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How Difficult should it be to Find a Cache?


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In everyone's opinion, how difficult do you think it should be to find a Hide, how well do you consider it should be camouflaged/hidden?

As a teenager back in the 80's I lived in Plymouth and started to join the hunt for the original Dartmoor Letterboxes, the clues would bring you to a very rough area and in general they were extremely well hidden, this was before mobile phones and the internet so clues were found in a mailed letterboxing Club magazine, in books, given by fellow Letterboxers you were lucky enough to meet, and even in some local dartmoor Pubs/Inns, and also in the Logbooks themselves left by other Letterboxers, it would often take weeks or months of going back to find one Letterbox Hide. With geoCaching as it is Worldwide it is understandable that Hides shouldn't be ridiculously hidden that it could take weeks of returning to locate it, especially considering Geocachers are travelling and touring other countries, but how difficult is considered 'the norm?!'

 

In the attached image for instance there is a Letterbox "Somewhere" in the image!

Dartmoor Letterboxing Area.jpg

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8 minutes ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

... but how difficult is considered 'the norm?!'

 

You should not forget the concept of coords, that will reduce a lot the searching area in your picture, by instance... and also the guideline against buried containers.

So, I would say... "under some rocks". ;) 

 

PS: In my country, old walls are a no-no, to avoid destruction of valuable cultural heritage.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, RuideAlmeida said:

 

You should not forget the concept of coords, that will reduce a lot the searching area in your picture, by instance... and also the guideline against buried containers.

So, I would say... "under some rocks". ;) 

 

PS: In my country, old walls are a no-no, to avoid destruction of valuable cultural heritage.

The above photo admittedly is very vague, the old letterboxing clues could bring you in to within 100/50/10m or closer and you would have later chances of coming across better clues, you would often get compass bearings to more permanent markers and you were able to triangulate from those bearings, it was a real mysterious art back then and almost like receiving a Christmas present when you found one!

Edited by IXLegionAD120
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5 minutes ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

 ... "How many Oars can you find in here" the events were in Cambridge, England, that particular pub had about 18 Oars on walls, the celing, in the toilets, behind the bar etc;!

 

You asked about a "cache"... and although you may continue to use those kind of clues with the Mysteries or Letterbox Hybrid, you also need to use coords, which are much less vague.

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31 minutes ago, RuideAlmeida said:

 

You asked about a "cache"... and although you may continue to use those kind of clues with the Mysteries or Letterbox Hybrid, you also need to use coords, which are much less vague.

I know, it is precise with GeoCaching, the question is how well "hidden" at that exact location is the norm? I've seen some very 'evil/clever' caches in YouTube Vlogs, some so well camouflaged you find it hard to believe anyone could ever find it but I suppose that adds to the uniqueness and gives us extra reason to visit and try and be the FTF...

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There is a D-Rating from 1 to 5. 

1 is easy, 5 is hard to find, with D-5, sometimes you need to visit the side several times to find the container.

All this has nothing to do with FTF.  This is a side game not covered by Groundspeak.

 

How about continue geocaching and find some more cache, the more you find, the better you will get in discovering hidden boxes.

 

 

Edited by Mausebiber
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I had a conversation with a Team Member once about a hide I was building. They said it was too hard; that no one would be able to find it.

 

"You have to make it easier to solve the puzzle; that's too obscure."

 

They had a hard time wrapping their head around the idea that it was ok to be EXTREMELY hard, because you had the D-rating to TELL people that. Caches come at all levels, and you cache where on that spectrum you want to, and theoretically, the D-rating gives you a mechanism to gauge when you were about to stretch your comfort zone.

 

"Well," they said. "I wouldn't be able to find that."

 

"Then don't hunt D-5 caches!"

 

I paid for that comment for weeks.

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3 hours ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

With geoCaching as it is Worldwide it is understandable that Hides shouldn't be ridiculously hidden that it could take weeks of returning to locate it, especially considering Geocachers are travelling and touring other countries, but how difficult is considered 'the norm?!'

 

 

I would say there is no norm. That's the reason for D/T ratings so you can search for the difficulty and terrain that you prefer. I guess if you live in an extremely busy tourist area cachers not being able to return could be a factor in deciding how difficult you want to hide it, but that's not a thought that has ever crossed my mind. 

 

I have seen caches that have taken weeks and the same cachers making a dozen trips just to get the FTF. I enjoy a variety of different difficulties and I'm sure that most others would say the same, it would be boring if every cache was super easy but frustrating if every cache was super hard. A variety is always nice. I would just hide the types that you like finding. 

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4 hours ago, x7Kevin said:

I would say there is no norm. That's the reason for D/T ratings so you can search for the difficulty and terrain that you prefer. I guess if you live in an extremely busy tourist area cachers not being able to return could be a factor in deciding how difficult you want to hide it, but that's not a thought that has ever crossed my mind. 

I think that a more important consideration for high-difficulty hides is whether the cache location can withstand repeated intense search efforts.

 

I very much enjoy D4 "hidden in plain sight" camouflaged caches. But I've also seen cache locations that have suffered significantly because a high-difficulty cache was placed in a fragile location. Compared to that, the risk of tourists not being able to return for another search attempt is relatively minor.

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9 hours ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

With geoCaching as it is Worldwide it is understandable that Hides shouldn't be ridiculously hidden that it could take weeks of returning to locate it, especially considering Geocachers are travelling and touring other countries, but how difficult is considered 'the norm?!'

 

As others have said, there's no norm, rather each cache has a Difficulty rating that should reflect how hard it is to get your name in the log once you've reached GZ. The caches I enjoy the most are the ones that take me on an awesome journey to somewhere I wouldn't have otherwise discovered, but once there I don't really want to spend ages trying to find a needle in a haystack then perhaps walk away with a DNF because it eluded me. I also take the same approach with my hides, which I try to make more about the journey and location rather than the search at the end, so any camo I use is just to minimise the likelihood of muggles coming across it. If there are numerous potential hiding places, I'll make the hint pretty explicit too, especially if some of those potential hiding places are in dangerous positions. I don't want someone climbing down a cliff when the cache is a couple of metres back from the edge.

 

On the other hand, I really don't like caches that are a super-camouflaged micro in a busy city street, with a cryptic or otherwise unhelpful hint. The worst are where the hint only makes sense once I see the cache, because at that point I no longer need the hint. But there are others who love caches like that, so to each their own.

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6 hours ago, x7Kevin said:

I have seen caches that have taken weeks and the same cachers making a dozen trips just to get the FTF.

My record so far is 6 DNFs, and a Find on the 7th visit. Each trip represented 30-60 minutes of searching, and the trips were spread out over a few weeks. That was a fun one.

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10 hours ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

I know, it is precise with GeoCaching, the question is how well "hidden" at that exact location is the norm? I've seen some very 'evil/clever' caches in YouTube Vlogs, some so well camouflaged you find it hard to believe anyone could ever find it but I suppose that adds to the uniqueness and gives us extra reason to visit and try and be the FTF...

 

Told this one a while ago, but a couple dozen people couldn't find an ammo can in a small park.  By the CO, coordinates were "spot on".

"Spot on" depends on a lot of things.  If we're 26' or closer, I call it a win (lotta iron ore here...).

Anyway... The other 2/3rds called this old fart and I found it in less than fifteen minutes.   

Turns out it was a "mini" ammo can that housed candy at one time.  A Micro...  

None of those "experienced" cachers noticed "other" listed for size.  I'm dyslexic and read everything.   :laughing:

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Posted (edited)

How hard should depend on the rating. My interpretation of that is, D1: In full view or very obvious (I think words similar to that were once used by geocaching). You should not need to spend any time searching, but walk right up to it. D1.5 - under a minute's search, and then getting harder until D5, which might take several visits and long searches. In the right place, it might be possible for a D5 to be in full view too.

 

While here I will also comment on a few terrain ratings, as I see them. T1 is wheelchair accessible and the person in the wheelchair should be able to reach the cache themselves and not depend on another person. I wish HQ enforced this. T1.5 should be reachable for 90% of geocachers (including females - we exist), with feet flat on the ground. This is a bug bear of mine, finding 1.5T caches (likely placed by a tall man) which are a stretch (and many women are shorter than me). T2, might need to step up on a bench to reach the cache and then higher ratings as needed.

17 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

a "mini" ammo can

I have found a few of those. Cute.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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12 hours ago, IXLegionAD120 said:

In everyone's opinion, how difficult do you think it should be to find a Hide, how well do you consider it should be camouflaged/hidden?

 

Maybe it's just me, but I feel it depends on the area and the distance you're walking. Make sure your D/T is accurate, and folks can decide...

Urban environments, you need to hide a container well, but people need to access it without getting hassled by non-cachers too.

Woods and a decent walk are what I enjoy, anything past the weekend "hikers" works, and it doesn't have to be hidden well either.

Actually, after a 5mi or better walk, I'd prefer the cache is easy to find, maybe in a "classic" hide (pile of sticks, hole in tree , that sorta thing). 

The last thing I want to do is look for a needle in a haystack after walking ten miles or better...    Hopefully logs will tell.

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21 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Urban environments, you need to hide a container well, but people need to access it without getting hassled by non-cachers too.

I do wonder why some people place their caches where it is busy, especially when they then make the find and/or retrieval difficult. That increases the risk of others noticing where the cache is hidden, and the risk of the cache being muggled. They shouldn't expect people to only visit this at night. This is not possible for everyone, and so some will search with lots of witnesses. If someone wants to hide a cache in a busy place, as you say it must be well hidden, but also easy and quick to find, retrieve and return. I had hidden a cache where, when I hid it, it was a back alleyway, used only for storing rubbish; in other words dirty and a bit sleazy. I hid it there for the 'ambiance'😂. The cache was tricky to find. Then the alleyway started to gentrify with cafes and the like, and first builders and later customers. It changed (my cache hide has gone more upmarket 🤗), so now I didn't want anyone to spend long searching and draw attention to the hide. Therefore I added an exact hint and a spoiler photograph. The cache is still there.
 

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8 minutes ago, Goldenwattle said:

I do wonder why some people place their caches where it is busy, especially when they then make the find and/or retrieval difficult. That increases the risk of others noticing where the cache is hidden, and the risk of the cache being muggled. They shouldn't expect people to only visit this at night. This is not possible for everyone, and so some will search with lots of witnesses. If someone wants to hide a cache in a busy place, as you say it must be well hidden, but also easy and quick to find, retrieve and return. I had hidden a cache where, when I hid it, it was a back alleyway, used only for storing rubbish; in other words dirty and a bit sleazy. I hid it there for the 'ambiance'😂. The cache was tricky to find. Then the alleyway started to gentrify with cafes and the like, and first builders and later customers. It changed (my cache hide has gone more upmarket 🤗), so now I didn't want anyone to spend long searching and draw attention to the hide. Therefore I added an exact hint and a spoiler photograph. The cache is still there.
 

 

110% If stealth is required  give specific instructions or it will vanish quickly. 

 

Sit on right side of the park bench and reach down with your left hand.

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Speaking of hints, one thing that's annoying more frequently is puzzle caches using Certitude or Geocheck where the hint is in the checker output. Okay, that's fine if I'm going to dash out straight away and look for the cache, but that's rarely the case and often months or even years pass before I can get to it. By then, I've usually forgotten that the hint was in the checker and end up out in the field with my GPSr and when I look at the hint all it tells me is it's in the checker. Even if I copy the hint into a Personal Cache Note at the time I solve the puzzle, which I generally do now, that still doesn't end up on my GPSr or in the app so if I want to see it, I have to hope I have phone coverage so I can open the cache page in the web browser.

 

Unless the hint is an out-and-out spoiler for someone who hasn't solved the puzzle, it really would be much more helpful if it was just in the Hint field.

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1 minute ago, barefootjeff said:

Even if I copy the hint into a Personal Cache Note at the time I solve the puzzle, which I generally do now, that still doesn't end up on my GPSr or in the app so if I want to see it, I have to hope I have phone coverage so I can open the cache page in the web browser.

I always copy the hints that Certitude gives me into the cache's Personal Cache Note, and have never had difficulty accessing the hint in the field. But maybe the puzzles I've solved have been in locations with a good cell signal, so I wouldn't have noticed the problem.

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54 minutes ago, MNTA said:

 

110% If stealth is required  give specific instructions or it will vanish quickly. 

 

Sit on right side of the park bench and reach down with your left hand.

Published in 2015. I did a very quick scan of my OMs. It seems it needed two cache replacements in 2019; none since. A cache went missing during building work, when I couldn't access the alleyway for a time. Also again a bit later that same year, which I suspect might have been due to a weak magnet. Since I found a cache with a stronger magnet it has stayed in place. Over five years now since the last replacement of the cache, although I have replaced logs. I now have very detailed instructions how to find it and a spoiler photograph. They make the difference and help keep the cache safe, by making the finds quick. I think I have enough.

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I recently found a lpc at a *very* busy restaurant... So busy I had to time retrieval and placing back just right. Didn't help that the cache was underneath the plate instead of on top. I wish the lpc was in the back corner instead right by the building. 

Another one was on the porch itself. I am very glad I was there near midnight. 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/30/2024 at 1:15 PM, IXLegionAD120 said:

I know, it is precise with GeoCaching, the question is how well "hidden" at that exact location is the norm? I've seen some very 'evil/clever' caches in YouTube Vlogs, some so well camouflaged you find it hard to believe anyone could ever find it but I suppose that adds to the uniqueness and gives us extra reason to visit and try and be the FTF...

Most caches (at least at my area) are easy dt's, that are camoed but not what they would show on vlogs. Just so you know, the ones that are featured on those vlogs are mostly the unique ones. I have found plenty of lpcs, and bisons on trees :). If you are looking for unique ones, you can look for ones with higher favorite points in your area.

Edited by psychpineapple
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I've been frustrated lately -- I don't know if caches have gone missing, but we've found about 2 out of 6 we've looked for.  To me this should be a family friendly activity, and getting out and enjoying nature.  Of course I understand that there should be some more difficult ones, but when 3 adults can't find something that is supposedly 1.5 difficulty, that's not right.  Another thing I've noticed lately that really frustrates me -- when you've got a large area with picnic areas, a beach, trails, lawns, etc. etc., WHY hide it 300 feet into weeds and brambles?  

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2 hours ago, JodiH said:

Another thing I've noticed lately that really frustrates me -- when you've got a large area with picnic areas, a beach, trails, lawns, etc. etc., WHY hide it 300 feet into weeds and brambles?  

Perhaps to KEEP it hidden?  If it is a picnic area, beach, etc, there are likely a lot of muggles, so caches placed in those heavy traffic areas just don't last.  Thye need to be off the beaten track...and perhaps the weeds and brambles weren't there when the cache was placed, but have grown up in the interim.

 

What gets me is when you are out on a back road, seldom traveled (dirt road even), and THEN you have to track 400 feet into the woods to find the cache, when even 30-50 feet would be hidden enough that anyone passing through would never find it.

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4 hours ago, JodiH said:

Of course I understand that there should be some more difficult ones, but when 3 adults can't find something that is supposedly 1.5 difficulty, that's not right.

A lot of low-difficulty caches have low difficulty ratings because they're hidden in "the usual spot". Of course, for new geocachers who haven't learned where "the usual spots" are, such caches are much more difficult to find than the rating seems to indicate.

 

4 hours ago, JodiH said:

Another thing I've noticed lately that really frustrates me -- when you've got a large area with picnic areas, a beach, trails, lawns, etc. etc., WHY hide it 300 feet into weeds and brambles?

Caches that are hidden in high-traffic areas (picnic areas, a beach, trails, lawns, etc.) don't survive unless they're small, well-camouflaged, high-difficulty caches. Some of us really enjoy such caches, but they aren't for everyone. And they certainly aren't the kind of cache that most kids/families enjoy.

 

Caches placed off the beaten path though (300 feet into weeds and brambles) can be larger and easier to find, and yet still survive.

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