache together. This time of year is ideal: it’s getting dark outside much earlier, but it’s not that cold yet.
In the Netherlands, going into the woods after sunset is a big no-no: by default, it’s forbidden. But in Germany, there is no such default prohibition against entering the woods at night, and that means there are many more nightcaches there. We surfed around for a few, but in the end we settled for one that J&M had already done before — the others seemed a bit wonky.
Yesterday they visited us, and after dinner we geared up. All of us had very, very bright LED torches (and spare batteries…) so we were all set. Most nightcaches make use of reflectors. With your torch, you can see these reflectors and navigate accordingly — so you can indeed only do these caches by night.

When we arrived at the parking lot, we saw another car: another group had just set out as well. We took some time to get ready (and to put some distance between us and them), and we set out. The reflectors were easy to spot, but one near the beginning was missing… So we took to shining with our torches into every side-path to see if we saw the glint of a follow-up reflector further on. We made good way (and we overtook the other group at the first station — we didn’t see them again). The waypoints were pretty nice, but one of the waypoints was missing — luckily M. remembered the task at that point.

In the end, we completely missed the last station, where we would be given the calculation of the cache coordinate. But by the time we were wondering why we didn’t see any reflectors and about to give up, J. said: “I think the cache was somewhere around here…” And lo and behold: the cache was found and logged.

Nightcaching is great fun, but the maintenance of the cache is crucial. If you miss only one reflector, you’ll be lost in the woods, so to speak. It’s a real pity that some stuff was missing, because it was a really good experience.

Two months ago I got a message from the guy for whom I did a stamp for a Letterbox. He was going to organise another event this year, and he wanted to put another Letterbox at windmill ‘De Bente’. He asked whether I’d be interested in cutting a stamp again?
Sure I was! And so I cut a stamp of the ‘logo’ of the windmill

The geocaching page of the Letterbox itself is here! One of the cachers writes: “I don’t care much for Letterboxes, but here I found a beautifully made stamp.” 🙂

Get Lost!

There’s this geocache nearby that’s called Get Lost! It’s a mystery with a multi following once you’ve got the first coordinates. The cache itself is only so-so, but the cache-box has a disposable camera — you’re supposed to make a photo of yourself when you’ve found the cache.
Today I got a message from the cache-maintainer. The camera was full so the photos had been developed. Most photos didn’t come out at all, but some did. And with ingiechan handling the camera, how could it not have worked out? So the photo is here (for those with a strong stomach 😉 ).

Even though we have been searching for WP2 of GC26B4V for about half an
hour, nobody passed us. Except for another team, who helped us search. We
gave them a headstart.
Weird, it’s a sunny sunday, one would expect the woods to be crawling with
walkers.