A CITO is a type of event for Geocachers, but first… a question. Here goes, “A friend told me that any geocaches that are in a spruce tree are too hard to find so don’t bother with them. Is this true?”
Absolutely not. There are some that you may feel are almost impossible but many pine or spruce tree hides are easy to find and others are usually findable if you remain calm and check them out methodically.
When you approach an evergreen look at the main part of the tree to see if anything stands out that could be a geocache. Look at the base for a geotrail (footprints of previous finders). If you don’t see any, look at adjacent trees for the telltale trail as coordinates can be out by two or three metres. Often you can follow these to the prize. Seeing none, approach the tree and look for easy entrances to the interior of the tree as this may likely be the spot it is hidden. Once you have fully circled the tree if you still have not located it this is when you pull out the tool usually carried by Geocachers and normally not other people in the summer, gloves. Many evergreen needles tend to be sharp and there is a possibility of sap being present. Lift the branches one at a time and check in, around, under and on top of the branches. At this stage a spruce cache is usually found.
If you don’t find it, simply log a DNF (Did Not Find) and come back soon. A good time to return is right after someone else finds it as you now know it does exist and wasn’t missing. On the geocache page there is a place where you can click on “watch” and you will be notified when someone else has found it. As you are waiting, look through other Geocacher comments for a clue.
CITO is an acronym for Cache In Trash Out. Officially, it is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community and has been a part of geocaching since 2002. They take place regularly in 128 countries and are especially popular in Canada.
Generally, a CITO is a cleanup of an area such as a park, walkway, playground area or any other cache friendly space. A CITO can also be used for any purpose that enhances these areas. This would include habitat restoration, trail building, tree planting and has even included removing invasive species. These activities would usually include permission from the owner of the property such as municipal governments, local organizations, or the land manager. Stealth is not required for any CITO event and non Geocachers are welcome to join.
When attending a CITO garbage bags are normally supplied and in some cases, gloves. A good idea is to bring your own gloves and what is affectionately called a reachy or grabber stick. It’s that long thing with a trigger on one end and a claw on the other controlled by the trigger. This makes it easier to pick up the litter.
At times there are treats, the best homemade cookies I ever tasted were at a CITO. These may be supplied by the organizer or as a sort of potluck item. Anyone can bring something along. Coffee has been brought by some, especially since some of the popular coffee spots offer large containers of their product, but bring your own if you cannot go without a fix of caffeine.
As with any event this is an opportunity to get together with others in the Geocaching community. Conversation usually centres around geocaches, especially a new one that may be special or interesting. If you are interested in trying geocaching or meeting other geocachers come to a CITO. There are usually geocaches in the area of the CITO and most members would be happy to take you along to find one for yourself. There is one on March 18th at 10 am, it’s a Saturday. It starts at the north end of the portion of Molson that is south of the Chief Peguis Trail. (N 49° 55.587 W 097° 02.982, you can type this into google maps to see the location) Don’t forget to dress for the weather.
I look forward to meeting some of you at a CITO.
Gary Brown is the vice president of the Manitoba Geocaching Association (MBGA) and can be reached at MBGAexec@outlook.com.