August 28, 2010

More Numbers

Geocache used in the Geocaching sport. (Image via Wikipedia)
Groundspeak is encouraging all able-bodied cachers to get out there and cache on Sunday, October 10th, to celebrate 10-10-10 and 10 years of geocaching. The following item was taken  from the weekly Groundspeak newsletter:

Plan to Go Geocaching on 10-10-10

We want to see how many geocachers can go geocaching on a single day! We've chosen 10-10-10, since the date represents 10 years of geocaching and 10 years of Groundspeak in 2010. Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your worst enemy (if that's what it takes) and let's see if we can beat the previous record of 56,654 accounts logging on April 18, 2010. Even one log counts since we are counting how many accounts log a cache rather than the number of caches logged.
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Cache On!

August 21, 2010

Getting Out

I'm afraid I don't have any good techno tips this week, so instead, I decided just to share my recent cache outing in Anthony Chabot Regional Park, which is nestled away in the hills of Oakland, California. This park is chock full of caches, and it has the added bonus of being very mountain bike friendly. So I packed up my bike and my GPSr, and off I went.

Hard to believe you are smack-dab in the middle of a densely populated urban region of more than 7 million people when you are in this park.

One of the few trails in this park not accessible to bikes. And they're serious.

While looking for a cache, I accidentally found this letterbox hide. The cache and the letterbox were hidden in the same tree.

Snake Crossing

View from the trail

Cache, and Ride, On!

August 14, 2010

Challenges Galore

A while ago, I posted an overview of Challenge Caches, and listed some of  the old standbys like the USGS Quadrangle Challenges, DeLorme Challenges, County Challenges, and the Fizzy Challenge. These were, and still are, the hallmarks of Challenge Caches, which may be one reason they continue to be so popular and enduring.

Recently, however, I've started noticing new types of Challenge Caches emerging that are more geographically confined than those listed above, and some that even incorporate pop culture elements into them. 

For example, the Fifty Parks Challenge (posted 8/3/10) requires the cacher to find fifty caches in fifty parks or regional trails administered by the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). And the Las Trampas Challenge (posted 6/22/10) asks each cacher to find and log all the caches within the boundaries of Las Trampas Regional Park, which is just one park in the EBRPD system. Las Trampas contained a total of 79 caches when this challenge was posted, but that number appears to be growing daily.

The nice part about these challenge caches having all of the hides in the same regional area is that they can generally be completed in a day or two, and don't require putting thousands of miles on your vehicle.

One of my favorite, recent Challenge Caches posted in our area is the Bushwood Country Club Challenge, which combines caching and Caddyshack into one geocaching extravaganza. I'm happy to report that I have now completed all 18 holes, and have the coordinates for the final, Caddyshack cache. That's me, tied for 9th place with my buddy Rohrerboy on the leaderboard:

Following closely on the heels of the Bushwood Challenge is the Kingpin Challenge that just went live. Instead of visiting local golf courses to find caches, however, you are required to search ten east bay bowling alleys to complete the challenge.

Not to be outdone, I can report, without giving away too much information, that a new challenge cache is already in the works in the greater east bay area. That's all I can say for now, but stay tuned for more info. after publication.

So be sure to check out the challenge caches in your area. They may seem a little intimidating at first; but once you get into them, I guarantee you'll be hooked.

Cache On! 

August 7, 2010

GSAK, The Next Generation

Wenger Swiss Army knife, opened.Image via Wikipedia
A new version of the Geocaching Swiss Army Knife (GSAK) program was released this week. While version 7.7.2 includes some minor enhancements and bug fixes, it isn't necessarily a major update of the software. What is interesting about this version, is that it requires existing registered GSAK owners to use a newly-assigned serial number, as the old unique registration number we've always had will no longer be valid. So if you are a current GSAK user, make sure you refer back to the email you received from Clyde, the GSAK developer, that contains your new serial number. If you lost the email, or your new serial number, you can always visit the Lost Registration site to have it emailed to you.

Once you upgrade to the new version, one of the first things you'll notice the first time you load a GPX file (in the form of a pocket query or a single cache listing) into GSAK is that the file is most likely in the old GPX format that does not include attributes. GSAK will provide a pop-up window explaining that Groundspeak changed the format of GPX files to include attributes, but did not make this change the default on your account.

To make the change, you need to go to your account page, scroll down to the bottom, and change the "GPX Version" from 1.0 to 1.0.1.

Save the change, and you'll be good to go. Now every GPX file you download will include the cache attributes along with all the other pertinent information. Most applications will either use the extra attribute data, or ignore it. The only application that may have a problem with the GPX 1.0.1 format is Delorme Cache Register. If you are using an application that cannot handle the extra attribute data, simply switch back to GPX version 1.0 using the same steps described above.

Cache On!