Skip to Content
Register · Login
About Theme

A Letterboxing Community

Search Edit

Read Thread: how to catch a geocacher?

how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Nov 25, 2006 6:20pm
Board
I only vaguely understand the geocacher hobby... I don't know how they look up clues.... HOWEVER, I just received an email from a should be FF on my new series of boxes I've launched... box is intact -stamp stolen. I can't describe to you how I feel about this. How/why did a geocacher pull up my clues off of Atlas Quest and go after a letterbox? I don't understand how they could "find" my box "unintentionally" and rip of my very awesome stamp that I was looking forward to sharing with my LB friends! Is there any way to find out who did this? Do they leave signatures as well or something? I was told I have a little pink bear. Nice. Oh I'm so mad!

~Queen Beeloved
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:23pm
Board
I dont know much about geocaching, but i think the idea of it is to take a trinket, leave a trinket. Maybe they thought your stamp was a trinket. And the pink bear is what they left??

I am sorry to hear your stamp got swiped. Did you put a "This is a letterbox" note on the box? I have seen those on most of the ones I have found.

I am sure there are people out here that know far more about this than me....
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:23pm
Board
Quote We found the box, but the stamp was missing. Your book was there and a small pink teddy bear was included in the box. Our assumption is someone thought it was a geocache. We were certainly disappointed, as we found your Ocelot and were looking forward to another endangered species. I'm sure you are disappointed to hear. Let us know if you replace/relocated. Thanks!


The wind is knocked out of the sails. How common is this?

~Queen Beeloved
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52803 by Crazyolis
Nov 25, 2006 6:26pm
Board
Yes, the notice and explanation was there.

~QB
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52805 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:30pm
Board
Quote The wind is knocked out of the sails. How common is this?


You're going to get a lot of horror stories, because it does happen. I have felt like the geocachers around here are becoming more and more aware of letterboxing and that the two hobbies were co-existing pretty nicely. I've gotten some trinkets and calling cards in some of my boxes, but I've never lost a stamp. At least I don't think so, maybe I should stop blaming the raccoons all the time!

The geocachers greatly outnumber the letterboxers. And every year, new ones get GPS units for the holidays and join up. Last year a few days after Christmas, there were some new ones just shouting at the Arboretum, looking for a cache.

I've seen your stamps. Whoever traded a pink teddy bear for one of your carves DEFINITELY got the good end of the trade.

Dewberry
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52805 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:31pm
Board
Too common. I always label the box "NOT A GEOCACHE," and write "DO NOT TAKE" on the back of the stamp if I can. Some boxers write "Nothing leaves this box."

It's not deliberate. Geocachers look up coordinates at their website, but their gizmos are only accurate to a fairly large radius. Once they get in the general area they start looking around, thinking "where would I hide something." They could help their image with letterboxers a lot if they did a better job of educating their newbies as to the differences between the two hobbies. Try a zipcode search at geocaching.com.
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52805 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:32pm
Board
This is somewhat common here in the Rocky Mountain region. I've personally had a geocache placed less than 15 feet from a box I'd placed 2 months earlier. It was a geocacher who let me know, and when I looked into the site for that cache I realized heaps and heaps of cachers had found my box!

Since neither hobby, for the most part, tends to check the locations of others, I've resorted to labeling all my boxes with "This is letterbox NOT a GEOCACHE" on the outside of all my boxes (along with "not trash - do not remove/destroy) with text inside explaining what letterboxing and that "nothing is to leave this box." The box I mention above had a bunch of stuff written all over the box (as above), so I feel like that's why I didn't lose my stamp - thank goodness.

Doesn't help ease your pain right now, but might be something to think about for the future.

preboxed
Denver
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:34pm
Board
Bummer!! I just updated my "inside notification label" to be more specific:

OFFICIAL LETTERBOX
PLEASE RETURN TO HIDING PLACE
Letterboxing is a a worldwide game, where someone hides a "treasure"
(this container and its contents) and publishes the directional clues on the internet.
Please do NOT take the stamp or anything in this box.
Make sure it is well sealed and hidden when you are finished.

To learn more, visit http://www.letterboxing.org

If you have found this box by accident, please return it to its hiding place.
(Check www.letterboxing.org by county to get the clues.)
If contents are missing or damaged, please contact the placer
at [my cell phone] or [my email].
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:37pm
Board
Hi Queen Beeloved,

You might try to contact the geocacher who found your letterbox and ask them to return your stamp. It is probably a case of mistaken identity... there is probably a geocache nearby and they thought your box was it. If you go to the geocaching website and create a free account, you can probably track down which geocache your box was mistaken for and might even be able to figure out who the culprit is.

Of course, if you do find the "culprit" I would seriously recommend using all your skills of politeness and respect and concern in attempting to contact them... there is enough unwarranted distrust between the two hobbies that one would hope to not add to it.

If you need help with this, contact me offline. I'm very sorry for you to have to go through this! :( but don't lose hope yet!

MoonBunny
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52808 by dewberry
Nov 25, 2006 6:42pm
Board
Boy, you don't even know! I really liked my toad. I actually have an image sitting on my desk, it was so great. ARGH!!!!!!!

~Queen Beeloved
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52805 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:52pm
Board
Quote The wind is knocked out of the sails. How common is this?

~Queen Beeloved


Unfortunately, very. :( It's happened to us over a dozen times in the past 4+ years. You just learn to deal with it and label just about everything on your letterbox as 'this is a letterbox', 'this is not a geocache' and especially write on the back of the stamp in sharpie marker--the name of the letterbox and that it is not a trade item. That seems to have cut back on the stamps disappearing a tad--but even with all those precautions, it still happens. You'd be amazed at some of the 'I found your letterbox while geocaching' notes over the years; you'd be even more amazed at some of the angry notes like that I received because geocachers thought they had found the geocache they were looking for instead finding mine, doing there business with it and then only to return home and realize they didn't find their geocache and subsequently don't get 'find' credit for their geocache. They never bother to include in those comments that they saw 'this is a letterbox & this is not a geocache' emblazoned all over the container and it's contents.

Jaded? A bit--pretty sad because we letterbox AND geocache.

But for every negative experience we've had due to something like this we've also had some good experiences with the geocaching community, helping to maintain our letterboxes and even tag-teamed to adopt & maintain some geocaches of ours that we helped plant/maintain in Asia. So, it's hit or miss...

Hang in there--occasionally, you may be able to explain the situation to the geocacher and they might return the stamp. I've had that happen once, too. I've also rescued some obvious letterbox stamps from geocaches that had been converted into trade items over the years. How did I know they were letterbox stamps? One of the stamps was part of a hitchhiker letterbox I'd found a few years before stumbling on it again. Funny, there were two hand-carved stamps in that geocache and then another hand-carved stamp on a staedtler marker we found in another geocache that we'd found that same day.

Don't let it discourage you. Just try to come up with proactive ways to help preclude it from happening again.

daelphinus
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52805 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 6:58pm
Board
Quote
Quote We found the box, but the stamp was missing. Your book was there and a small pink teddy bear was included in the box. Our assumption is someone thought it was a geocache. We were certainly disappointed, as we found your Ocelot and were looking forward to another endangered species. I'm sure you are disappointed to hear. Let us know if you replace/relocated. Thanks!



The wind is knocked out of the sails. How common is this?

~Queen Beeloved

I was wondering how you knew it was a geocacher. Thanks for posting the email you received. Sounds like it was likely a geocacher who didn't know what a letterbox is. My guess is that your box is near a geocache. You could try searching the geocaching site.

Go to: http://www.geocaching.com
Type in the zipcode for the area that you placed the box.
For example, if it were hidden in MacKenzie State Park in Lubbock Texas the zip code is: 79403
In the right hand upper screen you'll see a " Search for caches..." area type the zip code into the zip code box.
You'll find approximately 15 geocaches within 2 miles of that zipcode.
Read the logs to see if anyone mentions finding a nearby box.
To contact the logger you will need to set up a free account. If you set up a free account you'll also get to see maps, which give you a good idea where each geocache is located.

In 4 years of hiding letterboxes and letterbox/geocache hybrids, I have had one letterbox stamp removed from a geocache/letterbox hybrid. The geocacher posted a note in the online log about the trade. I emailed him and he personally delivered the stamp to my mailbox. So good results can happen. Do it quickly though before he/she trades it for something in another cache. I believe the reason that mine got traded out was because I didn't put a note in the box saying "Do not take the stamp. Do not trade out. Leave it in the box." I'm being more vigilant now. I also write "Leave in box" on the back of the stamp and my email address with a fine point sharpie marker. I also know where all the geocaches are hidden in my area so I'm careful not to hide a letterbox too close to a geocache.

Lone R
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52820 by Lone R
Nov 25, 2006 7:08pm
Board
Well, I am trying to create an account... unfortunately it isn't letting me! The form verification box has an x in it.... and of course I'm not all that computer savy... it gives me an error and something about compatibility? This is just getting more frustrating by the moment it seems.

~QB
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 7:13pm
Board
Quote I don't understand how they could "find" my box "unintentionally"


Geocaching is "inexact". They are given coordinates which get them to a certain spot. Then they have to search around to find the hiding spot of the cache. It was probably a newbie cacher and there probably is a cache near where you planted your box.

I also write "Not a Geocache" all over my boxes. So far I've not lost a stamp to cachers, but the cachers around here seem to be a bit aware of letterboxing as a separate pastime.

Knit Wit
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52823 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 7:33pm
Board
There are several nearby possibilities.

Arbor Hills II is a multi stage cache and
The Enterprise Incident
Who Put all these trees on the hill (probably not this one because it says its under rocks)
Fun by the Waterfalls

My guess is that it's one of the first two. Neither of them mentions what they traded. You can post a note to the logs asking if anyone took your stamp. That might be the best way to go about it, but as mentioned by others, do it in a really nice way.

Good luck!
DB
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52830 by dewberry
Nov 25, 2006 7:42pm
Board
Oops! Missed some.

There is also a travel bug exchange (kind of like a HH hostel) there:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=546e616c-c52c-49c7-8ce4-55431ef80b91

If the pink teddy bear is a travel bug, it will have a tag that will let you know who left it there. Although, generally, they would not be interested in taking a non-travel bug.

And finally, this one:
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=08d2417b-9ac1-47e1-9499-4652eea2abdf

It's hard for me reading the logs and not having a sense of the park which one it might be. You may know the area better and be able to pick out which one is closest to your letterbox.

DB
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52840 by Pioneer Spirit
Nov 25, 2006 8:25pm
Board
Quote Good lord...937 listings within 50 miles of my house...


Yes, that's why it's difficult to avoid having geocachers stumble on letterboxes--because geocaches are everywhere! I have a feeling this is why many regions are discouraging or outright banning geocaching (& subsequently letterboxing & other 'stashing activities' via guilt by association) from natural areas--not necessarily because they're opposed to people getting out and exploring the outdoors but more because of the sheer numbers involved in the hobby. The impact on the environment can be rather devastating when there are so many folks scrambling up & down & off trails combing the gridsquares for 'treasure'--especially if the 'hint' on the geocache listing is rather nebulous and the tendency to attempt to find caches without using the 'hint' is more revered than when geocachers use the hint to lessen their negative impact on the region. Finding the GCs 'hint-free' seems to be a big badge of achievement around the GC circles--just pick some random GC listings and comb through the logbooks and you'll see it mentioned occasionally.

Trying to plant a letterbox in a region where there isn't a geocache already is difficult but even if you are fortunate enough to find a spot that is GC free (for the moment at least)--it doesn't take long before a GC will move into the area potentially causing more 'cross-pollination' problems. I've had at least 10 long occupied letterbox hiding spots become geocache hiding spots over the years. Each time I'd try to be proactive and just move the letterbox to at least 30' away from the spot and modify the clue but after awhile that gets to be burdensome, too. It never ends!!! Lately, I've resorted to just retiring those boxes where it's happened that resulted in problems (mostly because it isn't easy for me to physically get back to the area where the boxes are hidden as we've since relocated).

daelphinus
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 25, 2006 9:43pm
Board
Chances are they didn't bother pulling up clues off AQ, they just stumbled on your box.

Geocaching grows far more quickly every day than letterboxing does. Once you've got a GPS unit, all you need to do is to upload waypoints and walk until you're at the right spot. Or close to it, anyway.

Therein lies the problem. There's no final direction like we provide. It's basically a shotgun search. Start from one spot and overturn every object you find, whether or not it's on a trail or in a sensitive area.

I actually received a GPS unit for Christmas a couple of years ago. Sensing that my decent reputation as a letterboxer would be forever tarnished if I ever let slip something like, "...I found a letterbox when I was geocaching the other day...", I returned it to the store from whence it came and got me something more enjoyable: a remote control car and Christmas decorations at 75% off.

My boxes are clearly marked externally and internally with "This Is a Letterbox" and "This is not Trash or a Geocache." Sometime I chuckle to myself because I place "geocache" in the same qualifying sentence as "trash".

It's terrible that you've had such bad luck with a brand-new box. I think you should do whatever you can to try and get the stamp back. Each cache log displays the last 5 cachers to log their find. I'm sure you could narrow it down to a few.

Best of luck...

Steve
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52857 by BrewHiker
Nov 25, 2006 10:12pm
Board
Quote Sometime I chuckle to myself because I place "geocache" in the same qualifying sentence as "trash".


I do that everytime I write them...on the same line.
;-) preboxed
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52857 by BrewHiker
Nov 25, 2006 10:13pm
Board
Quote Sometime I chuckle to myself because I place "geocache" in the same qualifying sentence as "trash".


I do that everytime I write them...on the same line.
;-) preboxed
Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52859 by preboxed
Nov 26, 2006 12:54am
Board
Well I was a geocacher too..but I never really "GOT" it. I still use my gps while hiking though...and love having it when I am on a bushwhack in the deep woods. I am lucky that we have a lot of thoughtful geocachers in the Syracuse area. Only had a couple of problems in as many years and I just retired mine and/or moved my boxes.

And this may be slightly controversial, but I no longer put the www.letterboxing.org or www.atlasquest.com addresses in my letterboxes. I only put my own email "lockwench@yahoo.com" in the box in case it is found by a muggle with bad intentions. Then at least I know I haven't exposed every other box to danger. Last year I had a muggle who seemed to be going through the local listings in a certain part of the county and I had 7 boxes disappear or trashed. So my new boxes will only have a way for a finder to get hold of ME. I have had a couple of muggles find them inadvertently and ask me about the hobby. I write to them, explaining the hobby and offer the online addresses if they are interested. I've had a couple write back and ask me for it..and a couple more who took the time to do some online research. Which is exactly the kind I want to expose to the hobby...those who have a true interest and took the time to write.

LW PhD
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52813 by MO UR4Me
Nov 26, 2006 3:58am
Board
If you have found this box by accident, please return it to its hiding place.
(Check www.letterboxing.org by county to get the clues.)
If contents are missing or damaged, please contact the placer
at [my cell phone] or [my email].

I'm not sure that I would put my cell phone number there.... e-mail would be fine however.

MW
Re: Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52868 by Lock Wench
Nov 26, 2006 6:25am
Board
I had a recent box found by a geo-cacher before I had the clues posted on Atlasquest! Fortunately, s/he was knowledgable about letterboxing and didn't take anything. How do I know it was a geo-cacher? They said so in the note!
-- Dagonell the Pirate
Re: stamp attachment/geocachers are people too
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52802 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 26, 2006 9:29am
Board
QB, What happened to you is very unfortunate, but I want to say that you really can't get too attached to your stamps. And you can't take it personally when they go missing, for whatever reason.

While my carving skills are in no way comparable to yours, I lost what I considered to be a wonderful stamp very early on in my letterboxing carreer. At the time I wasn't keeping a logbook for my carves, so I had to go back and recarve the image from the original photograph. It was time consuming and frustrating, but the replacement image turned out better than the orignial. (Practice makes perfect, but I'm certainly not suggesting you need practice!)

You boxes and stamps WILL go missing again. It's not probable, it's certain. If you get too upset over it every time, it'll kill the joy of letterboxing for you.

About the "down with geocachers" thing: I've met some really nice geocachers on the trail, and I know a couple personally. I've noticed some very negative vibes concerning geocachers from the letterboxing community. Strangely enough, I don't get the same vibes from geocachers about letterboxers. Perhaps it's because we put so much time and effort into our carvings. But many geocachers put a lot of effort into their plants and finds, too. Try coming up with a good ammo box, purchasing REAL items like cammo tape, flashlights, batteries, maps and various camping supplies...some geocachers include notes about the history, geology, and ecology of the plant site as well as photos, souvenirs, etc. And of course, they spend hundreds of dollars on their GPS units and software.

I toyed with the idea of doing it myself. We've stumbled on more than one cache and my kids, especially, always enjoy making exchanges and logging into the caches and we've always left something better than what we took. I've heard all the talk about "fast food trinkets", and yes, often geocaches end up buckets of junk. But I don't think they start off that way, and even so...it really is about the hunt. I feel the same way about letterboxing. It's the experience that supposed to be rich, not the end result. Sometimes you are lucky and it is both.

So lighten up, letterboxers. You never know when a geocacher is listening.
Re: stamp attachment/geocachers are people too
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52900 by Black Widow
Nov 26, 2006 10:01am
Board
The real bummer is that it was an "unfound" box. I carve for my fellow letterboxers. I am very disappointed that no one was able to have this image before it vaporized... I'm still searching with the hopes that this stamp can be found... Thank you ALL for all the assistance and the education on geocaching hobby. For the record there are letterboxers as well as goecachers looking for this "Toad on the run!"

I guess, it's been a timing thing.... my first stamp to go missing, on the cusp of my release of another series and that the Toad wan't collected by the people I intended is just salt in the wounds if you will! I don't think it was intentional... but I'm hoping that this mistake can be corrected!

I LOVE to carve... but I've moved onto other images, switched gears so to speak.... I'd rather find him than recarve.. don't worry Stargazer...our series WILL BE complete once again. -Either way;-)

~QB
Re: Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52880 by Dagonell
Nov 26, 2006 10:29am
Board
I think that half the problem is that alot of geocachers don't know anything about letterboxing and vica versa. I learned about both at the same time and decided letterboxing was what I wanted to do. Still, I learned the basics of what geocaching is, so when I was looking for a place to place one of my boxes and found a geocache, I was aware enough to write a note basically saying 'hey, nice box, good spot...left nothing, took nothing.'

Since the two hobbies are related, it would behoove people to learn at least the basics of each one. That might solve most of the problems. Not all, but most....
Re: Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52904 by Jaxx
Nov 26, 2006 10:42am
Board
I agree! Educating yourself BEFORE you deal with missing stamps is the way to go.. I've been checking out the geocacher sites... it doesn't look like I'm going to find a spot that they haven't around here though. They are EVERYWHERE! We'll just have to find a way to co-exist. I'll be lableing everything BOLDLY from now on. That's for sure. -even though my box and logbook were labled I plan on using the do not take and not a geocache in the future!

~Queen Beeloved
Re: Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52906 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 26, 2006 10:50am
Board
Tip from a geocacher...
Quote If you list your letterbox on the Geocaching.com site, they will enforce that no new caches are hidden within 528 feet of your letterbox.


Didn't know that was possible. FYI to all out there.

~Queen Beeloved
Re: how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52825 by knit wit
Nov 26, 2006 10:50am
Board
Quote Geocaching is "inexact". They are given coordinates which get them to a certain spot. Then they have to search around to find the hiding spot of the cache.


I describe the difference as "30 miles vs. 30 feet". If you're 30 miles from a letterbox, you may have absolutely no idea which way to go or how to proceed, but once you're within 30 feet you have it all figured out and can walk straight to the hiding place. If you're 30 miles from a geocache you know exactly which way to go because the GPSr tells you, but once you get within 30 feet the GPSr becomes worthless and you must start looking.

This, of course, is why many geocache listings come with encrypted hints that will help you find the cache once you're within that 30 feet. But the idea is to try to find it without decrypting the hint, so geocachers will look first -- and if they happen to find your letterbox, they think they've succeeded.

Some geocachers won't even look at the cache listing at all, they just load the coordinates in their GPSr and head out. Hence, they have no idea what size container they're looking for, what might be in it, or the like. It's more of a challenge this way -- but it also increases the likelihood of finding the wrong thing, especially in a park chock full of both geocaches and letterboxes.
Re: Controversy/was... how to catch a geocacher?
Board: Dead Horses, Lemurs, and Kittens!
Reply to: #52908 by Queen Beeloved
Nov 26, 2006 10:51am
Board
Quote If you list your letterbox on the Geocaching.com site, they will enforce that no new caches are hidden within 528 feet of your letterbox.


My question is: If you don't have a GPS unit, how do you know the coordinates to log it into geocaching.com?

TG