note: first appeared in March 2015
There are lots of good places to hide your cache. There are lots of bad places to hide your cache. The trick is to find the places to hide your cache where no one else will find it. So the cardinal rule is – Don’t hide your cache where someone would expect to find it. The trade-off is, your cache may be harder to find and retrieve when you follow the cardinal rule.
If you haven’t read my posts 3 days ago about Survival Caches, now might be a good time Survival Cache to Stay Alive & Start Over – Part #1 – 3
Here are some basic guidelines for stashing your cache:
- You must be able to find it but sufficiently hidden so others can’t find it.
- The area must be close enough to get to, but not so close that it can be linked to you.
- If law enforcement finds it they are probably going to think it is pretty weird and you are going to be questioned about it. How will they know it is yours? Try fingerprints or DNA for starters. Also, if for any reason they think it is tied to a serious crime they will investigate it and do their best to locate you. Be ready to tell whoever finds it a very good reason why you stashed it.
- Remember the water, if you have water in the can bury the whole can deep enough that it won’t freeze and burst. In the frigid north you could be looking at 3’ or more to get below the frost line. An alternative could be to bury your water separately, thereby allowing you to bury your original survival cache can more shallow.
- I think having at least two ways in/out to the spot is important. And don’t egress the area/spot the same way you entered. Someone may have watched you and just waiting for the opportunity to ambush you as you leave.
- The spot should be hard enough to get to but it should also not make you stick out should you be seen going there…either when you originally bury it or when you retrieve it. Have a good reason ready if you are seen and/or questioned about it by someone in authority. Remember “Geocaching” is a sport now and could be used as a good excuse.
- Observe the area for hours, maybe days, before finalizing a spot. What looks good today might not be good on a holiday.
- Don’t put it on someone’s private property, which is called trespassing. And if you put your cache there it becomes theirs by legal definition.
- If you decide on public property it’s a good idea to know that you might be breaking the law doing so (soil & vegetation disturbance).
- On public lands one good thing it’s illegal to use a metal detector. Bad thing is that law doesn’t apply to the agency’s folks or law enforcement.
- Look the area over very carefully if you are on public lands. Should you bury your cache in an area that has any archeological value you can commit a felony by digging there.
- You don’t want your can to potentially be underwater when you need it. So look around for the flood plain and avoid it. Yes, dry stream beds & arroyos are inviting but think about when there is water, and it can be deep at times.
- Once you decide on your spot spy on it. Find a good location some distance away and just watch the area where you want to bury the can. See what you notice, see if people come roaring by on dirt bikes, how about hikers or hunters?
If you decide to bury your cache can look carefully at the ground, look really closely before you dig, maybe even take a picture first. When you are done, compare the picture to what the ground looks like in the picture. When you are done then stand back and throw several handfuls of stones, pebbles, dirt, leaves, twigs, etc. on the site from a distance. That will make it appear much more “life-like” or “natural”.
Time to get the job done, go bury your cache can, reset the ground and vegetation around it, and as you leave cover your tracks. Use a branch or bush and wipe your tracks away as you leave the area.
Now, don’t go back and keep checking on it; you will create “tells” by doing so. Other people could get interested and start poking around. They might want to try and find what you found sound interesting in the area.
If you have two cans to bury, bury them at least 50′ apart. Better yet, where you can’t easily see one location from the other one. That helps keep one location secure if the other is compromised.
You can also use Google Earth to scout and area without really being there. Now, do yourself a favor, don’t mark it with any software on any mapping program or setting a GPS coordinate on your GPS unit.
If you want to take lat/long coordinates that is OK. Take your lat/long then write the coordinates on paper, DO NOT mark it on your GPS unit. Store the paper where you can find it and no one else will stumble across it. If you want to take one more step in the paranoia world, try to figure out a cool system to hide the numbers for the lat/long. Put it in a list of phone numbers, substitute a couple of alphabet letters for numbers, mix it all up a bit so someone hopefully won’t even recognize what it is. And if they do recognize it, they won’t have a way to figure it out since it is random based on your unique system.
Another way to hide it in plain site is to create an overlay or cut-out out of a heavy sheet of construction paper or something similar. Take a common map, find the spot where your can is located (do not mark it on the map), then lay the piece of paper over the map. Orient the paper to something common with the map (i.e. a side, a corner, a road, etc.). Then make a small mark on the paper. Now, cut a small hole in the paper where the mark was. Write on the paper, punch a couple different holes in it that are different than your cache can hole. Then let the kids do a crayon drawing on it, play tic-tact-toe on it. Now put the paper away and remember where you put it; or post it on the refrigerator door. Leave the map where you normally would keep it.
If I were to give you two final words of advice they would be: Disguise
I am sure there are some more ideas that ya’ll can come up with so let’s end it here and let you get to work.
The important thing is…build your cache…and then stash your cache! Just do it!
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