Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Documenting a Treasure site

We have all gone onto that one treasure site, OK, maybe two or three, and didn’t bother taking notes or even photos thinking we would always remember exactly where that clue was or what it looked like.

I don’t know about the rest of you but I have found that to be a mistake over the years. The longer I treasure hunt the more sites I go to and that leads to confusion and brain farts. If you aren’t planning on returning to a site or sharing any information with anybody else in the world about it then it won’t matter. But on the slight chance you will get back to that site, or maybe your children will, you should always be prepared to document what you find in a couple of different ways.

I try to always carry a small notebook and pen with me so that I can write down notes about what I find. I keep a notebook for each site I work on so my notes don’t get lost or confused with some other site. I also try to carry a GPS where ever I go and write down the coordinates and a description of any clues or possible clues I run across. After that I photograph just about everything. With digital cameras coming into the market there’s not much reason not to take a photo now.

In the past I have used a cheap “this will do” camera and although it took photos, they weren’t the greatest photos in the world. Granted, they were better than nothing but I have found that with a better camera you get better photos. Better photos will allow you to do more with them and see more detail if necessary, depending on what you are photographing.

Having a topographical map and satellite photo of the area you are working in is a great idea also. I use a mapping program that gives me both for any area I work in and I try to plot the different clues/markers I find on the map and satellite photo and then PRINT THEM OUT! I’ve had two bad computer crashes in my life and with the first I lost so much information that I didn’t have saved anywhere else I will never get it all back again. I keep things on my computer, on a separate external hard drive and on CD’s and DVD disks AND I print them out. If it is something I consider to be really important I laminate what I print. Yea, I know, sounds a little anal but you just never know!

You would think that with all of the precautions I take I could go right to anything I was looking for but my filing system sucks! I have boxes and boxes of stuff in the basement, two filing cabinets full of stuff and a whole closet with even more stuff and that doesn’t count the computer files. But, I know that I will eventually find that note or photo I need, it just may take me some time!

In this hobby life happens more than the hobby does so always document what you find in a way that will help you get back to it several years down the road. It could be that the one photograph you take will be the only evidence that the clue or maker ever existed. It could be invaluable to yourself, a friend or family member or even somebody rummaging through your stuff at a garage sale when you have gone to the great treasure-hunting site in the sky!

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