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How long do you spend looking for a cache?


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As a newbie, I wondered how long people look before they give up and report as a DNF?

 

I realise everyone will be different as it depends on experience how quick you can find them but how long would you spend searching for a 1 star and a 5 star difficulty before giving up?

 

Thanks

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Hmm, you're right, it really depends. I've cut searches short because I was under muggle observation, or because I was doing a quick C&D (Cache and Dash) on my way to work and ran out of time, or because the weather was threatening. I recently stopped searching for one because I wanted to get to the bacon sandwich shop before it closed...oh, and if I'm searching somewhere local to me and easy to get to, I'll stop searching sooner than if I'm not likely to be coming this way for quite a while.

 

Assuming none of that applies - if I'm certain I know where the cache should be, and it isn't there (e.g. the hint says "magnetic on the back of the post box" and there's only one post box for miles around, I'll have one more quick look and then go. If the clue is "In the tree root", and the GPS is playing up under the trees and there are lots of tree roots within a reasonable distance, I'll stay until I've checked most of them.

 

If the only place the cache could be is surrounded by dog poo or used nappy bags (believe me, it happens) I sometimes don't even start looking before I give up!

 

I suppose as a guide, for a one star difficulty, if the GPS was consistently pointing at one spot, and that spot fitted the clue, I'd probably only give it five minutes or so. At the other end of the scale -

- if GPS and clue were both giving a wide variety of potential spots

- if I really wanted to find this particular cache (e.g. if it had a TB (travel bug) I specially wanted to pick up)

- if half of previous finders had DNF'd (Did not find) and the other half had left comments like "Wow, really good hiding place, loved this!"

- if, in the case of a puzzle or multi, I had checked my numbers and was absolutely confident I had the co-ordinates right

...well in those circumstances, before now I've still been searching when Mrs G0TLG phoned to find out why I wasn't home yet!

 

Enjoy the hobby...remember it is supposed to be fun...and remember that in a year's time, you'll look back and laugh at how you once failed to find what you now think of as a really easy cache!

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Another "depends" from me.

 

Lots of scenarios can effect how long I look, some mentioned already. I have to say that for the most part if I am going out specifically to look for one particular cache, I will spend a lot longer looking for it before giving up than I would do if I was walking a very long circular with caches along the route. I am not numbers hungry so if I miss some on a circular I not usually too bothered.

 

Saying that, if I have only had the briefest of looks and feel I could looked a lot longer, than I will post a note to say that, not a DNF.

 

I think the longest I have looked for one particular cache was about an hour, and only because I wanted to try to get the FTF. I failed to find, and yes I did post a DNF.

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Yeah, it always depends. Most of that is involved with the cache's difficulty and how long it takes me to get back there. If it's a guard rail cache, I'll probably spend no more than twenty minutes looking for it. Why so long? I know of some nasty hides, the coordinates could be off, it could be a container I don't normally find, or the container might be on the ground or has rolled away. I recently came across one where the cache was seventy feet from the posted coordinates--probably due to someone moving it.

 

On the other hand, I've been to some challenging hides. The most I think I've ever spent looking for a cache (or one stage of one) in one evening was probably two hours. Usually, after that, I'll leave and return another day. I've clocked in eight hours looking for some single hides (traditionals or one stage of a multi). Some of those times, the cache wasn't even there! However, I had to raze the forest floor to convince the owner to return. So it's not unusual for me to spend a ton of hours on one cache if it's challenging enough. Even if I've seen most hide techniques, you can still have some needle in a haystack situations. Imagine hanging a well-cammoed bison tube or smaller in a large pile of dead trees.

 

Of course, the more you want that FTF, the longer you're going to search. Frequently, it's the FTF attempts that chew up so much time. You're dealing with the potential of bad coordinates, miskeyed coordinates on the cache page, or a placement that didn't even last to the cache's publication.

 

And, usually, if I can't find a cache, I DNF it. I'm not so pathetic that I need to call for information every time I meet with a challenge (although, perhaps one or two). If I can't find it, I leave and return at a later date--or never. There's a guy in my area that has a sizable number of finds and he calls people for too many caches in my opinion. At times, I'm surprised at which caches he calls people for help on because they seemed easy. The good news is that he gets to log a find and not waste his time. The bad news is that he doesn't find them through his own talents. Because of that, I think less of his abilities as a finder. But, you know, I think a lot of this angst is that I'm just jealous that my standards don't permit me to stoop to a level that would make finding caches much easier on myself--and more enjoyable.

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Once we actually get to GZ, my ‘crew’ generally has a ‘5 minute rule’. If the cache is not found after 5 we start checking the hints and previous logs in earnest. Then depending on how much we want the cache we may continue searching longer. We have spent up to 90 minutes at one setting. Some caches I have gone back to multiple times and spent cumulative hours searching.

 

The important thing is having fun.

Edited by Dasindog
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As a newbie, I wondered how long people look before they give up and report as a DNF?

 

I realise everyone will be different as it depends on experience how quick you can find them but how long would you spend searching for a 1 star and a 5 star difficulty before giving up?

 

Thanks

Same as the others, varies depending on location and circumstances. Might be a couple of hours, might be one second. Good rule of thumb is search for as long as you are enjoying it.

 

Rgds, Andy

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As a newbie, I wondered how long people look before they give up and report as a DNF?

 

I realise everyone will be different as it depends on experience how quick you can find them but how long would you spend searching for a 1 star and a 5 star difficulty before giving up?

 

Thanks

 

Until I get bored of the search, bored of finding undesirable things that aren't the cache, bored of being eaten by mosquitoes, or bored for some other reason.

 

Sometimes it's obvious the cache isn't there. I looked for one some months back where the clue said something like "street light 497, behind stone". At the coordinates there was a street light numbered 497 with a stone behind it but no cache. So it was pretty obvious it wasn't there (no other street lights for a good 50-100 feet in any direction and no other stones) so I moved on within seconds. If it's a nice place to be and I'm not being disturbed by muggles or eaten by the local insect population I may hunt for half an hour or more. Some years back my wife and I found a cache after poking and prodding the area around GZ for a good hour.

 

If it's a nano on a metal that extends for 100 feet in both directions from GZ with stinging nettles and brambles growing through the fence (and with a really useful clue like "metal fence" or "magnetic") then I won't bother looking at all.

 

The most challenging find for me was one I found on something like my eighth attempt, with my attempts spanning three transatlantic visits over the course of three years. It was a cache near where my wife grew up so an area we visited regularly enough. The first time I attempted it everything was under a foot of snow and I didn't fancy climbing on scree when I couldn't even see the scree. The second time I attempted it the snow had mostly melted but I still couldn't get out far enough to get the cache. Three more attempts followed in the summer, and a further three in the autumn before I finally found it. When I finally logged a find I got an email from another cacher who had used my Find log to encourage his children not to give up - he lived about 4 miles from the cache and told his children that if someone from England could keep coming back until he found it they could keep trying too. That cache has long since been archived but I still return to the area when we visit because it's a nice place to be.

Edited by team tisri
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Until I get bored of the search, bored of finding undesirable things that aren't the cache, bored of being eaten by mosquitoes, or bored for some other reason.

 

this, very much this. And boredom can be brought on by anything that triggers our "I am so not enjoying this" alert. People, the area, broken glass/rubbish/*insert stuff here*, the smell, etc etc etc..

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I can spend 2 minutes before giving up or I can be there for an hour. depends of the cache placement. If it's in a high muggle area I normally give up after minutes due to the fact that I look suspicious but a cache that I know is well hidden I can be there for an hour looking for it and I will keep going back until I have found it.

 

I went back to a church micro 6 times before finding it. It was blooming obvious once I found it too... really annoying.

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On the subject of DNFs -

- Most people I think will say "you should always log DNFs", as they are a guide to the cache owner that the cache MIGHT need a check, and it warns seekers who come after you that the cache might no be a simple find. My rule is, if I didn't find the cache because I stopped looking for reasons to do with me - In a hurry to get home, weather was threatening etc, I don't usually log it: The fact that my GPS batteries ran out, or that the bacon sandwich shp was due to close soon, don't help the cache owner or anyone else. If the reason is funny (searched for the cache for half an hour at the given co-ords, then realised it was a multi and I hadn't brought the info with me...yep, done that) then I'd use the "write note" function.

 

If I didn't find because of factors to do with the location - e.g. it's on a footpath that's heavily used at certain times of day, or I believe legal access to the location isn't possible, or I think the location is dangerous*, or it's unpleasant because the cache location is in the middle of the local dogs' toilet - then I always DNF. It's information that will be useful to future cache seekers, and there's no point experienced cachers complaining that "that new cacher always places rubbish caches in horrible locations" if we're not going to give him honest (but tactful and constructive) feedback on his caches.

 

And of course if I think a cache is genuinely missing then I DNF that too - if I'm certain I was looking in the right place then I might email the CO and describe where I was looking and send a photo, to see if (s)he agrees it's missing or I was in the wrong spot!

 

* That is, more dangerous than the cache description would lead you to believe - if the location is dangerous because it's halfway up a cliff, and the cache is a 5* and the cache description makes it clear then climbing skills are required, then fair play. If it's a 1/1 but in a field of bulls, or you have to wade fast flowing water, or something else that might ensnare the unwary, I'll mention it.

Edited by Paul G0TLG
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Good rule of thumb is search for as long as you are enjoying it.

*clicks the virtual 'like' button* :)

 

Drat I can't find the button, where do I log my DNF ???

 

How long do I look for? If I'm not with the wife and I have time and I'm not blatently being overlooked - as long as it takes. Ok not quite true but generally too long. I do get bored for all the reasons stated above but then it becomes a challenge potentiall. And I often have to revisit. Thankfully due to friends I was able to revisit a foreign cache during a whirlwind trip of Europe. It was a good detour with a rewarding fondue and a challenging hike up hill. The first time I looked it was under a few feet of snow so no wonder I didn't find it really. And such a good memory, so giving up the first time as with wife and personal safety (I'm not known for being personally safe so read here, "it must have been bad") was a good call.

 

DNF - I log a DNF predominately unless it's been a half hearted search or someone I'm with logs a DNF.

 

If I didn't find because of factors to do with the location - e.g. ..., or I believe legal access to the location isn't possible, or I think the location is dangerous*, ... - then I always DNF.

 

I really like Paul's DNF for reasons of access, tells future searchers what to expect or for the CO to clafiy and expressly state permission. One of my first caches was found by someone, they claimed a find and then said it shouldn't be there, I took exception about that at the time, especially as I had permission and the sign they quoted they had misunderstood (proably due to not knowing the grumpy farmer and them trying to stop a route in the future becoming a legal right of way due to precedent as they were kind enough to let it be used as a cut through). Looking back a DNF would have been much more appreciated by me as the CO. And if they signed the log they could always change to a find after discussing with me. I don't expect cachers to have to open dialogue with the CO as that's not what some people want to do, but using the basic approach first (e-mail or DNF) allows for escalation rather than having to scale back or upset someone. Don't worry, I know the debate about they signed it they can log it, I don't have a problem with that, just the way of checking access could have been "better".

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