Inquisitive muggles are one of the hazards of geocaching. In some instances, it can be a case of curiosity killed the cache, as intrigued muggles investigate just what you’re doing lying on the ground looking under a bench. Here are my top tips to engaging your stealth mode!
1. Try not to look like you’re trying not to look suspicious
The more you try not to look suspicious, the more suspicious you definitely will look. In fact, you should carry yourself with an air of ‘I’m supposed to be here, rummaging around in this tree.’ Be confident.
If anyone passes by and looks at you in a confused or alarmed way, just smile and say hello. They’ll be gone in minutes and won’t even remember you by tomorrow.
2. Become more visible to heighten your invisibility
Must-have items for your geocaching kit: a hi-vis jacket and a clipboard! Someone has to inspect the underside of a bridge over a stream, how does the muggle know you’re not that someone? If you look official, people are less likely to worry about what you’re doing. Again, confidence is key. Own it!
3. Embrace your inner photographer
You don’t necessarily need a fancy camera, your smartphone will do. Who knows, you might just improve your photography skills by taking endless pictures of trees/benches/railings. Play the tourist. Nobody will blink an eye.
4. Phone a Friend
If there’s a muggle at GZ, and it looks like they might stay there for a while, you’ll need to kill some time before starting your search. Just hanging about staring them down is probably not the stealthiest idea, so why not call a friend to waste a few minutes while looking not quite so conspicuous?
5. Bring or borrow a dog
Dogs love to sniff EVERYTHING. When you want to go for a fast-paced walk, this can be quite annoying but when you need to loiter at one particular tree for a while, this can come in quite handy.
I find walking a dog particularly good cover when I’m caching on my own. Plus, the geohound gets to go for a walk. Win-win.
6. Make it a Family Affair
Kids are also great cover when caching, as a lot of them like to climb over and under and all over stuff. An adult climbing a tree in the forest alone? Weird. A kid climbing a tree under the watchful eye of an adult? Nothing to see here.
If you don’t have any kids of your own, offer to babysit for friends and family. Great geo-cover and you’ll earn brownie points.
7. Be friendly
If someone is sitting on the bench that you need to inspect, sit beside them. Nine times out of ten, the muggle will leave, especially if there were five other benches you could have sat on. Stranger danger is not just a mantra for kids. Don’t get too weird and sit too close, though. Don’t be that person.
8. Get your story straight
If a police officer, security guard, coastguard or someone otherwise official, asks what you’re doing, tell the truth. Seriously, it is unlikely to end well unless you tell them what you’re really doing.
If someone else asks you what you’re doing, you can tell them the truth too, but you don’t have to tell the whole truth. Often times, when I have explained exactly what I was doing, I’ve just made people even more suspicious as they can’t grasp the concept of geocaching. One taxi driver told me to ‘get a hobby.’ My response? This IS my hobby. Sometimes, omitting the word ‘geocaching’ and just using ‘treasure hunt’ is easier for people to comprehend.
If you think telling the muggle exactly what you’re doing might compromise the cache, you can just say you’ve lost something. The_Mother and I were once asked by a group of kids what we were doing in a park in the trees, so we decided to simply say we had lost the dog’s ball – just in case they got too curious and took the cache if we explained geocaching or even mentioned treasure hunting. Make a judgement call each time but don’t get too creative with your story.
9. Know when to cut your losses
Sometimes, you just have to let the smiley go and call it a day. If you’re hanging around for too long waiting for the opportune moment, and muggles just don’t look likely to budge, you may need to move on. If you can, go to the next one and come back. If not, it’s not the end of the world!
What are your tips for ultimate stealth? Let me know in the comments!
Happy caching and stay stealthy 😉
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