This cache is not at the posted coordinates.
lead someone down the garden path
- (idiomatic) To mislead, deceive, hoodwink, or seduce. They all have been leading us down the garden path about health care.
For many mystery caches, one must derive the actual cache coordinate digits indiviually but using a common pattern or "key" on the provided information. These frequently are items or sequences of items each of which corresponds directly to a single digit in the coordinates. Often it is a word, or a graphic, provided directly to or determined by the solver -- and the corresponding digit might be the number of objects, or the alphabetical position of the first letter, or even the number of letters in the word or something else. For example, if you were presented with a display with the word "CAT" accomplanied by three images of a cat, and you are seeking the first digit (10's of degrees) in the latitude, there's a good chance the correct digit is "3" given that (1) CAT has three letters, (2) starts with a C, (3) there are three of them in the image, and (4) the 2 mile vicinity rule constrains it to be, you guessed it, "3".
Another commonly seen key is using numeric encoding, and one of the simplest is to write a digit in its binary form of 1's and 0's. If you were presented with 0011, that of course is the binary version of, and readily convertible to "3".
There are plenty of different ciphers -- some simple, some quite complex -- that directly map each letter of the alphabet to either another letter or symbol. One of the first (and VERY easy to decode) encryptions a new cacher is introduced to is the "ROT13" which hides a text by simply rotating each letter 13 positions (A becomes N, B becomes O, etc). A second iteration of ROT13 restores the original text. There are plenty of much more sophisticated ciphers as well. One needs only to do a simple search on google images to find charts of runes, masonic codes or even Braille patterns and their corresponding letter/number.
I've seen some very clever uses of colors to represent numerical digits as well. Electrical resistors, the ROYGBIV spectrum in rainbows, and even billiard balls have a prescribed sequence mapping colors to numbers. For example, the "3" ball in billiards is red.
Sometimes a puzzle creator can get cute, and "hide" important text by making the font color the same as the background. It's pretty well known that it can be easily defeated with a Control-A keystroke which simply changes the background color and reveals the text. This is one of the crudest forms of steganography, which Wikipedia defines as the "art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message...". Embedding messages in digital files such as images and source code can be difficult to find even when you suspect that there is something of interest, and Control-A won't help you there, you'll just have to look more closely.
As useful as those methods are to code and decode, one may occasionally come across a puzzle created by a person of questionable scruples. Beware!! Beware!! All of these associative and encoding techniques I have just summarized have ALSO been used quite effectively as red herrings on puzzle caches. I should know.
Oh, and two more things. First, don't sweat the large number of red frownies in the geocheck box. I often integrate the geochecker into my puzzles, so it is not unusual to have a large number of "incorrect" attempts, as that is a part of the puzzle solving method. Secondly, I...uh...er...hmmm, there was something else you need to know to solve this puzzle but it completely slipped my mind. Perhaps you can figure it out for yourself.
The puzzle you must solve begins now. I will help guide you through it, so Cache with Confidence!
But whatever you do, DO NOT TYPE Control-A. There's nothing to see there. Don't do it!
Fine. N39 52.223, W084 06.317