Since the beginning of geocaching, goals have been a big part of the game. Not everyone gets into seeking specific goals outside of just enjoying the act of being outdoors and discovering new places. For me, and a lot of other geocachers that have become addicted to the hobby, we are seeking output validation for the input we’ve made into the hobby/game. It isn’t really that different from say, a car enthusiast. They work on that car for every weekend until it is done. They seek out that validation of input with output like trophies (from car shows) or horsepower (dyno tested).
Goals in geocaching come in many different forms. Heck, probably could make a book of various goals and what it takes to achieve them. But most can be generalized into at lease 3 areas. First and foremost are statistical numerical goals. These are such things like numbered finds like first 100, 1000, or 10,000 caches found, or a streak of find a cache every day for a month. Over the years you start to compete against yourself in year-over-year comparisons. If you got 300 caches last year, you want to do 600 this year. There are difficulty & terrain averages or the matrix (table of each combo), calender days, and more.
Then there are geographical goals. This can include adding additional states and countries. Usually as time goes on, geocachers continually reduce the overall area of the goals from countries, to states, to counties, to map book pages (DeLorme series being a popular one). There are a number of other goals. Some, when they start say they will find all the caches within X number of miles of their home. I try to discourage that one because if ever someone wants to know where you live, it makes a bit easier. But I’ll get into specific of that in another blog later.
Other goals don’t really fit into a category. They tend to be goals like: I’m gonna get the oldest cache in the state of XYZ. They set to get a cache that requires a kayak, boat, scuba gear, climbing gear, or something else outdoors related. They set to cache with other cachers. There are “Icon” chasers. They set out to get as many different kinds of caches. It isn’t that long a list, but some are older and rare now (webcam, virtuals, etc.) while some are short lived (Lost and Found) so if you don’t grab one while it exists, your out. Once at least one is grabbed, you just keep going.
In another blog post, I’ll get into the coins and travel bug aspect of goals and other interests.
So….all that said, what about me. Well, let’s just look at my current goals (or at least those from the start of the year). No point of wasting time with some of my past goals, but do need to clarify that I was not active for over a year (no caching in 2012 at all). I was to stop caching completely but decided to return with a fresh set of eyes. Now that means I get to set new goals. Here is a bullet point of some of the items:
- Increase the number of finds from 278 to 560 (that is nearly double, 282 new caches)
- reach 300 before leaving Maryland
- reach 400 by September, 2013
- reach 560 by end of the year
- Find 10 or more caches in a day (previous max. is 9)
- Find 45 or more caches in a month (previous max. is 43)
- Find 90 or more caches in a year (previous max. is 88)
- Go caching for 6 or more days in a row (previous streak is 5 days)
- Go caching for 15 days or more in a month (14 days previous max)
- Increase the number of calender days cached from 104 to 150 (an additional 46 unique calender days)
- Change most finds from the month of April (currently 43)
- Change most finds from Saturdays to another day of the week.
- Add the following states to caches found in:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
- Add the following cache types
- Letterbox (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
- Wherigo (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
- Webcam (2); add 1 from Maryland & 1 from Florida
- Unknown/Mystery/Challenge (1)
- EarthCache (5)
- Virtual (5)
- Event (5)
- Multi-cache (10)
- Increase regular size caches found to 45%
- Increase regular size caches found to 3%
- Keep micros to below 25%
- Add unique Difficulty & Terrain matrix combos
- Find all traditional caches within incorporated areas within Montgomery County (Gaithersburg, Rockville, Kensington, Somerset, Laytonsville, etc.)
- Get more more FTF in Maryland (will be the third)
- Find some of Maryland’s oldest caches
- Complete the ICC Power Trail
- All Traditional/Multi-caches within a 5 mile radius of home (OK now since I’m moving)
I know that is a long list, and I don’t expect to accomplish them all, However, most are within easy achievable range if I am more consistent with my caching than I have been in any previous year. In fact, only in both my inaugural year (2002) and in 2008 did I actually find at least one cache in six months of the year. I tend to spike then loose interest, then spike again. Later, in another blog I’ll share some charts and graphs of my previous caching habits.
There is ONE big additional goal that has been achieved, but also hope to be on going. You are reading it right now. This blog is part of a goal I have had for some time, and this time, with my fresh outlook on the game, it was time to implement.