Puzzles and Caches and Finds (Oh My!)

Recently, a few lucky geocachers honestly and accidentally stumbled across the containers of some of my more difficult puzzle caches without solving their respective puzzles. The cachers signed the logs, and they submitted Found It logs online.

Some other geocachers posted notes on the log and sent me personal emails questioning the validity of those finds. For everyone who questions the validity of such a find, I refer you to the Groundspeak guidelines:

Physical geocaches can be logged online as “Found” once the physical log has been signed.

For physical caches, all logging requirements beyond finding the geocache and signing the log are considered additional logging requirements (ALRs) and must be optional. Cache finders can choose whether or not to attempt or accomplish such tasks.

Groundspeak Listing Requirements/Guidelines, Section 3.1

By these rules, solving the puzzle is an additional logging requirement and is therefore optional.

So, if you’ve signed the log, you found it. Log it online, and feel free to congratulate yourself on your good fortune. End of story.

And, please, everyone: enough with the questioning the validity of accidental finds! This is a game and games are supposed to be fun. Policing and being policed isn’t fun – let the moderators and the cache owners take care of that responsibility.

Cache on!

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Who I Am ePeterso2I’m Eric Peterson, and my email address is epeterso2@puzzlehead.org. I’m a software engineer who lives in a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve enjoyed solving puzzles for years, and a few years ago I began constructing puzzles of my own. If you’re ever in Broward County and would like to get together some time, please send me a note by email and let me know. I love the opportunity to meet with other puzzleheads, especially if it involves lunch. Puzzle Testing I believe that the best way to make a puzzle even better is to ask someone else to solve it. You learn so much about how people think, how people approach your puzzle, pitfalls they may encounter, and outright errors in your construction by having someone else try it before you unleash it upon the world. If you’re a puzzle constructor, I would be honored to test your puzzle for you. Send me email with your puzzle or a link to it, and I’ll try solving it, as long as I have time available to do so. I’m a busy guy, so my time is limited … but I’m always open to a challenge. My Public Profiles * My Linked In profile * My Geocaching.com profile * My FloridaCaching.com profile Puzzles I’ve Written * Geocaching puzzles Puzzles I’ve Solved * Geocaching puzzles (solved and found) What Happened to ePeterso1? ePeterso1 was a horrible experiment gone wrong that had to be hunted down and killed before he claimed the lives of any more innocent victims. Most of the bugs that caused ePeterso1 to go haywire have been corectted in ePeterso2.

9 thoughts on “Puzzles and Caches and Finds (Oh My!)”

  1. And here I’ve been feeling guilty about ps101 final for years. I still want to solve it.

    Would I can do without are cachers who give lists of puzzle finals to others. Grrr

    I mean at least I accidentally found it fair and square.

  2. I’ve had the same thing happen — a “blind squirrel” find by someone stumbling across the container for a very hard puzzle.

    OF COURSE it’s a find. It’s also a find if you can outthink the puzzle creator and find a shortcut straight to the cache. Not that I’ve ever done that… 🙂

  3. Here, here…yes I would have to agree with eP on this one..if you found it, signed it, well, more power to you..I spent hours, weeks, months on that series and learned so much, thank you. To those who stumbled on it, congrats but you could really benefit from attempting the puzzle series. I, myself, have outthought a tough puzzle or two which can be just as rewarding!

  4. The converse, though, is just as important – if you didn’t sign the log, you didn’t find it. But that’s an issue for another day …

  5. I’m not sure I understand what you mean by honestly?!?

    “Recently, a few lucky geocachers honestly and accidentally stumbled across the containers of some of my more difficult puzzle caches without solving their respective puzzles.”

    Since the goal is to sign the log, someone hiding a cache should realize that if the puzzle or a waypoint (anything can be a waypoint) is very hard somebody might “park walk” in search of the cache. There are a lot of “park walkers” because, perhaps, to them it can be easier and more enjoyable that puzzle solving. As a hider I don’t consider “park walking” dishonest, just a different approach to signing the log. If I want to force a puzzle solution I try to place the cache in a difficult spot the “park walkers” won’t find.

    Do you care if someone solves your cryptongram by using software instead of pencil and paper? Do you care if they skip waypoints 1- 5 and just go for the cache?

  6. Fair enough … “honestly” was not really my point; “innocently” was what I really wanted to say. But “accidentally” serves just as well.

    My point is this: a find is a find is a find, regardless of whether you solved the puzzle, you explicitly walked the park looking for it, or you accidentally stumbled across it when you weren’t looking for it. Sign the log, and it’s all good.

  7. We do that all the time in MN. Of course snow and a recent find makes it easy to follow the footprints. I have scored FTF’s on a puzzle or two without solving it by following the hider’s footsteps. Another way is to snoop around recently archived GZ’s. That has also been productive…..even for FTF’s.

  8. I have fun park walking. I get a rush from finding a cache this way and actually laugh out loud. Recently a hider put out part 1 of a several part series and I’ve been looking. I found 3 letterboxes but no caches.

    That being said, I’d rather solve the puzzle. I’ve actually only found a few by park walking, and a few by solving the majority of a puzzle and deducing the possible locations. But there are so many puzzles and so few hours in a day.

  9. This sort of thing has happened to me twice within the last year. All within .50 miles of our house. Both times the kids and I were going to make new hides.
    The 1st was a hangman cache final. The 2nd was the final of a puzzle cache by our local JC. Both times I told the kids, hey that spot right there looks great for a hide, and both times I pulled a ammo can out of the hiding spot!! Lol
    I never gave it much thought (on solving the said puzzles), because I really suck at them!!! Although, it did give me the drive to really start to try and solve some nearby puzzle caches, and I found this blog. So I guess it worked out for the best!! 😉


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