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What makes a geocache a great geocache?


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I am wondering what makes a geocache a great, memorable event that people will talk about and love to complete. I've got two of my own caches, one with 2 favourite points and one with none. Both are easy caches, normal sized containers. The one with the favourite points is a more creative cache with a backstory, I'm planning on making a series around that story and lay more caches in the area.

 

But it's hard to find great ideas or fun ways to hide a cache. I haven't really seen any "WOW" caches and I feel I have to come up with one.

So the list.. I think this list will help me - and you - to hide better, more fun geocaches.

 

The character of a "WOW" geocache:

 

- Beautiful, remarkable natural environment (eg. A mountain, a field of grass in the middle of the woods with a pond, a cliff, ...)

- Interesting buildings (eg. a cathedral, a castle, ...)

- Interesting history (eg. battle of Hastings, person x died here by y, ...)

- A fun way to retrieve the cache (eg. fishing for one, diving for one, a puzzle, ...)

- Interesting hides (eg. cache in a special container, ...)

- Backstory (eg. solve a murder, ...)

- Not easy, but not that hard either

- ???

 

I hope you guys and girls can help me, and other potential CO's out here by adding to the list.

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I posted this a few days ago on another Topic. Here's what I posted, I hope it helps:

 

What do I look for in a geocache?

I hope that every cache will have all of the following:

  • Pleasant setting
  • Good coordinates
  • The cache and its contents are in good condition, clean and dry
  • Prompt owner maintenance, when required
  • Appropriate attributes
  • Appropriate terrain rating.
  • A good hint that helps find the cache. Not a "You don't need a hint" or "Email me for a hint" hint.

I appreciate the following but do not expect all caches to have all of them.

  • A pen or pencil in the cache
  • A decent logbook and not a logsheet (unless it's a micro or nano)

Favourite points:

The more items under the previous heading that a cache has, the more likely it is that I will award it a favourite point. I also consider the following:

  • A scenic or historic location
  • Clever cache container
  • Clever hide
  • A cache that makes me laugh out loud.
  • An artistic/crafty cache in a pleasant location.
  • A letterbox with a hand carved stamp in a pleasant location.
  • A multi that has a pleasant setting, where the owner lets you know how many stages and how much walking or driving is involved, with relatively easy to find stages that, ideally, don't break the multi if they go missing.

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Looking through my favorites, I see different types of caches:

  • interesting places, whether those places are historic, scenic, or artistic. (I especially enjoy caches that draw attention to public art.)
  • interesting challenges, whether those challenges are puzzles, well-camouflaged caches, or something else. (I especially enjoy on-site puzzles and caches with 4-star camouflage.)
  • interesting caches that don't fit into one of the other categories. (There aren't many of these.)

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My favorite cache in 2011 (GC2PGJC) involved a 14 mile bike ride around the perimeter of a park, a 1/2 mile hike, answering six riddles that led to the next six waypoints, and an ammo can full of books at the end. A challenge -- yes, but with a beautiful day and a companion it was great fun. In addition, the cache page was very well done. There have been seven finders to date and seven favorite votes.

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Here are six helpful hints

1. container the best container is a Altoids can. Everyone loves to open an altoids can.

2. three letters -LPC- (Lamp post caches) never go wrong

3. Location - nothing is more fun than a huge parking lot with tons of muggles to avoid

4. Thorn bushes were put here by God for the cacher to help each of us truly enjoy the great game.

5. If you have to put one in the forest make sure it is no bigger than a bison tube. Than rate the difficulty no higher than 2.

6. If you are near a Kato's make sure you put a cache in front and call it OJ's Bud. No one gets tired of that line.

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I agree with A&J. Happy kids make for a happy day caching.

We cache with our three kids ages 8,7,4. The kids quickly bore of micros and wet or no stash caches. I've come to accept that even though I'm in it for the hunt, they're in it for the stash and that's ok too :)

Can't wait to find this one with them - GC2NC3Q, Teddy Bear's Den - hopefully this weekend.

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The thing that I think most separates the good caches I've done from the great ones is the effort that went into creating the caches. The more apparent the effort expended is, the more likely the cache is to be a great one.

 

I say this because, in my experiences, the effort put into creating the cache is the only that I've seen that consistently can elevate any good cache (or at times even average cache).

 

And, to put it another way, lack of effort is one of the more sure-fire ways to doom a cache to obscurity.

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Looking at my Favorites list, here are types of caches I have given Favorites to:

 

  • good "tour" style multi-waypoint caches, be they Multicaches or Earthcaches or Wherigos
  • "epic multis" that require several hours to complete, but involve a grand adventure
  • creative containers, locations, and/or hiding spots especially when "on theme" (especially when the topic of a puzzle cache ties in real well with the container and/or location)
  • scenic or historical locations, especially those that I would not have been aware of at all without the cache

Edited by Joshism
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I award favorite points based on, and in no particular order:

 

Engineering,

Creativity,

Theme,

Location - broken down into sub categories, i.e. historical, architectural, cultural or natural significance.

 

And sometimes it's completely random such as a funny name, presentation (HTML, photos, etc.), memories created with my geopals, etc.

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I award favorite points for most Ammo Can caches as they require a little more thought in hiding than lamppost caches. Many virtuals get favorites for the interesting spots they take me to. The third and final category are caches that involve pleasant walks in the woods. In all cases, I don't feel like I have to avoid others or risk having to explain my actions.

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For me, and this is just MY personal taste, my favorite caches have been in abandoned ruins of something that once stood. An abandoned tunnel, industrial ruins, old foundations, etc. ESPECIALLY when the CO takes the time to explain the history behind it.

 

If I had to name my top 5 caches without the name, just saying what was there, I'd go with

 

1. An abandoned railroad tunnel (which is no longer there :/)

2. An abandoned world wars era gunpowder factory (still there, cache archived though)

3. Another abandoned railroad tunnel which is soon to be rails to trails.

4. A town with a coal mine fire (lots of caches there now, including an earthcache. Bet anyone who has been there can guess where I mean.

5. A cemetery cache (TASTEFULLY done) where a person of historic interest in interred (I've seen quite a few)

 

My favorite of my own hides: Another abandoned railroad tunnel.

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WOW if it can't be described by the 3 letter acro such as LPC, GRC, PNG etc.
What about 4-letter acronyms, like MIST? :P

 

Seriously, this is a good point. If a description of the type of hide appears in geocaching glossaries, then it's probably a pretty routine type of hide.

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Great topic!

 

This is something I think about a lot because I'd like to put out some new caches that are really good.

So what is good?

 

Caches that I've put a favorite on are:

creative fun caches

Caches in great spots

historical caches

caches with good craftsmanship

 

I like it when a cache takes me to a spot I would not otherwise know about (and would like to know about).

 

Unusual fun containers are great. One of my favorite so far is a full-sized fake wild boar out in the woods.

 

I pay attention to the stories I tell others about my caching and what I've found. If it's good enough to be telling other people about it (who don't cache) then it would be good to repeat.

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RaiderOfTheLostCache, thanks for starting this topic.

 

For me, what it boils down to is the journey to the cache and what the final container is. This maybe a 1/4 mile trudge through a swamp or a 1/4 walk in a nature preserve. Chinese food containers always make me sad, ammo can almost always make me happy.

A good camo job is always a plus, as is a description cache page or historic information about the location.

Oddly enough, even though I don't trade swag, a box filled with odd and interesting items is always cool.

 

FWIW, the Central Jersey Geocachers have created a bookmark of "The Best" of 2011 Central Jersey Best of 2011 These are caches placed since Nov 2010 and were chosen based on the number of favorite points awarded.

 

Final/Bonus caches in a series did well.

Unique, handmade containers did very well too.

Cache that are physically hard to get to scored high as did many of the moderate difficulty puzzles.

Caches that included a historic tour also did very good.

Pretty much all of the Wherigo and Earthcaches placed in 2011 showed up on the list.

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Some of our local cachers consistently place great caches, with interesting locations, clever containers, well-thought out directions, and a real box of swag at the end. We will do the whole "series" of those cachers, and eagerly wait for their next one!

 

Of course, the reverse is true, with other cachers who place such bad caches, such as a string of micros in the woods surrounded by PI and sticker bushes, that we know to avoid their caches. We also find that the new favorite points are a good indication of whether a cache is worthwhile, although we've found some very good caches that didn't have any favorite votes yet.

Edited by The VanDucks
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Great topic!

 

I have posted on this before...when I first started geocaching what attracted me was the fact that the hunt would take me somewhere memorable, where I may not have otherwise strayed...and if the hider took the time to research something unique and interesting about the site, all the better. I especially appreciated those cache hiders who took the time and effort to add some interesting research or insight into the locale.

 

Apparently, by noticing the recent cache publishing notes by our local reviewer, that is not a priority for most. He (Keystone) has published a remarkable string of micros left at random stop-signs and road signs throughout the area...I guess anyone who has invested in some micro containers and has a geocaching.com membership can get a cache approved without respect to any inherent value, effort, or research placed into the hide. This pasttime has clearly "jumped the shark" if this kind of cache 'review' is now the standard we can expect.

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I guess anyone who has invested in some micro containers and has a geocaching.com membership can get a cache approved without respect to any inherent value, effort, or research placed into the hide. This pasttime has clearly "jumped the shark" if this kind of cache 'review' is now the standard we can expect.
The volunteer reviewers do not consider value, effort, research, quality, or aesthetics. They consider only compliance with the guidelines.
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Sometimes a great series is let down by poor directions, causing cachers to trespass. A lot of cachers have basic maps on their GPS and/or rely on the satellite maps on their phones. If the terrain and length of the walk doesn't demand using a more detailed map, a cache circuit loses my favourite point even if it ticks all the other boxes. (For example, if you have to walk along the road and the path over the fields peters out and leaves us stranded, put on the cache page to stick to the road to get to the next cache.) Equally, if the road is unsafe to walk along, make sure there is a public footpath you point out to the next cache unless everyone has permission to make their own way.

Edited by Fianccetto
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Interesting place, tough hide, cool container idea, or fun to get too.

 

Two of my favorites include a difficult drive through deep sand and steep hills through narrow trails becuase it was fun to get too(obx,NC), and one where you had to climb out on the side of a small(low) bridge to get cache hidden on girder underneath(Huntingdon,Pa).

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I like the clever/silly ones that make me smile and giggle. The cache owner may have taken something funny and built a cache around it or they let their creativity loose to come up with something fun. If a cache is fun for me when I make it it will probably be fun to do.

My all time favorite cache involves a small, maybe two mile, hike that takes me on a historic trail with gorges, waterfalls and caves. I love being in the woods especially if it is someplace interesting.

I pretty much like all caches as long as there is variety. I try to do something different with each hide- a different container, a different kind of hide, a different type puzzle or multi. I do an equal amount of regular caches to multis and puzzles because most people like to do the regular ones. I'll do a puzzle then a regular then a multi then a regular.

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RaiderOfTheLostCache, thanks for starting this topic.

 

For me, what it boils down to is the journey to the cache and what the final container is. This maybe a 1/4 mile trudge through a swamp or a 1/4 walk in a nature preserve. Chinese food containers always make me sad, ammo can almost always make me happy.

A good camo job is always a plus, as is a description cache page or historic information about the location.

Oddly enough, even though I don't trade swag, a box filled with odd and interesting items is always cool.

 

FWIW, the Central Jersey Geocachers have created a bookmark of "The Best" of 2011 Central Jersey Best of 2011 These are caches placed since Nov 2010 and were chosen based on the number of favorite points awarded.

 

Final/Bonus caches in a series did well.

Unique, handmade containers did very well too.

Cache that are physically hard to get to scored high as did many of the moderate difficulty puzzles.

Caches that included a historic tour also did very good.

Pretty much all of the Wherigo and Earthcaches placed in 2011 showed up on the list.

Great post from one of the pioneers of geocaching. I think that all can be distilled to one sentence, give people a reason to come to the spot other than a just another smiley.

Edited by briansnat
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