Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
mersay

Finally started geocaching! Puzzles?

Recommended Posts

Hello all! So I joined this site back in 2010 when a college buddy told me all about the wonders of geocaching! Unfortunately, I never got around to starting - mainly because I was a bit intimidated/overwhelmed, didn't have a GPS and phones back then weren't as good as they are now.

I finally found my first geocache last weekend on a camping trip and I am officially hooked! Got my kids into it as well! 

Just a few questions - some of this is still a bit overwhelming. The geocaches that have coordinates are pretty straightforward, but I've started trying to figure out how to do the puzzle caches - I am clueless! Any advice or help on how to up my geocache game would be appreciated!

Thanks all! Looking forward to many more caches!

Mersay

Share this post


Link to post

When I first got started I read as much as I could about everything and I always came back to the Geocaching website in the end since I realized most of their information was pretty straightforward and definitely explained things well for me. This page has some great info about how to go about solving puzzle caches, but the biggest advice is to start with easy ones and work your way up! A lot of easier puzzles are simply replace ABCDEF with numbers in order to get a full set of coordinates. In order to get those numbers which correspond to ABCDEF is where the puzzle comes in. Sometimes the puzzles can be solved by going to a certain location and other times you may need to spend some time at your computer on google. This cache looks like it may be in your general area. After reading the description you will see a set of coordinates with missing numbers but with the letters "ABCDE" in their place. It looks like you have to match mascots to teams, and in doing so you will see that the numbers next to the mascots will align with each team, allowing you to determine which numbers go into each letter spot in the set of coordinates. I suggest trying this one out, it seems fairly straightforward! :)

 

 

 

Edited by SaRothe
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post

Start slowly so you don't burn out yourself or your kids. If I want to do more than two my son really starts to complain. 

 

Start easy limit the terrain & difficulty to the level you are comfortable with. If your family likes 5 mile hikes great go for them but you may want to start small.

 

Next it is impossible to find them all. Don't think you have to do anything, the only competition is with yourself.  If I'm going to take the dogs for a walk, I'll pick a park and trail that may have a cache or two. Use them to explore new areas that you otherwise might not have tried before. Skip the ones you are not comfortable with, I've turned around and aborted many times if I think physically I can't do it or it's not safe today. Sometimes cache locations degrade with time and you may want to leave the kids in the car.

 

Same applies with puzzles some just baffle me and I "ignore" them, others I find I want to solve in my free time. Again it's impossible to solve them all.

 

I like to set little goals and love challenge caches, not for everyone, but it give me a goal to find say 25 caches with "stump" in the name. So I spend the next year or two or more slowly finding caches to help qualify. Other may decide I want to find all the caches within 1 mile of my house. The important thing is you decide, and as you get more obsessed you'll find yourself doing a 6 hour weekend road trip to find an old cache in Yuba City. Hey wait that's what I did this weekend. Or doing a geocaching road trip/vacation .

 

Good Luck have fun! 

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post

Reading previous logs is a good place to start.  You’re unlikely to find real spoilers (look out for puns though), but they will often give you an idea of complexity.  If someone says “Easy - cracked this in 3 minutes”, it’s unlikely to require a computer program to analyse a binary image file.  Conversely, if they “Struggled a bit on stage 3”, you know you’re in for a bit of a journey.

 

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a cache owner for help, but don’t expect them to give you the answer straight out.  In my experience (in UK), most are very approachable and, contrary to the belief of some, really do want their puzzles solved and caches found.

 

For those that enjoy puzzles (and I imagine most puzzle COs fall into that category), the pleasure is in making the breakthrough - perhaps that “d’oh!” moment.  So, be prepared to give and take, so that you can be nudged towards a solution.

 

If you ‘do’ Facebook there’s a ‘Geocaching Puzzle Help’ group.  Generally, the ethos is the same - to nudge people towards a solution.  Local events are also a good place to swap ideas.  If you can find someone (or more than one) like-minded then collaboration can be a winner. 🙂

 

I haven’t read it myself but I have seen a lot of recommendations for a book, ‘How To Puzzle Cache’ by Cully Long.

 

As @SaRothe says, start with the simpler ones (lower D-ratings) to build up your puzzle-solving skills.  If you tackle a few by the same CO, you might start to get into their way of thinking.  Keep notes on your progress and solutions, and bookmark those useful sites you find for cracking ciphers, etc.

 

Good luck!

  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post

Here are some general puzzle tips (based in part on a puzzle-solving class event presented by The Rat a while ago):


Identify the theme. Check the cache title, the hint, the HTML source, the graphics (including names/URLs), any links (including URLs), whatever is at the posted coordinates, etc. If you can figure out the theme, then you should look for numbering systems that are associated with that theme (zip codes, athletes’ jersey numbers, episode numbers, product codes, etc.).


Around here, coordinates will have 15 digits, and will look like "N 37° xx.xxx W 122° xx.xxx". So when I'm solving a nearby puzzle, I look for a group of 15 things, and then I look for ways to get the digits 37xxxxx122xxxxx from them. In general, I look for ways to get the number 37 (or the digits 3 and 7) from something near the beginning of the puzzle, and the number 122 (or the digits 1, 2, and 2) from something near the middle of the puzzle. (Of course, you'll need to adjust this for the coordinates near you.)


If you ask the cache owner for a hint, then be sure to mention the approaches you have tried so far, and the results those approaches have yielded. It can also be helpful to work together with others who are trying to solve the same puzzle. Geocaching events are a good place to meet other geocachers; ask around to see if anyone else is trying to solve the same puzzle(s) as you.


Other useful resources include:


 

  • Helpful 2

Share this post


Link to post

Awesome, thank you all for the helpful hints! I took a stab at a few puzzle ones nearby and I think I have the coordinates! I love the note feature =)

I will probably be on the lookout for some events nearby in the near future. I love the community here and would like to eventually become a part of it.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi Mersay,

 

if you want do start solving mysteries look at ones with a difficulty rate of 1 - 2,5, some of them might even have a checker included. For example have a look at GC2YB91 - "Space Trivia: Class Is Now In Session!", the questions are easy to answer.

You can change the coordinates in the listing after solving the puzzle. Click the pen to the right of the coordinates and enter the new coordinates (only you will see the new coordinates). Then you can download the gpx file with the corrected coordinates.

 

Just solved my first Cache in the Bay area.

Edited by speakers-corner
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

×