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Hints!


stout97
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You are not weak . . . I think the fun of the game it to see new locations and then find the cache.

 

Unless the cache is just sitting there, looking at me, as a few have lately, I look at the hint because I want to find the cache, sooner rather than later, afterall, there are other caches to find and time's a wastin'. :)

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We are not yet to the paperless caching stage so we print out each cache we think we might go for when out on a trip. We print them out with the hint already decrypted.

 

However, I rarely read the hint until after I am at the site looking for it. It is more of a safety net just in case I am clueless once we get to the site.

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So, how often do you find yourself using the encrypted hints in the cache description when searching for a cache? 

Every single bloody time. I read them before I leave the house in the morning. Of course, then I sometimes get them confused and find myself standing in a pine forest going, "there's no park bench here!"

 

Seriously, I'm in it for the walk in the woods (or the beach, or the historical marker). It adds something if the find gives me a little fight at the end, but a long, frustrating hunt (especially if it's capped with a DNF) is not welcome.

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As time goes on, the group I usually go with tends to wait to read the hint. Sure there are other caches to find, but I I like the whole adventure for each cache. Selecting the cache to find, reading the information about the cache, traveling to the cache location and the hunt. I like the feeling that I get of finding the cache with no help. My group has two unwritten rules, no reading of the Hint until we have made a good effort to find the hide, and the first to find the cache moves away from the cache before declaring "I Found It". This usually results in Maximum enjoyment for everyone in the group.

 

In most every case where we use the hint we realize if we had searched just a little longer we would have found the cache anyway.

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Now I'm going to read them every time

 

last week I did a cache where the hint said:

 

[if you decrypt this clue before you get there it will not be as fun]

 

So I parked and did the math. Cache was only .1 miles, so off I went. Across the creek, through the weeds, through a farmers corn field???, up a 75 foot bluff (common down here in the ozarks), only to find the cache within 10 feet of a forest service road.

 

Would have been nice to know I needed to go somewhere else first. Many times during my trek I thought "boy, if I get hurt out here, I'm screwed"

 

Must...read...hint :)

Edited by Be-a-Jayhawk
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I use them about a third of the time.

 

I try to find the cache without the hint, but if I get stumped ( or if I am short on time, as happens occasionally ) then I will decode the hint.

 

And sometimes I am really stumped, even after decoding the hint and doing alot of searching - that is when I go back and re-read all of the log entries, etc to see if I can pick up an additional hint or two.

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If it's an urban cache I read the hint before I get out of the car. I don't like feeling exposed and so don't want to spend any more time looking for it than I need to. Also I have now disasembled enough sprinker heads to where if it's not one I want to know.

 

If it's remote, in a nice park etc. then I'll look until I'm ready to give up before reading the hint.

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Now I'm going to read them every time

 

last week I did a cache where the hint said:

 

[if you decrypt this clue before you get there it will not be as fun]

 

So I parked and did the math.  Cache was only .1 miles, so off I went.  Across the creek, through the weeds, through a farmers corn field???, up a 75 foot bluff (common down here in the ozarks), only to find the cache within 10 feet of a forest service road.

 

Would have been nice to know I needed to go somewhere else first.  Many times during my trek I thought "boy, if I get hurt out here, I'm screwed"

 

Must...read...hint  :)

Maps work great. Particularly when they're loaded onto the GPS. I learned a long time ago to look for the closest entry point before hopping out of the car or hopping off the trail.

 

I'm like RK. Urban caches I almost always read the hint before going off on the hunt. Any other time, I tend to wait till I get close and decide if the terrain or satellite signal is going to make things difficult enough to warrant it.

Edited by TotemLake
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I'll search about 15-30 minutes before I go to the hint. I'd say I wind up using it about half the time.

This is almost exactly what I was going to write when I read the OP. I was going to estimate about 40%. Brian, we seem to be in a tiny minority.

 

Like Muddler said, I realize most of the time that had I looked a little bit longer or harder, I probably would have found them without the hint.

 

By the way, on the two caches I've hidden... there's no hint.

 

Jamie

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I have a 10 YO who LOVES puzzles. This kid likes anything that takes a little reasoning and skill to put together.

 

I think that is why she enjoys geocaching so much.

 

Anyway, I always look at the hint because I don't want to be unprepared for what we might find.

 

But, I don't share the decoded hint with her. Instead, if we get stumped, I let her sit and work out the hint if she wants. She can manually decode them pretty quickly.

 

In that example, the trail went two different directions and the hint said "No Horses". One part of the trail was marked with the international symbol showing a horse with a red cirle and slash through it. Once she decoded the hint, she was off like a bloodhound down the trail.

 

I knew which way we should go because I had seen the hint prior to hunting, but it was very enjoyable watching her work it out and realize what the little sign meant.

 

Really, I do this for her. But that doesn't stop me from enjoying it too!

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I seem to be in the minority here. My answer is almost never. I will only use the hint if I have been searching for a very long time or I am in an area with a lot of GPSr bounce. My enjoyment from caching comes from the challenge I get hunting the cache especially well hidden micros and smaller caches.

 

That being said I did learn a good lesson that I would like to pass along. Even if you do not use the hint, read it BEFORE YOU LEAVE!

 

I once found a cache that was rated a difficulty 3 and was planted by a newbie. As I was approaching the area I spotted from 30 feet away a pile of small sticks neatly stacked on the ground. At first I thought this was a decoy and I almost ignored it. It’s a 3 difficulty right! Well curiosity got the best of me and I moved one of the sticks and saw the blue cover of a Tupperware container. Before I left I threw the sticks away, covered the container with a few randomly spaced small rocks, a clump of moss and a handful of leaves. Now it might be considered a 3 I thought.

 

When I got home, which was 20 miles away mind you, I decided to see what the hint was for this cache. To my amazement it read:

 

“The cache is a small Tupperware container covered with a pile of sticks!”

 

The real challenge of this cache came when I returned to the site and tried to find to all the sticks that I had tossed into the woods so that I could replace the hide the way I found it.

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I once found a cache that was rated a difficulty 3 and was planted by a newbie. As I was approaching the area I spotted from 30 feet away a pile of small sticks neatly stacked on the ground. At first I thought this was a decoy and I almost ignored it. It’s a 3 difficulty right! Well curiosity got the best of me and I moved one of the sticks and saw the blue cover of a Tupperware container. Before I left I threw the sticks away, covered the container with a few randomly spaced small rocks, a clump of moss and a handful of leaves. Now it might be considered a 3 I thought.

 

When I got home, which was 20 miles away mind you, I decided to see what the hint was for this cache. To my amazement it read:

 

“The cache is a small Tupperware container covered with a pile of sticks!”

 

The real challenge of this cache came when I returned to the site and tried to find to all the sticks that I had tossed into the woods so that I could replace the hide the way I found it.

The question I would have for you is:

 

Why would you hide it differently than the way you found it?

 

On all hides, I attempt to recreate the hidden cache exactly the same way I found it. The only exception is when it is absolutely exposed to the average casual observer. I will then make sure it isn't, mention it in the log in the cache and on the web and send a separate message to the owner.

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Now that I use a PDA instead of paper, I also try to find the cache before using the hint. I probably spend 10-15 minutes looking before I look at the hint. When I printed off lists of caches, I would go ahead and add the decoded hints. I tried having them in a separate list, but I tended to mix them up and would see things like "Where WOOD you look? when I was at a cache located in a rock wall!

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I tried having them in a separate list, but I tended to mix them up and would see things like "Where WOOD you look? when I was at a cache located in a rock wall!

Before I got Cachemate (idiot! I wish I'd done it right from the start), I used to use the Mobipocket format on my Palm. It clusters the hints together unencrypted at the back of the document, in an appendix. This can make it fiendishly difficult to spot the right one, if you've downloaded a PQ with hundreds of entries.

 

Worse, I used to catch myself thinking things like, "no, I don't like this hint. I'll use the hint next to it."

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A "hint" in a past log was the only way I found one cache because the real hint was no longer valid. I think someone replaced the container in a different position than the hider intended.

 

I love having as many as 10 past logs in my Palm . . . just in case the cache is a particularly difficult one.

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Before I got Cachemate (idiot! I wish I'd done it right from the start), I used to use the Mobipocket format on my Palm. It clusters the hints together unencrypted at the back of the document, in an appendix. ...

 

Worse, I used to catch myself thinking things like, "no, I don't like this hint. I'll use the hint next to it."

I haven't tried those. I use Plucker and Spinner for my PDA files. They put the hint (as a clickable link) at the bottom of the cache description, just before whatever previous logs are available (The number of old logs depends on their length).

 

Auntie, you are hysterically funny! I have been to caches where the hint might as well be written in ancient Greek (which I don't read) for all the good it does me until AFTER I find the cache!

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I use GSAK and look at the past logs and hints when I'm home deciding which caches to look for that day. I look at past logs to see if the cache has been found in the last 4-5 tries and to see what condition it's in (if it's worth looking for). I look at the hint to see if there's information that really should be in the cache description. Why do people put warnings about hidden dangers or parking coordinates in the hint :P - by the time you're looking at the hint in the field, you're way past needing parking coordinates!

 

Since I look at many caches before heading out, I usually don't remember the hints that go with a particular cache (unless it's something that should have been in the cache description, which I'll take note). When I'm actually searching for a cache I usually look for a little while before I view the hint in Cachemate, which means I use the hint about half of the time. For me it's more about finding new and interesting places or a good hike, and less about spending time looking through the poison ivy! :rolleyes:

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We are not yet to the paperless caching stage so we print out each cache we think we might go for when out on a trip. We print them out with the hint already decrypted.

 

However, I rarely read the hint until after I am at the site looking for it. It is more of a safety net just in case I am clueless once we get to the site.

Sounds like a near 100% hint user to me. :rolleyes: Beautiful.

Edited by Team Cotati
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I'll search about 15-30 minutes before I go to the hint.  I'd say I wind up using it  about half the time.

This is almost exactly what I was going to write when I read the OP. I was going to estimate about 40%. Brian, we seem to be in a tiny minority.

 

Like Muddler said, I realize most of the time that had I looked a little bit longer or harder, I probably would have found them without the hint.

 

By the way, on the two caches I've hidden... there's no hint.

 

Jamie

It is because you are so special............I think. :rolleyes: smooches

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I don't like to decrypt them until I absoutely can't find the cache. I have no problem (most of the time) hunting for at least 30 minutes or so before I get to the point that I need the hint. And I hate the hints that say "If I give you a hint it will make it too easy"...AHHHH!! My husband likes to be the one to figure the hints out...I'd rather keep looking.

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So, how often do you find yourself using the encrypted hints in the cache description when searching for a cache? 

Every single bloody time. I read them before I leave the house in the morning. Of course, then I sometimes get them confused and find myself standing in a pine forest going, "there's no park bench here!"

Hehe that reminds me of the first cache my son and I went looking for, and eventually found after 10-15 frustrating minutes. Minus the park bench. :P

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I had to use the hint last night because the cache was near a very busy street, at an intersection, under some power lines. My GPSr just couldn't decide which side of the street I should be on.

 

I didn't want to spend any more time in that location than absolutely necessary . . . :P

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I didn't want to spend any more time in that location than absolutely necessary . . . :P

Good point. If the location is, shall we say, less than desirable, I'll look at the hint before I start looking, or just continue on to the next cache without reading the hint or looking! :lol: If a cache in a poor location doesn't have a hint, I'll definitely continue to the next location without looking! Life is too short. :P

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I generally use every resource I have available. Hints, logs, satellite photos, you name it. I have fun doing it this way and I figure that's the most important thing. I do sort of envy those who don't use hints and still bag caches but it doesn't bother me that I use them. However I also like that they're encrypted so I always have the option of not using them. I keep thinking someday I'll be good enough to not need hints.

 

In fact it's my goal to someday become good enough that I don't even use GPS anymore. I'll just use one of the Y shaped sticks like they used to use to find water. Only my stick will be shaped more like a G. I like being old school like that. :blink:

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Sometimes folks just need to satisfy themselves without the "extra" hint. Especially if it's an easily accessible cache like my Mint Julep which is in a downtown park in San Luis Obispo.

 

Here's one unhappy/then happy cacher -

 

Cachecrusher's April 8th post: AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!! 5th time no find. where! where! where!

 

My email: Do ya want an extra hint re Mint Julep?

 

Cachecrusher's reply: I would desperately like a hint, but I really don't want to ruin the satisfaction of finding it myself. I am torn, yes, no, yes, no. I am at your mercy, make my decision for me.

 

My reply: I've been in your predicament before, (am right now as a matter of fact). I'm torn too. I think though that since it's in town (my Achilles heel is in Avila) and you are able to easily go by & get a workout, (just kidding) I guess I'll give you the satisfaction of finding it yourself and not give you ANY hint.

 

Cachecrusher's June 22nd post: I finally found it. After a trip at least once a week for the last few months I guess I just gained enough experience in caching to realize what to look for. As a celebration I continued my trip downtown for a Mint Julep and while it was a little to sweet for my taste, I enjoyed it immensely due to the satisfaction of having found this one on my own. A toast to you Oreo Pony for what to date has been my most difficult find and for not giving me an additional hint no matter how much I wanted it.

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SLO would be a cool area for caching. I went to college there and explored the trails extensively between Poly Track, SLO Roadrunners, working for Alpinestars USA and testriding their mountian bikes, and hunting /hiking up in Pozo. And that doesn't even count the "popular" college outdoors activities like Avila, Montana De Oro, hiking the 7 sisters, or climbing Cuesta grade. I probably could locate 20 "favorite" spots within a week to place caches if I still lived there. That is assuming they aren't already saturated. My wife still has family in Atascadero so we'll eventually take another trip back to the area - you should post a "must do" list of caches in the area so we can check them out next time we head over to the West coast.

 

back on topic to hints - my hardest issue with them is in providing hints for our own caches. I don't like the idea of completely giving it away and it is very hard for me to discern what is too much info since my point of view on the cache is quite different from the potential hiders.

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I seem to be in the minority here. My answer is almost never.  I will only use the hint if I have been searching for a very long time or I am in an area with a lot of GPSr bounce. My enjoyment from caching comes from the challenge I get hunting the cache especially well hidden micros and smaller caches.

Ditto. I don't decode the hint ahead of time and only resort to it if I am having difficulty finding the cache. I'd say I'm averaging using the hint about 35 - 40% of the time. I've never read the hint on a good number of my finds.

Edited by NoLemon
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I like a challenge as much as the next guy, but if I'm after a 2/2 and the GPS can't decide which county it's in, never mind within 20 feet, and I'm standing on pile of boulders where there's a cache - I will use the hint. And if I've been looking for a reasonable amount of time (varies with patience allotment for the day) I will peek to give myself an edge.

 

My priorities when caching:

1. Enjoy the hike.

2. Enjoy the location.

3. Enjoy the hunt.

4. Find the cache.

 

When the hunt stops being enjoyable, out comes the hint so I can get to #4.

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