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I am sooooo frustrated - need expert advice


BrazenRaisin
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Geocaching seems so awesome, and I've found a couple of dozens caches now, but I'm on the verge of giving up. I am clearly doing something wrong. Frequently I am the only one in dozens or hundreds of people who looked for a cache and can't seem to find it. I sometimes spend half an hour turning over every rock, poking into every hole, brushing aside every pile of leaves, and almost breaking my neck on some slippery slope, and still I come up empty-handed. I look at the hint, photos, and past logs, and still nada. Meanwhile, I read about people who find dozens of caches in a single afternoon.

 

So what's the secret? What's the trick? For specificity, take the cache http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=ecd079eb-4b28-4b3e-9f43-a67539030825. How should I approach this?

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I'm not getting anything on that link. sorry.

 

First, take a deep breath and relax.

Second, know that this is really common. A great deal of us go through that at the beginning. I didn't find any of the first 20 caches I attempted at all. Now I find most of them really quickly. Now I'm glad for the ones I can't find or the game would get boring.

 

This takes a while to learn to get the hang of it. Really. We see people say the exact same thing as you in these beginner forums all the time. You are not alone.

 

1. Choose caches that have a really low difficulty rating. Make sure it's not above a 2 difficulty. I've seen some nasty 3's believe it or not.

 

2. Choose larger size caches. The larger the better. Don't try micros at first. Some micros are incredibly small or very evil. Start out with large size caches if you can.

 

3. Try finding them in the woods or parks first. City caching by nature, has to be tough to find or they get found accidentally. Go for a walk in the woods if you can. Really large parks can be almost as good.

 

4. Go with others. More eyes are better. Check out events in your area. If you're signed up for the geocaching.com newsletter it will list events in your area. (If not then sign up for the online newsletter.) You can often find people to cache with there. Doing it with others helps you learn how to do it. There really is a learning curve to this game.

 

5. Be patient. It does take time to learn this game. The more you do it, and the more you stay in practice at it, the easier it is.

I find even if I don't cache for a couple of weeks it gets harder the next time I go out and cache. I find them easier when I stay in practice. If you've never done it, you can't be in practice at it. Be patient. It's okay to not find a lot. Go for the easy ones and it will get easier.

 

Savor the time while it's tough. Soon it will get easier and be less challenging. You will always be able to find tough challenging caches though, don't worry.

 

I find this game has developed my attention and how I see things.

 

I was with some people at a store recently. I suddenly stooped down and dug a little in the dirt in front of the car at the parking lot, next to the concrete parking block. I got dirty looks from the people I was with, and snide remarks. They were embarrassed I guess. I reached down and pulled a 20.00 bill out of the mess there. They hadn't seen it. I know I would not have seen it either if I wasn't a geocacher. I see things now all the time that I would not have noticed before. It takes time to develop this eye. Don't worry about it. It will come.

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Geocaching seems so awesome, and I've found a couple of dozens caches now, but I'm on the verge of giving up. I am clearly doing something wrong. Frequently I am the only one in dozens or hundreds of people who looked for a cache and can't seem to find it. I sometimes spend half an hour turning over every rock, poking into every hole, brushing aside every pile of leaves, and almost breaking my neck on some slippery slope, and still I come up empty-handed. I look at the hint, photos, and past logs, and still nada. Meanwhile, I read about people who find dozens of caches in a single afternoon.

 

Does it seem like the GPSr is bringing you to the wrong place? If so, it may be just a setting. Commonly, it's due to setting it to “Street Routing” (when caches are usually not in the street), but there are other likely settings. It also could be that it's a GPS device that's not optimal for Geocaching.

 

I don't look under every rock, and I don't find every “easy” cache. I have an inability to find a cache that everyone else has no trouble with – usually it is one “that was under a rock”. But I go find other ones anyway. I think the "trick" is to develop a Geosense, an ability to step back and decide where the hiding spots are. I haven't developed that ability, but many people do.

 

You may ask the Cache Owner for another hint. I have remedial cache info to send to people, for my own caches.

 

Here are some tips:

 

Look at the star rating for a cache. If both Difficulty and Terrain are less than “2”, it should be good for beginners, and probably fun for the kids, too. Pick a “Traditional Cache” (green icon), “Small” or larger size (save Micros for later). You may look at the “terrain” view on the map, to see where the cache icon is in relation to walls, fences, and other landmarks. When the GPSr says you're closer than 30 feet from the cache, it's time to look less at the GPSr, and look around for hiding spots.

 

When I started Geocaching, if the cache description was very specific, that's one I'd try – I'd basically know exactly where I was going to look when I arrived. You might try a similar system.

Edited by kunarion
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I tried the link and it came up as 'unpublished cache'. :unsure:

They accidentally got a period into their link. Here's a clean link to the cache in the OP.

That one seems tricky. Logs mention trouble with loose coords (or reception), and in at least a couple of logs, cachers say they tried to find it before (strangely, they left no previous DNF log, go figure :ph34r:). The terrain and difficulty probably should be re-evaluated. If I had a cache on a "slippery incline" I'd list Terrain highter than "2". No offense to the Cache Owner, but when I find discrepancies in a cache listing, I either prepare to arrive with my game face on, or I skip that cache.

Edited by kunarion
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You already have plenty of great advice, but you have to remember caching is supposed to be fun. There is one particular cache close to my home that I haven't found despite several attempts.

If one cache is bothering me, I take a shot at some others before trying again. If you can't find several caches in a row, you might want to re-evaluate your search tactics or try some easier caches until you get your mojo back.

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Well, its been three years since I found that one. 2 terrain is about right. It is up the slippery slope. Read the hints and stop turning over leaves, and looking in bushes. Or follow MrsBs advice, and check the photos.

And, yes, it is supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun on that cache, look for another.

Or take it as a challenge, but only if you enjoy challenges.

There is one just over five miles from there that has become one of my challenges! But it is a 4.5 for difficulty.

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BrazenRaisin:

 

Had a look at your finds -- you certainly do travel a lot -- <a ping of jealousy, there> :)

 

Your problem is not cache size, as you seem to have found most every size available. Your terrain choices seem to be very well balanced, also.

 

Initially, I thought that you either are really, really bad at finding caches. But then I realized that you probably don't go caching enough for the "newness" to have worn off yet. Perhaps it is a combination of both!

 

Your stats are only raw "find" numbers -- they won't reveal to others (us) your DNF logs, if you log them at all -- so it is difficult for others to see what you may be doing wrong, or more rather "not-quite-right".

 

With large gaps in your "find" rate, I can only guess (assume) that you simply aren't caching enough to garner experience. That would also couple with experience in using your GPSr (you didn't specify phone or GPSr unit), if you are using one, at all.

I think that you need to go out caching more that 3 - 4 times per year.

 

Perhaps you simply don't have the time to go caching a lot, I dunno, but it does seem that it may be at least be a partial solution to your problem. Those folks that have dozens (or hundreds) of finds in a day have dedicated themselves to caching. It can be awfully addictive!

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If it is any consolation...... a year or 3 back at a UK Mega there was me, another reviewer and a Groundspeak Lackey looking for a cache. 3 supposedly experienced cachers with a GPS each. We couldn't find it. Searched everywhere..... so we gave up. Because it was a Mega event there were hundreds of cachers in the area who all found the cache and logged it with comments like, "Easy find", "no problem with this one"... it happens to us all :rolleyes:

 

Chris

Graculus

Volunteer UK Reviewer for geocaching.com

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

UK Geocaching Wiki

Geocaching.com Help Center

UK Geocaching Information & Resources website

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Hey, you have done well so far! We still miss the obvious 1/1 on occasion, while the new cachers state "easy find!" We are in the 4-digit range too. It is easy to over think the issue. What you HAVE done extremely well in my opinion, is to log your DNF. The CO on the cache you mentioned (thanks to the A-Team for tweaking the link) even said the co-ords may be a bit iffy. Shoot them an email asking for an additional hint if you strike out on the next visit. When you return to this cache, put your GPS away and let your geo-senses take over. Look for rocks/leaves/bark in a pile that doesn't look quite natural, and for cachers' trails.

Welcome to the fun of those good days, bad days and going half-mad days we call caching!

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What you are experiencing is actually normal. I have 57 finds over a year of caching and content whereas others find 57 in a day. Why you may wonder? - easy, my daughter hates micros and I despise the caches placed with no reason other than to have a high cache placement number. Those requirements narrow down quickly the caches to bother attempting. If you try the same your find rate will increase because you'll be looking for the middle sized on up ones (large pill bottles, lock n' locks, and ammo cans).

 

You'll get better at cache finds from there so you can start doing the micros from there. Another tip is once you are in the general vicinity just put the gpsr back in your pocket and use your eyes. Many times the cache isn't exactly right on the mark anyway.

 

Have fun.

 

Rob

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There are many variables to looking for caches. The season you look, the lighting, the weather conditions.. who knows. The previous cacher might have hidden this a lot more difficult than intended or walked away with the cache itself by accident.

 

This is an activity to get you out there, Don't hurt yourself!

 

I have personally DNF'd several caches that had NEVER had a DNF against them before I came along :(. Most often than not, on another day I go back and find it no problem.

 

Heck, I have even had to DNF a cache I know I had found before.. it happens!

 

Shaun

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Hi!

 

We just started caching in March and we had some trouble at first, but now we've learned some tricks and you will, too! Keep trying, and you'll get there.

 

A couple of things we learned...

(1) Another cacher kindly shared with us that power lines can throw off your GPS a bit. Now when we are caching if it seems like the coordinates are not quite right or our GPS seems to jumping around a bit, we look around to see if there are power lines. If there are, we usually widen our search a bit.

 

(2) A couple of times we have found caches in really woody areas. We ended up going through crazy amounts of brush, etc. to find it. Once we find it, we tend to step out of the woods near where we found it and then when you look back you see that it was at the obvious clearing, but we didn't appropach it that way. So if you are approaching a wooded area, look to see if there is a cleary...more often than not, the easiest route is the correct one because it's gotten worn away by so many people looking for it.

 

(3) We've started "watching" the ones we are struggling with. That way we can see if other people are having problems...if they are, then we know we aren't the only ones and that makes you feel better. Plus it might be an indication that it is damaged or missing. Then if other people are finding it them you might see new clues in their logs, or you might just feel up to going back with fresh eyes sometimes.

 

Good luck!

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I get my share of DNFs and I've been first-to-not-find on quite a few caches including ones which had many finds. As time has gone on and I'm coming up on a year of geocaching my success rate has improved. I'd say the one thing that has helped the most is to keep moving around even when my GPSr says I'm 3 feet or so from the cache. I don't really put it away and but keep just one eye on it to make sure it still thinks I'm close as I move.

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A lot of good suggestions. Another would be to look for geo-trails. Especially in the woods. A couple of months ago I went for Bevery, the oldest active cache in Illinois. There were a number of other caches in the area and I completed them rather quickly by spotting the obvious trails that previous cachers had blazed. A couple of the containers were about 20-30 feet from where the GPSr said it was supposed to be but the trails led me in the right direction. Made for a great walk in the woods and I had fun doing it.

 

Enjoy the thrill of the hunt. :antenna:

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Just something else that can help find caches.

 

Yesterday I was caching with two relative newbies and found a cache they couldn't. I explained to them what caught my eye was the log the cache was hidden in was cut with a chain saw and no other logs in the area were. It just stood out to me.

 

Just another thing to look for.

 

I also put the GPSr away once I figure out a likely GZ. I just start looking for probable hiding spots.

 

Good Caching to all! I love this sport/hobby/obsession!

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As another newbie, and having a lack of um... imagination.. I went to a couple of geocaching supply websites, and OMG, I had no idea what kinda containers were out there! You might just not know you are looking right at it!!

 

Also, I started relying much less on my *map* it feature, and much more on my *compass* (using a DroidX).

 

I get frustrated too, but at the same time, I have found ones that many people said they found with the help of.... which made me feel good again! =)

 

 

~angela

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As a noob too, I was having real difficulty with a cache my friend found on her first attempt. It does take a while to get your geocaching 'eye' in and start to spot stuff that shouldn't be there. I find the biggest hints are other cacher's tracks, in that if the logs show that the cache has been found in the last week, there will be footprints in wet / damp earth. Disturbed vegetation or tracks through fallen leaves. Lots of cachers use 'stickoflage' which can look obvious once you have seen it a few times. To a passer by a pile of sticks is unremarkable, but sticks dont usually pile themselves up on top of a nice flat chuck of tree bark.

Urban caches are a bit harder as footprints dont show on pavement, but magnetic caches need a ferrous metal to stick to. Other caches need to hide behind or under street furniture, so look for places you could hide something.

 

I found what helped me reduce my find times was to go caching with someone who had found more caches, seeing someone else home in on GZ gives you a different perspective on how to hunt. Also once you get to GZ, put your GPS away and use the Mk1 eyeball. After a few minutes, walk away from the cache, turn on the GPS again, get a fresh bearing and close in on GZ, if your GPS takes you to the same place then you know you are close, if you get different GZs on each approach, then average the locations and search that area too. When hiding a cache you are asked to take several readings to ensure you have an accurate location, I do the same when looking for a tricky cache.

 

Good luck and have fun.

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Hi BrazenRaisin,

 

I might have missed it but if I did I'm sorry. No one seems to have said that if you are struggling try emailing someone that has already found it, especially as you are a beginner. If another cacher wants to give you a hint all well and good. I struggled recently to find a new cache, it took several days for anyone to find it and that was only found (FTF) with hints from the cache owner. I had three attempts and after the CO archived it.

 

I did have it on my watchlist and I got a message (because I forgot to remove it from the watch list) the a previous finder had looked in passing and it was still there. I went out and found it but not without hints from that person. The CO is (I think) trying to get it un-archived.

 

As a CO myself, if the cache has already been found, I have no qualms about giving extra hints to any cacher.

 

Regards

Peter

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Geocaching seems so awesome, and I've found a couple of dozens caches now, but I'm on the verge of giving up. I am clearly doing something wrong. Frequently I am the only one in dozens or hundreds of people who looked for a cache and can't seem to find it. I sometimes spend half an hour turning over every rock, poking into every hole, brushing aside every pile of leaves, and almost breaking my neck on some slippery slope, and still I come up empty-handed. I look at the hint, photos, and past logs, and still nada. Meanwhile, I read about people who find dozens of caches in a single afternoon.

 

So what's the secret? What's the trick? For specificity, take the cache http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=ecd079eb-4b28-4b3e-9f43-a67539030825. How should I approach this?

DNF's hurt a heck of a lot more when you slip and slide and almost break your neck, but someone in a cocktail dress and flip-flops posts an easy find (as seen in the gallery images)....ouch!!

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So what's the secret? What's the trick? For specificity, take the cache http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=ecd079eb-4b28-4b3e-9f43-a67539030825 How should I approach this?

 

The OP was successful in finding that particular cache:

 

BrazenRaisin

Found it

11/26/2012

 

After unsuccessful prior attempts, I found it this time! I'd been looking in totally the wrong area.

 

 

B.

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We still have those moments/days/caches when the "easy" ones will not reveal themselves to us. Best thing to do is put the GPS away once you reach GZ, and look, thinking "where would I hide it?" It is so easy to over think the issue. Use the clues/hints/logs....sometimes something is very literal and you should take it as such. "Within 3 metres of the flagging" and it was - well within 3 metres! I can say no more than that...

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