What makes a good cache? The answer to this of course is completely subjective, but for me I like caches that bring me to a location that either is scenic ("Cache Falls"), historical ("Boxboard Mills"), personal to a cacher ("Salute to Veterans") or a combination of the above ("Quarry Rocks" which is scenic, historical and personal.)
The container, hide and difficulty in accessing the cache are important, but for me it mostly boils down to the location. I would rather do one cache that brought me to an area that I really liked than do a dozen caches that were not scenic, historical or special in some way (i.e. and no offense to anyone here . . . but the I-95 reststop caches which I have done aren't that thrillling to do . . . although they are useful for moving Travel Bugs.)
As some of you might recall I am not a big fan of puzzle caches since my wee mind can rarely make head nor sense of them and I don't particularly like multi, multi-stage caches that have me driving or walking from point to point for half a day . . . although I have and will continue to do these caches as well.
As for micros . . . I don't dislike them providing they are placed in an appropriate area (i.e. hiding one in middle of Baxter State Park might not be the best decision, but hiding one in middle of a busy city park would be) and are hidden in a nice area and/or hidden well (i.e. hiding one on a guardrail at Dunkin' Donuts doesn't exactly rock my world.)
I like a variety of caches and I like a variety of challenges. I like the easy-to-find ones hidden under a bundle of sticks as much as the ones where someone has taken some time to really think out their hide (i.e. "Ol' Swimmin' Hole", "Battleship").
As for containers . . . I purposely found 50 or so caches before I made a decision to hide my own. I did this because I wanted to see how people made their hides and what they did for the containers. While I will not fault anyone for using tupperware, ziplock ware, etc. I am not a big fan of plastic containers (with the exceptions being mortar tubes and thermos containers) since they seem to be more prone to damage, leaking, etc. I dislike trying to write on a soggy, half-frozen logbook or scooping out items that are rusting, falling apart or in general disrepair due to the weather. I also dislike the idea of having to constantly check on my cache and so I made a personal decison to use ammo cans since they seem to stand up better.
While I still check my own caches from time to time I have found thus far they have held up well providing no one puts bug dope in them which leaks out on to everything else. The only thing I will say about cache containers is that it may be snobbish . . . but if I think a cache container may be compromised by the weather I often will only do a log and not place any item or signature item into it. I figure I took the time to create my ladder S.I. and I would really rather it not end up being trashed due to the cache container allowing moisture inside.
You bring up an interesting point about Maine caches and the fact that Maine cache placement is low. Could it be due to the fact that things usually slow down in the winter . . . I know I've slowed down quite a bit due to the cold, snow (for all two days that it was here) and fact that I most enjoy geocaching in "good" weather. Moreover, Maine has a fairly low population compared to much of the rest of the U.S. which may also be a factor for the low number of new caches placed . . . although to be quite frank I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many new caches have been placed in just this year alone.
I also will say that I made a personal vow to myself when I first started caching. I vowed that
a) I would place a cache in areas that I found scenic, historical or personal in nature to me and not place a cache just for the sake of placing a cache
b) I would attempt to maintain that cache to the best of my ability and would place good "stuff" in the cache and clean out the "junk" since I know it was quite discouraging to me as a newbie when I would find a cache full of water, trash, rocks, etc.
c) I would attempt to place caches that were easy to get to and easy to find along with caches that might require a little extra work with the 4WD or 2FT (feet-legs) and would be a bit of a challenge to find so that newbies and veterans alike would enjoy my caches.
d) Finally, I decided that one of the quickest ways to kill this activity is by having it stagnate with no new caches and so I vowed I would attempt to place a new cache of my own with every 25 or so finds. This way I figure I am giving back to the caching community.
Well, that's my feelings on the issue.
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the realization that there is something more important than fear."
"Death is only one of many ways to die."