Saturday, March 1, 2008

Are puzzle caches worth the hassle? Um... yes.

I almost swore off hiding puzzle caches this week. I aimed to publish my puzzle Anchors Aweigh!, about Navy ships and the calendar algorithm, on Leap Day, February 29. I wanted to place it in South St. Paul and pay a little tribute to Bobcam and knowschad, two area hiders whose caches I like and whose styles are very different. But I wasn't able to get out that way Thursday, so I compromised and started looking for a hiding spot near the U of M campus. pfalstad had an infamous cache called The Fun Side of the River down by the river, west of the stairs that are south of Harvard St. Finding it involved walking into a storm drain. I endangered my life trying to find that one, not realizing that it had been archived two weeks earlier. There's a big gap there now on the geogoogle map, and so I went down to that area, past the sign saying "stairs closed", slipped on ice, fell on my back, broke a tree branch that cut my nose on the way down, and eventually placed the cache in what I thought was a clever place. Done.

Here's the problem: I placed it within 200 feet of the final location of another cache. A CACHE I HAVE FOUND. Our local cache reviewer patiently explained that sometimes exceptions are made to the proximity rule if the caches are at drastically different altitudes, but not in this case because they were so close. Ugh. No Leap Day publication.

On Saturday, March 1, I was able to retrieve the cache (which got iced into what I thought was a clever location) and take it several miles away to a very peaceful, relatively muggle-free, favorite location of mine. The puzzle re-work was relatively painless.

Speaking of which, foundinthewild called me today to ask about Plato's Five Gems: Octahedron, and he mentioned that rickrich includes a coordinate offset into some/all of his puzzles, presumably so that if he has to update the coordinates, he can do so without reworking the puzzle. I'll have to consider that, because this very thing has gotten me into trouble once or twice.

In other news:

  • I mailed out 50 pathtags early this week. One of them went to Kacky in Maine. That is the only trade I have initiated myself so far, because I was so impressed with and moved by the story of her pathtag: the design is in honor of her son, who is autistic and builds birdhouses from recycled materials with other autistic adult men.

    Kacky wrote on the pathtags forum that she mentioned the signature card that I included with my pathtag on the podcast Cachers of the Round Table, one of my favorite podcasts. Jeez, two podcast mentions in three weeks! Time for another related rates problem involving the radius of my head?

  • I used the "I have to run out to the store" ruse to grab an FTF on shoestorm's first hide, a puzzle cache with an incredibly muggly final location. A well-crafted and well-thought-out hide. I hope it survives.

1 comment:

R. said...

See GC19Q6M "Puzzle 11" for an example of what I meant.