That’s it you put a few smiles on your Geocaching map, but you do not know how to approach these caches with the blue question mark? Follow these simple tips to log your first Mystery:
- Choose your geocaching difficulty carefully
Mysterys are, like Traditional caches, rated by their degree of difficulty from 1 to 5. Do not necessarily go to the cache closest to you, start with a cache of small difficulty and whose theme inspires you.
- Check in the logs that the announced difficulty is consistent
Be aware that it is the owner who evaluates the difficulty of the Mystery. It is therefore possible that the difficulty score is undervalued. If many logs report this problem, the Mystery may be more difficult than expected.
- Prefer at first a Mystery that can be solved from home
Some Mysterys require you to take clues on the spot. This step can sometimes be difficult for the beginner Geocacher or not. Prefer a simpler puzzle that you can solve quietly at home.
- Choose a Mystery where you can control your result
Some Mystery come with a link to the “Geochecker” or “Certainty” sites. This link allows you to confirm the accuracy of the final contact information. This is an important aspect that will save you time on the field research part.
- Keep an electronic record of your research and work from a computer.
You have chosen your Mystery according to the above criteria, perfect! Bookmark the page because you will need to come back to it, so save time. Create a text document that you will name with the GC cache code, in it copy and paste the original descriptions, subscript and coordinates of the cache. Keep your research path, and indicate each false lead. If you block, move on, your document will be waiting for you for new hypotheses.
- Keep in mind what you are looking for
Some puzzles will require calculations of coordinate formulas, others will be literary games where you will have to find a word and submit it to a “Certainty” page. If you format your formulas correctly in your text document, you can copy and paste them into your computer’s calculator for quick resolution. Last thing, sometimes the question can be located lower than the description in the waypoints area.
- D-code and toolbox sites are intimidating, tame them!
Many Mystery use more or less complicated encryption systems. The challenge is often to recognize the system, because then a simple copy and paste of the encrypted text will give you the solution. The Caesar and Morse codes are popular with beginner Mystery, as is the alphabetical rank (A=1; Z=26). By dint of habit, you will have more and more intuition on the encryption used!
- Appeal to the community
You’ll need clues in your early days and it turns out that the Geocaching community is very welcoming. You will find help in the forums and Facebook group, from the owner or an experienced geocacher with whom you have sympathized. Two important points: be polite and courteous and never ask or publish the solution of a riddle! In addition, you will certainly be denied help on a cache whose FTF has not been made.
- Do you have a credible hypothesis?
Don’t forget to check your answer in the Geochecker or on Certainty. The owner may have left additional instructions or clues as well as a spoiler photo. Copy and paste this information on your text document (see 5-).
- Prepare your visit to the field
Did you know that you can correct cache coordinates from your browser? By clicking on the pencil next to the coordinates at the top of the page, you will be able to enter the ones you have just decoded. The final coordinates will appear as a puzzle piece in a blue circle in your app. You can also download the spoiler photo on your smartphone for more efficiency in the field… especially if the network is non-existent.
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