Playing Hooky for Hockey (and Geocaching)

Confession: I played hooky for hockey today. Ok, so it was really a vacation day that I had been planning for the past couple of months. My kiddo was playing with his school band at the local minor league hockey team’s daytime game today. I love watching him play and I kinda like hockey, so I thought it would be fun to go to the game.

If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this:

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, ever under any circumstances go to any sporting event on one of the “Get Schooled by Skates” school field trip days.

When I tell you it was a madhouse, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Imagine an entire ice arena full to near capacity. Now imagine it’s all screaming middle schoolers. Yeah, it was that.

But before the game, I watched my kiddo’s band play the songs I’ve been hearing about since before last school year ended – Crazy Train, Best Day of My Life, Smoke on the Water, I’m A Believer, etc. They were awesome and everyone walking by was rocking out and enjoying the show.

That’s my kiddo on drums!

Once the game started, I managed to stay for most of the first period, but that was about all I could handle. I don’t handle crowds well to begin with, and then to have the crowd be full of screaming pre-teens was more than I could deal with.

So I had the rest of the day to myself. I normally would hit the woods on a day off of work with no other responsibilities, but it was waaaay too cold. High temps were in the low 20’s with the real feel around 10*. Temperatures that cold make even park and grabs almost unbearable. But I had the time, and I was in an area that I don’t normally find myself in so I figured I’d go for some quick, easy caches.

The rest of my afternoon was frustrating. I managed to find a whopping 10 caches but actually attempted more than twice that. I just had the worst luck – cars with people in them parked 3 feet away from the cache, missing hosts, and a 10-minute freight train crossing just to name a few. But I didn’t have to go to work and was able to add to my find count, so I’d say it was a successful day.

When I cache by myself, I try to find caches that my regular caching partner, scottberks, has already found. Remember, Scott started caching in 2008 and I didn’t find my first cache until 2011, putting him a good 6,000 finds ahead of me. I’ll never catch him, but it sure is fun to try.

The app that I use for caching, Cachly (iOS only), has some really powerful search features that make it easy for me to see only those caches that Scott has found but I haven’t.

Here’s how to do it. Go to the filter screen (hit the button in the top right from the Live Map screen) and choose these options:

  • Exclude My Finds – You don’t need to see anything you’ve already found.
  • Exclude My Hides – You don’t need to see anything you’ve hidden yourself.
  • Use Map Bounds in Search – This will search the area currently on your Live Map screen. Otherwise, the search will result in finds everywhere, not just where you are. And because the search only results 50 at a time, the first 50 could be anywhere. So if you only want to see the ones closest to you or within your Live Map view, make sure this option is used.
  • Found By – Type in the exact caching name of the person who has already found the caches.
  • Not Found By – Type in your caching name here.

Here’s a video setting up the filter (click play):

Here’s what that same area looks like with filters disabled:

Of course, there are many variations of this type of search. I also use it to show only those caches which neither of us have found by simply removing Scott’s name from the Found By field and making sure both of our names are in the Not Found By field.

Features like the advanced search options allow for a better on-the-fly geocaching experience. In the old days, I would have to plan ahead and use GSAK or Project-GC on a computer to create a GPX file and then import that into my GPS or smartphone. Now I can cache on a whim yet still search for exactly the caches that I want.

I am very grateful for developers who create products that just add to the enjoyment of this awesome activity that I love so much.

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One Comment

  • onlysleepn

    I did not know what the “map bounds” option was. Super helpful, thanks for pointing it out.

    I had to wait out muggles in cars for 20 minutes on my lunch break for an ftf yesterday. I’ve never seen anyone eats takeout BW3 in their car before. So annoying!

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