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Gone on 10 searches and only found one, need help


LoriTessaMolly

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My daughters and I have been on 10 searches so far and have only been successful once. I'm not sure we are using the GPS correctly. It is a Garmin Etrex. At one location we were within 1 foot of the cache and couldn't find it. At another location it said we were within 10 feet, but everytime we moved, it put us further way. Any suggestions as to how to look would be greatly appreciated.

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A common recommendation for beginners is to stick with small small.gif size, regular regular.gif size, and large large.gif size caches. Until you're more experienced, avoid micro micro.gif size caches, some of which are smaller than most beginners can imagine (sometimes called "nanos"). Save those for later, after you have some experience.

 

Also, stick with caches that have a difficulty rating of no more than 2 stars stars2.gif. Save the more difficult ones for later. You may also want to choose caches with easy terrain ratings. (The difficulty rating tells you how hard it is to find the cache once you get there. The terrain rating tells you how hard it is to get there.) And it is often best to start with traditional 2.gif caches, which will be at the published coordinates. Multi-caches 3.gif or mystery/puzzle caches 8.gif or other cache types can require more work just to figure out where the container is located.

 

Under ideal conditions, a consumer GPSr will be accurate to about 3m (10'). That applies both to your GPSr, and to the GPSr of the cache owner, so you may find the container 15-20' from ground zero under ideal conditions. Under less than ideal conditions, both GPSr readings can be much less accurate.

 

Go ahead and read the cache's additional hints (if provided), and read the past logs and look at any photos in the cache's image gallery. They may help you understand what you're looking for, and how/where it may be hidden. It may also help to look at some of the cache containers available online. For example, check out the cache containers sold by Groundspeak. Also, take a look at the Pictures - Cool Cache Containers (CCC's) thread in the forums.

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My daughters and I have been on 10 searches so far and have only been successful once. I'm not sure we are using the GPS correctly. It is a Garmin Etrex. At one location we were within 1 foot of the cache and couldn't find it. At another location it said we were within 10 feet, but everytime we moved, it put us further way. Any suggestions as to how to look would be greatly appreciated.

 

If you don't see the cache after looking around some, LOOK UP! Some caches are cleverly hidden in plain sight. Try to see things through the "eyes of the cache owner"; where would YOU hide the cache? Also, try approaching the cache site from different angles while allowing your GPS receiver to "settle down." I've found many a cache that way that eluded me initially. After a few finds you will develop a "cache sense" or geo-sense that will aid you during future hunts. Make sure your GPS receiver is calibrated (if applicable) and functioning properly. In most cases, the cache will be within a radius of 25 to 30 feet from ground zero. It is rare that posted coordinates will put you right on top of the cache, although it does happen from time to time. Lastly, be patient while searching and stay focused. Sometimes we cannot see for looking. Carefully survey the area and try to see something that is unusual and or out of place. Bingo! Happy caching!

 

~CK

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Try looking from different angles and levels. I've found many by squatting down and surveying everything and lo and behold, there it is. My kids find more then I do. I search 100 feet out if I can't find it right away. Usually it is right where it says it is. I'd say 10 percent of my finds were not exactly where they said they were.

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All the above suggestions are great so I'll just add to it a bit.

 

I'm going to guess you're looking too much at your GPS trying to get it to zero. Once mine hits 50 ft I start looking for good spots (piles of sticks/rocks, a cool tree, stumps, logs). I do try to get mine down to about 5 feet and that's where I really start my search. If not found there I spiral outward to about 30 feet.

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Hello!

 

Thanks so much to all who have posted with tips - it's very encouraging! I've had a very similar experience to the OP, having gone on around seven searches and found one.

 

I really wish they had two levels of hints. One that gives you a vague hint, to guide you in the right direction, and one which tells you precisely where the heck the darn thing is, lol. Obviously you would only choose the second if you had completely given up and were about to log a "not found".

 

Anyway, I can understand why this isn't the case and I shall diligently keep at it!

 

Thanks again :D

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I don't know how many times I have gone to find a cache and searched for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty minutes and was just about to give up, then took one last look and bingo! So always give it that one last look before you give up.

 

Also, remember that the qualities of a cache are determined by its CO. I have found that what some people call a 'small,' I would call a 'micro.' And what people call a 'regular' can vary a lot! I have seen everything from a six gallon container, down to a one sandwich-sized box. Some people don't list what kind of container they are using. A black, metal amo can looks a lot different than an emptied plastic drink container. The cache may be camo'd or may be just a clear container (as required by some park systems). So, always keep an open mind about what you're looking for!

 

How well something may be hidden is often determined by the last person to find it. I have seen caches practically buried in forest debris, then some left to sit out in the open (muggle bait).

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I don't know how many times I have gone to find a cache and searched for ten, fifteen, maybe twenty minutes and was just about to give up, then took one last look and bingo! So always give it that one last look before you give up.

 

Also, remember that the qualities of a cache are determined by its CO. I have found that what some people call a 'small,' I would call a 'micro.' And what people call a 'regular' can vary a lot! I have seen everything from a six gallon container, down to a one sandwich-sized box. Some people don't list what kind of container they are using. A black, metal amo can looks a lot different than an emptied plastic drink container. The cache may be camo'd or may be just a clear container (as required by some park systems). So, always keep an open mind about what you're looking for!

 

How well something may be hidden is often determined by the last person to find it. I have seen caches practically buried in forest debris, then some left to sit out in the open (muggle bait).

 

 

How well something may be hidden is often determined by the last person to find it. I have seen caches practically buried in forest debris, then some left to sit out in the open (muggle bait).

 

Sooooooooo true

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It will come - keep trying! In the general area, don't rely too much on the GPS. It has got you to the general area. Start looking around for things that are out of place. The cache title may be a hint also. Is the eTrex paperless? If not, have something so you can look at a few logs, description etc., even if it means printing the cache sheets.

Check your area for events so you meet other cachers, and maybe set up a hunting session with someone.

Have fun, and good luck!

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I sucked at first too! Keep caching, keep looking. My motto is, if I look long enough I HAVE to find it...right?! Lol.

 

I still suck at it. During the weekend of Geowoodstock a cache across the street from the fairgrounds had over 500 finds and a single DNF, mine.

 

Well you Sir, should just quit. There's plenty of hobbies for a guy like you...jenga, Dungeons & Dragons is still around I think. ;)

 

I think we are a bit alike though. When you love the hiking and wilderness caches you get so used to finding ammo cans. I mean, after climbing, sweating, crawling, and maybe taking the wrong trail for 8 miles. But still, ammo cans are cake. :)

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My daughters and I have been on 10 searches so far and have only been successful once. I'm not sure we are using the GPS correctly. It is a Garmin Etrex. At one location we were within 1 foot of the cache and couldn't find it. At another location it said we were within 10 feet, but everytime we moved, it put us further way. Any suggestions as to how to look would be greatly appreciated.

You're focusing too much on a classic mistake....thinking there should be a cache at your feet when a GPSr tells you you're within one foot of it. In fact, the cache will likely be 20 feet away in another direction. It's a very common mistake, one I'm still making. Think like the cache owner....that nearby tree looks like a good spot....there's an unnatural pile of sticks over there, etc. Expand your search beyond where your GPSr tells you where it is, read the logs and look at the photos. Unless the logs are all sad blue faces, you'll find it.

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That is a great point too! When I first started I would follow my GPS to Ground Zero the start the search. Now when I get within 20 feet, I look up from my GPS and use geosense. Most folks like to hide a cache at a unique spot. A free that's different for example and a lot of hides are in the middle of an area. Geosense comes in time.

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