With the start of August it is a good time to concentrate on non-winter friendly Geocaches. In a few months those will likely be buried under that white stuff that has a habit of showing up every fall.
My wife and I always seem to wait too long for some of them and the expression, “Oh well, we’ll get them in the spring!” has become too common. We have been working on them this summer and are planning to continue to shorten that particular list.
How do you know which ones are not winter friendly? If you are not a premium member you are pretty much limited to searching each cache page individually to look for the snowflake with the red circle and line through it in the attributes. (Much like the red circle and line on a no smoking or no parking sign.) You should also check the description for the words “not Winter Friendly (or similar)” as some Cache Owners either don’t use the attributes choosing instead to write it into the description or just don’t use them at all.
The news is somewhat better for premium members. You can use Pocket Queries to search for not winter friendly caches. Alternatively you can do a search for those caches you have not found, take a screen shot and then search for winter friendly ones. Use the last search to eliminate the friendly ones from your screenshot.
Now, what is a not winter friendly cache? The short answer is a generalization. Above the knees is used by many to try to figure out a winter friendly cache so below the knees is a good benchmark for a not winter friendly cache. Some not winter friendly ones may be above this though, depending on the location and how the weather affects it. The cache owner is expected to use their best judgement to determine this.
Some examples of not winter friendly caches are Tupperware or Loc N Loc containers hidden in hollows at the bottom of a tree, under a fallen tree, under a structure (building, bridge, etc), a hollow log, or anywhere else that one of these containers may fit. Many times they will be covered with natural camo. That could be branches, leaves or anything that is natural to the area it is in.
Pill bottles will be something that you will run across hidden lower. They may be covered in camouflaged tape or painted to match the location they are in. Ammo boxes are a container that is not as common as they used to be. These are commonly in a spot where you need to do some bush crashing.
Fake rocks, usually designed for holding your spare house keys as well as real rocks drilled to hold a log book are something that can be a real nightmare. Imagine for a moment someone taking one of the rocks at the edge of a bridge home, drilling a geo hole in it and returning it to the location amongst the three or four hundred other rocks that resemble it. Hopefully they set the difficulty level to something that warns you of it.
I have seen sprinkler heads in the middle of an area, small centrifugal tubes glued to a piece of wood in a spot with other wood chips (tube inserted into the ground), a piece of wood hollowed out just lying on the ground and small zip lock bags covered in duct tape or camo tape sitting under some leaves, all holding a geocache log.
With 3D printers becoming more common there are a lot of new designs showing up. They have made it easy to have geocaches be anything you can imagine.
All of these are next to impossible to find after the snow falls, but some people really enjoy the challenge of finding them. Both my wife and I will leave them for an easier time, as long as we remember to. Oh well, we’ll get them next spring.
We would love to meet you on the trail.
Gary Brown is the President of the Manitoba Geocaching Association (MBGA) and can be reached at [email protected].