CacheCrazy.Com: GUEST POST - Creativity in Geocaching

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

GUEST POST - Creativity in Geocaching

Welcome to guest blogger Emilie! Emilie is 13 years old and is 1/3 of the geocaching team athenagrrlsx3. She is active in her local geocaching group, SEPAG. This is her first post here at CacheCrazy.com, please make her feel welcome!

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Above is an image that is familiar to geocachers. The coveted favorite point, a simple digital token to say, "I think your cache is interesting." Most cachers may not remember their first favorited cache. But cachers who have been in the sport for a while know pretty much immediately when they come across one deserving of a thumb's up for awesomeness. Favorite caches are the ones that motivate cachers and put a smiley on their faces.
However, cache hiders may struggle to make their caches unique or interesting. Most hiders would only dream of getting the number of favorite points like in the image above. Sure, guardrail hides, ammo boxes, bison tubes, lock and locks, and key hides all get you another smiley. But it's nice to find something a little out of the ordinary, that shakes things up.
Putting together a creative geocache does take some effort, but in the end there is a payoff for both hider and seeker. There are many ways that a cacher can make a hide a little more unique. Thinking outside the box–or rather the lock and lock box–is one way to express yourself. And this can be one of the hidden benefits for a CO–the chance to let your imagination and creativity loose. For example, why not dress up that lock and lock? You might want to add some camo like below. Or maybe it's not about what your lock and lock looks like, but more about where it's placed that makes all the difference. Either way, you don't need to limit yourself to the simple hides like you may have placed when you were a beginner CO. This doesn't mean that the cache has to be a ????? difficulty due to evil camo. But caches that require effort and craftsmanship from the CO are usually a ton of fun to find!
Whether it is a hollowed out log, or a magnetic piece of bark, there is a fine art to geocaching containers and their placement. Hiders must have an artistic eye to make unique hides, and finders must have one to find them. Finding a hide that required craftsmanship can be gratifying for the finder, and sometimes this rises to the level of a favorite point. So when you want to make a unique cache, consider whipping out your power tools, or repurposing a household item. Make a note of that really awesome location that made you think, "Wow, this would be a great place for a cache!" And then make sure you go back and place one!
Beyond a creative container, a hide that takes you to a unique destination is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of caching. If you are a local resident and know of a cute little pocket park, place a cache there! After all, if you live in the area, you know where the best locations are. Maybe it's a cool fort kids have built in the woods behind your house, or an abandoned silo. If there are no proximity (or safety) issues, it's a good idea to place a cache there before someone from outside the area who doesn't know about it puts an LPC too close to your secret location and ruins it. Caches in unique places make people stop and say, "Wow, I never knew this was here!" Location caches are ultimately more about the experience and surroundings than actually putting your signature on the log.
Some destination caches are a notch above: think earth caches, places of historical significance, and geotrails in really unique surroundings. These hides can be quite unusual or difficult to achieve or require special equipment, like in a coral reef you have to dive to retrieve! These may not have many finders, but man, the ratio of fav points to finds is likely close to 1:1.
If you aren't too skilled with your hands, perhaps a puzzle cache is more down your alley. For the brainier cachers out there, designing a puzzle may be easier than crafting a cache container. Puzzle caches are a type of cache unto themselves. They require the cacher to decode a type of puzzle in the cache description in order to come up with the correct coordinates for a physical cache container. Like a regular cache, there is no limit to the amount of creativity that can be packed into a hide. Just like other caches, puzzle caches range from pretty simple to very difficult to decipher. Every puzzle cache designer brings their own unique style to the game. Puzzle caches are a unique way to score a find. You can also have the best of both worlds by placing a cache container with a built in puzzle, like in the photos below.
As you can see, whether it's a puzzle cache you've worked on for days, or a unusual container that you have retrofitted, creativity and geocaching go together like an O-ring on a bison. Well, they can. Even if you feel as though you are not the world's most creative person, anyone can improve. There are many ways to gain inspiration if you wish to up your game in placing hides: there are many blogs, Facebook groups and YouTube videos dedicated to placing geocaches. Another avenue is to attend event caches. Sometimes handmade containers are given as door prizes and raffles that you can win, and then these things can lead to ideas of your own. Geocaching truly has no limits. Happy caching!

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