Thursday, January 7, 2016

Pen and Paper

When I first started to geocache 15 years ago, I had a new GPS unit, but you couldn't input cache pages into the unit because it had not computer cord to connect it up to the computer.  Nowadays, that almost seems like standard equipment, although I recently went to a Geocaching Event where someone gave away as a white elephant gift a GPS unit exactly like my original.

Back in those days, if we wanted to go out geocaching, we'd print out the cache pages and carry them with us, often times writing notes about the caching experience on them and then hopefully, keeping them in order so when we got home, we could then write our log write ups on the computer to lay claim to the find we'd found out in the field.

Now, the only pen and paper you see while geocaching is usually the paper log book inside the geocache and the pen that all good geocachers carry with them because most geocaches are so small that they don't have room for a pen.  You have to be able to sign the log book to claim the find.  

And so it goes with technology.  We've pretty much eliminated the need for pen and paper, yet we still use it.  Some things are hard to change.  It would be fun to see all geocaches go totally electronically.  Find the geocache, then once you have the geocache in your hand, input your electronic signal access code given to you from the website and you automatically get credit for a geocache find.  As with anything, I can see people hacking the system to cheat, but we see that all the time no matter what.  I guess it's a challenge.  For me, the challenge is the find.  I'm not going to lie about how many geocaches I've found, just to inflate my numbers and impress someone else.  The only one I'm in this for is me.

But I digress a little.  Totally electronic geocaching would be fun, but I really do like the pen and paper.  With the total electronic version, you'd have no need to look through all the stuff in the cache.  Even though I don't usually take anything, it's still fun to see what's in there.


  1. I don't think I want to see geocaching go all electronic. When I started, it was at the end of the "print the cache pages" era. I remember making PDF files of cache pages and putting them on one of those Dell handheld PDAs. I love having access to pages via my phone, or even using it as my GPS (I still have and use my original GPS -- a Garmin CS60), but I like signing a log, even if it's a small one. Sometimes, when I find a great bigger cache, I still try and write longer things.

    If the game becomes too electronic, I think it takes away from some of what it was originally made for. As it is, with the onset of the apps and all that, the game has become extremely watered down. Take more away and it will continue to do so. I still like to cache, but I've lost some interest in it (how many lampost or guardrail hides can one fine?), and I think part of that is because of how electronic the game has become.

  2. Even in this digital age, I still use pen and paper, and reading the posts on this topic has reminded me just how much I do. Every trip we take, I have a notebook to record the details, time, mileage, gas prices, restaurants and daily activities. I type these up and put them in binder so I have all my vacation information in one place. It also speaks to today's topic of fading memories. It keeps those trips alive for me.

    1. I do the same thing. I like keeping the gas mileage handy, yet really don't do much with it after we return. But the notes are invaluable for sorting photos.

  3. I, as well, still have my original GPS. The one pictured above is my third of four GPS units I've used since I started geocaching. I guess I'm hard on my units.

    And I also agree with you about the watering down of geocaching. One of the things that keeps me motivated are the challenge caches. I have so many bookmarked and I'm working several different ones all the time. I've already completed the 58 county challenge for California. Yes, I've found a geocache in every county in California. That's actually quite difficult to do and it took me several years to complete.

    My beef with geocaching is anyone can hide a cache almost instantly. With all of the electronic capabilities out there, I think could make a macro or filter that would not allow a person to be able to publish a geocache until they've found at least 100 caches or have been geocaching for six months. Either criteria, in my opinion, shows staying power.

    I get more frustrated when a 15 year old kid discovers geocaching, hides a cache, but never maintains it because the next week he discovered girls.