The Mystery Cache - a geocaching type of cache to puzzle over
When a geocache is in the form of a mystery cache, the coordinates are not in the location specified in the geocache's listing. It is a riddle to be solved from home and with the solution of the riddle you also get coordinates. These can already be the final, but can also be the start of an outdoor route.
A geocache in the form of a mystery cache is also called a puzzle cache, guessing hook or (old form) unknown cache and is often on the to-do list of some cachers for a long time.
Mystery Cache - The mystery
The Geocaching Mystery Caches are preceded by a riddle, according to Groundspeak. The coordinates on the map given in the listing of the geocache are usually fictitious or ideally point to something that is related to the cache but does not belong to the outdoor part. The (unknown) final of the cache is within a 2 km radius (maximum 3 km) of the cache coordinate, according to the guidelines. With this you can also create beautiful land art pictures with Mysterys. On the one hand, puzzles are very popular in the cacher community, on the other hand, you can place the listing coordinates on the spot where you want the blue dot on Groundspeak's Geocaching.com map.
The distance regulation to the listing coordinates of the cache makes sense, so that you don't solve a cache in Cologne when you are traveling in Düsseldorf. A certain spatial orientation is given, since you only know where to look when you have found the answers to the geocaching puzzle.
For the riddle of the cache itself, everything that can be solved to some extent is actually permissible. There are few guidelines on this. Geocaches should and want to be found: the majority of geocachers should be able to find the answers to a D5 cache after dealing with the topic for a while. That's not always really the case. Sometimes you first have to have half a degree in mathematics or have built up an immense knowledge of our planet. Of course, the impression of the D rating is also very subjective. Mathematical questions, steganography, coding of all kinds, encrypted texts, brainteasers or jokes - everything is possible here. Whole lists of mysteries are also often the topic of conversation at events. You can help each other, which increases the social aspect of geocaching. There should also be an occasional mystery event where people meet up to work together on one or the other mystery.
Ideally, the Mystery Cache's geocaching listing has a geochecker. Here you can check whether the result found, usually coordinates, are correct. If the checker is green, you can then start looking for the can.
Mystery Cache – The outdoor part
Once you have solved the riddle, you can move on to the outdoor part. Here the search for a mystery can take place like a tradition - you have guessed coordinates and find a box with a log book on the spot where the coordinates are located outside. But it can also be that the coordinates that have been guessed are the start of a multi-route and a longer route follows. On the way further puzzles or tasks can come to the cacher.
Mystery Cache Challenges
Challenges are also shown as blue question marks on the Groundspeak geocaching.com map. There are no puzzles to be solved in the challenges. The coordinates usually also point to the box, which is located directly on site at this point. However, in order to be able to log the cache online afterwards, the geocacher must meet certain requirements. He faces the challenge, accepts it and either fulfills the requirement when logging or submits it as soon as he has reached it and only then logs his find online. Old caches with log conditions are no longer published, only challenges under strict conditions. Even with Earthcaches, questions often have to be answered. However, they have their own icon and do not count among the mystery caches.
Mystery Cache - Conclusion
The geocaching mysteries are quite versatile and offer a wide range. There are simple and difficult puzzles. Riddles are a good reason for conversations at regulars' tables and at an event and it's okay if the cachers help each other. The exchange of finished final coordinates - whether at an event or in the form of any lists - is frowned upon and takes the fun out of the mystery.
If you would like to learn more about other types of geocaching caches such as earthcaches, webcam, events, wherigo, traditional etc., check out our blog posts.