Monday, June 2, 2008

The Minnesota State Parks Geocaching History Challenge, brought to you by... GSAK!

My first trip up north, tons of great caches and beautiful views, great MnGCA event, meeting lots of old and new cachers, encounters with law enforcement, getting kicked out of state parks, almost breaking my kneecaps, figuring out what cornhole is, blowing a caching competition out of stupidity... all that, and what do I choose to post about? A neat feature of GSAK that I just learned about for this trip.

LucidOndine offered to give me a ride up to the north shore for the event at Gooseberry Falls as long as I would figure out which caches to find. My vague plans were to (1) find a cache in every new county on the way up (I'd never been north of Ham Lake before Friday), (2) grab some of the state park history caches, and (3) find some of the challenging caches on the north shore that Millah suggested, like this and this and this and this.

But I still like to be prepared to be flexible, so I wanted to be able to load about 1000 caches that were in the vicinity of our route. I've used's Cache Along A Route feature successfully (computer-wise, not caching-wise... I found one cache in Wisconsin on that trip.), but that was before GSAK came into my life. For the first time last Friday I used GSAK's Arc/Poly filter, and it worked like a dream. I used Google Earth to find driving directions from the point where the 35's come together north of the Cities to Lutsen, where we were staying, saved it as a .kml file, and then asked GSAK to filter for all available caches that I haven't found that are within about 13.5 miles of that route. It was enjoyable to load the resulting sausage of about 1000 caches on to my 60CSx.

So that's my technological triumph of the weekend. Now for the failure: my Palm and Cachemate have been demoted to Piece of S*** status. Now that I have the entire state of Minnesota loaded into GSAK and Cachemate via 17 pocket queries from, Cachemate is choking like a dog. It rebooted the operating software on my Palm 12 times in three days. I plan to clear it all and then load only a small subset of those caches on to the Palm, because I like to make notes on the caches I find on the Palm, but I don't want to wait five minutes every time I do it.

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