Puzzle Geocaching in Okinawa: The Logical WayThursday, March 18, 2010
Geocaching began when the US government decided to remove selective availability from their GPS satellite system on May 2, 2000. Only one day later, on May 3, 2000, the very first geocache was placed in the woods of Oregon. The idea was simple: Place a container in the woods, note its coordinates, and share those coordinates with others under the condition that seekers follow one simple rule: if you take something, leave something.
Geocaches come in many shapes and sizes, and many are probably hidden right in your neighborhood. My favorite type is a puzzle geocache. This type of geocache requires that you solve a puzzle, a riddle, or answer a set of trivia questions in order to obtain the coordinates to the geocache. Since I started geocaching, I have created my own puzzle geocaches that have involved multiple layers of encryption, misdirection, and trivia.
A plastic lock-n-lock container
Shown below are a few of my more devious hides. In the top left and bottom left pictures I took a fake plant and glued it onto a round tupper. This was then placed under leaves and bramble to give the appearance of a real plant. The top right picture shows a plastic lock-n-lock container with fake grass and coconut shell shavings to add realism to the camouflage. The bottom right picture makes use of natural camouflage. In this case, a piece of rock from the cliff side is used to cover the container.
Conceptis and Geocaching meet
Above: Link-a-Pix puzzle with geocache coordinates
If you enjoy playing brain games online, don't forget to check our huge selection of free puzzles.
Since I started creating puzzle caches, I have had the idea of creating a puzzle cache that could incorporate the puzzles offered by Conceptis. I asked Dave Green, the president of Conceptis, for his help, and he graciously agreed to have Conceptis create a picture-logic puzzle that would give the coordinates to a geocache. However, I felt that this wasn't going to quite do it for this geocache. Since Conceptis was helping me out with this endeavor I was able to turn this geocache into a five-stage cache, each stage containing another type of puzzle produced by Conceptis that would give the coordinates to the next stage.
Additionally, each stage would have to be hidden in a way to avoid attention from non-geocachers. For one of the stages, I placed magnets in the bottom of one of the containers and attached to the underside of a vending machine. Another stage I glued cut bamboo to allow it to blend in with its surroundings. However, the most difficult stage was the final. This container would have to be larger than the other stages as it would hold the log book and other items for trade. Using the leaves of a fake spider plant, I glued the leaves to the top of a container, placing it in an area where it would blend in and not be easily found.
The photos above show one of the stages of this geocache. I won't say which stage though so as not to spoil the surprise for those going after this cache. Making use of a fake spider plant, I cut the leaves off and glued them to the top of this container. I then placed it in a location almost guaranteed to ward off the casual passerby, keeping it safe for those truly seeking to log a find.
Save you a trip or two back to the vehicle
On 18 February, 2010, with the puzzles ready and the containers hidden, The Logical Way was published. Two days later on 20 February, the first to find was logged by an avid puzzler on the island known as The Muggle Family. He commented that he liked the camouflage, he liked the hides, and he liked the puzzles. He also said, “And when you think you've solved a puzzle... double check your answers before running out. It might save you a trip or two back to the vehicle.”
The puzzle worked out great as others are now seeking after the cache. If you enjoy solving the puzzles produced by Conceptis, go to geocache GC23Q5J on Geocaching.com. While only a Link-a-Pix puzzle is presented on this page, seekers of this cache must also solve a Sudoku, a CalcuDoku, a Hitori, and a Kakuro before being able to log a find.
About Erik Ours
Erik began solving picture forming logic puzzles in 1995 when he discovered the puzzles in a small bookstore in Japan. Erik currently lives in Japan with his wife and 2 children and continues to support the puzzling community by moderating the Conceptis forum Puzzling in Japan, as well as promoting the ideal that logic puzzles exercise the brain.