Thursday, January 26, 2012

Puzzles, Phantoms, and the State of Caching

It's been awhile since I posted on this blog, and thought now would be an appropriate moment.


Lately I've been bored by the general state of caching. You download a set of coords, you go to a location, you find a container, wala. But where's the adventure, where's the excitement? Rarely I find myself going down a trail or into an area that I know has been approved for a cache. Either public land, or permission has been given, or the location doesn't make me look very suspicious in a place where tensions with the natives are at times a bit tense. This immediately takes it out for me, but occasionally I find a time when I am whisked back to the adventure when I first started caching.

It happened quite by accident. I left my GPSr at home, got to work and saw a brand new geocache in what appeared to be a fairly decent area close to my work. After work, I studied the location on Google Maps then headed out. A nice public area with a welll marked path. Moments later a find. That was fun! What would have been an otherwise boring P&G suddenly turned into an adventure through the mistake of leaving my GPSr behind. I may have to try this more often.


Phantoms lately have been plaguing me. One in particular. You see, to say you logged a cache but not to actually log the log book is called a phantom log. The honest mistake is made. "I left my pen at home"; "I saw the container but there was no way to get to it"; "I was blocked by a snake"; "I found the coordinates to the final stage". Logs that are posted as finds when they should have been posted as notes. Honest mistakes. But then there is the very rare log of someone who made no attempt and logged a find anyway. I went, I checked, I deleted the log posting a note of my own with a picture of the log and a fair warning to the phantom. Yeah, you better believe if I spend as much in time, effort, and money on these caches I will spend an equal amount of time checking up on anything suspicious. Duh.

Let's see the average I've spent on one of my caches is about $30. The average time I've spent in prep work (developing the puzzle, making the container, scouting the location) is usually about a month.


I'm almost completely puzzled out. Too bad, right? Well, I have one more (yeah yeah, always one more) that I'm in the works of developing. It's themed around Star Trek, and I plan to have some fun with it. There are only a handful of people who have encountered all of the techniques in this cache that are still here on island, so this should be a lot of fun for all the new cachers I've seen logging caches recently. I hope everyone will give it an honest try. It will be fun. It will have a checksum in it that will be required to log the cache to ensure that the puzzle is solved and someone doesn't just "accidentally" come across the container on a hike into the deep jungles of this beautiful island.

So with that, I bid everyone who may view this log a hearty farewell and wish you a happy day of caching....and....