Congratulations, It’s A Geocache!

Please help me welcome four additions to the kjwx family – GC10DWH Palmer Head Fortress, GC10H8Z Rockford, GC10J6P Ben’s Challenge and GC10YD6 In Plane Sight.

These aren’t cute, new hides but weathered caches with flaws and behavioral issues. Each is five years old and, with the exception of the flat-terrain Rockford (pictured below), sited in remote locations.

It’s not that I couldn’t have geocaches of my own but that two of the quartet were in need of serious repair, after years of simultaneously alarming and delighting the local geo-community with their penchance for steep, gorse-filled ridges.

Even so, I couldn’t resist becoming their adoptive mother as GC10DWH – named after an abandoned military post nearby – in particular has proved such a help in allowing me to track my own development as a geocacher. The first time I visited its thistle-covered, level 4 home overlooking Wellington Airport and the city’s wild South Coast, I naively wore jandals and a skirt. I had no water or equipment, not even a pen.

That was back in January 2010, two months after Cumbyrocks introduced me to his new hobby. Upon returning this month – two years on – I was a leaner, meaner player; able to ascend steep, prickly hills with some ease (even whilst carrying the geopup and my kitbag.

Deciding to adopt was easy; there was little bureaucratic red-tape, no fees to pay and no officials to persuade. The hardest part was finding recent contact details for their biological father, as he’d left the game a year earlier – but even that took only a few minutes searching online.

What surprised me most about the process is that so few players seem aware of it – or the fact that you can also transfer ownership of TBs. Groundspeak operates an open adoption system, whereby cache owners simply complete the short Adopt A Cache form at GC.com and wait for their chosen parent to accept guardianship.

Once this occurs, the adoptive parent is given full access to that listing, allowing them to make whatever changes they deem necessary. Originally, the placement line was also amended to say: Placed by so-and-so, adopted by kjwx – but this no longer seems to be the case.

According to the company’s Knowledge Books: “Groundspeak will not process a geocache transfer without written permission from the geocache owner. Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com. Decisions about caches belonging to someone who is deceased need to be made by the cache owner’s family since that cache is now part of the estate.”

Nor can grandfathered cache types  be transferred to a new owner, it says. “Neither the adoption tool on the website nor Groundspeak will be able to make the transfer for Virtual, Webcam or Locationless caches. Archived caches cannot be transferred, and rarely will archived caches be unarchived for the purpose of adoption.”

It could be argued that it’s also best to archive abandoned hides, opening up their GZs for other placers. And I agree – if the cache’s parents cannot be found or we’re talking about an unremarkable micro in a less than worthwhile spot. But when the caches in question have given so much joy (and pain) to the community, I believe it’s our collective responsibility to rally round them for the rest of their natural life.

In the case of my new charges – which have 17 Favourite points between them – I plan to add a photo to each, clarify one or two instructions and repair broken containers where needed but, for the most part, all four listings are sound.

Truthfully, I think I’m benefitting most from their adoption, as it inspired me to tackle another item on my Must-Find list while also letting me play Good Geo-Samaritan. I’m still left with the issue of whether I can log a hide I now own but have neither seen but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Better dash, though; I hear the children calling.

*Ever adopted a cache or TB yourself? Tell us about it below. And where do you stand on logging adopted hides that you’ve never found – or even know what they look like?

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