I am working on a new cache design that revolves around challenge caches. My hopes are to have it published New Year’s Day. But I’m going to need some help because I know there are challenges out there that I haven’t heard of yet.
Challenge caches are like super caches to some people. They usually require a lot of planning and/or travel to complete. For those who do them, they are like a badge of honor. You can walk proud and say, “I’ve done THIS!” They come in all varieties, and some are more well known than others.
The most commonly referred to challenges are usually County and Delorme challenges. Each version is specific to a single state, and many states have one. A county challenge requires a geocacher to find a cache in every county within a state. A Delorme challenge focuses on the large red Delorme Atlases that you can buy in stores. Each atlas splits the state into a grid of pages, with each page being detailed enough to show even little used county roads. An awesome atlas for a traveling geocacher, the challenge requires you to find a cache on each page of the atlas. Both of these require heavy planning and lots of time and gas money to complete. But they can often take you to areas of the state that even long-time residents haven’t been too. I’ve completed both the Nebraska County and Delorme challenges myself.
Another challenge that is gaining a following are Fizzy Challenges. A Fizzy challenge focuses on a cache’s Difficulty and Terrain ratings. There are 81 possible ratings and to complete the challenge, you have to find one cache for each possible rating.
A 555 challenge is something else that I’ve seen, though not as much. It requires a geocacher to find 55 caches that have either a difficulty rating or terrain rating of 5. I’m closing in on three years of geocaching next March and I’ve only found six.
Iconic Day challenges can be fun, as they explore cache types. Versions vary, but the idea is to find a specified number of different cache types to qualify. For some, especially in urban areas, this isn’t as hard to complete…unless you’ve cleared out the area already. See, there’s a catch. You have to find the specified number of different cache types ALL IN ONE DAY! The most I’ve found is 10 in one day.
Streak challenges definitely require a lot of time, and if you’ve cleared out the area around your home, it will require planning and lots of gas money. The idea is to keep a day-to-day caching streak alive. If you cache too heavily, you’ll be forced to travel farther and farther each day. Challenge lengths vary between 100, 200, even up to a full year.
A series of 2001 challenges, and variations of them, have been cropping up lately. For these challenges, you often have to find all of the caches within a specific state that were created in the year 2000 and 2001. Often set around the state in those earlier years, it can take a lot of travel time to complete as you are aiming for specific caches, as opposed to Delorme and County challenges, which only require a cache that fall within a defined area.
Variations of Highway/Interstate challenges are out there. An example is the I-35 Challenge, here in Kansas City. These challenges vary in requirements but usually center around finding caches along specific routes. For the I-35 version, you have to find two caches in each state that I-35 goes through from Texas to Wisconsin. But, the caches have to be within 10 miles of each other and one has to be on the West side while the other is on the East side.
Beyond going over some of the common themes in challenge caches, I’m looking to expand the list. So if you have a challenge cache style that you’ve seen, created, or completed that isn’t listed above, posted in on here. If you have an example of a design that isn’t listed above, I am definitely interested in hearing about it? Post the GC Code for it if you have it. I’m looking to expand my list because it pertains to a cache I am planning. I’ll provide more on that later.
When I finished the post, I new I forgot something.
Alpha-Numeric and A-Z Challenges are based on names. They can be based on names of caches or names of cache owners. You must find a cache, or a cache by an owner, whose name begins with each letter of the alphabet. The Alpha-Numeric Cache Owner variation is among the hardest when you consider that names that begin with numbers are not only uncommon, but then you have to find which of THOSE uncommon names have actually placed caches. My buddy 8601 is working on that variation and in the past he had told me that he is one of only two people in the entire US whose name started with an 8 (at least at that time).
Cache Across America and State Capitol Quests are extremely challenging. Cache Across America has exactly one cache in each state that was placed specifically for the challenge. To complete it and gain the location and right to sign the final cache requires you to find those specific 50 caches. Jim, who commented below, is one of only a handful of people to complete it since started in 2007 (only 5 claimed finds, but some were couples). The State Capital Quest is similar, requiring a find in each of the 50 state capitals. It has only been found once since published in early 2006. However, because of the very specific nature of these two, they would not be considered common challenges. Unlike the others, which often have multiple versions out around the world, it’s unlikely that these will see duplicates any time soon due to the extreme amount of travel needed to complete.
Caches based on games are often produced as series as opposed to challenges. But thanks for the reminder of all of these Jim. I actually had the Cache Across America and A-Z on my list but forgot about them when writing.