If you are looking for quick and regular gratification then don’t hide puzzle caches. It has been my experience so far, and bear in mind that it has only been a month now that we have had our own geocaches out there, that puzzles get a lot less interest than traditionals. I can’t say I am completely surprised to be honest, but it has been somewhat of an eye opener to me to realise how some people just completely ignore them when deciding which geocaches to do. My conclusions are based entirely on what other, more experienced, cache owners have told me, but the frequency with which our caches have been attempted seems to bear the theory out.
Our first one which has been live for just under a month now has been attempted 5 times, the last time being almost 2 weeks ago. Our second cache which has been there for almost 3 weeks now has only been found twice although a 3rd person did attempt it but had to abort as it got too dark. Don’t get me wrong, I am not bitching that people don’t come find my caches. I abhor cache owners that complain if people don’t come. In my opinion the geocaches I like to do have a reason for attracting me to do them so if they don’t attract me then it is not my fault. I do like puzzle caches and I suppose, naively, I thought that the majority of others did too.
What I didn’t bank on was the feeling of wanting your caches to be found. I knew I would like people to come and find them but wasn’t quite prepared for the strength of the feeling. As a Cache Owner I really want people to attempt my hide and I really, really want them to like them, otherwise what’s the point? Knowing what I know now, I should probably have placed some traditional caches first as I expect this would have satisfied the desire for quicker and more regular finds. Also, as a cache owner it would have allowed me to draw on the feedback of a greater number of cachers, more quickly so as to improve future hides. I am not saying don’t place puzzle caches… I am saying maybe don’t place puzzles first.
I hope that, over time, interest will continue in the two caches that we have placed and that it will settle down into a semi regular pattern of people enjoying them. Due to the nature of the ones we have placed, where you need to spend quite a while on the ground collecting information in order to solve it, I expect that they might see less traffic in the colder months and may become more popular in the summer. Again, in hindsight, maybe these caches would have been better placed next year when the weather warmed up.
I am not a quitter though. I will see through what I have started and intend to place another 4 caches to complete this series and will be more prepared for the finds to be sporadic and less often. We are also hoping to place some traditional caches in the near future as well which will, hopefully, provide some balance to the types of caches that we own.
Having said all the above I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am not liking being a cache owner. I am enjoying it greatly and love reading the logs of those that have attempted our hides. I also like the fact that I can give something back to the geocaching community that has provided us with so much fun over the last 5 months.