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How Long Is Too Long?

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What's the longest time you ever spent searching in one location? NOT counting travel time, mistyped GPS numbers, time spent waiting for innocent bystanders to vanish, multis, etc.


I'm talking just about time spent in one location actively searching. Probably also be good to mention whether you found the cache or not.


I haven't done a lot of caches, and I'm already at 1 1/2 hours (found it).

That felt like forever. I've DNF'd a couple others that went about an hour.

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Over a 6 week time period... about 5 hours. It shouldn't have been that difficult, I was all over it. But some escape me and some don't... and some just plain out and out confound me. :(


I should add that I try not to let it in a DNF. I'll chase it down till it's a find. There is one though that'll stay DNF as it was archived a few months later (I don't get into that area often). That was a two hour search but actual hunt time about 20 minutes. There were a lot of golf carts driving by.

Edited by TotemLake
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Longest time spent so far: We spent an hour looking for the second stage of a multi. Couldn't find it, came home and logged the DNF. Next post was from the owner, it had went missing. It's still a DNF, it's been three months and they haven't replaced it yet. I hope they do soon, I want to get that one off my list. Usually we don’t spend that long, if it's only rated a 1 or 2, we will look for 20 -30 minutes before we bag it. Then we go back and walk straight to it!

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All depends.


For the most part, I will never give up till i find it. There are, however, special circumstances such as having to be somewhere or getting called out when I will give up without a find.


I will almost always return to try again.


I hunted one virgin cache for perhaps 20 hours on at least 6 or 8 trips. I finally gave up when the owner posted a DNF. I figure if she can't find it, I might as well give up too. :( It's a real bummer when your cache goes missing before the FTF. It's still on my watch list and if it ever returns, I plan to "waste" more time on it.


Lately I have been suffering a little "cache burnout" and there have been many times I have given up "without a fight", meaning if I didn't find it in a few minutes to the proverbial place of torment with it.

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1 1/2 hours and we didn't find it. :(


It was a micro stuck in a rock wall and we never found it although someone logged it as a find the day after us so I know it was there.


And I haven't been back to that area of town to look again but I will....trust me. :D

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I'd guess in total I spent about 4-5 hours over multiple attempts looking for this one. On the final attempt, I walked up and got it within 15 secs once I got to the cache location. It's amazing how, at least for me, a DNF is something you think about until you can log a find against the cache. This one was driving me crazy!


You can read the multiple log entries I made at:





And to me, there's nothing more frustrating then logging a DNF and someone else logging a find against it after that. At least if there are more DNFs I'm hopeful it's actually missing and will get replaced.

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Some time back we did a DNF -- looked for 1/2 hour each. Upon returning home I checked the cache page only to see two DNFs within a few days before us. Lesson learned, check the cache page as you are going out the door on the hunt.


We currently are in the middle of a potential DNF. Couldn't find the first micro on a multicache. Spent an hour a piece looking with no luck. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about a place I hadn't looked and how the clue could have been deceitfully clever (or cleverly deceitful). Was tempted to go back in the middle of the night until I recalled the park closes at 10PM. I went back the next day only to discover that I had indeed checked the suspected hiding place the day before.


We now have 3 hours invested. Several previous finders have logged that they found the first micro easily. So I'm thinking it has been mugged. Sent an e-mail to the owner but haven't heard back yet.


WE WILL FIND IT! :blink:

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I just logged my first DNF last weekend, and I definitely feel I jumped the gun. I was out searching with my brother and his wife (it was their 2nd cache, first having been found maybe 15 minutes earlier) after a *very* long day. We put in a good half-hour, if not more, and got supremely frustrated before giving up. The light was getting bad and their toddler was awaiting them at home, so we called it quits.


Got home and logged a DNF after noticing that a previous attempt by another cacher had been a DNF as well. I decided that thirty minutes wasn't enough, for me, to give up, so I grabbed my dad this time and went out to hunt for it again the next afternoon. We showed up at the cache only to find another caching pair on the hunt as well, and were soon joined by two more people on the hunt!


One of the other cachers found the elusive micro but did not say exactly where it was...instead, we each went to the general area where he was standing and looked around until we spotted it. A very clever hide indeed, hidden in plain sight. When we went home to log the find I noticed I had gotten two emails from the cache owner...one was a hint, and the other was his phone number in case I needed more help. It was very nice of him, and I felt supremely stupid for giving up so easily the night before.


So, there you have it...for me, I guess I really don't want to log a DNF unless I know it's absolutely hopeless. I am patient in most things, but looking for a cache, apparently, isn't one of them.


Paula :blink:

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I spend no more than an hour per trip, often a fresh start is all it takes to find. Some caches around here are grown over in the summer, increasing the DNF chance, I need to pick them more selectively :blink:

I've gone back to a number of caches twice, but it was because I ran out of time the first time. When I don't have time limitations (which is rare!) I tend to get stubborn and look and look and look and look...which is not at all productive after a while.....especially when you start looking in the same places again.


I really like your idea of limiting search time deliberately, and then going back for a fresh view. That sounds like a good strategy. Plus it probably prevents burnout.


There was one traditional cache whereI got so disgusted with it and myself after an hour of searching in a small area that I still don't want to go back to it. Though I'm sure I will eventually - they do bug you, don't they?


Do cachers in your area commonly note how long the find took them? It really adds insult to injury when something takes me 45 minutes that a couple other cachers found in under 3. Maybe the slow people like me don't talk about how long it took them. That must be it.....

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Vic and mine's "adventure"...


Urban cache 1

It looks like Spzzmouse found Tree Cemetery Cache on May 9th, and I could not find the crazy thing in 10 visits, plus a few minor injuries there. The cache was hanging above ground somehow, but my sister had found it in a single visit of an hour, and it was laying on a tree stump or something. Each time ive been there, the dead swampy area has looked totally different each time. This has been the hardest cache ever for me to try at.

Edited by GOT GPS?
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I'm working on a 5 stage multi now, that has been bugging me for a year on/off. I started it and have only got to stage 3 and on my way to 4 with too many mugglers around. I gave up for the day and will return again soon. I give the owner credit for hiding and placing the micros, d/ is 4.5 stars. The micros, have gone mia a few times, and once fixed, others find them. So far I have about 10hrs invested it, and it's killing me to get it done. Sf1

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Our group keeps at it until it is found. However, time constraints on some have been logged dnf. But, we get back to them as soon as possible. A dnf just bugs my wife to no end. Much more than me. Unless, it happened to be a cache that I know I was looking right at it but didn't see it :D

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In my case, it's more situational. If I'm searching a two-foot-tall bush in the middle of a cow pasture and I don't find the cache in 15 minutes, I think I'd quit. However, when I did Skookumchuck Luck I looked for almost an hour and didn't even dream of giving up, because I knew it was somewhere in that maze. Hehe, you should have seen my track log. It looked like a whirlpool filled with debris (from where I stopped and really paced around looking).


I did have to leave one as a DNF, which I didn't log because I returned soon afterward. I should have logged it but it was time constraints (and Leatherlass) more than anything that resulted in my giving up.


I've learned so many strategies from the more experienced members of this website that it takes me at least an hour to try them all.

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Someone spent 3 hours at my cache (over two days) and didn't find it.

Although, no one has found it, so I anticipate longer search times. :rolleyes:

Hey - that's me. ;)


It's up to 6 hours total now. The cache has been found since my last visit there although I just haven't had time to go back to look for it since. One of these days real soon though...


The cache has 3 finds and 38 total "logs" on the web page.



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45 minutes is about my limit. Because if it's making me tense and hostile, it's not worth it; it's supposed to be fun. Once in awhile, I'll have a DNF day, where I go out and spend an entire day seeking ones I've DNF'd before. I almost always find them, eventually.


I usually schedule a DNF day after the leaves fall, for the caches I feel failed due to dense tree canopy. And in the spring, I'll have a DNF day for the ones that I think failed for snow cover.

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Ha, tense and hostile. I know what you mean! Generally, when I'm starting to let the expletives out so others might hear me (like "Did I say that out loud?"), I start to think about calling it quits. This may take upwards of an hour or so, depending on multiple factors -- my mood to begin with, the weather, the terrain, etc. Generally when I stop having fun is when I call it a day for a cache. I've hit that point on a few caches and yet they sometimes still beckon to me from my nearest caches listing... I'll often go out a number of times for a cache that I have not been able to find. Usually, I eventually find them but I've had a couple that I've just had to give up for keeps on. Don't get me wrong! I like a challenge! If the cache is in an area that I find enjoyable to be at in the first place, the level of tenseness and hostility take longer to reach critical. If I'm pulling up to find something like a well camoflaged urban micro hidden in shrubbry in the parking lot of an abandoned store in a part of town where I don't particularly like the idea of spending a lot of time looking suspicious or like an easy mark, the critical level may happen sooner rather than later. I'll still be back a number of times before I give up for keeps, though. Each time I don't find it, I'll log a DNF, for sure!

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I'll answer your question with another question. This whole discussion depends upon one very subjective factor: "How bad do you want it?"


I spent over 3 hours on one DNF near Laughlin, NV. It's still one of my favorite hunts and I NEVER have found that cache.



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I am new. I will spend up to an hour if I have no other time constraints. I have found so far that returning to look another day often helps me get some perspective. Also, I have found that the "GPS demons" are often less active on repeat visits. Just my $0.02...

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An hour for me, too. When I hit about 45 minutes, I start to get ratty and huffy and wonder why I ever picked such a stupid hobby. I'll stick with it a bit longer if I had a hike or a drive (or both) to get there. I can only think of two that I haven't managed to go back and find (one of which I don't intend to try again).


I'll get it in my head that the cache is on the North side of the trail, or under a rock, or in a certain area, and I'll fuitlessly go over it again and again. I'm just learning "if at first you don't succeed, try something completely different."

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