Friday, February 12, 2016

Geocaching: Earthcaches and Other Virtuals

I recently visited an Earthcache near my allergist. It was another easy find. Thinking about what I like in a cache, it's:
  • A little bit of nature.
  • Not too hard.
  • Not worrying about hiding what I'm doing from "muggles" (non-geocachers).
Most Earthcaches fit the bill. At some point, new virtual geocaches were banned, but Earthcaches fill somewhat the same niche. I suspect as a company that encourages people to go outdoors, Groundspeak (Geocaching's parent company) likes to encourage environmental awareness a) because they like the environment and b) because they want to counter bad PR they sometimes get when people disturb nature to place a (non-virtual) cache.

This cache gives me a cache in 76° 33', so I have 16 minutes for the 76 North challenge (27, 31, 33, 36, 37, 40, 41, 44, 50, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59).

Speaking of challenges, in 2010, I had 137 virtual caches within 70 miles of home to find. As a parent, it's hard to find the time to head off 70 miles on a whim, so let's see if we can pare down that goal.

First, the query still exists on my account. Let's see what happens when I re-run it. Up to 177! That's a little bit off because my home location moved since 2010, but...I guess people have been placing lots of Earthcaches! Good, but even less likely that I'll knock that down anywhere close to zero. (Compare the 177 unfound virtuals to the 19 I have found within 70 miles.)

So what if I knock it down to 20 miles? That results in 52 unfound caches, mostly because of the ones in DC. (Compare the the 13 found.) If I cut it back to 15 miles, we lose the DC ones and drop down to 8 unfound, 2 found. I'll have to think about whether the 20-mile challenge makes sense; the 15-mile one seems too easy.

But hey, 3 caches already in 2016. I think if I look for easy ones along my routes, I can keep adding to the number with only taking a few minutes out of my day.

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