Friday, June 19, 2009
Iowa's All County Challenge (GC1T84M)
As many of you have seen I had a cache published called Iowa's All County Challenge. I've seen many people ask if someone would set one of these up, and have been asked a few time's myself.
First the basic's of the Challenge cache. You have to find one cache in every county in Iowa. Virtul's, earthcaches, event's, webcam's, locationless, caches don't count. The idea is to find a cache and I'm defining that as a hidden geocache container. I've laid out a few ground rules. Like if you find a cache that is missing, and replace the container, it doesn't count as a "find". I do give you prop's for helping out another cacher but that's not finding a cache, it' more like hiding one. If it's a multi or puzzle cache, then the listed cord's for the cache determine what county the "find" is in. If some how it land's on a county line, I will let you pick which county it count's towards. It won't count for both.
Due to a guideline change, I can't have you use a site like www.itsnotaboutthe numbers.com for verification of completion. The guideline won't allow a cache that you have to use a website that you have to sign up and make an account. You can choose on your own to use a site like that, but I can't ask you too.
I've tried to lay out some option's for you to keep track and send the info to me for verifying completion. The one I like is if you use the bookmarking feature. You will be able to set a bookmark on the cache, and list the find date, and what county it's for. I can pull a PQ from that and easily check it with a program I have. You can set it up to keep it private till you are ready for it to be verified, then make it public, so I can grab a PQ from it.
Another way that is pretty easy for me to check would be keeping a database in GSAK, and make and send me a GPX file. Then with the help of a macro I can check that way pretty quickly as well.
You may also keep a spread sheet, with the GC# of the cache, name of the cache, find date, and what county it's for. For obvious reasons, this will take me longer to verify it.
These are just some suggestion's and you may keep track however you like as there may be an easier way, that I don't know about yet.
Before I get to the part that some people aren't too keen on, I'm working on designing a pathtag for this cache. A person that completes this, will get one of these pathtag's as kind of a "reward" or "trophy" for finishing it. These will not be set up for trade, and the only way to get one is to complete the cache. I would have loved to make up a geo-coin for this, but that is out of my budget.
Now on to the one rule that I made, that some aren't happy about and first off, I do agree you have valid reason's. This rule is only "finds" on the publish date of this cache count. So anything found before 6/03/09 will not count towards this. I've done this for a few reason's. One, if I lifted that, it would be found tomorrow. There are some cacher's that have done this on their own, just to do it. In fact I remember two set's of cacher's that are family, that where trying to beat each other to find one cache in every county. It was fun to watch their side game. At that time there was a few county's that didn't have a cache at all. Two, I thought this would give everyone a fresh start on this, and level the playing field to see who does complete it first.
You have to remember I don't chase First to find's. That's my choice and I just don't get into them that much. But on a cache like this, I really really would like to see who is nut's enough to complete it first, just due to you have to travel the whole state. Yes, I am aware that a few county's only have a few caches, or have "cached out" the whole county. My suggestion around this, is to contact another cacher that lives in the area, and encourage them to hide a few more cache's. My thought behind this is this will add to the game more across Iowa, and maybe even get some people that are not very active, some communication with some active cacher's and they will get bit by the bug again (so to say). I kind of see this as you may get the opportunity to meet/talk or maybe even find another caching partner, and encourage the spread of the game in a positive manner more threw the state.
This was my reasoning of why I put that requirement in. I've been doing some research on this as it was called to my attention by some cacher's. Which thank you for posting your thought's and idea's. I'm well aware that some are set up as doing this as a "trailblazer" (all find's after the cache publish date) or as "Heritage" (find's found before the cache publish date.
I looked threw some bookmark's that hold many many different kind's of Challenge caches, and looked into some of the All county type's. There are some others that have this same requirement that all caches have to be found after a certain date. There's also a lot that don't have that requirement and break it out using the "trailblazer" and "heritage" method. Colorado and Florida are two that caught my eye on a date requirement, off the top of my head.
I've talked to a few people about this as well, and have found a lot of "twisted" feeling's about this. Some wondering if they want to bother, or just work on it over time, and not try to rush threw it. Which I don't encourage anyone to just rush threw it, stop and see some of the great park's Iowa has to offer, and have fun exploring new area's to you.
If I'm going to drop the rule, I feel (thanks to someone for pointing this out too) the rule would have to be changed fast, so there's no, "well I had to do it this way" and "this person got off easy on this". I want to keep if fair to everyone. So that kind of lead's me to think, I should leave the rule stand as is since it was there when the cache was published.
Plus those people that know me, well you know I kind of follow my own path and just do my own thing, and that has a big effect on the caches I place. Believe me the terra-cacher's know that well, as the "torture" I've put them threw, while hunting some of my terra hides. Ammo can's hanging down in the middle of cliff's, part's to an offset 30 feet up in a tree, crossing river's, are just a few thing's for example's.
So to wrap this up, instead of seeing post's wanting me to change that or not, I figured I would make this post on my blog, and let you post your thought's on the whole thing. Please feel free to post your thought's, comment's, suggestion's, but please do so in a positive manner. I'm not out to tell someone they are "wrong" or "I'm the cache owner it's mine and I'll do what I want". I would like some construction feedback. So again, feel free to make a post on this blog, and maybe thing's will change as I hear others opinion's.
Seriously, have fun exploring Iowa, and the caches they have to offer, team up with other's and have a group hunt to take out some county's. Communicate with your fellow cacher's, maybe some encouragement by asking if they are planning on putting out a new cache, will get them more involved.
I look forward to your comment's.
Happy and safe caching, and get out and enjoy Iowa!!!!