Do you remember that commercial? That one where the company launches their website on the Internet and the owners are all gathered around a computer in an otherwise empty room. They’re watching the counter. Nothing.
Watching the counter. Nothing.
Watching the counter. Nothing.
And then suddenly, a click, an order. Then another! Then the numbers shoot through the roof and one man turns to the other and says…
I think that might be one of the experiences new geocachers have with placing their first geocache. A few people find it and then WHAMMY! your geocache shoots to be the most popular cache in your area. People are talking about what a great location, what clever clues, fantastic swag. It’s worth driving two hours JUST to find it.
Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration! But, still, when I placed my first geocache, I expected it to be found regularly. And to have comments about it more exhaustive than TFTC SL.
The very first geocache I placed is called High Gear. And it IS in a fantastic location, if I do say so myself. A friend of mine explained the location: a bike frame hanging about 15 feet up a ponderosa tree. Wow! What a neat place. AND, there’s a bike shop in Prescott that happens to be called High Gear — a perfect name.
I spent WEEKS getting ready to place the cache. The friend who knew exactly where the bike was made a trip to the site to take a GPS reading to make sure there wasn’t a cache there. At the time I didn’t know about how I could use geocaching.com to figure out if this was a good location WITHOUT heading up there. (I’ll write an article about how I do that!)
Then, I actually went to Wal-mart and spent a small fortune on a cache container. And on perfect bike swag. And on camouflage patterned duct tape. And then, I visited the High Gear Bike store to get my FTF prize: a $15 gift certificate.
When the bike store heard what I was doing, they actually gave me some swag and the gift card for FREE. Funny thing, the owner had NO idea what geocaching even was — just liked the idea that I was going to call a bike in a tree “High Gear”.
On the day of placing the cache, we had a picnic and then headed up the trail. And up. And up. Since I had never been up the trail before, I didn’t realize how long it was, about a mile. And it was a good trail but covered in loose rocks so I had to be careful in the climbing. And a pretty steep elevation gain.
So, cache perfectly placed, I headed home to nurse my blisters and aching legs. And to post it on geocaching.com.
And then I waited for somebody to find it. And waited some more. The FTF was by a die-hard cacher in the area nearly FIVE DAYS after the cache was published. In my area, that’s unheard of! FTF can happen in as little as 5 HOURS.
And two weeks later the cache was found again. Then no finds for 5 months.
Needless to say, I wondered what I had done wrong in placing the cache. I mean, yeah, it was a hike, but not a crazy hike. It wasn’t like hiking all that way to find a micro. I had good swag in there! And, it was well hid from muggles, but kinda obvious to anybody who plays the game.
Then I realized something: it was the only cache on that trail. There had been one about half way up, but it had been muggled and removed. It was just too much of a hike for anybody but a serious cacher to go after.
Then, something really neat happened: four OTHER caches were placed along the same trail, all leading up to High Gear. Suddenly people WERE making the trek up and down the mountain to find MY cache. Apparently, in my area at least, four caches with a 2 mile hike (since you have to hike up and down!) made it a worthwhile trail.
Here’s the moral of the story:
Caches along a trail get found!
Most people like PNG caches, but it’s nice to get out of the car and stretch your legs a bit. It’s even better when there are plenty of geocaches along the way.
So tell me, what’s your experience in your neck of the woods. How far will people hike for a solitary cache? Do caches along a trail see more action?
By the way, High Gear has now been found a grand total of 9 times in the last 9 months. Not going to win any most-visited-cache awards, but I still think the swag is cool!