Early on, we were about six months in to geocaching and we decided to hide our second cache. It was a simple traditional geocache but we made a few rookie mistakes. This post is composed to hopefully help you avoid some of these mistakes and for us to just laugh at some of the silly things we did. Hey we all start somewhere and hopefully we learn from our mistakes. Being pretty new we had found a few by this point and had even hidden one previously but it was not very remarkable and we didn’t learn a ton from that experience.

As I mentioned this was our second attempt and we made a few mistakes – all with good intentions but mistakes nonetheless. Our first mistake came with the timing. We decided we wanted to get one published in time for our youngest cacher’s birthday and even named the geocache after this occasion. The problem was we didn’t have much time to make this happen (mistake #1). We also wanted to have it close to the restaurant where we were holding her birthday dinner so we headed to the area to scout locations. I found one spot I thought would be great. It was near the restaurant and could be accessed from the public sidewalk. Eureka! I located a railroad tie that was at the edge of a small flower bed. One of the holes was empty so I decided I would hide a bison tube at the end of a string and drop it in the hole. So far so good. I hastily pulled my coordinates from a phone (mistake #2) and headed home.

I built the cache and a couple of days later returned to drop it in. I tied it in place and felt that is was both secure and hidden enough to be a little bit if fun. I walked up and down the sidewalk and felt that this would not interfere with any of the surrounding businesses because it could be accessed by the public sidewalk. Another winner? Nope you guessed it (mistake #3). Of course if you knew exactly where the cache was located you would only approach from the way I did. But, that is not how gecocaching works. I rushed home and published the cache just in time for my daughter’s birthday event. Then the inevitable happened…

The first cacher politely let me know that the coordinates were off. How could they be? I used my phone, right? I have since learned that it is of course possible to use your phone to get coordinates but that you should take them on more than one occasion and use at least one other method to confirm. Oops, lesson learned. I also learned that you can update coordinates on geocaching.com.

The next thing I learned is assume that cachers will take many different routes and approaches to the GZ. That may include walking through or across private property. It may include digging in nearby flowerbeds. It may even include being confronted during these tasks by a completely unsuspecting property owner that was not consulted when the cache was hidden. Yep, no permission was obtained. I didn’t even consider it back then. That can make for a bad day and a bad reputation for geocaching and geocachers.

All of this and if I would have just allowed myself enough time, I could have tested or even had another cacher beta test this location. The end result was that only a few people were able to grab their smiley before I was forced to archive it. Sadly, my daughter had a geocache named in honor of her birthday that fizzled before it really had a chance to get going. The good news is we learned a lot about hiding geocaches as a family. Thinking back on this one. I do not believe I ever went to retrieve that cache. I wonder if it is still there? I guess I still have some things to learn.

What mistakes have you made while learning how to geocache? What have you learned from your geocaching mistakes? Please let us know on Facebook (@GeocacheTalk) or on Twitter (@GeocacheTalk).

My real name is Jesse, but I seem to be known by more people as Memfis. I am the patriarch of Memfis Mafia, and some would say master mind (but not the boss) of the family.  I am way too wise to live in a house full of women and think I am in charge. I am always looking to push the envelope and never back down from a new experience.  I love geocaching and always try to elevate the game from a simple scavenger hunt to an unbelievable adventure with every find I make. The only thing I love more than adventure is geocaching with my awesome wife and two wonderful daughters. Find the Memfis Mafia’s adventures on Instagram (@memfismafia) and their blog (https://memfismafia.wordpress.com/).

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