As well as working on a couple of other challenges, we’ve recently starting focussing on trying to find “unloved” geocaches i.e. ones which haven’t been found for six months or more. Our motivation for doing this is to rescue the caches to keep them active, and in some cases to confirm that the cache is still there. It gives us a warm and fuzzy feeling when we can let a cache owner know that their cache hasn’t gone missing. There’s also the thrill of the hunt, and knowing that we can accrue some more months if we can find the cache.
There are several challenge caches which you can qualify for by finding a certain number of years worth of unloved caches. A few days ago we qualified for a “Five Forgotten Years” challenge cache, and we’re about halfway to the next qualifying level of 15 years. After that, we need to find 50 years worth of unloved caches in order to qualify for the next challenge cache.
We’re using a couple of well-known online geocaching tools to help track our progress – GSAK and Project GC. GSAK (or Geocaching Swiss Army Knife) is a software program for Windows which lets you create databases of geocaches, such as all your finds or puzzles that you’ve solved. You can then run macros on these databases to calculate all sorts of statistics about your finds. We use the PreviousFind macro to calculate the number of days that our unloved caches have been unfound. GSAK is free to download, but a nag screen appears after 21 days which you can pay to remove if you want to.
Project GC is a website that can produce all sorts of statistics about geocaches. Lots of geocachers use it to produce statistics for their profile, but there are a range of other tools available, such as Days since last found. This feature has been very useful for us to plan which caches to find in order to earn some more unloved months. The basic tools on Project GC are free to use, but if you pay to become a member you have access to a lot more features. If you want to find out more about this great geocaching resource, have a listen to this episode of the Podcacher podcast, which features an interview with Magnus, the developer of Project GC.