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Special Tool Required ... but hidden in the hint


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I've come across more and more caches that require a special tool, and do have the appropriate attribute.

However, it's not given which tool is needed. The cache description doesn't even mention needing a special tool.

Only when I click the hint, it is revealed.

 

Since I typically use the hint only after searching GZ, this is near-useless. Why not put the information on the cache page?

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10 minutes ago, BigFurryMonster said:

I've come across more and more caches that require a special tool, and do have the appropriate attribute.

However, it's not given which tool is needed. The cache description doesn't even mention needing a special tool.

Only when I click the hint, it is revealed.

 

Since I typically use the hint only after searching GZ, this is near-useless. Why not put the information on the cache page?

 

There could be many answers to that question.

 

  • Most likely, the person who created the listing didn't put the brainpower into it to evaluate whether or not all the proper information is present in the proper form and in the proper place. A cache like that is a little more complex than a simple traditional, and most people just aren't used to organizing and presenting information with a purpose.
  • Could be that the tool is available in the field, and part of the 'puzzle' (regardless of whether or not it's a 'puzzle cache') is figuring out that the random piece of wood laying next to the hide is in fact the required pokey-stick. 
  • Perhaps they have a different 'method' than you. Maybe when THEY cache they ALWAYS look at the hint first! If that's true, then they wouldn't see the problem. FYI, I cache as you do: I never look at the hint until I'm flummoxed in the field. That's a great phrase, isn't it?
  • Maybe they just didn't care enough. They think they're doing you a favor by putting it in there SOMEWHERE. This is akin to people who put out "WHAT NUMBER AM I THINKING OF?" puzzle caches. A pox on them and their kin.
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I could see it as being part of the mystery of the cache (if it's a mystery cache of course!). With mystery caches, often times the a-ha moment is the best part of the geocache experience. 

 

I found a cache where the special tool was a smartphone, which apparently 85% of Americans and Europeans have.  Figuring out the special tool and how to use it was a fun a-ha moment.  But for those geocachers without one, one could say it's not fair that they can't participate.  Well, then again, not every geocacher has a chirp capable device either (I do and still can't get those chirp caches to work!).  In both cases one can always get a geo-friend to help out.

 

I had a special tool required cache that was a magnetic container at the top of a 15' lamp post.  The photos posted were great as people crafted their own special tools!  Scaffolding, tops of commercial vans, extension ladders!  I used a grabber on a painting extension pole to hide it and retrieve it.

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I have a gadget that requires either a smart phone or a small mirror.  If I revealed that one of those are needed it would be immediately obvious how to solve the cache.  There are hints in the cache name and description, but most people don't make the connection until they've seen the cache.  Even the official hint, which says "If you phone a friend you're using it wrong", is usually not enough for people to know HOW to use the phone and some even assume the "it" doesn't refer to the phone.  

 

Do caches that need a ladder usually include that information?  I think the attribute indicating that a special tool is required is a sign that more than one visit to the cache is a strong possibility.

Edited by CachedIronSkillet
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I ran into this recently, where I finally got around to collecting a puzzle cache which required a half mile hike in the heat, only to find that it was high in the tree and required either a climb or a long tool. I was frustrated but when I reread the cache page there were hints there that I hadn't noticed before. After a hard puzzle and a hike, it would have been nice to claim this smiley but the hints were there and it was my bad for missing them.

 

I also have a cache high up on a lightpost. The page mentions that TOTT are required and the hint is "Look Up" but some have come unprepared and complained. But considering requiring a tool makes it a D5, players should expect some obstacles and if necessary, read the hint before heading out.

Edited by G0ldNugget
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2 hours ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

Do caches that need a ladder usually include that information?

 

A cache requiring a ladder should be T5.  A cache with that rating nowhere near a body of water should be a pretty big hint that a ladder is required. 

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3 hours ago, G0ldNugget said:

But considering requiring a tool makes it a D5, players should expect some obstacles and if necessary, read the hint before heading out.

I've seen a number of caches that require a tool listed below D5, if the tool is commonplace, such as a smart-phone. Kayak?  D5.  Screwdriver on a cache named "Flathead"?  Nah.  

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54 minutes ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

 Kayak?  D5.

 

I would have thought a kayak would be T5 since it's used to get to GZ, not to retrieve the cache once at GZ. I'm trying to imagine a scenario where you'd carry a kayak to GZ and then have to use it once there, but not really succeeding.

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5 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

I would have thought a kayak would be T5 since it's used to get to GZ, not to retrieve the cache once at GZ. I'm trying to imagine a scenario where you'd carry a kayak to GZ and then have to use it once there, but not really succeeding.

Yeah, I meant T5... but still - same idea,.

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9 hours ago, BigFurryMonster said:

Since I typically use the hint only after searching GZ, this is near-useless. Why not put the information on the cache page?

 

Yes, I've gotten annoyed a few times when scratching my head at GZ only to find the hint contains information I should have had before leaving home. I have to wonder if some of this stems from the design of the app, where the hint is given more prominence than the description and, for traditionals at least, the instructions say to look at the description if you get stuck. I'm starting to wonder if the role of hint and description is becoming reversed.

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5 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

I'm starting to wonder if the role of hint and description is becoming reversed.

 

I have seen mystery caches where the description has no information about the solution but the hint actually contains the mystery. I think that one reason for this kind of abuse is the fact that players tend to read the hint only, not the description.

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13 hours ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

I think the attribute indicating that a special tool is required is a sign that more than one visit to the cache is a strong possibility.

That's very annoying, after taking a long walk to the cache to find that a second visit is needed, and you are a visitor and don't live in that town. I have had that experience, and I couldn't return. Doesn't leave one feeling happy or liking that CO.

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17 hours ago, CachedIronSkillet said:

I think the attribute indicating that a special tool is required is a sign that more than one visit to the cache is a strong possibility.

I've made multiple trips before when the cache required a special tool and the description didn't say what kind of tool was required. The first trip was specifically reconnaissance to see what kind of tool was needed, and the second trip was a retrieval trip with the appropriate tool.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, although it might irk someone. But that's another thread...

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16 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's very annoying, after taking a long walk to the cache to find that a second visit is needed, and you are a visitor and don't live in that town. I have had that experience, and I couldn't return. Doesn't leave one feeling happy or liking that CO.

 

But if I understand the OP correctly the cache hint listed the tool needed.  For any cache where a return trip would be bothersome I'd recommend reading the cache description, looking at the attributes, and if at that point you know a tool is needed but don't know what tool, look at the hint.... all before leaving home.  If you still don't know what tool is any you think making a return trip would be an issue maybe read the previous logs.  If you're still in doubt ask yourself why you want to do that cache, especially if a return trip is going to be problem.  Don't dislike a CO for creating a cache that has told you that it requires a special tool if you're not prepared to experience the "Oh god, I need to go get a golf ball" moment.

 

My absolute favorite tool based cache is GC7EZNG (Come Prepared), which is a 5 stage multi that lists tools you may (or may not) need in the description.   The list:  a 9V Battery, a Flashlight, Duct Tape, Wire Coat Hanger, a Notepad, Extra Socks, a Reaching Tool, Two AA Batteries, Two Strong Magnets, a 20ft Rope, a Tin Foil Hat, a QR Scanner, Half Gallon Water(minimum), a 16ft Tape Measure(or longer), Long Tweezers, Leatherman Tool, Pen, First Aid Kit, UV Light, Magnify Glass, 6" Long Flathead Screwdriver, Long Magnet, a Small Mirror, Leather Gloves, Two 16 Penny Nails, and Safety Glasses.

20191013_161407.jpg

 

Edited by CachedIronSkillet
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I suppose one could routinely cache with an 18 wheeler tractor / trailer full of tools, ladders, canoes, kayaks, ropes, climbing gear, etc., etc. if the special tools are not CLEARLY cited somewhere on the cache page.  

 

This from someone who has been "caught short" multiple times. >>> ( my special circumstance fanny pack morphed into a small backpack ..... ridiculous ) <<<.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Goldenwattle said:

That's very annoying, after taking a long walk to the cache to find that a second visit is needed, and you are a visitor and don't live in that town. I have had that experience, and I couldn't return. Doesn't leave one feeling happy or liking that CO.

Can I ever relate to that ... siiiigghhhh the life of a transient cacher. Echos of a stranger in a strange land.

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34 minutes ago, humboldt flier said:

I suppose one could routinely cache with an 18 wheeler tractor / trailer full of tools, ladders, canoes, kayaks, ropes, climbing gear, etc., etc. if the special tools are not CLEARLY cited somewhere on the cache page.  

 

This from someone who has been "caught short" multiple times. >>> ( my special circumstance fanny pack morphed into a small backpack ..... ridiculous ) <<<.

 

 

At a minimum I bring my Swiss Army Knife and a mirror-on-a-stick (if I'll be looking for urban micros). 

 

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1 hour ago, humboldt flier said:

I suppose one could routinely cache with an 18 wheeler tractor / trailer full of tools, ladders, canoes, kayaks, ropes, climbing gear, etc., etc. if the special tools are not CLEARLY cited somewhere on the cache page.  

This from someone who has been "caught short" multiple times. >>> ( my special circumstance fanny pack morphed into a small backpack ..... ridiculous ) <<<.

 

When the other 2/3rds was a FTF monster, a lot of caches in a nearby state had accurate D/T, but little info on what you'd be in for.

Another CO nearby would have multis with accurate D/T, but no idea on what's needed for each stage (and most were different).

I had my army duffle bag filled with " JIC stuff" , and maybe a part of it would be needed. A lot of wasted time n energy.

Thing weighed the same as her, and finally said this wasn't fun anymore.   :)

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9 hours ago, humboldt flier said:

I suppose one could routinely cache with an 18 wheeler tractor / trailer full of tools, ladders, canoes, kayaks, ropes, climbing gear, etc., etc. if the special tools are not CLEARLY cited somewhere on the cache page.  

I think a lot of this needs 'tool', unless it's small like tweezers are aimed at people driving. I know some carry ladders, etc on their back :laughing:, but that would discourage most people from walking or cycling there, or catching public transport. It's to get more people driving, which is a shame, as many people get little enough exercise now.

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21 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I think a lot of this needs 'tool', unless it's small like tweezers are aimed at people driving. I know some carry ladders, etc on their back :laughing:, but that would discourage most people from walking or cycling there, or catching public transport. It's to get more people driving, which is a shame, as many people get little enough exercise now.

 

A quick search reveals that I've found a total of 19 caches with the Special Tool Required attribute. A couple of those were ladder ones and one required a kayak paddle (it was a T5 water access so most seekers would have one of those with them anyway), but the rest were small things that didn't require a car to transport, like a magnet on a string, a paper clip, a tape measure, a magnetic compass, an FM radio receiver or a handful of coins. There are also a few where I have no idea what the tool was as there's no mention in the description (or hint) nor in any of the logs. Maybe it made sense at the time but I don't remember.

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2 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

 

A quick search reveals that I've found a total of 19 caches with the Special Tool Required attribute. A couple of those were ladder ones and one required a kayak paddle (it was a T5 water access so most seekers would have one of those with them anyway), but the rest were small things that didn't require a car to transport, like a magnet on a string, a paper clip, a tape measure, a magnetic compass, an FM radio receiver or a handful of coins. There are also a few where I have no idea what the tool was as there's no mention in the description (or hint) nor in any of the logs. Maybe it made sense at the time but I don't remember.

I was thinking of you, when I wrote, "I know some carry ladders, etc on their back" :)

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16 hours ago, arisoft said:

 

I think that one reason for this kind of abuse is the fact that players tend to read the hint only, not the description.

People often don't read the description/narrative.  Years ago my dad placed an off set mystery.  The coords listed took you to the starting place.  When you read the narrative it told you various distances using old surveying terms.  The cache was at a historical site and had a connection to surveying methods 175 years ago.  The actual cache was about 100 ft away from the given coords.  If a person had read the narrative and researched the surveying terms they would have easily found the cache.  It wasn't a difficult cache to find or figure out.  But instead people would post 'needs archived' because the cache was missing at the starting point coords or that the coords were off by 100 ft.   He got a lot more of those type posts than he did from those who read the narrative and played the game.

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1 hour ago, Wadcutter said:

People often don't read the description/narrative.

 

Yes, particularly now that the app and the website discourage it. In the new search map, you can add a cache to a list, download its GPX file or send it to Garmin without ever seeing anything the CO wrote about it.

 

image.png.83406ea4fb1e899c5f5fdc1801a7a2f0.png

 

Attributes are even more hidden away, as you don't see any mention of those if you just click on Description & Hint, you have to go all the way in and open the actual cache page.

 

I have a traditional (GC8RTKC) that I placed just over a year ago. It's in a spot that I thought was a short pleasant walk out to a vantage point offering an expansive view across the forest from Mt Wondabyne in the southwest to the sea in the southeast:

 

GC8RTKC.thumb.jpg.5953b818e22189318c2466a39c3d9e3a.jpg

 

Getting there is a little tricky, though, so on the cache page I described the route and provided a reference point showing where to leave the fire trail and head off across an open rock shelf to GZ, but most finders have ignored all that, instead leaving the trail when the arrow on their device starts pointing to the right and bashing their way across a gully through thick scratchy scrub. As a result it hasn't turned out to be the enjoyable easy cache I'd meant it to be and I'm now seriously considering archiving it.

 

If I ever create another traditonal, I'm tempted to just put "This space intentionally left blank since nobody ever looks at it" as the description, but the reviewer probably wouldn't like that.

Edited by barefootjeff
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On 8/18/2021 at 3:27 AM, barefootjeff said:

 

A quick search reveals that I've found a total of 19 caches with the Special Tool Required attribute. A couple of those were ladder ones and one required a kayak paddle (it was a T5 water access so most seekers would have one of those with them anyway), but the rest were small things that didn't require a car to transport, like a magnet on a string, a paper clip, a tape measure, a magnetic compass, an FM radio receiver or a handful of coins. There are also a few where I have no idea what the tool was as there's no mention in the description (or hint) nor in any of the logs. Maybe it made sense at the time but I don't remember.

(Slightly off topic but it strikes me that kayak would always be a "boat required", climbing aids are "climbing gear required" and FM radio "wireless receiver required" over here...)

 

In my area the most common "special tool" would a telescopic pole, and the ones long enough are annoyingly large even when collapsed, so I won't carry one on my bike "just in case". I can fit a packraft, paddle and life vest into a 20 liter backpack so carrying "easy T5 boating gear" around without a car isn't a problem, but it's still not something I would consider doing for just in case... For all the small stuff, any individual item is just too rare to be needed and there are too many possible things it might be, so I don't feel it's worth it to carry that stuff around either.

 

So when I'm riding a bike, I generally just ignore special tool caches. Which I think is a shame.

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