This page is for those who have never heard of geocaching, are new to the sport, or have always had a nagging question and could never find an answer.  We also explain what our geocaching association is all about.  Email us if your question is not answered here.
ST. LOUIS AREA GEOCACHERS ASSOCIATION (SLAGA)
Question Responder Date
What does 'SLAGA Territory' Mean? konopapw 07/04/02
What is the St. Louis Area Geocachers Association? GLNash    /  /  
How did the Association come about?   GLNash    /  /  
How do I participate in the Association? GLNash    /  /  
What does it cost to join the Association? GLNash    /  /  

CACHE HUNTING
Question Responder Date
Do I have to dig in the ground to find a cache? konopapw 07/09/02
What does 'TNLN' mean when written in the logs? konopapw 07/04/02
Why am I walking around in circles most of the time? GLNash    /  /  
Why do I always park too far away? GLNash 06/09/02
What is a 'traveling' cache? GLNash 06/09/02

CACHE HIDING
Question Responder Date
How do I keep my cache from being plundered by humans? konopapw 08/08/02
How do I keep my cache from being plundered by animals? konopapw 08/08/02
When should a cache be archived? konopapw 07/09/02
Where should I hide a geocache? GLNash    /  /  
Where shouldn't I hide a geocache? GLNash    /  /  

TRAVEL BUGS
Question Responder Date
What is a travel bug? nyisutter 08/07/02
Should I take a travel bug? nyisutter 08/07/02
What do I do with it once I have it? nyisutter 08/07/02
What is a travel bug hotel? nyisutter 08/07/02

 

Q. SLAGA: What does 'SLAGA Territory' mean? (07/04/02)
A: Here is a link to another page on our site that explains it.  SLAGA Territory (konopapw)
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Q. SLAGA: What is the St. Louis Area Geocachers Association?
A. What can we say - we are just a group of concerned geocachers that enjoy getting together for a little fun, while trying to figure out how to work with the various regulating agencies to secure the survival of geocaching in this area. Our members are trying to provide some leadership here by placing high quality, fun caches that appeal to all ages and skill levels. Most of our members are Missouri and Illinois residents who cache around the St. Louis area. (GLNash)
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Q. SLAGA: How did the Association come about?
A. On September 30, 2001, a bunch of folks, at the urging of Steve and Connie, got together and had a picnic. We had a dandy time cooking, eating, playing geo-games.  We even placed a cache. Since none of us really wanted to claim the cache as their own, 'WTMRN', AKA 'The Worlds Greatest Backwoods Tracker', setup the Association account and placed the cache under its name. The rangers picked up our original cache. I retrieved it and had a lengthy meeting with the head ranger for the area.  We replanted the cache as Eddie's Picnic Friends. WTMRN has since retired from caching and cached in all his great caches. I agreed to look after them for him and placed them under the Association's name along with the 'Picnic' cache. Several folks have since offered to help with this, so most of these caches are now being group managed. I want to thank them all.  Without their help these caches would have been lost. I guess we are the official home of the orphaned geocache.
Since that time, a group of folks have gotten together for a day of caching and socializing. We occasionally plan other activities,  so keep an eye on our web site  We are always looking to add more folks to the group and everyone is welcome. We would like to thank ya for stopping in. (GLNash)
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Q. SLAGA: How do I participate in the Association?
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Q. SLAGA: What does it cost to join the Association?
A: Well right now, nothing. Although we will accept donations for maintaining this web site, costs of future picnics and other items to promote geocaching in the St. Louis area. (GLNash)
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Q: CACHE HUNTING: Do I have to dig in the ground to find a cache?   (07/09/02)
A:  A conscientious geocacher respects the natural environment.  This means that holes should not be dug in the ground, or the natural surroundings dramatically changed in order to place a cache.  Buring a cache is a very bad etiquette and will most likely be 'dealt with' by fellow geocachers. Typical cache hiding places are hollowed out trees, under rock ledges, under a pile of sticks or bark.  (konopapw)
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Q: CACHE HUNTING: What does 'TNLN' mean when written in the logs?   (07/04/02)
A:  Took Nothing; Left Nothing.  A popular aspect of geocaching is exchanging trinkets.  You take a trinket from the cache and leave one you brought with you.  This is not a requirement of the sport.  Some people just enjoy hunting for the cache and logging into the logbook.  Sometimes a cache may have a particular 'theme' (history, music, ethnic, etc.) and you may not have a trinket that fits into that theme.  In these cases, people write TNLN as shorthand to mean they took nothing from the cache and left nothing else in it.  (konopapw)
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Q. CACHE HUNTING: Why am I walking around in circles most of the time?
A: I do the same thing, but I think my problem is disorientation in general. :) Anyway, I have seen a lot of geocachers exhibit this behavior and I believe it is because they are moving too quickly near the cache. If you're a good distance away, by all means, do a little jogging and move as quickly as you want, but when you get 100 feet away, SLOW DOWN. Walk very slowly and when you get about 40-50 feet away stop for a minute, take a rest and let the GPSR average a little.  Then move one or two steps at a time in the proper direction. This will get you to within a few feet nearly every time. For those folks that use the Garmin GPS-3, 3+, or the Street Pilot series.... give up, you are destined to walk in circles the rest of your life ;-) Actually, if you use the same technique, you will do well also. BUT, if you change your procedure a little in the last several feet you will do better. With the Street Pilot, after I get close, I need to use my compass (yes, a REAL compass) for the final 50 feet or so. Here is what you do. You need to get to a screen that displays the Lat/Longitude, look at the cache coordinates then look at your location on the GPSR. If you need to walk a few more digits to the north, look at your trusty compass, find north and walk a few steps in that direction. Compare your numbers again and make another North/South or East/West adjustment. Rinse and repeat until your numbers match.   Doing this, you can get to within a few feet, also. When I am having difficulty finding something with the Etrex, this is the method I revert too. (GLNash)
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Q: CACHE HUNTING: What is a 'traveling' cache?  (06/09/02)
A:  There have been several “Moving Caches” around and all seem like great fun. Two that I can think of now were both placed by Myotis. One is in Forest Park and is called the 'Moving Cache' (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=7439).  Its mission is to move all around the park. The other cache started its journey near the river in Alton (I think it was the 'Impress Me Cache' -http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.asp?ID=8908), which is now in Washington State. Both of these caches have been working and doing well. (GLNash)
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Q: CACHE HUNTING: Why do I always park too far away?
A: I have figured out that when you are approaching a cache area by car, it is often advantageous to stay in the car and drive around a little more. DO NOT HOP OUT OF THE CAR at the 1st parking lot you see. Try finding roads that go around the general area, maybe you will find another side street or forest road into the area. For example, at the 'Have GPS will Travel' cache, there are several nice parking lots along the way in. They all look like THE place to park, but choosing the wrong parking place there could mean extended travel, on foot, over very hilly terrain. Since I want to minimize my unnecessary UP hill climbs, I drove around awhile and found a place to park very close to the 1st cache site. It pays to look around before hopping out. (GLNash)
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Q: CACHE HIDING: How do I keep my cache from being plundered by humans?  (08/08/02)
A: The question could also be: 'How do I hide my cache so it won't be accidently discovered?' The impractical answer is not to tell anyone where you hid it and seal it in concrete!  The practical answer is to hide it well, in a location where there is little chance it will be discovered by accident.  Plundering (stealing the cache, defacing the cache or strewing it about the hiding area) is initiated by people who don't respect the sport or other people's property.

It is almost impossible to protect your cache from being plundered by a disgruntled geocacher (the "member's only" cache type on geocaching.com was created to help reduce the chances of plundering due to limited advertising, but it isn't foolproof).  You should concentrate on making your cache hard to be discovered by accident.  This could mean way out in the woods under a pile of sticks.  Or, it could mean in a populated area, but well disguised.  But it definately means not in the middle of the sidewalk, painted red!

You may place your cache near a trail so that it is easy to get to, but place it on the other side of a tree, away from the trail.  You may place your cache way out in the woods, but if you cover it with black rocks while all the other rocks around it are brown, it stands out too much.  Try to let it blend in with the surroundings.  You might want to paint the cache container the same color as the surroundings you plan to place it in.  Encourage those who find your cache to put it back the way they found it.  You can spend a lot of time camouflaging the cache, but if someone  tosses it on the ground in plain sight after they find it, they have defeated your purpose.
(konopapw)
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Q: CACHE HIDING: How do I keep my cache from being plundered by animals?  (08/08/02)
A: Tupperware containers make for great caches, but when placed in the woods where there are hungry and curious animals, it doesn't take long for the cache to be chewed up and ruined.  Ammo boxes are recommended for that type of environment.  They are made of metal so they can't be chewed up.  They seal tightly, so animals can't make their way into them.

NEVER PUT FOOD ITEMS INTO A CACHE!  No dog biscuits, chewing gum or candy.  It is unsanitary.  Food will spoil and rot.  Never eat food left in a cache - you don't know what organisms are on it or if it was put there by someone with evil intention.  Perfume, incense and scented candles will also attract critters.
(konopapw)
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Q: CACHE HIDING: When should a cache be archived? (7/9/02)
  • When you've had geocaching traffic for awhile and then a long period occurs with noone finding your cache, it might be good to archive it.  Chances are that most of the active geocachers in your area have already found it.
  • If the first few cachers who find the cache tell you it is on private property or in a dangerous area, you should consider archiving it.
  • If cachers are making log comments that the cache was easy to find because of the trail that seekers are beating to it, it's time to archive it.   
  • Many cachers archive their caches after 1 year and place a new one somewhere else.  This helps keep the sport exciting and provides more new caches that can be sought after.

 (konopapw)

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Q: CACHE HIDING: Where should I hide a geocache?
A: My thoughts, YMMV (your mileage may vary). I think good caches are the ones that are placed for good reasons. I like locations that are interesting for some reason (I really like the 'Freddies Hideaway' location, it's a cool spot to take kids). If a location could really get a person to thinking about things during a visit, I would consider that a good spot also. Another great reason to place a cache could be to lead a visitor to a great view or the caches could act as a guide to a challenging hike through a park or the woods. I would have never gone to Wildcat Mtn. had it not been for Butch's three caches there. I always like a good reason to bring cachers to an area. I find it somewhat irritating to spend a great deal of time looking for a cache that has no apparent purpose other than being a hidden box in the woods. It tends to leave me thinking, why am I here again?  (GLNash)
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Q: CACHE HIDING: Where shouldn't I hide a geocache?
A: The easy answer would be: Any place that you don't obtain permission for first. I am thinking though, in general, caches on private property are tricky. Private property would include places like railroad right of ways & tunnels, anything around a dam might not be a good idea. Sept. 11 has put many agencies on alert to blow up things that look like bombs. Many caches look very suspicious to law enforcement folks. Other places to avoid would be locations that could get damaged by cachers. Caches in a flowerbed would not be a good choice where as caches hidden behind 200 feet of stinging nettles might just keep the casual hiker from finding your cache by accident. We need to be aware of the impact on the area by the visiting geocachers. If an area *really* wants hikers to stay ON the trails, placing caches off the trail puts us at odds with the land management folks and could cause all of us problems. Of course there are issues with the National Parks Service prohibiting caches, Wilderness areas have not been approved of the Forest Service and these issues are still unresolved.  (GLNash)
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Q: TRAVEL BUG: What is a travel bug?  (08/07/02)
A:  A specially tagged item that moves from cache to cache. Sometimes with specific goals to reach. Travel bugs activity is logged at www.geocaching.com.
(nyisutter)
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Q: TRAVEL BUG: Should I take a travel bug?  (08/07/02)
A:  If you feel you can help the bug reach its goals and you will be able to restash in a new cache within a week or two, then yes. Don't take a travel bug if you can't help it on its mission or you will not be able to place it in a new cache in a timely fashion. Travel bug owners pay money to tag these items and are anxious to see their little friends moving around and having fun.
(nyisutter)
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Q: TRAVEL BUG: What do I do with it once I have it?  (08/07/02)
A:  Read the goals and place in a cache that will help the bug reach them. Take pictures of the bugs adventures if appropriate. Try to tell a little about the bug's time with you in the logs. Make sure you keep the bug's number so that you can write in the log after placing in a cache. If the bug has no specific goals, just have some fun with it, but be sure to place in a new cache soon so that someone else can pick it up. Don't hold onto the bug too long, they are designed to be moving from cache to cache.
(nyisutter)
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Q: TRAVEL BUG: What is a travel bug hotel?  (08/07/02)
A:  1) A special cache placed in a location that encourages and is conducive to travel bug movement, usually on an interstate or near an airport.  2) A special place in a cache to seperate the travel bugs from regularly traded items, usually a Zip-lock bag labeled 'Travel Bug Hotel'.
(nyisutter)
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