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# Mystery Cache distance rules

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Is there a rule on how far away a Mystery cache can be from the coordinates that are posted.

Final is 2 miles or 3.2 km from listing coords ..  Mystery caches

I'll mention that if you're solving for a Mystery you might see coords further out ... older Mystery was allowed more distance, or predates the rule, or cache is  staged, and you're solving for a stage that's further out, final will be back within 2 miles of posted.  Or coords are just a puzzle solution, and entered into a checker will yield actual cache coords within the rule.

Edited by Isonzo Karst
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3 hours ago, Isonzo Karst said:

and ﻿you're﻿ solving for a stage that's further ﻿﻿out﻿, final will﻿﻿ be back﻿﻿ within 2 ﻿miles﻿ of ﻿posted﻿﻿﻿﻿﻿﻿

This is a good example of how the rules and/or their interpretation change over time. There are older multi-stage puzzles where the first stage is within the normal 2-mile radius, but the final is further away. The current interpretation is that the final has to be within the 2-mile radius, but the first stage can be further away than that.

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The current interpretation is that the final has to be within the 2-mile radius, but the first stage can be further away than that.

Yes, but does it make sense?  If I'm visiting an area and would like to search for a couple of cache, how would I know what's around?  I'm not solving all mystery in the 20 Miles radius just to determine if one of them has the final near my visiting area.

I think, first stage should also be within the 2 Mile radius.

6 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

Yes, but does it make sense?  If I'm visiting an area and would like to search for a couple of cache, how would I know what's around?  I'm not solving all mystery in the 20 Miles radius just to determine if one of them has the final near my visiting area.

I think, first stage should also be within the 2 Mile radius.

I agree with your sentiment, but I'd rather depend on COs being sensitive to this problem rather than have a rule.

Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced niraD is correct. For the only puzzle caches I can recall with middle stages outside the 2 mile radius, the middle stages were obviously fictitious. Yes, the information required was in Seattle, but you weren't really supposed to drive from San Francisco to Seattle to get the information, you were supposed to figure out how to get the information from the comfort of your home computer.

24 minutes ago, dprovan said:

Having said that, I'm not entirely convinced niraD is correct. For the only puzzle caches I can recall with middle stages outside the 2 mile radius, the middle stages were obviously fictitious. Yes, the information required was in Seattle, but you weren't really supposed to drive from San Francisco to Seattle to get the information, you were supposed to figure out how to get the information from the comfort of your home computer.

One of my Favorites is an example. It's a multi-stage puzzle. There is a puzzle to solve to get the coordinates of the first stage (within 2 miles of the bogus posted coordinates). Each stage after that is a physical puzzle of some sort that leads to the next stage, eventually leading you to the final which is about 6 miles from the first stage. I've found others like this as well. The stages actually take you along a fairly direct route to the final.

It sounds like Mausebiber would just ban this style of multi-stage puzzle cache. I disagree, and wish there were more of them.

Remember, this is the "Getting Started" forum.  Well over 90% of mystery cache designs are covered in the basic rule.  The final cache coordinates must be within 2 miles of the posted coordinates.

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It sounds like Mausebiber would just ban this style of multi-stage puzzle cache.

No, that  was not my intent, multi stage puzzle are fine.  I just vote that not only the final, but also the first stage is within 2 miles of the posted coordinates.

1 hour ago, dprovan said:

but I'd rather depend on COs being sensitive to this problem rather than have a rule.

Agree.

2 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

No, that  was not my intent, multi stage puzzle are fine.  I just vote that not only the final, but also the first stage is within 2 miles of the posted coordinates.

I have a mystery cache (a D3/T5) in which there are six virtual waypoints spread across a 10km radius, each providing a cryptic clue to the solution. The bogus listed coordinates are within a few hundred metres of the final. Those virtual waypoints are all visible, though, so it should be obvious to anyone looking at the small map on the cache page that some travel is needed; it also says as much in the description ("Plan your route carefully to avoid doubling back," the sheriff said, "and take a packed lunch as you have lots of territory to cover. You'll need a boat too, unless your horse feels like swimming."). I should also add that those waypoints aren't in any particular order - as the sheriff says, part of the challenge is to work out which order to do them in depending on where you're starting from and is why I didn't list it as a multi - so there's no "first stage" as such for you to require to be within 3km.

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18 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

so there's no "first stage" as such for you to require to be within 3km.

Understand, bur those mysteries and not very common, at least not where I come from.

I'm not sure if I can make this clear.  Here an example of may concern:

I'm visiting San Francisco, and besides site seeing I want to find some cache.  There are a lot of mysteries posted and I'm solving a couple just to find out, all starting points of those mysteries are in Los Angeles. Not what I have expected but according to the current guideline correct.

So, for me as a tourist to San Francisco I would prefer, if the first stage of the mystery would be close to the posted San Francisco coordinates.

7 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

I'm visiting San Francisco, and besides site seeing I want to find some cache.  There are a lot of mysteries posted and I'm solving a couple just to find out, all starting points of those mysteries are in Los Angeles.

Not quite sure what you are solving then, if the posted coordinates are in LA and you're looking at a map or PQ of SF.  Can you post a link to an example of one your'e working on?

1 minute ago, coachstahly said:

Not quite sure what you are solving then, if the posted coordinates are in LA .

I'm solving the mysteries which are listed in San Francisco.  Quite obviously, I can make this clear.

The first stage of a Mystery can just be anywhere according to current guideline.

So, you can have the listed coordinates right in front of your house, but the first stage is in Africa.

Just one example:

https://coord.info/GC448A

Where do you think is the first stage.  I'm not telling the exact location, but the first stage is several hundred miles away.

18 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

I'm visiting San Francisco, and besides site seeing I want to find some cache.  There are a lot of mysteries posted and I'm solving a couple just to find out, all starting points of those mysteries are in Los Angeles. Not what I have expected but according to the current guideline correct.

﻿﻿﻿ So, for me as a tourist to San Francisco I would prefer, if the first stage of the mystery would be close to the posted San Francisco coordinates.

Would you prefer a trivial "starting point" in San Francisco, a substantial stage in Los Angeles, and then the final back in San Francisco? That doesn't sound like much of an improvement to me.

In practice, I haven't seen this issue. These epic multi-stage puzzle caches are pretty clear about what is involved, so people know what they're getting into. And they've never been a large fraction of the puzzle caches in the area.

1 minute ago, Mausebiber said:

Just one example:

﻿ Where do you think is the first stage.  I'm not telling the exact location, but the first stage is several hundred miles away.

To be fair, the cache description does mention "extraordinary difficulty". And the page with the 10 puzzles makes this look like quite the epic adventure, even without your warning that the first stage is hundreds of miles away. This obviously is not the kind of puzzle cache that you solve on a business trip so you can pick up the final when you have time.

Would you prefer a trivial "starting point" in San Francisco, a substantial stage in Los Angeles,

I would prefer, if all stages would be substantial.

Thanks for the discussion,

MB

Edited by Mausebiber

9 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

I would prefer, if all stages would be substantial.

Okay. But with a substantial first stage in San Francisco, a substantial second stage in Los Angeles, and a final in San Francisco, nothing really changes. I don't see how your issue is solved, as long as there are substantial stages that aren't within 2 miles of the posted coordinates.

16 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

I'm solving the mysteries which are listed in San Francisco.  Quite obviously, I can make this clear.

I think I misunderstood you.  I thought you were actually solving puzzles, but it appears you're hypothesizing.

You're concerned that some of the puzzles in SF will have a stage in LA, because it means that the final stage is in SF, but any other previous stages could be anywhere else.  I thought you had actually encountered one of those when attempting to solve it.  Do I have that right?

Honestly, I don't think you'll find many of those that are that far away.  I'm sure there are a few, but they're certainly not that prevalent.

If I'm caching in a new area for vacation (or whatever) and I solve a puzzle for the first stage that has the coordinates a long distance away, I'm just ignoring that cache and moving onto the next one.  I can only think of maybe one or two of the hundreds of puzzles I've solved where this was the case.  I personally don't think it's a big deal if all the stages aren't within 2 miles of the posted coordinates.

Rather than mandating that a tiny little portion of all the puzzles out there conforms to ALL the stages within a 2 miles radius, I think it's just fine as it stands now.  I don't see a problem with these types at all.

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3 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

I'm solving the mysteries which are listed in San Francisco.  Quite obviously, I can make this clear.

The first stage of a Mystery can just be anywhere according to current guideline.

So, you can have the listed coordinates right in front of your house, but the first stage is in Africa.

Just one example:

Where do you think is the first stage.  I'm not telling the exact location, but the first stage is several hundred miles away.

I'm confused. GC448A is in Germany.

The way you're talking, you make it sound like this is a common feature of San Francisco puzzle caches. I've solved a lot of puzzle caches in San Francisco and looked at many others, but I've never see anything that requires going to LA. If you've found a puzzle like that, just forget it. There are plenty of puzzle caches in San Francisco with a single final stage within the guideline limits.

Okay. But with a substantial first stage in San Francisco, a substantial second stage in Los Angeles, and a final in San Francisco, nothing really changes

First I would like to say, that I fully agree with coachstahly that it is not a real problem as I already indicated here:

https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/topic/350597-mystery-cache-distance-rules/&do=findComment&comment=5751275

To answer niraD:  Form my point of view it does make a big difference.  If the first stage is very far away, I probably would never start the mystery.  If the first stage is close, (at this point I don't know that the next stages are far off) I would start and probably being guided to a very interesting place I wouldn't have visited without this cache.  Even if I don't continue from here, I made a nice experience.

7 minutes ago, dprovan said:

The way you're talking, you make it sound like this is a common feature of San Francisco puzzle caches

I wrote "Here an example of may concern:"    If you really got this impression I'm sorry, no, I have no idea what the mysteries in San Francisco are about.

Again:

Quote

I'm confused. GC448A is in Germany.

Just another example, not sure why this is so confusing.

3 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

To answer niraD:  Form my point of view it does make a big difference.  If the first stage is very far away, I probably would never start the mystery.

All I'd ask is for the cache description to say, "the first stage is hundreds of miles away", but is that enough for you?

13 minutes ago, dprovan said:

There are plenty of puzzle caches in San Francisco with a single final stage within the guideline limits.

Did I indicate somewhere, that any of the mysteries mentions above are not within the guideline limits?

Just now, Mausebiber said:

Just another example, not sure why this is so confusing.

Oh, I see. Sorry. It's confusing because it sounded like you were talking about an actual problem, but I'm only now catching up to the fact that this is purely hypothetical. I'm a little slower than the other people responding to you. You just happened to mention a specific location as if you were currently experiencing this problem with lots of mystery caches in San Francisco. Since that's in my back yard, I was really interested in figuring out what you were talking about. Now I understand you were just making it all up, so I'll just say, "Yes, that would be annoying."

3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

All I'd ask is for the cache description to say, "the first stage is hundreds of miles away", but is that enough for you?

Let me ask you this:  What reason could there be to have the first stage that far off other then first stage is on the ISS or an extraterrestrial planet ?

4 hours ago, Mausebiber said:
23 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

so there's no "first stage" as such for you to require to be within 3km.

Understand, bur those mysteries and not very common, at least not where I come from.

I'm not sure if I can make this clear.  Here an example of may concern:

I'm visiting San Francisco, and besides site seeing I want to find some cache.  There are a lot of mysteries posted and I'm solving a couple just to find out, all starting points of those mysteries are in Los Angeles. Not what I have expected but according to the current guideline correct.

So, for me as a tourist to San Francisco I would prefer, if the first stage of the mystery would be close to the posted San Francisco coordinates.﻿

So you want to kill off my cache which is doing you no harm just because such caches are uncommon where you come from and there might be some hypothetical ones in San Francisco that require an intermediate trip to Los Angeles. Yep, that sounds fair and reasonable. Don't forget too that mystery/unknown isn't just puzzle caches, it's the catch-all for anything that doesn't fit the other categories.

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4 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:
19 minutes ago, dprovan said:

There are plenty of puzzle caches in San Francisco with a single final stage within the guideline limits.

Did I indicate somewhere, that any of the mysteries mentions above are not within the guideline limits?﻿

No. Did I indicate you indicated that? I was just saying that the caches have a single stage. I was trying to stress that the entire cache was within the guideline limits even though I admit i was being redundant.

3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I was really interested in figuring out what you were talking about. Now I understand you were just making it all up

Yes. I'm really sorry if I have caused that much confusion. IT's not a problem, at least not a big one.   We were talking about the guidelines further up:  " The current interpretation is that the final has to be within the 2-mile radius, but the first stage can be further away than that"  and that how I started saying, I would perfer, if the first stage would also within the 2-mile radius.

Thanks again

MB

2 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

Let me ask you this:  What reason could there be to have the first stage that far off other then first stage is on the ISS or an extraterrestrial planet ?

You'd have to ask the CO why he wanted to do that. The question here is whether it should be allowed, and I don't see a reason to prevent it any more than I see a reason to prevent any other puzzle caches I can't solve.

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6 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

So you want to kill off my cache which is doing you no harm

You think I want to kill your cache, how could I do this?    No, really not.

4 minutes ago, Mausebiber said:

I started saying, I would perfer, if the first stage would also within the 2-mile radius.

Why did you say so? I am currently planning a puzzle cache where the first stage is about 700km (435 mi) from the bogus but the final is within 2 miles from the bogus. I have a waypoint pointing to the first stage. It's like a multi but backwards

Edited by arisoft

1 minute ago, Mausebiber said:

Yes. I'm really sorry if I have caused that much confusion. IT's not a problem, at least not a big one.   We were talking about the guidelines further up:  " The current interpretation is that the final has to be within the 2-mile radius, but the first stage can be further away than that"  and that how I started saying, I would perfer, if the first stage would also within the 2-mile radius.

Thanks again

MB

So my position is only a little different: it doesn't matter to me if the first stage is far a field -- I have to deal with that possibility for multicaches, anyway -- but if it is, I'd prefer the CO try to make it clear the solution has that unusual requirement.

I've solved many, many puzzle caches that I'll never be in a position to find, so it's not that big of a deal to me even though it might mean I wasted my time.

Just now, Mausebiber said:

You think I want to kill your cache, how could I do this?    No, really not.

You want to change the rules to require the waypoints as well as the final to be within 3.2km of the listed coordinates. Doing that would kill my cache (GC62WZJ) which has six visible virtual waypoints more than 3.2km from the listed coordinates.

3 minutes ago, dprovan said:

I've solved many, many puzzle caches that I'll never be in a position to find, so it's not that big of a deal to me even though it might mean I wasted my time.

I have more than 2000 solved but unvisited puzzelcache in my database which are located all over Europe.  Most of the time, I was helping someone to solve the mystery.

Many of those I probably will never visit, like your statement, not a problem for me.

But this is not what we are talking about.

19 minutes ago, arisoft said:

Why did you say so?

The cache you cited above, GC448A,  is from 2002 and is probably before the current guidelines.

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2 hours ago, dprovan said:
2 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

Let me ask you this:  What reason could there be to have the first stage that far off other then first stage is on the ISS or an extraterrestrial planet ?

You'd have to ask the CO why he wanted to do that. The question here is whether it should be allowed, and I don't see a reason to prevent it any more than I see a reason to prevent any other puzzle caches I can't solve.

Yep. The CO wanted it that way.

But I've completed a multi-stage cache that requires at least 50 miles of driving to visit all the stages. Yes, all those locations are very much related to each other, and no, it wouldn't be the same without visiting all (or at least most) of them.

And then there's the Cache Across America series, with a cache in every state, and a final in DC.

And the city I live in has two "sister cities", one in Japan and one in Belgium. It might be cool to have a multi-stage cache that requires visiting our "sister cities" to collect information or solve puzzles to find the actual cache here in the US.

And there's a historic highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles. It might be cool to have a multi-stage cache that requires traveling that historic route, collecting information and solving puzzles as you go.

And Will Rogers was born in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and died in Alaska Territory (now Alaska). It might be cool to have a multi-stage cache that requires traveling to the places where he started and ended his life.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

So, I have completed the Deutschland Tour, 1600 Km (100 miles) by bicycle for one cache, but again, you don't understand my issue.

Quote

Yep. The CO wanted it that way.

No.  The CO was asking: Is there a rule on how far away a Mystery cache can be from the coordinates that are posted competently different issue from what I'm talking. This answer is easy, according to the guidelines, 2 miles.  I'm  not talking how far away a mystery may be,  I'm not talking about how far out a mystery might lead,  I'm talking only about the first stage of a mystery.

1 hour ago, Mausebiber said:

No.  The CO was asking: Is there a rule on how far away a Mystery cache can be from the coordinates that are posted competently different issue from what I'm talking. This answer is easy, according to the guidelines, 2 miles.  I'm  not talking how far away a mystery may be,  I'm not talking about how far out a mystery might lead,  I'm talking only about the first stage of a mystery.

So again I ask, how do you define the first stage of a mystery? It's not like a multi where the first stage is the listed coordinates. As I said before, the mystery/unknown category is a broad net, including puzzles, challenge caches and just about anything else that doesn't fit neatly into the traditional, multi or other cache types. It has listed coordinates where there might or might not be anything of interest, a final location which might or might not be visible, and zero or more waypoints which might or might not be visible and which don't need to be in any particular order. A key feature of my own mystery cache which I quoted earlier (GC62WZJ) is that the waypoints are unordered and part of the challenge is to work out the best order in which to visit them, which in turn will depend on where you start. Unlike a multi, a mystery doesn't have to have a well-defined starting point. So if your wish was granted and the first stage of a mystery also had to be within 3.2km of the listed coordinates, which of the seven waypoints in my cache would you consider to be the first? And why?

1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

which of the seven waypoints in my cache would you consider to be the first? And why?

You are talking about one cache which is different from most of all other and not very common. Look what the help center says:

Mystery Caches can have many different designs. Here are the most common ones.

Puzzle caches
The posted coordinates are usually bogus coordinates. Geocachers must solve a puzzle on the cache page to get the coordinates for the first stage or the final container.

Since you are publishing all the waypoints I know what I can expect.  Most of the time I don't have this information, I'm solving a puzzle without knowing what the result might be.  According to the guidelines, the start of this mystery could be just around the corner or somewhere in the world.

But the discussion is not getting us anywhere and the owners's question was answered long time ago.

2 hours ago, Mausebiber said:

But the discussion is not getting us anywhere and the owners's question was answered long time ago.

Indeed. Thanks for your summary to wrap things up.  I'm closing this thread for straying outside the boundaries of the "Getting Started" question that was asked initially.