The Value of a Cache Log

We’ve all seen them.  Some of us have written them sometimes.  I’m talking about the short log.  The low-effort log.  We each have views about them.  I’m no exception.



“Quick Find”


All are examples of the rather short logs some people will put on a cache when they submit their log.  Lately, it seems this has seen an increase.  Rumors abound about this being due to smartphone loggers.  In other words, people logging their finds via a smart phone and due to the keyboard size and/or their hurry to move on, they type as little as possible.  Some do go back and update them, but not all of them do.  As a cache owner, it can be frustrating depending on the cache.  If I’ve put effort into a cache, I’d like to see more than TFTC.   Even on caches that are hardly a blip on my”Awesome” radar, I’ll try to say something. I don’t have too, but I try.

UPDATE: As KJWX mentioned in the comments, another common cause of this is definitely new cachers who don’t know any better.  Possibly because they have seen others log TFTC.  A third factor to consider is the age of the cacher.  Younger cachers (teens and some young adults) are also more prone to quick logs.  At least I have noticed that a bit in my own experience.

Today, I happened to be looking through some photos when I came across some from a day earlier this year.  It made me think of this topic again and I thought I’d share.  Sometimes, taking the time to write out a proper log can be worthwhile.  You start thinking creatively.  You also can influence the hider.  The logs I’m sharing today are examples of such logs.  Logs that I took time on and logs that I know the owners appreciated.  They’ve told me so.  For this first one, I’m going to go all the way back to June 2009.  The cache is called “Bring Your Ladder“.  Here was my log that day:

Yesterday, while out in Lawrence with Rainbow Cache, we saw these two come through. Today, as I was deciding what to go after for my caching streak, I saw these two. When I saw that one had been found and this one hadn’t, I got excited at a possible FTF. I couldn’t believe that one was passed up and figured it was merely because of the multi status.

When I arrived, I quickly did the math. Then I used the clue to verify. Yep, I was right. When I signed the other cache I saw that somebody else had been out today but hadn’t logged online yet. I figured I had lost the FTF but still decided I would go after the cache. Why pass it up when I’m here already. As I closed in on stage 1 (or would it be stage 2…), I began to realize why the FTF on the other cache didn’t go after this one. But, I thankfully saw a route. Making sure I didn’t have cars passing behind me, I got to stage 1. Found it quickly and got the coords for the final. Then I looked at my GPSr and realized something. Looking at the sheet I printed out for this, I realized this was a level 4 terrain. I looked in the direction of the final and asked myself “HOW?”

Well, some searching around and I made a guess. When I arrived at my guess, I found a much easier route and took it. I’m sure I looked odd to any passerby’s as I walked from stage 1 to that point, but once there, I was pretty concealed. Made my way up and entered the final leg.

When I arrived at GZ, I quickly deduced the location and found the cache. I almost ripped it open to see the log book. When opened, I almost hit my head on an overhanging branch as I jumped in joy at getting the FTF. WOO-HOO! This has definitely been one of the funner FTF’s I’ve gotten. I signed the log and took all three trackables (I left 3 behind in exchange). I left the card and laser pointer for someone else. Replacing the cache, I almost danced my way back out into the open.

Carefully working my way through the route I took to get here, I soon found myself back at my car. I know a few people saw me walking around and probably thought I was crazy. Why wouldn’t I after getting the FTF?

Thanks for this cache. Definitely fun to go after.

This cache was one of the first two hides by cacher StealthRT, a now local staple in the geocaching community.  He has since placed quite a few caches and is known for his logs.  He also recently spoke at a local “lesson-style” event about logging etiquette.  That day, he shared this log in his presentation and said that this was the log that helped inspire him to place more caches, and showed him the power of a single log entry.  It is among one of his favorite logs.  He has placed a number of good hides and hosted some fun events, showing that a single log can be encouraging.

Now for this next set of logs, I need to tell some back story.  There are some local cachers by the name of TheBummies.  A family with two young girls, I’ve enjoyed frequent conversations with them.  After only a few events, the girls would yell out my name and come over to high five me.  Some great kids, they recently had help making their own accounts so that they could log their finds separate from mom and dad.  Then, earlier this year, they placed their first caches.  Each of them placed one, then daddy placed one.  And they published on a snowy school day morning.  A day where school had already called the day off.  When I saw these come through the night before, I didn’t really pay too much attention to them.  The next morning, stuck at home with no plans, I looked at them again and saw their dad’s name on one of the caches.  Then I put two and two together and realized that the other two caches where the very first caches by these young girls.  Both under ten years old.  So I grabbed my gear and bundled up for a hike.  I’ll let the logs tell the rest of the story.  The first two caches are by the girls and the third is by the father.  You can click on the title of the caches to visit the respective cache pages.  I’ll post the photos I put into each log at the end of each, and the pictures should be linked to my individual logs.

Cacher’s Hideaway

This is part one of a three part adventure. Check out Part Two and Part Three to read the rest of the story.

I woke up this morning at around 5 AM. At the time, there was snow coming down but I had no news about whether school was in session. When I woke up at my normal time at 6 AM, I got ready for work BEFORE checking the news. I then found out that school was closed, and seemingly due to some problems with the phone system, I never received the standard phone call about the closing.

Wide awake, I started trying to decide what I wanted to do for the day. I decided to play a bit before remembering three close geocaches that were published yesterday. I got online and saw that nobody had claimed a find on them yet. When I saw who owned the caches, I had to go after them. So I bundled up in my best “I want to keep warm” outfit, loaded my GPSr, and got in the car. I later found out that I left the two trackables I intended to bring with me. After a very slow drive to the park (safety first), I parked my car in front of the gate and began the trek to Cacher’s Hideaway. Did I mention that there was snow out? It was a bit cold but I stayed as warm as possible. This made walking through the park interesting as the snow made it hard to be certain what I was walking on. I took a picture as I got to the open area about 250 feet from the cache. Looking at the arrow on my GPSr, I veered to the side and got to about 150 feet away before I thought “I think it is THERE!”

I started running towards the cache, excited at the chance that I would be the first to find it. My excitement soon faded away as I saw tracks. Like a troll under a bridge I bellowed “WHO DARED GO OUT IN THE SNOW….oh wait, I am out in the snow.” Silly me.

I approached the location where this was hidden and soon found the geocache. This is a nice container and I liked the spot where it was hidden. I was sad that I couldn’t be first but for your first hide, this was good. You get a favorite point because I had fun finding this one. Great job and I can’t wait to see what else you put out LittleGPS.

Look at the snow coming down.

Don’t be bugged!

This is part two of a three part adventure. Check out Part One and Part Three to read the rest of the story.

After finding Cacher’s Hideaway, I was guessing that the evil Mr. Firemnky had stolen my idea of getting three FTF’s this morning while everyone else tried to stay warm at home. So I didn’t move too quickly towards Don’t be bugged! I figured I had time. I also decided to take the path along the treeline. As I got closer, I realized my error as the terrain started getting a bit bumpy. When I came to this tiny creek…Maybe it was the thrill of the hunt. Maybe it was one of the games I started to play this morning (a treasure hunt action game). Maybe I was just really coooooold and not thinking straight…anyway I realized it wasn’t going to be a simple step across. I didn’t have my trusty bullwhip and fedora so I took a step back and jumped. Thank goodness for good boots.

Once safely on the other side, I began the climb (yes I said climb) up to where the cache was hidden. The owner wasn’t kidding about thorns. I poked myself a few times and got my jacket caught up a few times too as I moved around trying to figure out this sneaky cache. Sneaky is the right word. I would not have expected such a sneaky hide from EagleEye6. I looked and looked and kept repeating the hint in my head, all the time thinking “What does THIS have to do with the cache?” I must have checked some spots three or four times, determined to prove to myself that the last time I had merely missed it. Or maybe it would magically appear. Yeah, that could be why it was sneaky. But alas, each time I came up empty handed.

Yet finally, after some searching and ready to head to the next cache to let my mind think, I did one more search around and noticed something odd. Yep, I finally found it. I had a big grin on my face as I thought that Sneaky was DEFINITELY the right word. With these monster killing thorns, the snow still falling down on me, and this sneaky hide, this deserves a favorite point. I had fun finding this.

And the best part is that the evil Mr. Firemnky hadn’t been to this one yet. I WAS THE FIRST TO FIND THIS! NA NA NA NA NA! Great job EagleEye6. I can’t wait to learn what sneaky hide you have planned next.

As I left the area, I took a photo of the geese.


This is the final part of a three cache adventure. Check out Part One and Part Two to hear my full adventure.

After Don’t Be Bugged, I had a renewed effort to get to Treeline in the hopes that the evil Mr. Firemnky had truly stopped after only one cache. I started jogging to the cache, eager to find another empty log. The snow was still coming down and I was reaching a far enough distance from my car that I had to carefully scan to find it due to the snow. Yep, it was still there.

As I closed in on the cache, I stopped to take a photo, then started picking which spot the owner might have placed the cache. At about 40 feet, I spotted something that looked odd against the background. I carefully got close and reached for the cache. I had apparently spotted a flash of camo against the snow. Wow, this was heavy. I opened it up and was happy to see my second FTF. YAY! Two out of three. Eat that Mr. Firemnky!

What an adventure on a snow filled day off. Thank you each for placing these three caches. I had a great day.

The houses are hard to see with all the snow.

I found the treasure!

As you can see, I clearly enjoyed writing the logs for these caches.  I also posted at least one photo on each of them.  Both the girls also got a Favorite point.  Their dad didn’t. 🙂  I sent him a message letting him know about that too so he could make sure they saw the favorite point.  I was willing to award the point because I honestly had fun finding these, but also because I wanted them to feel proud of their hides.  I was told they had fun reading the story with their parents.

So I share these stories because I wanted to point out that taking a little extra time can make for some fun reading, some encouragement for the cache owners, and possibly some inspiration for someone to place more caches.  Imagine if you received logs like this on your very first hide?  Would you want to place more?

Does anyone have a favorite log that they would like to share?  How about an example of how a log might have encouraged you to keep hiding?


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6 Responses to The Value of a Cache Log

  1. Team-Ducky says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more. I never leave short logs or abbreviated logs. I try to avoid the cut-n-paste logs, too. We don’t put out a lot of caches, but the ones we do put out we try to put some work into them. A well crafted log on the cache is always a joy to see. Around here, Mr. Science and El Fartero and Tundra Wolf always make sure to leave a long and/or clever log to read.

    • El Fartero says:

      I realize this response comes 6 months too late, and probably nobody’s gonna see it. I came upon this after doing a websearch on “El Fartero” (yeah, it’s Christmas, I’m Jewish, and I don’t have much to do.)

      Well, thanks for the kind words, TD. I do try to make my logs unique and entertaining and I’m pleased to see that it’s not all for nothing.

      I once tried to start a thread in the Groundspeak Forum, entitled “Favorite Points for Logs,” in which I suggested that the CO be allowed to award a “Favorite” point to the one log on his or her cache description page which stands above the rest. I got 3 positive, supportive comments right away, but then the next comment was a rather whiney bit of negativity which dismissed my suggestion, without offering up anything helpful in exchange. And after that, the thread just kind of died out, and that was as far as it got.

      • tripcyclone says:

        That sounds like an interesting idea EL Fartero. It would provide some inspiration for people to get more creative with their logs. Especially if the feature allowed the voted log to be a highlighted log on the cache page. So maybe at the bottom of the description, the “highlighted log” would be visible to everyone by default.

  2. MuggleN0More says:

    I love making epic logs for most of my cache finds. Here is my favorite log for my first Extreme cache…

  3. kjwx says:

    As a smartphone user who rarely submits an abbreviated log, I think it’s unfair to tar us all with the same brush. In fact since I ditched my Garmin Oregon in favour of an iPhone, I’ve found I log longer stories as the search is fresh in my mind. It once took me a whole day to record all 116 finds from a power trail but 99% featured more than those dreaded four, little letters.
    And I’m not alone, at least on this side of the world anyway. Locally, I’ve found most TFTC loggers are newcomers who either don’t have any hides of their own &/or just don’t know any better.
    I prefer to reserve TFTC for those hides that have SO infuriated me with their incompetence/crap geocache; if I didn’t, I would be breaking my mother’s advice about not saying anything at all if you can’t say anything nice.

  4. tripcyclone says:

    You are right Kylie that it isn’t always smartphone users. I had put “Rumors abound about this being due to smartphone loggers.” but forgot to clarify that smartphone users aren’t the only cause of this. New users are definitely one other big cause. I have also found smartphone users logging it “TFTC” at first, then going back on a computer when they get home to update their log. As an owner, I only get an e-mail on the initial log, not when they go back to update. Thank you for adding that last bit about always trying to say something nice. A good point when logging caches you didn’t enjoy.

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