Factors Determining Difficulty and Terrain for Geocaching
Before we go on to discuss determining the difficulty level for geocaching, let us check out the terrains that are to be avoided. Each geocacher will want to hide his/her geocache where it will not be easily located. This may lure them into using some terrain or tricks that may prove dangerous or problematic for the geocachers hunting the cache.
As the rule of thumb, no terrain should be used that may put geocachers in any kind of danger. These terrains include forests with dangerous wild animals, steep slippery hills, or political borders. Geocachers are also discouraged from placing geocaches beneath the surface of earth. This creates two problems. If the container or geocache is buried too deep, the GPS for geocaching may not be of any help. Even if the GPS device for geocaching helps the treasure hunter reach there, she/he may need special equipment to excavate it. This is the reason why underground geocaches are not allowed on most of the popular geocaching websites.
Now that we have an idea of determining terrains for geocaching, let us check out how to reach the difficulty level of a geocache. The following abstract points should be considered to rate the difficulty level of any geocache:
1. Duration of the Hunt: The number of days and nights it will take from your place to reach the geocache. This is a variable factor as some people may be staying just next to the geocache while others may be on the other side of the globe! Hence, the level should be rated with reference to a certain place instead of considering it as an absolute factor.
2. The Trail to the Geocache: This includes the terrain through which you will travel to reach the geocache. Examples are mountainous trails, streams or rivers, wide concrete roads or off-highways, and forests. This factor can be one or more of the above. Also, if it is a mountain, you have to check out how rough it is. In case of forests, you need to check out the thickness of the trail.
3. Equipment Required to Reach the Geocache: While a GPS device is mandatory, the difficulty level also depends on the additional equipment required. For example, you may need a boat that carries you to an island situated in a lake. If it is mountains, you will need hiking equipment such as rock climbers, ropes, etc.
4. Visibility of the Geocache: The ease of noticing the geocache once you reach the area is also a factor in determining the difficulty level. Some geocaches can easily be noticed (e.g. placed along highway). Some may require extensive search (e.g. hidden on one of the branches of many trees).
Though the above factors can be measured only as an abstract, they can still help geocachers in determining difficulty and terrain for geocaching.