Dennis, with GPS receivers selling for so little these days, I personally would upgrade to a better GPSr than the Pioneer. My father had two of them and I found them to be marginally handy for caching. Both suffered from screen fade and being very slow to compute. You can get a reciever that has many times more features and speed for as little as $150.
mrcspen: if you are out there beating the bush with an emap,mapbooks and a laptop with topo software - Id say you are more than good to go Joe!
I have found that many cache hiders have little or no outdoor experience other than this hobby. Caches tend to be quite easy to find ( in general ). They ( in general ) tend to be hidden along the path of least resistance. If you are an experienced outdoorsman you probably wont be caching long before you find one that was classified as being tough and yet turns out to be simple. People have vastly different views of how rugged a piece of land is. I once found a tupperware tub hidden 6 feet from a paved walking trail in a county park. It was jammed under a fallen tree. It was rated 4 for difficulty. When I asked the cache owner how that could possibly be a "4" she replied "because briars will grow there in the summer"...... :-)
Caching tends to be a small group sport. If you end up with too many people in your party it takes the mystery and fun out of the search. One or two people find it and then the others just pile on. We held a picnic in S Central PA last Spring. Several caches were hidden in the park as one-day'ers. The one closest to the pavilion ended up being that way - people were trapsing back and forth all day and it didnt take long for the brush to be beaten down and the way made quite obvious ( dont worry, no endangered plants were disturbed - mainly burn hazel and common grass ).
Geocaching is a great sport and I feel one of its best features is how it can be tailored to the people who are looking. There are easy caches, hard caches, virtuals, locationless... caches requiring a LOT of thought and some that a chimp could find. Wanna find caches by plotting lat/longs on a map and using only a compass and pacecount? Go for it! Wanna use your laptop and car-mounted GPS antenna? Go for it! There is plenty of room for all sorts of opinions on what is best or most fun.
Take care, PULASKI
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