View Full Version : Our first try today with GCHQAZ
02-04-2007, 11:11 PM
My 11 year old son and I finally had a dry weekend to go out with our Garmin 60CSX for our first adventure with geocaching. Since I heard about this on New Year's eve, I've purchased a GPSr, read a TON of material at many different sites but have yet to have a weekend to actually try my hand at it.
Today was our day to try. We searched for one in the Petit Jean State Park area, GCHQAZ, around Cedar Falls. The shaded sides of the mountains and trails were still covered in snow. The Falls were beautiful too with the mounds of ice formed at the bottom of the creek falls. The air was wonderful to breath. The trail was not busy at all for a Sunday either. I carried a bag of trash out with me too.
So we found the general area of the cache but just could not find the box. Now the snow could have kept us from seeing what we were looking for – or we could have been so far off.
I felt clueless really. My son said maybe the bluffs were causing the GPSr to cause us to be off track. I wish we could have tried this with a "pro" at this for our first time just to give us a heads up of what goes on when you do this.
We returned home tonight and looked at the hints to find the cache. I said we will have to write those down and try to find it again.
He is really interested in leaving something too. So what kind of things can we leave? I have heard about the geo caching coins but you guys leave other things too – right?
My dad teased me about hiking today using my GPSr – using it for a place I know how to get to! But he was just teasing – he knows that I am doing this for the fun of the hike and for the adventure too.
I have found that steep bluffs, large bodies of water and lots of tree cover give my little unit more "wander" Also if you pay attention to the satelites you are receiving, straight line is bad. Hard to triangulate. Sometimes there is no choice down in a hole like Cedar Fall. Trees of course are not so bad now without leaves.
I did not look at the cache you are talking about but I have been down there before. One of the biggest things we do once we are close is look around for something not natural or signs of traffic to indicate where your box might be. Smashed leaves, rock piles,... There again, this would not work at those trampled over rocks would it? And the hints are a saver sometimes. Once ya find a few, you start thinking like a hider better.
My 2 boys at first wanted to take take take. That passed soon. Often we simply dig thru and put it back. Lately we have been leaving items without taking. I have been trying to enforce trade up guidelines and for sure NO trading down. They would leave happy meal toys in every one if I let them. Of course to them, they are cool.
02-05-2007, 09:50 PM
so when you are on a trail – the GPS arrow/line is supposed to jump around ((a lot))?
I feel so clueless – I know I am. But I will GET this – it just will take a time or two doing it RIGHT that will help me master this.
02-05-2007, 10:21 PM
No not at all......you picked a tough one :o ......rock formations with all types of metals in them with steep walls, thus limiting the satellite signal to give you more than one or two accurate readings at times. You will normally have a locked on arrow but the conditions you were in were tough GPS conditions.....keep working on it!! Often times in tough spots you will need to stand still or lay the GPS down so it can really work on where you are......but with that said in normally conditions the GPS will stay right up with you and no need to even slow down.....you are doing good, hang tough!!
I haven't gotten around to that particular cache yet because every time I've gone to Petit Jean to geocache I've ended up on one of the other trails. Mostly because I've been to the bottom of the falls too many times before and have been wanting to explore other areas.
That said, you shouldn't have too extreme of a problem with the cliff walls with that 60CSx. The x-series has a good algorithm to filter out false readings under trees and in canyons, though sometimes it takes a few extra seconds to "settle" among rocks. I've found a couple of caches along the Seven Hollows trail that were among deep rocks and had a good solid lock within a few feet of the cache.
The odd thing to me is that it has it's worst problems under pine trees. Oaks, Elms, and other hardwoods don't even faze it, but under pines it will jump around up to 50 feet, even when standing still for long periods.
For trading items I wouldn't suggest that you dig too deep in your pocketbook to buy special items. Most of what you find will be cheap trinkets since too many people don't follow the trade-even/trade-up rule. If you do buy things to trade I'd stick to items in the neighborhood of $5.
I keep a couple $3-$5 items in my bag and usually one nicer one ($10) for the rare occasion I find something worthy of trading for at all, but mostly I just look through the stuff and sign the log.
The odd thing to me is that it has it's worst problems under pine trees.
Now that you mention that, I remember an incident like that in Louisiana. Some of those super tall pines and I would walk 20 feet and the gps, not an X tho, would jump 50 feet or so.
Try a couple of caches closer to home there NBug. Learn how to zero in more out in the open.
02-06-2007, 09:43 PM
Today was our day to try. We searched for one in the Petit Jean State Park area, GCHQAZ, around Cedar Falls.
That cache is one of mine. GPS reception in the bottom of that deep, narrow canyon is really tough, regardless of the type of unit you're using. There are also a LOT of hiding spots in the general cache area. I recently revised the hint to make it easier to locate the right area to search. Better luck to you on your next visit! -- ORR
02-06-2007, 10:27 PM
RiverRunner – I am very stubborn! This is one of my favorite places to hike – so we had a wonderful time in our first trek out in geocaching. I know we were in the right area but again it was covered in snow somewhat – just making things a bit more difficult for a newbie like my son and me.
Thanks for having one set up there – we had a wonderful day on Sunday. The AIR was cold but felt wonderful to breath. I have never seen the mountain with any snow before. If it had not been for you – I probably would have done something else.
I LOVE to hike the Seven Hollows Trail and recommend that trail to anyone that will listen to me talk. Beautiful area and such a wide range of scenery too! We have a handful of caches in the Petit Jean area loaded – waiting to be found by us. Another favorite quick hike is Pinnacle Mtn. – maybe I will find some caches hidden there too.
Another favorite quick hike is Pinnacle Mtn. – maybe I will find some caches hidden there too.
There are six at Pinnacle that I can think of off the top of my head. Three on the mountain, one on the Rocky Valley trail, one on the Arboretum trail and one along the Ouchita trail between the visitor center and the East Summit parking area.
02-08-2007, 01:26 PM
My wife and I were up there that day geocaching also. We orded some geocaching stickers to put on our cache mobiles so other cachers can recognize us. You shouldn't have stopped at that one, we found several that day around in the park. I also believe there were several on the trail that led to the falls. You can look me up on geocaching.com site via this username also and see all the ones we did. A decent one we found was "saved by the babe" it was pretty good.
My wife and I usually take things that we have laying around that we don't want anymore. Like unique keychains we never use, some toys/action figures/ dust collectors we have laying around and would like some other kid to play with them. We also hit wal mart up for items and look for the red tags or very cheap ones just so we can leave something in all of them. We are trying to keep with a outdoor theme (waterproof match containers, flashlights, hand warmers, fishing lures (in package). We also went down teh party favor isle and picked up some kid stuff like slinkys, silly putty, floam and sticky stretchy hands.
Were not sure where we will go this comming weekend perhaps nebo. If you live near cabot like your profile says on gc.com, there are alot around you that are worth a few min to get familar with your gps. I find two and threes easier to find than micros when your downloading them.
good luck on your future caching adventures!
02-11-2007, 09:59 AM
jclaudii – I need one of those sticker for my forehead so ya'll can ID me on the trail!
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