Normally when Nana & I plan a out-of-town geocaching trip we take great care in preparing a list of potential finds. We search an area for unfound caches and depending on the time of year, delete those caches off the list that are rated as 4 terrain or above to keep from taking long bush-wacking trips through thick forests. Another quick tip when weeding gout potential caches for the list is to look at the last four finds for the caches on our list and make sure the cache is still in place based on those logs (this is really easy to do in GSAK). We usually search an area for caches with favorite points, or in some cases, search specifically for caches owned by a certain cache owner. Using our method, we have had many a productive day geocaching in areas considered outside our home area.
Last minute trips though are a little different. Last weekend we decided on Saturday night to go to a city about 2 hours away from our home town. There wasn't enough time to both 1) lay out a good list and 2) get enough sleep so the list we put together was lacking its usual above-average quality of caches. We did have time though to restrict our list to less than 2 Terrain, less than 3 difficulty all within 10 miles of the city center. This, hopefully , would have given a list of about 50 caches that should be mostly park n grabs (PnGs).
Well you know what they say about the best laid plans!!! We left the house just after 8AM and arrived near GZ of the first cache just after 10. Now all we have to do is find the first 3 caches in the nearby park and then go from closest cache to next closet cache, etc, etc, etc. Finds - all 3!!! So far so good. Unfortunately that's where our luck left us for the rest of the day. Because we had had put this list together in a hurry, we had failed to purge the list of caches that had gone missing or had not been found in months. Drat!!!
We did end up with 13 finds (far less than what we wanted) at the end of the day but alas poor cache maintenance did us in. Four out of the last five caches we attempted had not been found in over 6 months and most had logs reflecting the need for some TLC from the COs.
Cache maintenance is a necessary evil you assume once you put out your first cache. One of the major things I count on when doing cache maintenance is the finder's logs. It really helps to have logs that contain more than TFTH or TFTC or even the newest entry lately "Found". When you log your finds, remember to help the CO out. It doesn't take much in these modern times when some cachers are logging their finds almost instantly via phone to add one or two lines that state either "All is fine with this cache" or "Container is no longer watertight" . I know it helps us tremendously!
All Cos that I know really appreciate those logs that state more than the obvious - FOUND IT. While you are at it, do the CO one more favor - if you find a cache that you really like - give it a favorite point!!! As a premium member of Geocaching.com, you earn one favorite point for every 10 caches you find. Nana & I try to award as many favorite points as we can just to let those really great Cache Owners know just how much we appreciate their ingenuity and craftsmanship.
Don't forget the upcoming MEGA-event at the end of August - The 11th Annual GCHR Picnic in Newport News Virginia (see GC42NJJ). Papa SNAP will be there and I look forward to meeting all of you.
As always - Stay Safe & Keep Caching!!!
SNAP!!! - Suffolk Nana & Papa