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How long do you look for a cache before calling it quits?


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when I first started, I would search for quite a while. These days, I tend to view geocaching as an additional bit of fun on an enjoyable walk. So if I have absolutely no idea where it is after about 5-10 minutes, I move on, unless I have a strong feeling that it is worth putting extra time and effort into finding it (for example, if there are lots of logs saying it a really interesting container). But because I have more experience now, it is easier to find them. When I first started, I had no idea that they migt be hidden in sticks or fake stones.

 

But I'm certainly not going to waste half an afternoon trying to find a cache. Having an enjoyable walk is more important to me. If the cache takes me to a nice place, that's the main goal achieved. If I can find the cache, that's nice too, but maybe not essential.

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...the cache may not be around anymore?

That is not a good assumption to make. You haven't found it, therefore you have no idea where it is.

It's not all that uncommon to have some caches hidden or camouflaged good enough that it may take multiple trips to find it.

 

Leave... come back some other time with a refreshed mind. Works wonders.

 

In regards to how long... you already said it -- when it becomes something other than fun. Come back later, as above.

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If we're counting just one block of time after arriving at GZ, not additional visits, the longest I've searched was three hours. Not counting online research and advance planning, nor printing various maps and notes. I brought lunch. And tools, a metal detector, the works.

 

And the fastest I've quit was when I arrived in a walmart parking lot and realized it's an LPC in the busiest part of the lot. I just drove past and glared at it.

 

So my search window is everything in between. :anicute:

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I've seen people search for a cache for an hour.

You just watched them search for an hour?! Harsh! :anibad:

 

The least fun I have is when I'm with a group and they immediately find it and leave. So maybe my idea of a perfect search window, for the usual 1.5/1.5 cache, is the chance to look and ponder for a few minutes. If I'm still searching an hour later, I'm lost, so I either really like the place or have nothing else to do. And I may suggest bumping that Difficulty rating up a notch. :anicute:

Edited by kunarion
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The search is the least interesting part of this game for me - life is too short to search for a container just to search for a container because someone has placed a nano in an area that I might not have been interested in going to for any other reason. So after five or ten minutes, I am ready to leave. There can be exceptions. If I have come a long way for that cache for some reason; if it was the goal of a hike or kayak; if I am with friends who keep the search going. On the other hand, if I am with my noncaching spouse and there are other priorities than caching, the five minute window may be more than enough.

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I've looked for caches for over an hour. Sometimes I'll even have food with me so I take a break, eat and then continue the search! haha If I have the dogs and they are behaving then 1.5 isn't uncommon. But most of the time if I'm by myself I give 30 min or so. I kind of get frustrated at myself for being dumb and not being able to find it. :o:unsure:

There are several caches that I've had to go back to (several times, yes I admit that!) because I really really really want to find the cache!! There is one I've been to probably 4 times so far and have had no luck (even bringing help didn't help!) but I'm determined to find that little bugger no matter how many times I have to go back! And when I do find it I'm going to treat myself to the biggest hot fudge sundae on this planet! :D

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It really depends on the cache. If it's a high difficulty cache and I am expecting a long search, then I might search for an hour. If it's a regular size, difficulty 1 cache, and I don't find it within a few minutes, I will probably assume it isn't there pretty quickly. Inclement weather and other factors might also contribute to a shorter search.

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I have lifted up a camo Taped Tupperware and moved it out of the way so I could search properly for a micro as stated on the cache page. Even put it back too. Couldn't believe I'd done it. And we were searching in a bush the size of a sofa and failed to see the camoed cache which was no word of a lie, the size of dustbin lid and then some. Again could not believe it. We have searched for over an our round a road sign know the cache had been found that day. There was nowhere else it could be and the hint stated it was the sign. So we fingertip searched everywhere and tried everything. Nothing found. Was just about to walk away and suddenly that errant gungy horse hair that had been loitering round the top of the post ... became what it actually was. Fishing line. The cache was right down the bottom of the tube so a torch had failed to pick it up.

 

All this has taught us is this - it's usually going to be there. But we don't mind logging s DNF so we can always come back. But it also taught us that 30 seconds and nope it's gone is a waste of fuel it took to get there. So we look until we find it or we run out of ideas. Especially on a series because we like to get the set.

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For me it depends on the difficulty and if I'm with other people. If I'm by myself, I have no problems giving it the time it deserves. I've spent three hours one afternoon looking for one stage of a multi. It wasn't that difficult, just well concealed. To me, the search is part of the fun of caching. It's about the only time I actually show any amount of patience. I'll invest quite a bit of time before giving up. But when I start getting frustrated searching, then I quit.

When I'm caching with others, the search is usually much less time. Maybe 15 minutes at most for the difficult ones and no more than five minutes for the easy ones. I get nagged because I continue to search when they're already back to the car. That frustrates me more than not finding the cache. If I'm there, I want to give it a good search, not a half arsed one.

I guess how long is enough before calling it quits, is something different for everyone. But I think when it stops being fun, it's time to quit and move on.

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So do you all have the general attitude of "The cache is here" so you keep looking or do you every think that perhaps it's been moved (by an animal or weather erosion, destroyed, etc) and ended up lost per say?

You should look at the cache logs. If there are a lot of logs about how tricky it is, it's... tricky :anicute:. If it has a lot of previous finds, but recently no logs, you may suspect an issue. Once it's found again, then go look.

 

Be sure to make a DNF log if you Do Not Find. If it's my cache, I'll be sure it's still OK. It's unusual for mine to be tough (OK, several of mine are the kinds of caches I can't find, but don't worry, everybody else can :anitongue:). Also, I'd offer a hint.

Edited by kunarion
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Only one answer - when YOU decide it's been long enough.

And that calculation will change every time you go out.

 

Play for you, not for what we all do.

 

Yeah, I don't think that is a question that can really be answered. It depends on so much! The weather. What else I have to do that day. How interesting the cache sounds. The phase of the moon. I look until I lose interest.

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Always depends on circumstances for me, too. I think the longest I've ever spent actively searching for a cache was about an hour. I tend to cache after work, so I'm kinda tired and often just want to get my cache and go, so when I come across one that shouldn't be that difficult and it takes me more than fifteen minutes, I'll usually call it quits and DNF it, and come back another day.

 

On the other hand, I definitely spent more time than usual looking for a cache whose coords were about 25 feet off - not that big of a deal, but that put it on the other side of a creek, so we weren't looking near it for a good while. I was there for about twenty minutes and probably would've given it up except that it was a FTFer, and a fellow local cacher who is an awesome FTF master came around as I was hunting. We searched together, and rather than bail out while he was there, I stuck it out a bit longer till we made the find.

 

I will also put more time into a hide that has taken more effort to get to GZ, either due to distance or terrain difficulty.

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Basically, I look until I've run out of ideas. Medium container, 2 difficulty? I poke and prod everything that looks promising, if I don't find it-- move on, and usually check back on its activity every so often, see if there's more DNF's, or maybe a smiley confirming it really IS there. One of the first caches I searched for, I couldn't find. I discovered that evening a much more experienced cacher was just an hour behind me, and he had no luck either-- that made me feel a bit better. That was in January, and then just a couple weeks ago a smiley turned up on it. Went back, and sure enough-- back in January, it was firmly snow-packed in. The hollow it was in felt like it ended much closer then, with the snow gone it turns out that hollow goes wayyyy back, you can get your whole arm in there-- and you pretty much need to.

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I enjoy caches with challenging camouflage. So far, my record is 6 DNFs (each representing 30-60 minutes of searching) before finally finding it on the 7th trip.

 

But your question "How long until it's not fun anymore?" is the key. When it stops being fun, I leave and log the DNF.

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As others have said.. until it stops being fun, and that depends. And I don't watch the clock when looking. But, I would guess that on average I'll give up after 10-15 minutes (looking for at GZ or a specific stage of a cache). If any of the following are true I'll hunt for longer, though I think an hour is about the max.

 

- I'm expecting it to be a challenging hide

 

- There are additional reasons I really want to find THIS cache (I've heard it is great.. or it relates to a puzzle or challenge I want to complete etc).

 

- It is simply in a nice place and I'm in a good mood and enjoying the search

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There were times I thought the cache had gone missing but when I log the DNF and then go back to the cache page I see others have found it after me. Oh well, there goes my theory of that dang raccoon eating the cache! :rolleyes:

 

I agree, when it starts to be no fun I quit. Although in the back of my head I keep saying 'if I stayed one more min I bet I could have found it!' :lol:

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The search is the least interesting part of this game for me - life is too short to search for a container just to search for a container because someone has placed a nano in an area that I might not have been interested in going to for any other reason. So after five or ten minutes, I am ready to leave. There can be exceptions. If I have come a long way for that cache for some reason; if it was the goal of a hike or kayak; if I am with friends who keep the search going. On the other hand, if I am with my noncaching spouse and there are other priorities than caching, the five minute window may be more than enough.

Well said. Echoes my sentiments. Although I think I might go up to 15 minutes, but no longer. And that's after looking for about 1.5 hours when I was a newbie, then realizing that the game was no longer getting fun. Set a limit to 30 minutes, then shortened to 20, and now about 15.

 

Got better things to do than stand there staring at things. More places to visit, things to see, things to do.

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when i first started, every week for a year. coordinates were in the middle of the street, which had a storm grate, next nearest was a tree, which i used to go there, and not want to climb. I waited till the leaves fell off, and still no luck I hadnt seen a nano before and had no idea what it was. There was literally no where to hide it. There was a telephone pole nearby with some metal bits at the bottom, it was shoved so far up you needed a tool.

 

Similar, a year for one on a parking meter on my bike home. This was before i had an etrex and the coordinates were a few feet away in the shrubbery. didnt think to look there. very hard to hide something on a parking meter.

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A couple of years ago, while on vacation for a week I went to search for a cache that was in a park just across the road from where I was staying. The cache was described as a micro. I think I went over there to that park 4-5 times, spending 10-30 minutes each time before I finally found it. My GPS was zeroing in on small tree about 6' high. In the tree I found 2-3 pieces of string/cord that might have been used to tether a container to a tree. More concerning was that there was a watering hose (turned off) that ran from a faucet about 30 feet away right to the base of the tree. I was sure that a park maintenance worker had discovered the cache while watering the tree, but started expanding my search and eventually found it in a tree about 40 feet away. It was a well camoflagued micro bison tube (probably the smallest I've ever seen).

 

 

 

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My search time is influenced by several factors:

 

  1. Pleasantness of Surroundings: If I'm in the middle of the forest on a sunny day, I will happily spend an hour looking for a cache. Any time spent in the great outdoors is good time. If I'm at a big box store's parking lot, it's raining, and I don't find the cache in one of the usual places, I will leave after searching for five to ten minutes.
  2. Pleasantness of Company: If I'm with a group that's searching for a cache, I will stay much longer than if I'm hunting solo. I'm recalling an epic two hour search with three friends that ended in a DNF of a difficulty 5 micro.
  3. Distance from Home: If I'm traveling, I'm likely on a defined time budget to hit my search goals. Generally I am more likely to spend an hour searching for a cache, with perhaps a return visit, if it's in a favorite park near my home. If I'm stopping for a break during a long drive through another state, I might quit after ten minutes.
  4. Difficulty Rating: If I cannot find a difficulty 1 or 1.5 cache within ten minutes, I'll assume that it's either missing, I'm overlooking something obvious, or the satellites are being cruel to me. A difficulty 4 cache in a nice setting will engage me for an hour - I made a conscious decision to travel there and hunt for it to the best of my ability.

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