PDA

View Full Version : The ZEN of Geocaching: What Makes a Good Hide?



Gaddiel
09-20-2004, 02:03 PM
Well, we took the drive to Memphis this weekend (with a couple of stops in Lonoke). We only ended up with 14 finds (and 5 DNFs) for the weekend, but let me just say that Memphis has nothing on Arkansas, at least from what we observed.

Did Tennessee what Arkansas? Not from a geocaching standpoint. :D

Anywho, this got me to thinking about the qualities that I like about caches and the intangibles that make them special. In short, I entered a mystical and forgotten realm called "The Zen of Geocaching".

There is an old real estate adage that says that the three most important details about a piece of property are LOCATION, LOCATION, and LOCATION. That concept can also relate to geocaching. But while there is a lot to be said for a cache's location, that clearly is not the only factor. It's not really something that I can put my finger on, though. Sure, I like a creative hide and a good location as much as the next guy. But there's more. Know what I mean? If I could just put my finger on it, I could make my caches much less lame. :lol:

So, I'd like to know:

1) What aspects of a cache make you glad you visited? Specifically, what transforms an ordinary cache to an extraordinary one?

2) What do you consider your minimum standards? That is, at what point is a cache put into the "lame" category?

lukywest
09-20-2004, 09:30 PM
Well I know what your saying about some caches being awesome and others are just number adding to your list. First sometimes caches are all unique in their own right. I like to put out simple pretty easy to find caches so people can find them with there kids and to get that mild adrialine rush. I recently added my 1st multi which lasted about 1 month before I took it down since a incident happened with a fellow cacher. Now I assumed that it would take a person a few trips to find but was in shock that 1 couple found it on the 1st try. Now I thought that cache was pretty good and clever, but the people who found it may have thought " ole it was just another multi", So you see it all depends on the person tastes who is going after the cache. Just like I loved the movie KILL BILL but some people may not even want to see it. Each adventure is different and each cache is unique. To me every cache is awesome just to know that someone put it out and I found it to makes the world a little more closer. But I do agree there was some that really stick out more than others, example would be coaldale adventure. It was a decent multi and not super hard to find but the thing that sticks out is the fact that I got my car stuck out in the middle of no where then later after getting unstuck and then blowing up my transmission. So the adventure may that cache better cause that will stick out in my mind for a long time. Anyway enough BS I just wanted to say that I am working on a cache that will put a few people in awe or some going this sucks. I hope you like when it comes out. I shall name it Revenge of the Big Cry Baby. Coming Sometime Next Week. Thanks Lukywest

Geezer_Veazey
09-21-2004, 03:51 PM
Greetings, Gaddiel. Very interesting question - one to which every answer is right, since you asked for personal opinions. And a person can be in a different frame of mind and give different answers from time to time. So, on some occasions I would say that there are three things that make for an extraordinary cache:

1. LOCATION
2. LOCATION
3. LOCATION

These are the days I would rather find a Hawksbill Crag, a Glory Hole or a King's River Falls. Or how about a Cedar Falls, Off the Beaten Path and Cedar Creek. A day like this is much better than a day racing around to get 15 or 12 urban micros.

Then there are other times when I may be in an area for other reasons and have a couple hours to spare and the urban caches are fine. It all depends on the circumstances and my frame of mind.

Now to the question about what makes a "lame" cache. You've given me the opportunity to air some of my pet peeves. Some examples of lame caches (in my opinion):

1. A cache with incorrect coordinates. It irks me to be two or three hours away from home hunting a cache and come up empty handed. After logging a DNF I see in the logs where the owner has "adjusted" the coordinates. AAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH. The guide lines on GC.com stress the importance of getting the coordinates right. Some people just aren't as diligent as they should be and I think sometimes others give the wrong coordinates purposely to toy with people. There are many great caches which I have yet to hunt in Arkansas and surrounding states and I'll be going after them rather than go back and find one that had wrong coordinates the first time. And if I see one that has several logs saying something like "the coordinates were 40 ft off" it's off my list.

2. A cache that is not properly maintained. If I see one that has three or four logs in a row that says the cache is wet or needs maintaining for some other reason and the owner does nothing about it... so long cache. I'm not going after you.

3. A cache that says "email me if you need a hint". While I will go ahead and hunt these if I am in the area if I don't find it then that's it. You expect me to drive 3 hours back to my house, email for a hint and then drive 3 hours again to hunt the cache again? Not me, baby.

Well, I probably didn't give you anything you can put your finger on, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Geezer

Gaddiel
09-21-2004, 08:07 PM
3. A cache that says "email me if you need a hint". While I will go ahead and hunt these if I am in the area if I don't find it then that's it. You expect me to drive 3 hours back to my house, email for a hint and then drive 3 hours again to hunt the cache again? Not me, baby.

Good post. I was especially interested in the part that I quoted above, mainly because it hit home. We have two caches on which we opted to use this particular style. Now, because of your comments, we will be reconsidering using this method on these two caches. You make a very good case, and thanks for the input!

**EDIT** I've started another thread about this. If you have comments regarding the "email for a hint" topic, please post there.

arkansas_stickerdude
09-21-2004, 08:41 PM
And if I see one that has several logs saying something like "the coordinates were 40 ft off" it's off my list.

You know 60 feet is average to be off, if you think the person hidding it uses an Etrex with an accurace of 30 feet and say you are useing and etrex with the same accuracy of 30 feet. OK now you have a radius of at least 60 feet on a bad day so if someone said they were off 40 feet I just start looking in a circle 40 feet from 0. If someone said they were 100-150 off then I might have to think about going to try to find it.

Geezer_Veazey
09-21-2004, 10:28 PM
It's true that two GPSrs with 30 foot accuracy could make an error in the opposite directions and yield a discrepancy of 60 feet. What are the chances of that happening? I would think practically nil. It's hard for me to believe that on level flat ground a gps would consistently give readings at the limit of it's accuracy. And if physical features at a particular spot influence one GPS they would likely influence another the same way, or so it would seem to me. Anyway, my personal gps has an accuracy of 10 feet which is why I set the limit at 40 feet.

It's hard for me to believe that if a person took a reading, then left the area and returned and took a new reading 7 to 10 times as recommended by GC.com they would settle on coordinates that were 30 feet in error.

And besides that, there is such a thing as coming back on another day and double checking, if it happened to have been cloudy, for instance. There is such a thing as coming back when the leaves have fallen to double check. There is such a thing as making a reading 50 feet east, another at 50 feet west and manually averaging to compare. There is such a thing as borrowing a more accurate GPS to check the readings. There is such a think as changing the coordinates in the cache description if several different people come up with different coordinates and they are in agreement.

I'll bet very rarely does anyone placing caches make 7 to 10 readings as recommended by GC.com. Too many people don't take pride in their work. They just want to do what is necessary to get by.

How many times have you seen a statement written into the cache description by the owner that says something to the effect of "If my coordinates are off, let me know." Whatever happened to making sure they were right before you published them? I rest my case.

Some people just aren't as diligent as they should be when determining coordinates. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Geezer

arkansas_stickerdude
09-22-2004, 09:42 AM
I just rechecked one of my caches that some have posted the cords were 100 feet off. Before it got Muggled everyone had it dead on and nothing has changed now its 100 feet off. Alot of caches I have found lately have been 40-60 feet off.

Gaddiel
09-22-2004, 12:27 PM
Some examples of lame caches (in my opinion):

1. A cache with incorrect coordinates.
2. A cache that is not properly maintained.

These are two of my big peeves, as well, although I can deal with bad coords more easily than with bad maintenance. If you can't/won't maintain your caches when there is a problem, don't bother putting it out in the first place. It gives geocaching a bad image and could sour a lot of people in a short amount of time. If you have already placed a cache that you realize you can't maintain properly, archive it and go retrieve it. Better yet, disable it and put it up for adoption. There may be a geocacher that would love to have it.

The_Griswolds
09-24-2004, 12:35 PM
Hides I don't like:
Three consecutive posts that say the log is wet. You look up the owner's profile and he has two finds, one hide, and hasn't visited the site in three months.
The majority of log entries say the coordinates are way off, but the owner doesn't correct them.
Micro's in the woods. Along a trail is OK, but when you combine inaccurate readings due to tree cover with a million places to hide a film cannister, and they get frustrating in a hurry.

Now to get back to the original question, what makes a cache good:
Unique, Creative, Challenging, Location
You notice I said Challenging and not Difficult. For example, Eureka was Difficult, The Judge was Challenging and a lot more fun. (Sorry Poppy)
Of the four aspects I mentioned, I would say Creativity is the key. We have enjoyed several caching trips to Clarksville and have been amazed at some of the "containers".

walkingshadow
09-24-2004, 05:50 PM
I am getting ready to put out my first hide. This is great info for a beginner. I will put out a micro for my first one and see how that goes. I had a great multi cache last weekend and thought that was fun. With each step I felt my excitement grow. Thanks for the input everyone. Happy hunting.

walkingshadow and red

nonnipoppy
09-29-2004, 02:17 PM
Hides I don't like:

Now to get back to the original question, what makes a cache good:
Unique, Creative, Challenging, Location
You notice I said Challenging and not Difficult. For example, Eureka was Difficult, The Judge was Challenging and a lot more fun. (Sorry Poppy)
Of the four aspects I mentioned, I would say Creativity is the key. We have enjoyed several caching trips to Clarksville and have been amazed at some of the "containers".

Hey Griswolds,

There is no need to be sorry. You feel how you feel. Eureka is difficult as it was intended. But as I look back at it it has not been fun. This has made me rethink some new cache hides that are being placed now. Eureka will be there a bit longer but expect it to be archived in January. Perhaps making room for a new cache to be released, along with others, on Jan 22, 2005. Expect even more variation in the cache containers....poppy

arkansas_stickerdude
09-29-2004, 08:39 PM
Why is Eureka going to be archived? Eureka was a great hide. Its not too hard if you have SPECIAL equipment. Poppy thanks for the hide.

nonnipoppy
09-30-2004, 01:33 PM
Why is Eureka going to be archived?


Hey Stickerdude I'm suprised you did not read the two main reasons why :?:


Eureka is difficult as it was intended. But as I look back at it it has not been fun. This has made me rethink some new cache hides that are being placed now. Eureka will be there a bit longer but expect it to be archived in January. Perhaps making room for a new cache to be released, along with others, on Jan 22, 2005.




........ Its not too hard if you have SPECIAL equipment.

For the rest of you that means a metal detector 8O ...poppy

cachemates
09-30-2004, 06:47 PM
Hey Poppy
Glad you made it back from your trip. I hope we can get up your way before you archive Eureka. I told ORR at the central ark event I thought I could find that cache with my metal detector, sounds like some others had to use theirs to find it as well.
Hope to be up that way soon.
Jerry

nonnipoppy
09-30-2004, 08:16 PM
Hello Jerry,

That darn cache is so difficult to find I could use a metal detector to find it.
I hope you get a chance to look for that cache but IT WILL BE ARCHIVED by January 22, 2005.

On that date there will be a cache event in Clarksville and a new cache will be in that general location.

RuffRidr
10-01-2004, 09:01 AM
Hello Jerry,

That darn cache is so difficult to find I could use a metal detector to find it.
I hope you get a chance to look for that cache but IT WILL BE ARCHIVED by January 22, 2005.

On that date there will be a cache event in Clarksville and a new cache will be in that general location.

I'm glad you are having the cache event in Clarksville again next year. We had a lot of fun this year, and we will most certainly be down there again for the next one.

--RuffRidr

arkansas_stickerdude
10-01-2004, 09:09 AM
COunt me in also!!!!! Is it January YET!!!!!!! If there is anything you need help with just let me know.

Gaddiel
10-07-2004, 11:32 AM
I'll go ahead and post mine, although composing this list has made me realize that I don't even like some of my OWN caches... :D

Likes:

1) Something to see or do at the location. It doesn't even have to be much. A plaque to read, a park, SOMETHING.

2) A creative hide, such as a unique container or method of hiding. (Make a run to Clarksville to see what I'm talking about...)

3) Well-thought-out and cryptic hints.

4) Puzzles.


Dislikes:

1) Lots of weeds, underbrush, mud, etc. to bushwhack through. I don't mind a long hike, but I hate those seed ticks and saw-briars...

2) Encrypted hints that are either useless or that I need before I start searching, such as, "NO HINT NEEDED" or "PARK AT THE SHOPPING CENTER"

3) Locations where I feel uncomfortable searching. If I'm in full view from someone's kitchen window or if it's a place where a grown man wandering around seems out of place, I'm a little nervous.

Of course, there are almost always exceptions. One we did recently in Memphis comes to mind. It was in the middle of a parking lot. Nothing to see there really, but we enjoyed the fact that it was in plain view in the middle of a busy shopping center. People all around us were oblivious to what was going on!

grandkid44
10-10-2004, 11:49 AM
I agree with all that has been said , in part. I use a meridian gold and a garmin 60cs to establish coordinates..both are excellent units..they rarely agree . the 60cs will give a read out for expected reliability ..the best we can expect is 10 meters..by combining units , holding my tongue right , kneeling to the west and chanting I have been able to improve on this..sometimes. The geo book recently published states 45ft is about average. This can be improved on by triangulating and using gps with waas with compass..the 60cs engages all of these...I have discovered that if I place the cache , establish coordinates , then walk a few hundred feet away and return and see my unit reading two feet from the initial readings I have a good take..I do this now with two units. Im afraid a lot of people are intimidated in placing caches , and , this is sad. As a bunch , we can be fairly petty ...no one hides a cache and intentionally provides bad coordinates , or , plans for it to be muggled , or , not closed properly by a cacher , and getting wet. When reported , these things need to be fixed and the cache temporarily disabled..we have had caches muggled , drained{ items removed and no trade item}, hit by maintenance crews , you name it.. the most upsetting to me is for an experienced cacher to remove items , not close the cache container properly , not re-hide , simply leave in the open , and destroy caching for the next person..as SOON as we find a report of a problem with a cache we disable and make repairs or archive. My biggest problem is with those that complain in a personal way , yet , themselves have never hidden a cache.... Someone finding 200 caches and hiding 3-4 or none. Ive always appreciated those trying . .. a good cache requires a good geocacher.

walkingshadow
04-03-2005, 01:25 AM
This topic has been asleep for awhile but.... I would like input on what you think makes a great multicache. I have done a couple and enjoyed them. I have all the elements for a multi-cache except for a location.... I have a couple in mind but....

I want to make the cache an adventure but not so hard that it can't be found.

The multi's that I have been to have been with in walking distance...I wonder if it would be good to have a cache that covered distance but followed a theme :?: :twisted:

any input would be appreciated.....

walkingshadow and red

demonicangel
04-03-2005, 11:12 AM
Well, I guess I'll get my 2 cents worth in on this topic.
Dislikes:
Well, I'll start off by saying my biggest pet peeve is coords that are way off, especially on micros. I understand that no one's unit will read the exact same as another's so anything within aroun da 25ft radius I see as very good. When I hide mine, what I try to do is get about 10 readings the day I place the cache. Then the next day I'll take a few more AND I bring BeerHog along with me so he can check it with his. Then I average them all in and go from there. That way I'm pretty sure I have coords that should be close for almost anyone. Having said that, I want to bring up something that has happned to us (but I'm not sure if it happned to anyone else). We hid a cache, Down by the Creek, back when we were getting all those solar flares. Well the first few finds went without a glitch. I had intended the cache to be relatively simple. I checked my coords just like I did all my others. After that, everyone started having trouble finding it. BeerHog and I even went out to verify our coords and we were getting them way off after the flares were over. I had to end up posting a really good (at least I think it's really good) for stage one so it makes it findable again. I don't know if the flares had anything at all to do with it... but I guarantee SOMETHING was going on at the time.
Likes:
I love a challenging urban micro. And I love a simple rural.
What I look for in an urban cache is something challenging with a unique container.
As for rural caches, if I'm going to drive way out of my way and take a long hike up into the woods, I want a simple find. If I have to post a DNF I probablly won't visit again. I just feel if someone is willing to go to the trouble of going so far out they should be rewarded with a find. Also, those caches hidden where there is a magnificant view are ones that are on my favorite list. I don't mind the briars, steep climbs or anything like that. In fact, I find them quite fun. But I do want to come out of it with a find.
All in all, if I want to hide a difficult micro, I'm going to do it closer to town, if I want a simple find I'm going to do it in the woods. But I know everyone has different interests, that's just mine.