OCNA Admin DudleyGrunt on The Geocaching Podcast 5/6/15

gcpcoverartOCNA’s longest tenured Admin, DudleyGrunt, is an official fill in host on The Geocaching Podcast, and fulfilled those duties for the first time on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 on episode 401. In addition to discussing our site’s new Challenge caches with host HeadHardHat and fellow co-host Taz427, they also discuss two Terracaching.com Cyber caches which support very worthy causes. Those being DG’s own 2015 Walk to Defeat ALS Cyber Cache (which supports defeating ALS, and more specifically, the team Ben’s Buddies in honor of DG’s Father) and St. Baldrick’s 2015 Cyber Cache (which supports childhood Cancer research, and more specifically, Team OConnellz). You can listen to (and watch) the video version of the whole show below. There is the usual pre-show banter, but the actual show starts at the 6:40 mark.

coord.ch Multi Waypoint Redirects


Many Geocachers are familiar with coord.info redirects (or “link shorteners” or “shortcuts”), which can be used only for Geocaches, Travel Bugs and Waymarks listed on Geocaching.com and Waymarking.com respectively. But did you know there is another redirect tool out there that works for almost every other Geocaching website in the world, as well as Geocaching.com listed caches, Travel Bugs and Waymarking.com listings? And as an added bonus, it’s even two characters shorter! That service is provided by the website coord.ch, and it’s very easy to use. Some cachers might not even be familiar with Groundspeak’s coord.info service, let alone coord.ch, so we’ll start with the basics.

Read More

OCNA Blogger does Washknight’s interrogations

yuckbackThe OpenCaching North America Geocaching blog is the blog for an alternative Geocaching website of course, but it’s no secret that other than guest content, it has always had one Author, known on most Geocaching websites as Mr.Yuck, pictured here with stylish army coat, sweatpants and backpack. We’d tell you more about him, and let you see his face, but all you have to do is read on, as this weeks post is him doing the Washknight interrogation. What exactly is that? Washknight is a Geocaching blogger from the UK, who in late September sent out 20 questions to a few fellow Geocaching bloggers to “interrogate” them. This then went sort of viral world wide, at least by the standards of the small Geocaching blogging community, and has become sort of a challenge. As of the date of this post, 18 other bloggers have taken the challenge, with a few more working on it. We ourselves first heard about it via Dabaere’s Only Googlebot reads this blog, and decided to give it a try.

Read More

Webcam Caches; how they work, and a history

OCNA Webcam Cache at Towson University, Md.

The OCNA blogger is going on vacation next week (by the way, there will be a guest post!), and was planning to hit up a Webcam Cache listed on our site near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Collingswood Webcam Cache. So keeping with the recent tradition on this blog of featuring a Locationless and Moving  Cache, along with talking about how these caches work and a history of them, we will do the same this week with Webcam Caches, and also describe the three different types of outdoor public web camera’s that are used for Webcam Caches. As well as plug the fact that we still accept them on our website, as do fellow alternative Gecoaching websites Navicache.com, Terracaching.com and GPSgames.org. You can submit a Webcam cache on any of our sites right now! We list 33 active, 31 in the Untied States, and 2 in Canada, on the OpenCaching.us website. We have published over 40 of them. Approximately 95% of Geocaching.com accounts registered after they stopped accepting these caches in November, 2005, and therefore were never able to have a chance to create one. They are disappearing fast on that website, and very few are left. We have the numbers there, both in the USA, and worldwide, but you’ll have to read on for that.

Read More

Locationless Caches and some fun facts

locationless Geocache

Three weeks ago, we had one of our sporadically featured OpenCaching Network caches, Der Laputische Gruß, a Locationless Cache listed on our sister site Opencaching.de, but with posted coordinates in Washington, D.C. We had planned to do a follow up post on the general topic of Locationless Caches, complete with the OCNA Blogger, Mr. Yuck, going out and finding that cache, and a short video of him rendering the very strange Laputian salute in public. Well, thanks to the coldest and snowiest Winter on record in 25 years or so in the Northeastern U.S., that didn’t happen! So here’s a replacement picture of him logging the Locationless Cache Timmy Time (Terracaching.com waypoint name LCSY), way back on January 21st, 2007. Although this cache type was banned forever by Geocaching.com in January 2006 (in favor of the not very popular Waymarking.com), we have information on where you can go to still “find” over 1,500 of them, or even create your own for others to enjoy. We also discovered some historical fun facts about this cache type in the course of our research, so read on!

locationless geocache
She blinded me with Scien-tology! (LCAA)

Although generally known as Locationless Caches on the alternative Geocaching websites that still accept them, they were actually known as Locationless (Reverse) Caches on Geocaching.com. The Wikipedia definition, which is pretty good, is as follows: “Locationless/Reverse caches are similar to a scavenger hunt. A description is given for something to find, such as a one-room schoolhouse, and the finder locates an example of this object. The finder records the location using their GPS receiver and often takes a picture at the location showing the named object and his or her GPS receiver. Typically others are not allowed to log that same location as a find.” The reverse designation does make sense, as you are giving the cache owner the coordinates of the object, “reversing” the normal process of them providing you with the coordinates of a location that you proceed to.

In the Der Laputische Gruß blog post, we mentioned that Locationless caches are alive and well on fellow alternative Geocaching website Terracaching.com, and have been since that site’s launch in the Fall of 2004. There are currently 1,278 Locationless Caches available there as of the date of this blog post. They are scored separately from traditional caches. Also of note is that Terracaching.com does not support file uploads, you must host your logging photo’s somewhere on the web yourself, and use simple BB code commands to post them in your log.

locationless geocache
Live Bait vending machine (Terracaching.com LCPK)

There are other alternative sites where you can find LC’s too though. The 2nd most popular choice would be Geocaching Australia, which lists 379 of them as of the date of this post. A small percentage of them are designed to be done in Australia, but most are not. Additionally, other alternative sites have a handful of LC’s. OCNA Admin Dudley Grunt has compiled a list of the 16 Locationless caches available on Navicache.com in a post to their forums. GPSgames.org, which has many “GPSgames” besides Geoaching, has 5 Locationless Caches on a quick glance through their small number of listings. And it has been shown that some members of the OpenCaching Network have a handful of LC’s such as Der Laputische Gruß on Opencaching.de. These are generally listed as an unknown cache type, with no container. We at OCNA however, not included! We do not accept Locationless Cache submissions! This decision was made early on by our founder RVRoadTrip (since retired from the site), and we simply have never veered from that policy. We reserve the right to some day change our mind and list Locationless Caches, never say never!

One thing that has been an issue with LC’s dating back to 2001, when Geocaching.com started listing them, is the ability to search for them. How do you know what the LC owner is looking for, without reading hundreds, or even 1,200 cache pages? Sometimes you can get a pretty good idea from the cache name, but usually not. The solution is that people have made lists of available LC’s on the Internet, with links to the LC, and a short (usually 2 sentence or so) overview of what the logging requirements are. The OCNA blogger joined Geocaching.com in August, 2003, and remembers several personal web pages documenting the available LC’s. Most or all of which probably no longer exist. Why would they, they haven’t been needed in over 8 years! For Terracaching.com there is such a list on sister website Terracaching.eu, although it looks to be almost a year out of date at press time. As previously mentioned, OCNA Admin Dudley Grunt has made a list of the available LC’s on Navicache.com. If one exists for the 379 LC’s on Geocaching Australia, we haven’t found it. If we are wrong on either account (a more updated Terracaching.com list, or one for Geocaching Australia), be sure to let us know!

Fun Facts about Locationless Caches: We did promise some fun facts about Locationless Caches, didn’t we? These all pertain to their relatively short-lived, in the grand scheme of things, existence on Geocaching.com:

  • Only 382 LC’s were ever created on Geocaching.com. They are documented on this bookmark list.
  • LC’s were accepted on Geocaching.com only during a 17 month window, from September, 2001 until February, 2003.
  • 89% of LC’s were placed in 2002.
  • The first two LC’s, GC1C90 9/12/2001 Please donate blood cache and GC1CB8 9/17/2001 Candlelight Vigil were both “do anywhere” caches directly inspired by the horrific events of 9/11/2001.
  • A moratorium was enacted on all further LC placements on 2/19/2003. Said Groundspeak CEO Jeremy Irish: “I have suspended all new locationless caches until the >April/May timeframe, when a better way of dealing with them will be in place.” In other words, to concentrate on other issues with the website at that time.
  • Two LC’s were published long after the moratorium was enacted. But GCGHPX 9/27/2003 Firefighting vehicles was actually originally published in February 2003, archived, and republished. GCGYH7 9/23/03 Top of the watershed appears to have totally just got by the reviewer.
  • All LC’s were forcibly archived and locked from further log entries on 1/3/2006. Those of us who were around remember that we had several months notice that they were going away forever.
  • As of the date of this blog post, 93.84% of all Geocaching.com accounts registered after 1/3/2006, and never had an opportunity to log a Locationless Cache, if they so choose.

Sporadically featured cache: OCNA’s oldest cache (sort of) – The Truth Is Out There

We have a very unique cache listing for this installment of the sporadically featured OCNA cache; this cache was originally placed in early March, 2001. Which was less than ten months after Geocaching was invented, and almost ten years before our website was launched! The cache is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (parts of which can be seen in the upper right corner of the Google Sat View above). To find out more about this cache, and why it’s so old, you’ll have to read beyond this conveniently placed page break.

The cache in question, named The Truth Is Out There, was archived on Geocaching.com on August 12th, 2002, and never picked up by it’s owner. It is no longer eligible to be listed there, as there are not one, but two Geocaching.com caches within 528 feet of it’s location, as seen here in a nearby caches search. (By the way, we’d like to insert a plug here that we have only a “300 foot rule” on the OCNA website). It was found (more than 10 years after archival), left in place, cleaned up, and listed on our website by TermiteHunter, the 3rd most prolific cache hider on the OCNA website.

The path to the cache (with Blair Witch figures)

We wondered how TermiteHunter even knew about this archived cache, and why he suspected it might still be in the woods. He says “There had been some discussion in our local club, the Greater Charlotte Geocaching Club, (GCGC  Charlottegeocaching.com) about finding old caches from the early days of caching.  We had talked about the style of the Old Guard cachers especially in reference to NC’s oldest cache Octopus Garden and another, Lara’s Tomb.  While perusing the profiles of some of these original cachers in the area, I took note of their archived caches.  The Truth is Out There logs mentioned that the cache was chained to a tree.  There was no mention that it had disappeared or been removed before archival in fact it had been found by accident by another cacher after archival so I set out to find it.” The blogger doesn’t think this is too unusual, seeing as similar situations have been discussed on his own local forums. For example, many of us in my area speculate that The world’s 62nd placed cache, which is in our area, was never removed after archival. And I’m sure such conversations have taken place on local Geocaching forums all over the world.

This story gets even better though. Although The Truth Is Out There was originally placed as a traditional cache, it was adopted out to another cacher in January, 2002, and was changed to a multi cache, and the first leg was nowhere to be found! Says Termite Hunter “I thought that the cache may not be all that far from the starting point but all I had to go on was that it was chained to a tree.  I searched the area trees expecting that I could avoid the nearby path and low lands subject to flooding.  I spotted it from some distance away.  It was a thrill like finding my first cache.  This thing had been abandoned for years waiting to be found again.  I came prepared to clean it out if I should find it.  The cache is a tool box with a tray inside.  The contents of the tray were mostly ruined by ants that had made it their home and the bottom of the box was full of water and rotted goo.  I cleared it out and placed my new items and log in the tray.  I managed to salvage several old City of  Charlotte token coins that were around during the caches’ heyday.  I kept a few and gave a couple away when telling my story to Geofriends.”

The Cache (with more special effects)

The Blog has received permission from Geocaching.com username adventuretom to use the previous photo, and the one to the right for this post. Obviously, he’s fluent with photoshop, and there’s a Blair Witch Project thing going on, both in his find log photos, and on the original cache page. We didn’t ask. But as we said, Termite Hunter went out ten years and two months after the archival date and found this cache, cleaned it up, obtained coordinates, and decided to list it on OCNA with the same name, The Truth Is Out There. He tells us “I Joined Opencaching.us right after DudleyGrunt posted about it on the GCGC forum. I quickly went out and hid several caches on the site at my favorite park and have promoted OCus, now OCNA, at every opportunity. After finding The Truth is Out There I knew exactly where I would be listing it, hoping that giving others the chance to find such an old cache would be another way to promote OCNA.  The decision was really made for me since newer caches now occupied the .1 mile area around the cache and there was no way to move it being chained to a tree preventing submission of a new listing with Geocaching.com.”

It is important to note, that Termite Hunter posted a note on the original Geocaching.com listing saying the cache is still there and being cared for, and if the owner wants it back, he can reclaim it at any time. We at the Blog think this is a pretty darn good idea, reusing an abandoned container sitting out in the woods, what has become known in the Geocaching community as “Geotrash”; an abandoned container that has not been removed. We don’t see how anyone could have a problem with it. If you are a long time user of one of the alternative Geocaching websites, such as Terracaching.com here in the U.S., I’ll bet you’ve seen this happen before. If you have, feel free to comment on this post, we’re always looking for comments here at the OCNA Blog. Or you could even comment on our new Desert scene banner. Congratulations to Termite Hunter for being the owner (sort of) of the 3rd sporadically featured OCNA Cache. Great job!