Caches hidden in the CO’s garden: Love ’em, or hate ’em?

I thought I’d touch down on a slightly controversial subject and air my opinion. It is of course just my opinion, so would love to hear what others think…

I don’t moan much, really, do I? OK… Well… I’ve said that caches shouldn’t get put in plastic bags, I’ve moaned about little bottles being used as containers, I’ve compained about caches that are placed in obviously dodgy positions, I’ve debated people covering caches with soil, I’ve moaned about caches taking me to absolutely nowhere and complained that sometimes caches are submitted without the container being in place. Right, so maybe I do moan a lot, but you can ignore all that if you promise me one thing…

PLEASE don’t hide caches in your gardens without putting something EXTREMELY OBVIOUS in your description and hint!!!!

It makes me feel so very uncomfortable searching for them. GPSr’s can easily be 20ft or more off, especially if using a mobile device to find caches and that distance can mean the difference between me leaning the CO’s wall and rummaging in their bush to me rummaging in their neighbour’s garden. And even if I do get the right garden, what are the neighbours going to think when they see me rummaging on that property?

I think that in descriptions it should be made clear that it is in a front garden so that I feel comfortable searching. I know that there is a danger in saying “Hello everyone here are the coordinates and the cache is at my house” because then all geocachers know where you live! However those are indeed the dangers in hiding caches in these locations. If they absolutely have to put a cache in their front garden I think there should be a hint that tells me exactly where it is. “Under a bush” or “You will need to rummage” means I could be searching in anyone’s garden! Neighbours should be told, and by reading the description I should know that the neighbours know so that I can find the cache without the old bill tapping me on the shoulder and dragging me down to the station, because that generates great publicity for Geocachers. I can see it now… “Girl caught rummaging through old lady’s garden claims to be searching for a Geocache!” I think things may be slighly different for our friends over the pond where front porches and “back yards” may be a fair bit bigger, or more freely accessible, but in most gardens here in the UK I think it is pure madness.

Obviously none of you lovely people reading this blog entry would do such a thing, but I just had to get it off of my chest after experiencing one recently. It was near a big open square green patch with houses and front gardens along every side. A colleague and I went to scout it out with my iPhone after it had only just been published an hour before. The description was vague and all I knew was that for the CO it was a very local cache, it was a small tupperware box, and I had to rummage for it. To me this wasn’t definite enough for me to search anywhere near someone’s front garden. We searched around the area, however after a good 15 minutes decided that it could really only be in someone’s front garden. I found a likely spot that I thought was the location, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to go for it. Whilst we were wandering about with my iPhone a lady that I thought was the neighbour walked past and into the house on the corner. Eventually we gave up.

The evil garden cache!

Two days after us another cacher thought to give it a go. They DNF’ed it, and you know what they found? The neighbour’s spare frontdoor key!!! This would perhaps indicate that the neighbours weren’t aware, or the CO hadn’t made them aware that GPSrs can be off by a considerable amount and that searchers may wrongly target their garden. It was likely that the spot I suspected was the same place that a front door key would be, so what a good job that I didn’t search there. Can you imagine the look on the neighbour’s face if they saw me emerging from their bush with their front door key? I would now have to explain that I wasn’t planning to rob their house and if the CO isn’t in when I get caught then I have no-one to backup my story.

Since I went searching a new hint has been added (Obviously due to the comments both us DNF’ers made in our logs) and after asking another cacher I now know where it is. It is in the garden of the house where the “neighbour” lady went into when we were searching. I guess she was the CO, but she didn’t say anything. The description is still vague enough for cachers to really question where it may be, however with the logs there now they may feel more confident. I’m not sure if I’m going to go for it. It’s just down the road and I know its exact hiding place, but the thought of doing this, particularly in an area where there are houses facing the spot from every angle still makes me feel that finding this cache is a very, very naughty thing to do.

How would you feel about this sort of hide? Have you ever encountered one? Leave a comment below!


10 Responses to “Caches hidden in the CO’s garden: Love ’em, or hate ’em?”

  1. Sarah Says:

    nope, I wouldn’t even look for a cache like this

  2. thebolasheathens Says:

    I’m not a big fan of this kind of cache either, for exactly the reasons you mention.

    The worst one we did was outside a terraced house in Bury. The houses were really narrow and so the front garden of each one was really small. The cache could literally have been in the garden on any one of about 6 houses!

    We DNF’d it as we did not fancy having to explain ourselves to an irate neighbour and suggested on our log that the right house number be put in the additional hint on the cache page.

    The cache owner took this to heart and did this, so we managed to bag the cache the next time we were in the area. Result!

    • geocass Says:

      Thanks for your comment.

      Good to see that the CO reacted to your comments to improve the description. I think I can understand not wanting to blatantly put in the description “This is in my garden” due to security fears (but then I guess all of the burglars will be busy robbing the houses of all the people on Facebook who have used Places to identify their home coordinates and updated their status to “Hooray! Were at the airport on our way to Majorca for two weeks”)

      Anyhoo, I did nearly do one that said in the description “the householder has given permission for this to be placed here” which I would translate to a subtle way of saying “It’s in my garden” I thought this was a good way of letting people know what to expect before they got to it. However I couldn’t get to it as there were builders in the way.

      Ah the joys of garden caches… 🙂

  3. dogbomb Says:

    Ugh. Never had to deal with one of these. I think I’d just register a DNF and walk away. I have found a key under a rock while searching for a cache though. I think it was for a farmers gate or suchlike. I just replaced it and contacted the cache owner.

    • geocass Says:

      Ooh, ive never come across anything like that. I suppose it’s quite likely that you will find keys when caching as some are hidden in those magnetic keysafes. That would be a very dodgy thing to find in a garden as you would actually open it thinking it were a cache!

  4. ErikaJean Says:

    I just blogged about a front porch cache that I did, and how it was nice that it was SO obvious and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. The cacher even put their house number in the description or hint (i can’t remember).

    That cache owner you’re talking about should Def. tell the neighbors! Cause if I was nearby and saw someone unfamiliar in a neighbors garden – I might call the police!

    Did you tell the Cache owner your concerns? maybe he/she hadn’t thought about all the points you made.

  5. sumajman Says:

    I by-pass these. Many times you don’t know until you get there that it is this type of cache. Fortunately there aren’t many of these. If it is not right on the street or sidewalk and looks like it takes me into the yard, even if it says the owner of the property knows, I don’t even go for it.

  6. Slightly Tall Paul Says:

    It’s basically cachers being lazy. There’s quite a few like this near to me, usually the only hide of a cacher who has found only a handfull of caches. There’s even one in someone’s carport and you have to squeeze past their car to find it! Even worse is GCMY2H Junction 27 Travel Bug Hotel, which was someone’s actual house. You knocked on the front door and swapped your TBs for any that they were holding. They’ve now moved away to Wales or somewhere, won’t archive the cache, and the house’s new occupants know nothing of geocaching.

    I usually avoid them, the only one that I went for is GC224T7 ‘Tis the season at no.34, because I had my daughter with me and she was being grumpy after finding just micros and nanos the previous day and I knew that this cache would have plenty of swag in.

    • geocass Says:

      I agree. It is simply just laziness. If the CO wants to meet cachers they should get off their bum and go to an event. This hider was indeed someone with a quite low find count, however high enough to know better (IMHO)

      That J27 cache sounds beyond awful 😦 and personally caches in front gardens is something I’d like to see banned. ANYONE can hide a garden cache. You’re not taking anyone to anywhere interesting, nor as a CO are you showing any dedication in maintaining it when it’s outside your door. Crazy, crazy stuff and by the comments received below this entry (thanks everyone!!!) It’s pretty much a unanimous decision!

  7. jane Says:

    I am on both sides of the fence, both figuratively and actually!
    I don’t like looking for caches in peoples front gardens (or front yards)but I have one in mine!

    Mine is seasonal, grandfathered in before the rule change and is in the name of a ‘sock puppet’ not my regular caching name! It’s been there since 2001 and I have had a lot of fun watching people find it! I go out and introduce myself or sometimes they come to the door and say hi! Even catch people making the find when I come home of an evening once in a while!! The fact that is seasonal makes a difference I think.
    It’s fun!!

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