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Cache Saturation and Quality


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I've heard several people recently bemoaning the fact that there are a LOT of caches in their area, and that this means they can't enjoy caching any more. The reason being that many of the new caches aren't to their liking (in their opinion they are poor caches). It's a development of the old theme "things were better in the good old days when there were only 8 caches in the UK".

 

Why is this seen as a big problem? There are a lot around here, and it's true that if I just go out and look for the nearest dozen caches, or a random few, that I'll probably find some disappointing ones.

 

But I wouldn't do that, ever. Surely everyone goes through some sort of selection process before heading out? It often takes me only half an hour to identify a day's worth of caches and afterwards I'm rarely disappointed with the quality. I find that most of the best caches were set in the last couple of years.

 

Obviously it helps if you have something like Memory Map and GSAK so you can quickly identify the type of area you want to visit and the type of caches you're after, and plan a good route; but there are other options. The standard Geocaching.com map will do for a start.

 

Then there are favourites; just do a search for nearest caches and then sort on favourites and look through them. Bookmark lists; there are plenty of those about.

Then you can set yourself a challenge; a cache series perhaps, or an unusual difficulty/terrain cache. Or use GSAK to locate caches that have been unfound for more than a year. Or pick an attractive area within range that you haven't visited before (or not for a long time) and seek out caches that look particularly interesting. Or if you haven't done many multicaches recently, try and spot a good-looking one and be content that you're only going to log one cache for the trip. Or try and find a cache of every size in a day. Or head out a bit further afield in search of a classic or two. Post on the local forum for suggestions.

Or try and solve some of the mystery caches within a couple of hours' drive. Save the solutions and fit in visits when you're already heading that way (or just go straight out there if you can afford the petrol!).

 

What I'm saying in a nutshell is that it might be the case that the latest 50 caches are on average poorer than a set of 50 hidden seven years ago. But I bet that in that recent 50 there are half a dozen gems which are better than any of the "old" 50. It's just a matter of filtering out the dross, and then you'll find it's no longer "good old days" but "never had it so good"!

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What I'm saying in a nutshell is that it might be the case that the latest 50 caches are on average poorer than a set of 50 hidden seven years ago. But I bet that in that recent 50 there are half a dozen gems which are better than any of the "old" 50. It's just a matter of filtering out the dross, and then you'll find it's no longer "good old days" but "never had it so good"!

One man's dross is another man's gold, so everybody can apply their personal 'filter' and everybody can be happy :)

 

Great post.

Edited by Andy K!
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An excellant post by somebody who realises that not everybody wishes to play the game in the same way.

Whilst I appreciate that not everybody wants to do a 5 mile walk and find 10+ caches (60% micro sized) those cachers must appreciate that not everybody wants to do a 50+ mile drive and a 5 mile walk to find one cache.

In the 'good old days', as they are often referred to, driving 100 miles to find a couple of caches was finacially not so painful as it is these days but not everybody can afford to play the game that way these days.

 

So lets just all accept that we all play this game of ours differently and leave each to their own.

 

I will add that in no way am I advocating that it is ok to just go out and throw a handfull of film tubs out there, all caches should be thought about before placement.

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What I'm saying in a nutshell is that it might be the case that the latest 50 caches are on average poorer than a set of 50 hidden seven years ago. But I bet that in that recent 50 there are half a dozen gems which are better than any of the "old" 50. It's just a matter of filtering out the dross, and then you'll find it's no longer "good old days" but "never had it so good"!

One man's dross is another man's gold, so everybody can apply their person 'filter' and everybody can be happy :)

 

Great post.

 

My filter is pretty straightforward, if it's on my unfound list then sooner or later I'll go and look for it. If I get there and decide it's not one I want to hunt I move on to the next one.

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My filter is pretty straightforward, if it's on my unfound list then sooner or later I'll go and look for it. If I get there and decide it's not one I want to hunt I move on to the next one.

This is exactly the way I cache. :D

Yes there are "Special" caches such as Puzzles or 5/5 caches, but I will try to grab any cache. B)

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It's funny in a way, in my "home from home" in Pennsylvania there are very few caches, many of which are old (six character GC codes). A lot are ammo cans in the woods, and a lot involve a bit of effort to get to them.

 

A caching friend in PA made it his mission to find all the caches within 10 miles of his home. I checked my own statistics and discovered I've found over 1000 caches within 10 miles of my home and there are still a good pile of caches I haven't found.

 

Sometimes I like to go for a long walk in the woods and the presence of a single cache is just an added bonus. Other times I like to chew up some miles on the bike (ideally without having monstrous great hills to go over) and pick off a dozen or more in a day. Sometimes I use geocaches as a bunch of markers to define a route to cycle and if a cache turns out to be a film pot on the back of a road sign then so be it. If it turns out to be a nano that I couldn't find, so be it.

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Though there is little to disagree with Happy Humphrey's argument it misses an important point, which is “the dross” saturation is preventing quality caches being set (and let's admit it, whatever you wish from geocaching there are many hides that satisfy no-one). The Geocaching community has yet to find a solution to this problem. One way is to encourage those that set caches, when they were perhaps too inexperienced to know what makes a truly excellent hide, to review their caches with a view to upgrading them. On reflection, it would not be a bad principle for everyone who owns a cache.

 

Those that own caches must bear in mind that they not only own the cache but also the rights over quite a considerable area around it.

Edited by The Hearse
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In any hobby/business/situation, 90% of what's available is mediocre or worse, 9% is well worthwhile and 1% are gems. The thing to do, is place gems as far as you can, because that will help improve the average.

 

When I'm going out caching, there are some cache setters that I tend to avoid because they set a larger than average percentage of dross, and some cache setters that I keenly follow, because they set a larger than average percentage of gems. I'd recommend this as a way to find the caches that you regard as gems.

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Though there is little to disagree with Happy Humphrey's argument it misses an important point, which is “the dross” saturation is preventing quality caches being set (and let's admit it, whatever you wish from geocaching there are many hides that satisfy no-one). The Geocaching community has yet to find a solution to this problem. One way is to encourage those that set caches, when they were perhaps too inexperienced to know what makes a truly excellent hide, to review their caches with a view to upgrading them. On reflection, it would not be a bad principle for everyone who owns a cache.

 

Those that own caches must bear in mind that they not only own the cache but also the rights over quite a considerable area around it.

I don't think there are THAT many that are seriously bad for the majority of cachers, but I do get your point.

Despite the number of caches around I don't generally find too much trouble in this part of the world with seeking out decent spots for new caches, and I like to think that I go out of my way to find good hiding places. Perhaps it's harder where you are. Sometimes I see that a great location has been taken already by an average cache but I always think it's my responsibility to find that little-known beauty spot just off the tourist trail that people outside the area would be grateful to visit. Or at least somewhere quite nice with good parking!

If a cache already exists where you wanted to place one, chances are there's another spot within a quarter of a mile where you can place a better one. Then the visitor gets to find both for the price of one. Everyone wins.

 

When I'm going out caching, there are some cache setters that I tend to avoid because they set a larger than average percentage of dross, and some cache setters that I keenly follow, because they set a larger than average percentage of gems. I'd recommend this as a way to find the caches that you regard as gems.

Yes, that's another good way to filter. Even six years ago I'd pick out caches by certain people and go out of my way to visit them, and it's a fairly reliable way of having a good experience.

Edited by Happy Humphrey
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When I'm going out caching, there are some cache setters that I tend to avoid because they set a larger than average percentage of dross, and some cache setters that I keenly follow, because they set a larger than average percentage of gems. I'd recommend this as a way to find the caches that you regard as gems.

 

I agree, there are some cachers who I know set good hides and if I DNF one I'll go back multiple times until I do find it. Other cachers set hides I enjoy less so if I DNF it more than once chances are I'll just ignore it.

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We are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the UK - the Glorious Cotswolds near Burford. Virtually anywhere a cache is placed is either a good view, or historical interest or part of a good walk (or even a drive). Although there are many caches in the area there is no where near saturation. I can see the point if you live in a large town or city, with not much in the way of country walks or great views. It becomes difficult to place "interesting" caches and sometimes you end up with strings of micros on the back of traffic signs!As many of the above posts suggest - "filtering" is the key. Spend a little time researching before caching. Remember the "Ps" - Prior Preparation and Planning, Prevents P** Poor Performance. Really read the cache descriptions, check the size, terrain and difficulty. Read the logs - lots of "DNFs"? is it a really good well hidden and cunning cache or has it been muggled ?

It can be satisfying to do a circular route with lots of easy caches (builds up the "numbers") Or walk to the top of Snowdon for the satisfaction of "getting" it because it's there! We walked all over the Great Orme in Llandudno with spectacular views and sore feet! for two caches - then along the flat Tissington trail doing an easy series with no trouble - It all makes for great caching memories.

Our friends attended the Piratemania mega last year and fired us up with stories of the great series of caches - all within walking distance of the event ! So much so we are already "in" for next year's event - If you look at the map it's pretty well saturated ! But acccording to our friends, the caches were great, cunning and well thought out

Happy caching

paul b

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Perhaps it's harder where you are.

 

Closest cache to here (just - it's one of at least four in view from this building) is GC2QQC7 . . . anyone got any comments on cache saturation in the area? Is this normal, or are we getting a bit full?

At a glance it looks like there's plenty of room around. The nearby Alchemy series is recommended, but I imagine you've done it already.

As it happens I'll be staying in Telford at the weekend so I'll have to get some caches selected!

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Whilst not wishing to appear negative, I wonder whether Groundspeak could introduce a "disfavorite" [sic] wherein every cacher gets awarded a point to use after every 50 finds. Used sparingly, they could give an indication of caches which really aren't up to scratch.

 

I know it wouldn't catch on and perhaps if awarded one, a cacher might take the hump and archive all their caches, but it's a thought...

 

:unsure:

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Cache saturation in the UK? it's not even close. Pull up a click here and take a look at Louisville, Kentucky and think yourself lucky :)

 

Having said that, there are some lovely caches on the trails outside the city, but generally it seems to be all about the numbers.

 

Try this then HERE, not that I am moaning as it just means that I can plan a short walk to suit our walking abilities.

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Cache saturation in the UK? it's not even close. Pull up a click here and take a look at Louisville, Kentucky and think yourself lucky :)

 

Having said that, there are some lovely caches on the trails outside the city, but generally it seems to be all about the numbers.

 

Got to ask - What's wrong with Shelby Park? :D

 

MrsB

 

Its a Hell-Hole (read the first two paragraphs) Violent month in Shelby Park

 

Ok the blog is a bit old but Shelby Park is a really rough part of town !!

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