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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How Many Puzzles is a Challenge? - 8/23/16

When I first started caching, I knew there were a lot of caches I would never be able to log, even in my own area, and that was OK.  I didn't think I'd ever log a 5/5 cache.  But I've come to realize that there is a lot of variety in how people write up difficulty and terrain (and I'm not even talking about the so-called "liars'" caches).  Some of that variety is due to the time-span of the hobby ... to me it seems like "back in the day" most cachers were dedicated hikers, so the terrain ratings were often lower than I would put them.  Also in earlier times there were fewer caches to be found, so fulfilling some challenges was quite difficult, but they've gotten easier as time goes by.  Other challenges with date-placed requirements became more difficult than originally rated, as caches got archived.  Then there are the differences in how reviewers treat the idea of "special equipment"for terrain ... to me that means a boat or rappelling gear, but it might mean a simple UV flashlight.  And there is obviously a huge amount of variation in what constitutes a 5* difficulty puzzle.  While traveling recently I was able to log my first 5/5 cache, for which the challenge requirement was to have logged 100 puzzle caches.  With the proliferation of fairly simple geo-art puzzles that doesn't feel too difficult today.  It got me thinking about how many puzzle caches I would think constitute a real challenge to find and log. I'm still thinking it over.   Today I'm sharing a Massachusetts cache with a lot lower D/T rating, which includes a puzzle itself (it looks like that element is no longer allowed in challenges, unfortunately):

The 200 Puzzle Challenge Puzzle

Tomorrow we'll be in 

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