20:20 Hindsight

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.

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4 Responses to 20:20 Hindsight

  1. I really agree with you on this one. I have hidden about 3 caches, (all traditionals), and have found that they are usually found on a regular basis. While puzzle caches have their hardcore following, I am not sure all cachers like them. I have only tried one puzzle cache so far, but I am still waiting to go get it. However, I am thinking of doing puzzle cache, though needing to attempt more to get a feel for them. I would not give up on hiding them, as there are people out there who will plan their travels around puzzle caches. So there is a purpose and need for them! Happy hiding!

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  2. momn3boys says:

    Don’t get discouraged! My boys and I hid three caches (one has been archived), and one is a puzzle cache. I will tell you that when we first hid the two traditonal ones there was a lot of interest in them at first since they were new, and as time went on they received fewer finds. The one remaining traditional cache still gets a find from time to time, although not many. It’s doing fairly well, considering we hid it back in 2007. We hid a Harry Potter-themed puzzle cache (the boys did all the work coming up with the questions and the hint) in December of 2008, and that one doesn’t get very many finds, but when it does the finders are always complimentary. People who enjoy puzzle caches (especially Harry Potter fans) always seem thrilled to make the find. For us it isn’t about how many people search and find them, it’s about giving people a little bit of fun.

    As a side note, a lot of caches in my neck of the woods that get lots and lots of finds frankly aren’t the most interesting ones. They’re easy caches (lots of park and grabs), so lots of people find them. The ones that are more fun and that take a little bit more effort to find–especially puzzle caches–won’t get as many. I’m as guilty as everyone else for going for the easy ones first, and saving the harder ones for when I have more time. So don’t worry about the numbers, and just have fun with it! Good luck!

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    • washknight says:

      Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know exactly what you are saying and from a geocachers point of view I appreciate the puzzles so much more myself. I just need patience. 🙂

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