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Like A Dog On A Bone


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Often couples/siblings/friends have "secret codes" based on previously established timelines/agreements about certain events. For example: Dinner at the In-Laws, two hours in and a kick under the table is the signal to leave. Wedding reception of disliked coworker, you agree to stay for the speeches and cake then leave...no signal needed.


So when it comes to Geocaching, who has an agreement with their CachingPartner regarding how long they will hunt before acknowledging a DNF?


We have had to come up with an "agreement" after our experience at GCT26W. The Cache was located within 15m of the coordinates (direction unknown). If there was snow cover we would have to dig...there was snowcover. It was -12 but sunny when we made the hike and started to dig/poke around. The moon was rising and the sun was setting...my Caching Partner could not give up the hunt- despite the dropping temp, isolated area with potential to get vehicle stuck and no cell service. We ended up leaving without finding the Cache, -14 temp and then stuck behind a broken down logging truck. (See log for pics and details).


The need for an "agreement" became evident after the first 1.5hrs (winter safety vs finding the cache)...but the "dog to the bone" could not give it up. We have since agreed that we will mutally put in a good hour of hunting, then we will continue hunting only if we both agree to continue, otherwise we 'll suck it up and log a DNF.


Anyone else have "agreements" around hunting timelines?

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Since I mostly cache alone, my agreement is usually just between me and me.


Micro in woods- about 15 minutes unless FTF at stake, then perhaps as much as an hour


Otherwise my rule of thumb is about twice the time it took to hike in- provided no extenuating circumstances such as a downpour, gotta be somewhere or such.


When out with others, I basically use a revision of a diving and caving rule- any member of the party can call it for any reason. That seems to be the wisest chioice.


When out with Murasaki or Wifemate, many times the limit depends on recent liquid intake. :)


The signal is pretty simple: "let's go" means about another hour. "Let's go NOW!" means it's time to head out. :anibad:

Edited by Confuse-A-Cat
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Fox and I were amazed to hear how quickly some will leave after not finding a cache. The star ratings indicate that some caches should take the better part of an afternoon or longer. We'll typically look for as long as 3-4 hours before calling it quits and logging a DNF. Sometimes we just go do another cache and come back later in the day with "fresh eyes". I don't think we're alone either. As we've recently found out, some of our more persistent cache crews in NEPA look just as long. A couple cachers recently logged a DNF on one of our woodland multi-caches after 2 days of looking! They finally found it after a day of reflection and completing the cache on the third day. They were FTF and they may be part of it, but I think some cachers are just more tenacious than others. :)

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My wife and I don't really have an agreement of how long to look. We're still very new at this. I think it varies from cache to cache and also taking into account the weather conditions. Last week we were looking for a micro and it was cold, wet, and windy. We looked for probably 20 minutes or so. Then we both just decided to come back and try again sometime soon.


I think the best rule of thumb is to just use common sense. There have been times where we would also scope out an area for a cache just to see if it was one we wanted to try. And also to figure out when would be the best time to try... minimal muggles and so on. Also I have seen some caches placed in areas that I thought weren't very safe, especially for kids. But that's also what I like about this game. It has something for everyone regardless of skill levels. And it also has lots of variety.

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No agreement. It all varies on the difficulty of the cache and the amount of time we have. Often our cache hunting is done while hiking so we also have to consider how much time we have before it gets dark and how far away our car is.


That said, my wife will not give up easily and I'm the one who has to say "Honey, the sun sets in 30 minutes and we're still 3 miles from the car"

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We rarely spend more than 10 - 15 minutes searching for a cache. But if we were to make a long hike into an area, we would surely search longer and take things such as weather, sunset, and time back to the vehicle into play. Being a tech trained scuba diver, I can and do live with the "anyone can call it at anytime with no fall out from the rest of the group."

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When with a partner usually there is a communication like "just doesn't seem to be here" or "when was it last found???" after a half hour or so. Then in another half hour the "I don't think it's here" comes out and shortly after that we head back to the car. If I am caching alone and there are no other caches in the area calling me to them I'll likely stay longer. Exception is urban/parking lot micros. Generally I limit them to 5-10 minutes because I just don't want to loiter in a specific area longer than that and don't really enjoy them that much anyway.

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So when it comes to Geocaching, who has an agreement with their CachingPartner regarding how long they will hunt before acknowledging a DNF?

I think, for my Lady and I, it just depends on the cache, the day, our mood.... We DNF'ed a micro that had to be in one of three trees this weekend after just 10 minutes. (The weather was clear, but we had another in the same park to search and the day was wearing on.) OTOH, we've invested about three hours across two attempts at a regular - both of them in the rain and cold.


Hmm... That may be attitude more than anything else, we are not fond of log-only micros - though we do hunt them occasionally.

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I think it definately depends on the area. We usually look for a cache for at least an hour before giving up. Then we post the infamous DNF and wait to see if the next guy does the same. If the next post is a find we definately go back. Sometimes though you just know something is wrong. The site sounds like you have to watch for drop-offs and that the view is great from the top and you find yourself in the middle of a cleared off field. You just know not to look very long. Either the coordinates are wrong or you copied or programed something wrong. We then contact the owner and ask him to check. A few times the reply to our inquirery was Opps, so sorry!

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Yup, when I'm no longer having fun, I leave. If it's a "needle in the haystack" type of search that might only take 5-10 minutes. Other times it can take over an hour.


The funny thing is in my family I am generally the more obsessed one (3K finds to my wife's 600 or so) but when we're caching together I'm usually the one to give up first. Go figure.

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My wife will tell me she's not having any fun. When it's Night Stalker and I looking he seems content to look forever at times so I'm the one to say "I've had all the fun I can stand" and then he'll breathe a sigh of relaaf and we move on.


When the kids stopt looking and pick up sticks and sword fight, that's their clue. Bottom line when the fun stops, it's time to move on.

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No matter what I'm doing, my general rule of uncle is that the first one who calls it, needs to be honored. Just like the slowest person hiking dictates the pace of all the hikers. Staying together for safety. As they said in TOP GUN - never leave your wing man.

I usually cache with my dog. If I look around and he is no longer with me, and will not respond to my calling or my whistles, it means he has had it and will meet me at the car....there have been times he has not liked the area and I have had to try another cache. He is over 85 pounds, and both his breeds are stubborn as mules so there is no use in trying to reason with him. When he is done, he is done. When he wont go, he wot go. You should see us trying to get him out of the vehicle to go to the vet!!!

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Depends on who I'm caching with. If it's my 10 yr old grandaughter, she gets wet, cold, hungry, tired, sick, after about 10 minutes. My wife will look for about 20 minutes but she always brings a book and is happy to leave me to look for hours.


The champ is my 8 yr old grandaughter, she'll chew the bone till there's nothing left and still want to keep going ("check the GPS again Papa, it has to be here"). We spent 2 hrs in a flat gravel landing (old quarry) and she still wanted to "check over there one more time" in hopes of finding another box of crayons.


I usually go caching in the late afternoon to limit myself to the few hours of remaining daylight. I'll have to start night caching I guess.

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I use the NHF system. I leave when I'm Not Having Fun. If I'm caching with a partner anyone can call it.

This is my system as well . . . unless it is at the end of a hike with a White Jeep T.B. as the prize. The longest time I spent on a DNF was four and a half hours. :huh::D


The cache was, as the crow flies, only half a mile from our parking spot. :P


In an urban location, if I am by myself, I will only look for a few minutes before calling it a DNF. I did that yesterday until another cacher joined me in the search. I still didn't find the 1/1 rated cache :huh:

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Funny you mention this. We've talked about this very subject in terms of social gatherings. :D


Though PK and I cache a fair amount together, her patience when searching is much less than mine. However, she's usually a good sport about humoring me until I find it or call it a DNF. I tend to call it sooner when she's with me for the sake of not torturing her more than necessary, but when I'm alone, I've searched until fading daylight has forced me to call off the search (though most don't take that long).


I guess I just generally go until:


a) I'm starting to get frustrated (which takes some doing)


:huh: I've truly checked everyplace I can think of.


c) I finally find the little bugger! :huh:

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