Three Dangers Too Watch Out For While Geocaching With Your Dog

Three Dangers Too Watch Out For While Geocaching With Your Dog

Geocaching is one of the best activities you can do with your dog. We’ve covered it with several articles (here and here) but there is still more to say! Hunting down the next elusive cache can take you into some pretty deep terrority. Heading into the deeper wilderness can mean a deeper connection with nature but it can also mean more dangers. Here are a few of the ones that you need to make sure you’re ready for. Keep in mind though, that these are not specific to deep wilderness only. Some of the most urban areas can carry the same dangers.

Traps intended for wildlife can be deadly for your pet. Of course, most states (and Colorado is no different) have laws on where and when traps can be set the fact is not everyone follows those rules. Sometimes these distinctions can be unclear and hunters may inadvertently place traps outside the designated area.

The worst part is, many of these traps are baited in a way that not only interests wild animals but also your dog. Because hunters want an easy way to check up on their traps most traps are placed near a trailhead, road or another easy access point.

You can avoid this threat by first knowing where it is legal to trap and where it isn’t. Check out the hunting rules and regulations page for Colorado to find out more about what you should be looking for. From there make sure your dog is on a leash. We know this isn’t ideal for either you or your dog so if you do let your dog off leash make sure he stays somewhat close. You can spot the traps a lot easier than your dog can!

Other animals can be a threat to your dog and things can quickly get out of hand. Most people are aware of the obvious threat that bears, mountain lions (yes, Colorado has them) and coyotes present for your dog. But the greater threats are the ones that are harder to see. Colorado is home to a large population of porcupines. While an encounter with a porcupine is unlikely to be lethal it will result is a massive bill at your veterinarian and a whole lot of pain for your dog.

Poisonous snakes present another danger that can be lethal. Colorado is home a few poisonous snakes including the rattlesnake. The tough part can be deciding which snake actually bit your dog after you find the bite. Whenever your dog is bitten by a snake it is critical that you take them to a veterinarian immediately. Even if they appear to be acting normal. There is no reason to risk it.

The best way to avoid these encounter for your dog is again by keeping them on a leash. We know that isn’t fun. So we recommend putting a bear bell on your dog. This basically acts as a warning system for other animals. They will know your dog is coming and get out of the way! Remember, these wild animals don’t want to interact with your dog! They are simply feeling threatened so a bear bell prevents them from being startled.

When it comes to snakes, don’t let your dog dig under rocks, logs or other areas that a snake would enjoy hiding in.

The plague is something we often forget exists but it does indeed exist! While it has been almost 100 years since a qualified epidemic hit the US, the plague is still alive and well in the Western United States. Typical carriers are rats, mice, and squirrels. But the biggest carrier in Colorado is our friend the prairie dog. These little critters are everywhere!

Again, we think the bear bell or some system to alert other critters of your dog’s presence is the best way to keep your pup safe.

Let us know what you’ve run into out there in the world!

Dayspring’s Creative Caches!

Dayspring’s Creative Caches!

Dayspring is a somewhat famous (well internet famous) Geocacher who has made a name for himself as an extremely creative creator of unique geocaches. He has definitely taken it to another level. In fact, his caches almost act as a work of art!

Do you have to have a workshop to produce good caches? Not at all! One Daysprings major points is to use simply use your environment wisely.

While this is somewhat intuitive this is often overlooked. The simplest question to ask is why would someone want to visit that area? Maybe there is beautiful scenery but maybe there is something even more interesting?

Or if you do have the time and energy to put together something creative you and use just about anything for inspiration. Check out Daysprings very clever geocache at about 2 and half minutes into the video. It actually requires that you take the battery out of your GPS and press it up against two conductors on the tube. From there, the cache actually comes out of the tube by way of a simple conveyor belt. Whoa!

Although I wonder if anyone has just taken the cache apart in frustration!

While I’ve never found anything as creative as Dayspring’s caches I have been lucky enough see some beautiful scenery while tracking down caches. I honestly don’t mind if the cache is an ammo box as long as the scenery is great.

Folks like Dayspring are making the cache almost as important as the actual tracking! There is a level of artistry in their creations. All you have to do is watch Daysrping talk about his time in his workshop to know he is a craftsman like any other.

Overall, I love what people like Dayspring bring to Geocaching. The more diversity to this the game the more people we will have and thus an overall better experience. Now you can decide if you want to track down an ammo box in a beautiful environment or solve a brain-teasing puzzle. Or better yet, with more and more creative caches and industrious geocachers, you can do both!

What’s the most creative geocache you’ve ever found?

Extra Tips For Geocaching With Your Dogs

Extra Tips For Geocaching With Your Dogs

We’ve talked about this subject before (see our blog post here) and we’ve reviewed a few dog products. But we think there is more to say! We just love geocaching with our furry friends. There are few things more rewarding than a tired dog and we love coming home and watching our pups pass out! Here are some tips and cool ideas about dogs and geocaching

  • Socialize your dog. Okay, take off the blinders. Too many owners, yes even in Colorado, seen to feel that their dog is perfect. If your dog makes people uncomfortable then it is YOUR responsibility to fix that! Taking your dog to a dog park is a great start but can be overwhelming for some dogs. We recommend taking your dog to a place like Home Depot or Lowes where your dog can be exposed to a lot of new sounds and sites in a relatively controlled environment.
  • Collars and Microchips can be a lifesaver. Always prepare for the worst. If the worst case scenario happens and your pup gets lost a collar or microchip greatly increases the chances of them being found! Don’t mess around with this one. It is a really easy fix for a major problem.
  • Turn Your Dog Into A Geocache! Yes, it is a possibility to turn your dog into a geocache. While it may be a little frustrating to someone tracking your dog you should let them know in the description that this is indeed a “moving” geocache. Your dog will enjoy all the attention!

Make sure your dog is ready for the adventure! Not all dogs want to go on a geocaching adventure. As always, start with something small for you and your pup and build from there.

Ruffwear Review: The Aira Dog Rain Jacket

Ruffwear Review: The Aira Dog Rain Jacket

So most of you know I’m a big animal lover! Obviously, I love geocaching too! That means I love creating new blog posts about both! Our last post about hiking tips for dogs got a lot of response on the Colorado Geocaching Facebook page too so I think its time for another! It sounds like people were looking for more information on inclement weather too! Well, at least a few people. So for this post, we are going to review the Aira dog rain jacket by Ruffwear. I’m a big fan of Ruffwear but the price can sometimes be a limiting factor. But if you make it to the end of this article I will tell you a way that you can get 20% of the Aira rain jacket. At least if you live in the Aurora area that is!

First, why would you want a rain jacket for your dog? While many dog breeds definitely don’t need a jacket (think of the fuzzy Burmese mountain dog) others with a shorter coat can get really chilly really quickly. It can also depend on what you’re doing and where you’re hiking. The last factor is the overall size of the dog. Smaller dogs have a tougher time regulating their own body temperature. That means my little Chihuahua friend Chico can have a really tough time staying warm! A jacket is a must for him on almost any geocaching expedition!

The Good?

The Aira rain jacket can be adjusted to fit just about any size dog. Whether your dog has a deep chest or is very lanky, there are enough points of adjustment on the Aira that just about any size dog can fit comfortably in the jacket. Ruffwear generally produces high quality products and the Aira is no different. I’ve used the jacket with Chico more than 40 times and I’ve not noticed any significant wearing of the buckles and other straps. There has been some color change but beyond that, the jacket looks almost new!

The jacket is well designed and works great in windy conditions. The jacket has a very cool feature that I don’t see in most other dog jackets. There are loops in the back of the jacket that fit over your dog’s legs. While some dogs may find this annoying at first they can be adjusted as needed. These keep the jacket on the dog even in windy conditions. While this may not sound like a big deal, most dog jackets end up flapping around on the back when things get windy and don’t help your dog at all.

The material is breathable making the jacket a good choice in both very cold and just cool temperatures. The jacket doesn’t get too hot when worn in cool weather. At least based on how much Chico pants! However, the jacket really shines when it comes to windy conditions. The jacket stays where it needs to be and really breaks the chill!

The jacket is easily packed. The jacket compresses well and easy to put away if it turns out you don’t need it. Especially when you’re dealing with chihuahua sizes!

The Bad?

The cost can be a bit much. This jacket will run you around $80 retail. While this can seem like a lot, if you take care of the jacket it can last a lifetime.

The leg loops can get annoying for some dogs. My girlfiend has a medium sized mixed breed (around 45 pounds) that hate the leg loops! We could keep trying but at this point, she has given up on him and just lets him go without them. However, I think those loops are one of the best benefits of the product.

That’s really it! If you’ve used something like this in the past then you will probably have a good idea whether your dog will be annoyed by the leg loops or not. We highly recommend picking up this jacket!

Save 20% On This Jacket!

If you live in the Aurora area, I highly recommend you pick up this jacket at the Chuck and Don’s pet food outlet on S. Parker Road. That store, in particular, has a survey at the bottom of each receipt. If you fill that survey out you can get a 20% your next purchase of a non-food item. That means Ruffwear gear! If you don’t live in the Aurora area you can also pick up the Aira on Amazon. You can pick it up here (this is an affiliate link).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garmin Colorado 300 for Geocaching- Product Review

Garmin Colorado 300 for Geocaching- Product Review

Note: There are affiliate links in this post. By clicking these links you support ColoradoGeoCaching.com! 

When it comes to enjoying geocaching, a GPS is not optional. As is often the case with necessities, a bad one can ruin your day while a stand out product can make the whole experience better. The Garmin Colorado 300 is intended to do exactly that when it comes to geocaching. Let’s see how it holds up.

First off, the issues with the previous unit seem mostly resolved. There certainly were issues. Almost to the point that it felt like the device and software were released too early. But now, that it’s fixed, it delivers everything that is supposed to.

The Benefits of Garmin Colorado 300 Geocaching Unit

I have to admit that there are a few new features that make the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching better. For some I mean. From what I hear, not everyone is comfortable with the Rock ‘n Roller input wheel. It certainly took some time to get used to but just like anything else that’s new, you need some time to get the hang of it. Why would this be an exception? There is a learning curve, but you get used to it. Anyway, here are the highlights of the product.

  • The screen is big and clear. It measures 76 mm diagonally, and it comes with 240×400 pixels. The linework and text seem to be anti-aliased, which makes it more readable than before. Visibility is okay, despite the fact that the backlight is not too much, but not too less either. It gets brighter as you plug it in your car’s source of power.
  • The Rock ‘n Roller wheel. As I previously said, I don’t get why people get so upset. Yes, there is a learning curve, but you can get used to it fast. Just play with it for a few hours. Personally, I enjoy this. I can zoom in while on a map, I can access menus by scrolling up and down. It’s easier than using buttons. But that’s just me.
  • There is a new user’s interface. And it works perfectly with the input wheel. You can simply browse through the options using the wheel, and when you want to access a certain feature, press the center button. You can customize shortcuts to the features you use most. Text input comes up as a wheel as well. Rotate to get to the desired letter and push the center button to insert. You can also configure your GPS, manage tracks, waypoints, routes, and geocaches. You can even set and store the setting for different profiles. As far as I am concerned, this new user interface is way easier than the previous.
  • It features a built-in worldwide map, and the relief is shaded. I think that Garmin wanted to impress us with the so-called 3D maps of the Colorado 300, but honestly, my mind is split as to this is a benefit or a waste of time. It’s nice that there are the shadows, at some point you really do have the feeling of a 3D map, but when you zoom in, shadows keep emerging, and it can get annoying.
  • There is more geocaching support than previous Garmin models. Geocache data from their website can be sent directly to your unit by hitting “send to GPS.” button on the site, or you can import a PocketQuery file. The device will recognize the geocache information, and it will treat it depending on the waypoint. But from what I saw online, it seems that 2000 is the maximum of loaded geocaches. I didn’t test this myself, so I don’t know for sure.
  • Other things that I like are the highly sensitive receiver, the electronic compass, and the barometric altimeter, and the fact that the internal memory is 384 MB, but you also have a slot for an SD card.

Overall, I think that the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching features are more than satisfactory. Its perfect for anyone starting out since you really don’t need much more than this to get the job done!

Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching drawbacks

Just as any other product, the Garmin Colorado 300 geocaching unit comes with a few disadvantages.

  • The search feature is close to useless. If you want to find a particular place, you can’t. You only have a “Find nearest” option. But if you want to go to another location, you have to scroll manually on the map. Although, it ‘s hard to find something when you don’t know where it is.
  • Map exploration is somewhat restricted. You are only allowed to zoom in or out at the found location.
  • I am going to mention the fact that zoomed in 3D maps of Colorado 300 are a failure. Too many shadows. They don’t go easy on the eyes and it can sometimes become very difficult to actually know what you’re looking at.
  • Controlling the map can be achieved mostly in the setup page. It would have been better if could do it on the map page menu. Almost all of the other products I tested had this option.
  • It has a slow startup, especially when you have many points. If you add more waypoints to the internal storage, they appear as processed only once, but if you add them to the SD card, it’s like they are processed every time you turn on the unit.
  • You can’t change the color of the track. I always like that on other devices.
  • If you save more than one track, you will be able to see just one at a time.

 

There you have it. While the device is a bit older at this point it is still worth the purchase. And considering you can pick one up on Amazon for a very reasonable price, I would say its certainly a good pick for your first GPS device. If you have a chance, take a look at the 3D map option and see if you prefer that over more standard options. I suspect that will be the main issue that people have.

Have you used the Colorado 300? Let us know below!

 

3 Tips for Geocaching With Your Dog

3 Tips for Geocaching With Your Dog

Colorado is well known as a dog-friendly state. We have some of the best dog parks, dog cafes and dog everything in the nation! Coloradans love their pets! Which may be why we see so many geocaching enthusiasts that are looking for pet-friendly finds! Well, the good news is, that most hunts are pet-friendly and treasure hunting is one the best activities you and your dog can share. But here are three things you should keep in mind before taking your furry friend out on the hunt. This post was put together with consultation from my local veterinarian and friend Dr. E. Find out more about her clinic here.

Keep Those Puppy Paws Padded!

While dogs can typically handle any terrain for a period of time, sometimes the long term nature of geocaching in Colorado’s rocky and mountainous trails can start to take a toll on your pooch’s paws. That’s why Dr. E recommends canine booties to keep your four-legged friend hot on the treasure trail for as long as possible. These “puppies” (pun intended) are the real deal. Made with premium material and gore tex, just like with human hiking boots. Dr. E says that you have to watch out for two main issues- first is the possibility of sharp or jagged rocks and second is the continued wear and tear on your dogs feed. The products at Ruff Wear will handle both. While they certainly aren’t cheap at right around 40 dollars a pair it is still a lot cheaper than a visit to a veterinary clnic for a laceration repair!

my dog chico

My little buddy Chico the geocaching Chihuahua always wears his Ruff Wear booties!

 

Know Your Dogs Limits

Depending on the breed of dog you’re treasure hunting with you will be capable of different things. A heartier breed like a lab or shepherd can handle a lot tougher terrain (for the most part) but are also prone to hip issues, says Dr. E, and thus it may not be the best idea to go on long hikes with them. I took my little friend Chico with me and since he is chihuahua he can’t always hack it. While he does great at bouncing up and down rocks sometimes he gets a little worn out and needs some help. The good thing is that since he only weighs 8 pounds its quite easy to pick him up and carry him for a quick break. If your dog weighs 100 pounds that just isn’t an option.

That’s why our veterinairan friend and fellow geocacher, Dr. E, recommends you build up to longer hikes or take some trial runs at a large lap or other area where you can easily get back to safety. This way, you can begin to learn the limits of your dog and what they can or can’t handle. Obviously this super dog can handle quite a bit!

 

Bring Plenty of Food And Water- For You and Your Pet!

Dr. E points out that most people are chronically dehydrated and even worse most people don’t take enough water to account for the stress of a long hike. Don’t let your pet suffer for this too. It can be hard to know how much they need since…well…they can’t talk! But shouldn’t stop you from trying to figure it out. Generally, dogs need about 12-14 ounce of water per 10 pounds. In colder drier environments (like the mountains!) it can be even higher. The same goes for food. Just like you, your dog is burning much more calories while out looking for that deeply hiidden cache and he needs to have an increase in calories to match!

Ruff Wear offers a series of foldable dog beds and bowls to make the process easier- even better they offer doggie backpacks so that Fido can carry his own food!

Doesn’t get better than that.

All in all, don’t forget that your dog is much like you and most the preparation you have to make (food, water, protection and knowing what you can handle) apply to your dog too!

Happy hunting!

6 Easiest Ways to Create and Hide Geocaches

6 Easiest Ways to Create and Hide Geocaches

Geocaching is a relatively new hobby (roughly 17 years old now!) which includes the entire family (including the furry ones, well the dogs at least). All you need is a GPS or even just a smart phone! Pick up the app and start exploring!

Okay, what if you already have that part under control and you want to be the one hiding the cache rather than the one finding the cache! Well keep reading!

Research the Terrain

Before you create and hide your geocache, research the terrain and decide what type of caches will go best. Even better, try finding a geocache in the area and see if you think their set up works!

Find a Good Location

Many people will try to find an interesting location, something that would be fun to visit. For example, nature, historical monuments, something that has scientific interest. They to think of the place which will people gladly visit, even if the cache isn’t there. Or if you want to make your cache particularly challenging, try hiding it in an especially difficult to access location. The top of a tree or at the summit of a Colorado 14’er! Just be sure to warn potential adventurers that your cache will require some significant effort to find.

Check to be sure that Geocaches are allowed

If we are talking about private property or restricted area, you of course need to get approval first. We know some geocachers break the rules a little bit when it comes to urban geocaching. But not everyone is comfortable with their place of business being used for geocaching so make sure you get as much approval as possible first. Look at it as an opportunity to convert someone else to this awesome game!

Choose a Good Container

container

Every container must be waterproof since even if the items inside can handle water, most people like to leave a log book that we don’t want getting soaked. Ammo boxes might be the best solution for this, and they are favorite for many geocachers.

Put A Label on the Container

In nowadays society, suspicious packages create suspicion and alarm. To avoid unpleasant situations, you should label your container. In this way, it won’t be destroyed if someone reports it as suspicious. It will contain all the necessary information, and people will know that container is intended for the game. Don’t get crazy with it, just make it clear to anyone who isn’t playing the game that the container is for geocaching.

How To Start Geocaching?

How To Start Geocaching?

Geocaching is a fun and interesting game that allows you to spend healthy outdoor time with your family and friends. But, you can also enjoy this game on your own. Geocaching is a perfect combination of nature, hard work, critical thinking and just plain fun! It’s perfect for those who want to stay fit but don’t particularly love the gym. It’s hard to be out of shape and love to geocache. If you’ve never done it before, these few steps will get up to speed and ready to roll!

Pick up a GPS receiver

It doesn’t matter how you will get one; you can buy it, borrow or rent it. Even easier, most smartphones come fully equipped with an already installed GPS receiver. Since geocaching is based on GPS coordinates, you really can’t play without one. A better GPS will allow you to handle the tougher Colorado back country and still know where you’re going. But your phone will let you handle some basic geocaches and will be fine for urban geocaching.

Open An Account

gpsTo start playing, you need to find a reliable website and open an account with them. Some of them will offer you free access to caching data, and you will have all the site features available, while others will offer you a premium membership. It means you will be able to get access to more advanced features of the website. A large variety of websites offer caches nowadays; you just need to find the right one. Look for a future blog post on user reviews of the popular geocaching apps.

Use the search option and start small

Once you’ve made your pick and set up your account, it’s now time to find a treasure! And they are hidden everywhere. Use whatever app you picked to find some of the simpler hunts to start with.

Trade small items

Don’t forget to bring something with you while during your hunt! Specifically, something you’re willing to trade for whatever you find in the cache. Many caches follow themes, so if you already know the theme, bring something to trade according to that.

Recognize the cache

They can come in different shapes and sizes and even colors, so pay attention closely. Once you find it, you will need to replace it in the same way, as they were before. Keep in mind that Geocaches are never buried underground. Some people will leave more detailed hints than others as far as the location of the cache. Others will go out of their way to make finding the treasure as hard as possible.

After you find your first cache, contact us and tell us the story of your first experience with Colorado geocaching!

Become A Successful Geocacher in 3 Easy Steps

Become A Successful Geocacher in 3 Easy Steps

Perfecting your geocaching skills can take a lot of time and practice. Your success will be directly correlated to your dedication. Below, you can find three easy steps to improve your play and to find as many containers as you can. You will avoid ending up frustrated because you weren’t able to find anything.

Decide to Succeed

You will encounter many obstacles while on the hunt- and those can be pretty different between the outdoor and urban settings. While the game is intended to be fun, that fact is sometimes things out of your control happen and you get frustrated. But the main point is to overcome and keep moving!

It Isn’t Easy!

cashGeocaches are usually hard to find; they require clever thinking and detective instinct.They might be masked to look like a rock or tree, or maybe they’re just well blended into the environment. If you’re already on the field and you have to find them, make sure to check the latest logs and hints. As a last option, you can always contact the cache owner; he might be able to give you some extra hints. But let’s be honest here, that’s kind of cheating isn’t it?

Find a friend

If you have a friend who has similar interests as you, it would be much easier to hunt in a pair. On the other hand, you can always attend some geocaching event and meet other people who love this game. They are often really friendly and like to share their accomplishments. Other geocachers will be able to give you answers and to point you out in the right direction.They may have even done the hunt you’re having trouble with!