I haven't been around that long, so I can't give you any info about experiences or motivations. However, I can point you to a bookmark list
I made recently that lists the first 100 caches hidden in BC. The first one wasn't hidden until Feb 2, 2001, and the 100th a little over a year later. There weren't many caches to be found in BC in 2001, and none in 2000.