CacheCrazy.Com: Analyzing The Cache

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Analyzing The Cache

Here's a shocker:  I went for a FTF today.  The cache was Kazer71's Not quite Evil, but close (GC3EF22).  I don't want to spoil the fun for those who may plan on searching for this cache, but let's just say Kazer was being modest about the evil part.  Today's post isn't about the FTF, though.  And, while the cache was well worth the "+1" I gave it, my inspiration for today's post came from something which happened a few hours after I made the (first to) find.

Shortly after arriving after work, I logged my cache, and relayed a private message to the cache owner.  In his cache description he solicited feedback on the difficulty and terrain ratings.  In my haste to get out and grab the FTF, I overlooked this.  I made a mental note of the star ratings, and to remember there was no hint.  I felt there was nothing in the description which was going to directly aid me in finding the cache, so I didn't bother to notate it.  Now, as I sat there at my computer, I thought about something which came to mind when I was on the cache trail earlier that morning:  did the cache warrant the 2.5 star difficulty rating?  It took me a while to find the cache.  It wasn't the hardest cache hide I'd ever seen, but I didn't just walk up and find it, as I suspect no one else will.  However, the fact the cache owner didn't go with a 1 or 2 star rating told me, as I was out there walking in circles, that I was in the right spot, and the coordinates were right on.  I was able to logically rule out the 20-30 different micro containers I normally have a pulse on when searching a cache in an environment similar to the I was at today.  The thought which came to my mind out there was this: does a higher difficulty rating actually make a cache EASIER to find?


A second cacher pulled up shortly after I left the scene and found the cache.  What does he write in his found log?  The 3-1/2 stars told me to look out side the box on this one, so that actually made it easier to find! So if it were 1-1/2 stars, it would have been harder to find, making it a 3-1/2 star...I think.

Great minds think alike, eh?

NOT 5-star worthy.  Nothing to analyze here.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks and analyzes stuff like this.  There almost seems to be a certain psychology about it.  A cache owner can place a container in a given hiding spot, and slap a 1.5 star difficulty rating on it.  How many cachers are going to be looking for the fake pine cone in the tree on that one?  Not many, I'd imagine.  The "it's natural to its surroundings, but with a bison tube holding the container" hide, at very least, usually gets a 2.5-3 star difficulty rating, at least around these parts.  Logic dictates a "common type" container is going to be used with a lower difficulty rating.  The same logic dictates a clever or well-camouflaged container is going to get a higher rating.  To me, going on a cache hunt where the difficulty is, let's say 4 stars, tells me what NOT to look for.  Once I rule out what I'm not looking for, I can generally rule out where those hides would normally go.  What's left is the out-of-the-ordinary.  Fake rocks.  Fake sticks.  Fake doo-doo.  I'll look for potential hiding spots for that kind of stuff, and take it from there.  It's almost as if the D/T is an extra hint provided to us.  Speaking of hints, isn't the lack of a hint like bumping the difficulty up a bit?  The cache owner could easily tell us the cache is fake brick, in the third row of bricks in the brick wall, but that would make it too easy.  What's the point of being devious when you give away your secret beforehand?  It's like a magician telling you how he saws the girl in half.  (It's a fake set of legs and a trap door.)

This all assumes, of course, the cache owner knows what he or she is doing.  Of course, the cache owner could employ reverse psychology.  But that would be quite evil, wouldn't it?



Interesting strategy! I never really looked at it that way but it does make a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing!

Dave DeBaeremaeker said...

I would not have been able to organize my thoughts in quite this way (aka clearly and concisely) about this topic, but I have had similar thoughts. The difficulty rating sets the expectations of what to look for when I get to GZ, and how devious to think.

A hide of 1.5 would immediately rule out certain hiding places (i.e. its not a fake pine cone on that pine tree full of pine cones), and a rating of 3 also does (it is likely not a bison tube hanging in plain sight at my eye level).

A well written article. Thanks!

Big_Dog1970 said...

Another good read by my pal Smithers. :)

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

All great points and certainly something to consider when on the way to a cache. I wish there was a more concise size rating tho. I've seen lots of caches called "Micro's" that are, in reality, the size of an aspirin bottle. That to me is not a micro. When a CO lists their cache as "small" I'm looking more for a small bison tube or pill bottle, and not a magnetic holder the size of my fingernail.

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