Sunday, March 18, 2012

Five Cache Types To Do Before They’re Gone

cache

When you first started Geocaching you were probably unaware of all the different cache types.  You thought that geocaching was as simple as turning up to a set of co-ordinates and finding the container hidden there.  As you progressed you probably became vaguely aware of multi-caches and puzzle caches.  Your first multi had you going to a number of locations gathering clues in order to derive the cache’s final co-ordinates.  Your first puzzle cache had you sat at your computer scratching your head as you tried to work out some cryptic puzzle, designed to test your mental abilities, before delivering you the location of the actual container.

In your day to day geocaching these are the three cache types you will primarily encounter.  But are you aware that there are many other types as well?  Some of you may have attended an event and collected the icon for that, but there are many more besides, running from Benchmarks to the GPS Maze Exhibit.  You may have even been lucky enough to collect the recent new Giga event icon or have visited an earthcache.

Whilst people can, providing they meet all the criteria, set up new caches with these icons, there are a few where they can’t.  Some cache types have been retired, allowing existing caches to remain and be logged as long as the cache remains but not allow for new caches of this type to be set up.  As time passes on and more of these caches get archived, these types only get rarer and rarer.  Some types, such as locationless caches, have completely disappeared from the game with cachers unable to even log one any more.  Others are in danger of joining these archived cache types.

So with that in mind, here are five cache types that we recommend Geocachers go out and find before they disappear from the game.

Virtual Cache

virtual cache ghost

Virtuals are a cache type where no physical cache actually resides.  Instead, much like an earthcache, a geocacher will visit a location, gather information and send it to the cache owner as confirmation.  Virtual caches were handy for locations where it just wouldn’t be possible to place a physical cache.  They are represented by the icon of a ghost.

But the type was retired in 2005.  Groundspeak tried to reinvent virtuals with their separate Waymarking game, but it never generated the same appeal.

There’s still plenty of virtual caches dotted around the world but they do get archived over time and so their number is dwindling.  We’ll still have them for years to come hopefully, but if you’re looking to expand your number of different types of caches found it’s not really worth hanging around.

Webcam Cache

Webcams were a type of virtual that required you to go to a location with a public webcam and then get a picture of yourself on their stream.  In the age before smartphones this proved incredibly difficult, and even now you’ll often find geocachers asking on forums or social media for someone to take a picture of them at some webcam or other.

Given that running a webcam takes technology and money, and couple that with modern-day privacy fears, a lot of webcam caches have disappeared.

With the number dropping hard over the last couple of years, I’d recommend you don’t wait around if you are thinking of collecting this icon.  In some places of the world these are already very difficult to find and it’s likely that their scarcity will become more widespread as the years go on and more webcams go offline for good.

Ape Cache

apecacheThis is a cache type so rare that at the time of writing, only one such cache now remains.    Originally five special caches were placed around the world as part of a promo for the Planet of the Apes movie remake (no, not that one;  no, not the one before; yes, the one before that).  Each held souvenirs and memorabilia from the movie.

But over the years, these caches have been muggled and archived.

Now if you want to bag this cache, you’ll find yourself heading into the Amazon jungle.  It’s made this cache a worthy milestone for any geocacher, no matter how prolific, but as to how much longer we’ll be able to log this cache is anyone’s guess.

Wherigo Cache

This entry is a little controversial in that it is still possible to set caches of this type and there are no current plans to retire them.  Wherigos involve uploading a cartridge into a separate player and being taken to a number of locations (sometimes in the guise of a story or other interactivity) before being given the location to the final cache.

The reason for their inclusion in this list is that whilst it was possible to get the Wherigo player on some of the first generation Garmin Oregon devices, the current crop of GPS receivers do not have a player on them.  As a result, in order to play a cartridge, you’ll need a mobile phone app.  Given that buggy cartiridges or player software have resulted in many cachers swearing whilst doing a Wherigo these have never seen massive adoption by the community.

With Groundspeak giving Wherigo little attention would it be outside the realms of reasonable speculation to think that we may see this type retired at some time in the future?

Block Party

blockparty geocachThe Block Party is Groundspeak’s annual event in Seattle to celebrate Geoaching’s birthday.  Each year for the last couple of years, geocachers from all across the US, and indeed the world, turned out for a day of geocaching at Geocaching HQ.

But Groundspeak have announced that this is the last year that they will be holding the Block Party, meaning that if you want the Block Party icon for your geocaching profile, then this is probably the last time you’ll be able to get it.

Icon Collecting

Whilst it can be fun to collect different geocaching type icons, some of the ones listed are easier to get than others.  Don’t sweat it if you aren’t able to get to any of these cache types before they disappear.  It’s just a game after all.  Focus on having fun rather than trying to plan how you are going to get half way around the world for a single cache.

That said, I wonder how much plane tickets to Seattle this summer are?

About Adrian Faulkner

Adrian Faulkner is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction. He is an active geocacher with over 9000 finds to his name. You can find more by Adrian at AdrianFaulkner.com and on his Google Plus page.

Comments

  1. Brian Lang says:

    Just a minor correction: There were 14 APE caches.
    You can read the history here: http://www.markwell.us/projectape.htm

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