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Search Pattern

A cache by Helodriver Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/09/2002
4.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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How Geocaching Works

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Geocache Description:

"To find, you must seek. To seek, you must solve.". Searching is the theme of this cache. First, a word search for coordinates and clues to get the cacher headed in the right direction. Second, executing an actual search pattern in the mesa country southwest of Albuquerque to find the loot. Elevation, 6500 feet.

The puzzle below contains the actual coordinate you are looking for, it is the starting point for performing an Expanding Square search. This is a type of search pattern frequently flown by search and rescue helicopter crews to find a lost person when a last known coordinate is given.

The coordinate above is for reference purposes only, to give the cacher an idea of where this hunt takes place.

Some notes on the puzzle:

There are eighteen words inside, they can be found forward backward, up, down, and diagonally forward or back.

Some words are two or more words pressed together. A number for a coordinate may be 758, it would be in the puzzle as SEVENFIVEEIGHT. A clue may be big tall trees, its listed as BIGTALLTREES.

Four of the words are the minutes and decimals of the coordinate of the search start point, which is at North 34.XX.XXX West 107.XX.XXX

One word is the track spacing used in the Expanding Square, more on that below.

One word is the initial heading used for the Expanding Square, more on that below too.

One word is the name of the county the cache is hidden in. This will be useful when trying to figure out which minutes and decimals go with which degrees.

One word is the name of the nearest paved road, useful in figuring out how to drive there. Any car will suffice as long as its not raining heavily.

The rest of the words are clues of what you may pass on the way there, what the object is that's marked as the start point, what the cache is hidden by, and what method is used to mark the point.

Cyphered hints below include how many words have how many letters if the word search gets the better of you, but as always, real Geocachers don't look at the hints.

The word search portion is posted as an image below, be sure to look at it!!!

The Expanding Square search pattern is used when a starting point is known and the missing person, or in this case missing large tan painted coffee can filled with good trinkets, is located somewhere away from that point. Three variables define the pattern, heading, direction, and track spacing. When executed, the pattern takes the form of a square spiral, ensuring maximum coverage of the search area. The pattern is oriented such that all turns are 90 degrees and are in the same direction, left or right. An inital heading is used and all legs are either parallel or perpendicular to this heading. Track spacing gives the distance the searcher travels on the pattern legs.

Here's an example, if the heading was 360 and pattern direction was right, and the track spacing was 1 mile, the searcher would travel from the inital point 1 mile in a 360 heading, turn right to 090 and then go another mile. At that point the searcher would turn right to a heading of 180 and then go TWO miles before turning to 270 and going two miles again. Every two legs the searcher adds the track spacing to the leg length to keep the spiral growing outward at a fixed rate and avoiding covering the same ground again. if this is confusing see the posted diagram, it isn't really that hard.

Your track spacing will be significantly less than 1 mile. Your total hike from parking, executing the pattern and returning to parking should be less than 4 miles and ideally less than 3.3 miles.

Notes about the field portion:

There are loose rocks and some elevation gain but no special gear is required.

Good level parking is located .61 mi west northwest of the initial point.

You may cross pueblo territory on public roads on your way to the initial point but the cache is not on indian land. As a matter of fact it is located close to one of our helicopter landing zones, so if you see reflective markers on your way to the cache, your getting there. Seeing them however, is not mandatory to finding the loot.

Bring water, watch for snakes, wear hiking boots.

Good luck! If stuck email Helodriver for help.

Original Contents:

ABQ air map, Antique glass wire insulator from abandoned power lines along old RT 66, .50 cal brass shell, buckle, measuring tape, clothespins, brachiopod fossils, pristine RCA vaccuum tube, brass ball, marble, and ancient indian potshards.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

bar unf svir yrggref, bar unf fvk, svir unir rvtug, guerr unir avar, gjb unir gra, gjb unir ryrira, bar unf guvegrra, gjb unir sbhegrra, bar unf friragrra.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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