Part 3: All About the Pocket Query
In Part 0 we established the Crush event as something you should not treat lightly. In Part 1 you have established your basic organization and planning structure, while in Part 2 you made official decisions on “Da Rules”. Now it is time to get cooking on a Pocket Query and mapping out the actual waypoints you will seek.
This is where the fun really gets going, if you’re a geek like me.
Run a Pocket Query
You’ve already decided what types of hides you are going to seek in Part 2. With that, go run yourself a Pocket Query on Geocaching.com. Some thoughts, though, on building effective PQs are are in order:
- Make sure the details from Part 2 (terrain, difficulty, types, etc) are all plugged in (DUH)
- Consider running a separate query for each cache type and merging the GPX files later, this will make it easy for you to slice off the Mystery caches
- Always choose “not ignored” as a filter criteria. This will become important in a second.
- Choose an appropriate waypoint to center the search on and fiddle with the search radius until the “preview” results come back with just under 500 results (475-499 is good). This insures you have ALL of the caches in a given radius listed.
- Use Watcher to further filter your results when the PQ GPX file comes over.
Now if your results in Watcher look something like this…
…you should take a look at the caches in your query a little more closely and check out the status on some of those hides. You may want to “Ignore” a few that just seem perpetually “Disabled” or have a long string of DNFs, then rerun your query from above. (By ignore, I of course mean to load up the cache on Geocaching.com and actually “Ignore” it through the Log Your Visit menu).
Do Some Advance Homework
The resulting GPX file should be clean and have about as many live caches you could hope for. It will get even better, but for now let’s divvy up the PQ into two columns:
- Things we solve while on the trail
- Things we need to solve ahead of time
This is where you need a little help to figure out what puzzles, virtuals, Earthcaches and etc. are worth studying up for in advance. We did this with 3 people and I think that is a good minimum number of participants. Also worth attacking is a brief scan of major cache clusters, trails or hiders. There is no such thing as too much information. You are looking for anything that would help or hurt your day. Perhaps mapping out restrooms would be your thing. Hey, who am I to judge?
Once you have done your homework, ignored some caches and decided any other tidbits that impact your Pocket Query you can re-run the Query(s). You really want that search to come back with close to 500 caches, so take your time with it.
Build Your Route
You can’t start building your route until you are completely decided on which caches you will be targeting, so give your team a kick in the pants to finish up on those puzzles for final coordinates. When your cache list is decided and you have chosen mapping software to build your route you can use my handy dandy tutorial on building a route (you do have some of this software, right? I mean, it did come with your GPS).
Some notes on building that route I covered only briefly in the post I linked to above:
- Routes are limited by the number of “turns” or waypoints they can include. Most GPS mapping software will not allow you to build and save/upload to your GPSr a route with more than 50 waypoints. This is just a limitation of the GPSr, not your software.
- You’ll look super smart if you really zoom in and check what side of the street the cache is on. If you always approach it from the right side of the street you will be a much safer and quicker cacher. Don’t say anything beforehand to your team. After the first 20 right hand road stops your carmates will be laughing their butts off at how easy the route is.
- Don’t let the route run you. Be flexible and prepared to abandon caches if you need to for sanity’s sake. There will always be another day to have fun.
Finally: Get Ready to Launch
In this penultimate article we’ve covered a lot of ground but there is one last organizational note we need to address in the final chapter: your schedule. At this point you have everything needed to pull off a great Crush type event (numbers run, cache dash, whatever). Our last in the series will provide you with some tools for organizing the day and recording the fun.
Until then, Happy Caching!