8 Tips to Answer the Eternal Question, “Is it even here?”

The Eternal Question: “Is it even here?”

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.

  • technonut

    Stand at GZ. Divide the area into four quadrants (ahead, left, right, behind). Divide each Quadrant into ground to waist / waist to head / above head. Then search methodically.

  • brian_lang

    Expand your search. Under tree cover the coordinates may be off quite a bit to where you actually find the container. Previous logs usually note the requirement for an expanded search.

  • abzolut

    Stand back and wait for another geocacher to show up… OK, maybe that works better in some places than others… But it’s how I found my very first cache, on the roof of a mall parking garage. I would never have suspected that the bases of lightpoles could lift up!

  • 6NoisyHikers

    Go home, log your DNF, then put the cache on your watchlist and see if the lofs of the next few people to find it offer any better hints.
    DON’T Phone-A-Friend first. The cache belongs to the cache owner and if you need a nudge in the right direction, the polite thing to do is contact the cache owner and ask for a hint.

  • zargfinders

    Read the description! Most people don’t, but quite often, this is where you can get an idea of where to look, or what you’re looking for.

  • Walter Earnest

    Put down the GPS and use your head. I’ve ran into a cache because I was looking at the GPS rather than actually looking.

  • dartmoordave

    I’m very disappointed to see that the official Groundspeak blog advocates Phone a Friend. There is nothing worse than a CO putting a lot of effort into placing a difficult cache or thinking up a difficult puzzle only for the hide or coordinates to be passed around to other cachers. It is up to the CO to decide how difficult or easy a cache should be and to assign a relevant rating. PAF makes a mockery of the ratings and is nothing other than cheating 🙁