Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to write a good geocaching log primer

How to write a good geocaching log primer
By Bert Marshall (BaytownBert)
Southeast Texas Representative Texas Geocaching Association

 “I saw the difficulty and terrain rating was a 2/2, but I was feeling extra caching mojo this morning, so I decided what the heck?” and I parked a mile away.  I pulled out my pogo stick and proceeded to go across the corn field instead of taking the sidewalk…”

 Let me say up front that I have written logs just like the one you just read and taken it to ridiculous extremes, but I don’t always do this.  At the very least I will write something like this:  “Was headed north this morning and used this neato cache to get out and stretch my legs!  Thank you for placing it for my geo-adventure.  SLTFTC!” and then I will upload a ridiculous photo of myself, sometimes with my fake teeth grinning at the camera.

 What’s the big deal on posting more than one fellow who always signs his logs “NC”, which after 3000 finds, I find to be a bit rude?  Looking at his profile, I see all these finds and no hides and then I understand.  He hasn’t hidden any, so he doesn’t understand that possibly a lot of work went into building, placing, and maintaining the cache he found.

 Without meaning to sound self-righteous, I want to point out something many geocaching veterans believe.  At some point in your caching experience, it is natural to want to give back to the game and at the very least, writing a proper log is one thing a cacher should do.

 Contributing to the game can be placing caches, sending out trackables, hosting events, teaching classes, attending CITO’s, and mentoring newbies.  Personally and this may sound rude, I feel like by the time you’ve found 500 caches, you should be hiding some or actively helping other cachers.  Otherwise you are just a game player, not a game contributor. Your mileage may vary, but that’s how I feel.

 I’ve hidden over 800 geocaches or events and sent out 136 trackables.  Now granted a lot of these caches have been archived, but I still maintain a heckava lot of geocaches and regularly hide more.  I religiously maintain them too, so I am not just blowing smoke.  I teach classes for newbies, avoiding hosting the meet to eat events and opting to something more directly related to the game. 

 Now to be considered a contributor, you don’t have to do all that.  No one knows your schedule or commitment but you and some of these things are simply beyond your scope, so what does that leave?

 Logs.  Writing a proper log may be the only thing you can do to contribute right now.  I use GSAK, which is a wonderful program for geocachers.  I could easily upload the 46 geocaches I found today and write one script that describes what I did and then wham!  They all get published in one fell swoop…

 But what about posting an amazing selfie on each cache page?  What about the corn field and the pogo stick?  What about the snake I saw or the wasp that chased me?  What about that important personal touch?  Nope.  I want to relive each cache as I write about it. Often I write something quick in the field and then later in the day in the comfort of my home (and a cold brewski) I edit the log and add the photos. At this time I add a note on the cache homepage of what I found in case there is a PAF later on. Is it a lot of work? No, because I get to relive each cache I visited!

 I have a friend, whose handle is Skunkonthefog.  At each cache he finds (and he only goes for caches that catch his attention), he will look around and write the first thing that comes to mind and often, his logs are hilarious.  LatitudeAttitude and + The Driver always write great logs and I delight in reading them.

So, raise your right hand and repeat after me.  “I promise to try and write better logs. Oh, and one more thing, don’t forget that this is a game and a good one.  Have fun and relive your experience through your log and both you and the CO will enjoy the game more.


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