Are you a favourite point hoarder or do you just give them away for any old reason? I got to thinking about this recently when I was logging the geocaches we found while on holiday in the U.S. It turns out, I’m a bit of an FP squirrel. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since I’m usually somewhat confused when I read a log from a cacher saying they have no favourite points left to give despite wanting to award one.
What’s a Favourite Point?
If you’re a new geocacher, you may not have heard of favourite points. Premium members can award favourite points (FPs) to geocaches to share their appreciation of the hide, or simply to track the caches they most enjoyed. Favourite points are ‘earned’ at a ratio of 1 per 10 caches found. So for every 10 caches you log as ‘found’, you will get one FP to award to a cache of your choosing.
All the caches you have ‘favourited’ are accumulated in a list, so you can look back on special caches in the future. Looking back at my favourites list is a nice walk down geocaching memory lane for me, which is why I tend not to remove favourite points after a cache is archived: I still want to keep a note of the reason I gave it a FP in the first place.
The number of favourite points a cache has is a great way to single out caches you should look for when you’re visiting somewhere new. I currently have 27 favourite points to spare, having awarded a total of 306 so far. I can’t remember ever ‘running out’ of favourite points to give out, nor can I recall the last time that the number I had in the bank went under 20. Maybe I’m a bit picky when it comes to adding caches to my favourites list!
Here are some of the reasons I am inclined to give a favourite point to a geocache.
1. A Clever or Creative Cache
This one is a no-brainer. If someone has gone to a lot of trouble to create a fun container, that may be tricky to open, then I’ll usually click on that little heart to show my appreciation. Even if it’s a standard enough box but it’s hidden in a new and inventive way, I’m inclined to show it some love.
2. A Great View
I am a sucker for a wonderful view. Since I love taking landscape photographs almost as much as I love geocaching, this should come as no surprise. After all, when you’re hiding a cache, a fundamental question to consider is, “why am I bringing people here?” If the reason is to show the finder a spectacular view, you’re definitely doing this cache-owning thing right in my book!
3. A Memorable Adventure
This one may or may not be influenced by the cache owner. Sometimes, a cache is deliberately hidden with an adventure in mind: think a cache on an island that can only be accessed by boat or low-tide. But other times, a cache is special because of an unexpected adventure that turned in to an unforgettable memory, like that time when I had just started geocaching and my mother, nephew and I fell for that rookie error of taking the direct route to a cache and got lost. I’ll never forget the dramatics of my then 7 year old nephew: “you’ll have to call for the rescue helicopter!”
4. An Interesting Location
Not necessarily a breathtaking view, but a GZ that brings your attention to something unusual or interesting. If it’s somewhere close to home, it’s usually a location that makes you think, “huh. I didn’t know that was there.” Further afield, it’s those caches where you’re taken by surprise when you arrive at the coordinates.
5. An Oldie
Even if you’re not working on the Jasmer Challenge, finding a really old cache, from 2000 or 2001, feels like uncovering a piece of geocaching history. Because many of these dates are so rare, I am always nervous when I search for them. The sense of relief upon making the find is reason enough to give a favourite point as far as I’m concerned.
6. A Special Milestone
Many times, I will purposely pick out a noteworthy cache to be invested in to my milestone cache hall of fame, and often, there is an amount of planning to make that particular number special. It’s not just numbers that are milestones though: a cache that completes a particular challenge I’ve been working on is a worthy milestone in my book.
What requirements should a cache meet to have you parting with your favourite points?
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