If you’ve geocached for any length of time, say 60 seconds, this question has run through your mind, “Is it even here?” You’ve checked the fence. You’ve checked under the bench. It’s not hanging from a branch on the tree. It’s not even close to your knee. It’s not there… And then you hear a whisper, “Or is it?” That haunting question is often a geocacher’s biggest fear. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of knowing the answer.
Start by re-reading the title. It’s often another hint to the location.
Check recent logs on the geocache page. Find out if the geocache has been found in the last few days or weeks. What do the logs say? There might be a hint that helps direct you to the geocache location.
Check the terrain and difficulty ratings. If it’s a terrain 1 and you’re looking on a hillside, go back to the sidewalk.
Speaking of hints, geocaches often offer a real hint. Check that.
Still stuck? Try looking at any photos. Clues might be hiding in the pictures others uploaded to the geocache page. Still unable to find the geocache? Don’t worry, you’re not out of options yet.
You’re a social person. You’ve got friends. Maybe one of your friends has found the geocache that’s giving you issues. Try the old “Phone a Friend” or “PAF” as it’s known in geocaching circles.
Finding the geocache might be a waiting game. Some geocaches are easier to find in the spring or fall.
If all else fails, be sure to log your Did Not Find (or DNF). That lets others know they’re looking for a tough-to-find geocache.
And sometimes they’re just really, really well hidden. For example, check out this geocache with 247 DNF’s and 1 Find. Share your tricks for finding well-hidden geocaches below in comments or on the Geocaching Facebook page.