These adventures require more planning and more attention to detail than the geocaching experience, so plan. Wisely choosing your time capsule drop site is important.
The first several paragraphs of our Time Capsule Basics page address public land options for capsule placement. We also have a separate page that considers time capsule placement on private lands.
To ensure that any public or private intervention will not restrict future time capsule adventures, make certain your drop site is as remote and secure as possible:
-FAR away from trails or any possible foot traffic over extended years
-Nowhere even vaguely close to environmentally sensitive, archaeological or heritage sites
-Away from a stream, river beds, flood plains, or potential mudflows, rock falls, ravines, or lakes
-Never close to threatened or endangered species habitats
-Never in restricted or high use areas
Don’t subvert laws that directly prohibit the placement of such a cache on public lands.
Never place a cache within 150 feet of any railroad line, near dams, airports, or other areas that would be considered sensitive targets for terrorist activities. Or under public structures deemed potential or possible targets for terrorist attacks. These may include but are not limited to highway bridges, dams, government buildings, schools, airports, or military installations. Duh.
Finally, realize that poor drop-site selection and poor internal protection for your time capsule’s contents can put all your preliminary efforts at risk. Don’t take a chance that your small family treasures will become a diminished adventure for your descendants because of your own poor planning.
In the expansive regions of the U.S mountain west that we commonly explore, we rarely see other hikers. A time capsule wilderness adventure is not a walk in the park; it’s intended for remote adventures, light years away from the madding crowd. After all, our original purpose was to encourage a remote wilderness adventure for our descendants, i.e., to distance them from the city.
When researching drop site locations, choose a placement that is hundreds of feet away from any trail—the farther that you move from any existing trail, landmark, or potential viewpoint, the better. Pick a site that has no discernible reason to invite any traffic or curiosity, ever. Remember that while the general region of your visit may be spectacular, the exact placement site of your time capsule needs to be unremarkable.
Find a location that has a clear GPS reading but is shaded from direct sunlight. The best sites are shielded by large rock outcroppings or other substantial environmental factors. They will be above any possible flood plain, creek bed, or rain chute. Beyond rock falls, mudflows, avalanche areas, etc.
If there is any possibility that your drop site location is within view of other hikers at the moment of your placement, delay it. You never want to invite a curious stare or the chance that someone else will want to investigate your activity.
For good photo documentation, choose a site near a few obvious and permanent landmarks. The optimal location will be protected from weather, sunlight, foot, and animal traffic by large boulders or other environmental obstructions. As observed in your photos, these structures will also help to identify and confirm the location for future retrievers.
Make your small Geocapsule blend in as one of several similar shaped rocks (or logs) at the immediate drop site. Once again, successful camouflaging means that your location must be unremarkable in every respect.
It’s always best to find a site where you can place your Geocapsule (hollow rock or log) below ground several inches and then pack existing soil around its edges.
A perfect site for a Geocapsule housing can be found by replacing another similarly sized rock that has been embedded in the ground over many years.
(See photos at right.) These are excellent locations because they will reveal ground stability by the amount of soil buildup around the original rock.
Removing the existing small boulder should reveal a depression of several inches. Replace the original rock with your hollow rock or hollow log Geocapsule and tamp down the surrounding soil—no need for any digging. You’ve just found an ideal and stable site that has already stood the test of time.
Remote backcountry boulder fields are often perfect drop sites for concealing Geocapsules. Large rock crevasses also serve as shields from weather and other environmental elements.
Rain, snow, and sun will not penetrate or damage the exterior of our recommended ground Geocapsule, but you should avoid a placement where overheating might compromise your time capsule contents.
Always take an accurate GPS reading at the exact drop site. You will want to double-check the GPS reading by confirming it with several walk-overs. Write the coordinates down immediately.
After your capsule’s placement, note general compass directions and then take photographs from every conceivable angle. Include obvious landmarks in your photos. (When photos are printed for your Retrieval Folder, mark each photo print with the general compass directions.)
Clearly, your greatest goal is to make certain your Geocapsule blends perfectly with its surroundings.
One more thing. Although you will be leaving a finely duplicated artificial rock -or log- among thousands of similar objects, no one should ever need to prompt you to make certain your drop site remains in its pristine and natural state when you leave. A perfectly camouflaged, stable, and secure site is confirmation of a well-planned time capsule adventure.
Granted. You will find a quick checklist of all drop site criteria on the FAST TRACK page.
Next Page: Recording GPS and Photo Data