In geocaching, like all things internet…there is a lingo to be learned.
You see many things like…
“TNLNSL!” = Took Nothing, Left Nothing, Signed the Log”
“TFTC” = Thanks for the Cache!
“TFTH” – Thanks for the hunt/hide
“DNF” = Did not find
and the best of all, “FTF!” = FIRST TO FIND!!!!!
On Geocaching.com I am known as “MrsMamaHen” – but we used to be “The Smith Mountain Explorers” – or SMXers for short.
Several years ago, when I first started geocaching, I had been going around finding caches that had already been found by others. One day, there was a new cache that had been posted. No one had found it yet, so I decided to go after it. If I was the “FTF” it would be my very first “FTF” as well as my very first “Multi” (multiple step) cache.
This was my first log for that particular cache:
August 25, 2004 by MrsMamaHen
Yesterday I went for my usual 10 mile hike. When I got done, I thought to myself. “Hmmm, I have my GPS with me. Hmmm I have my PDA with me and Hmm it has the GPX file on it with that NEW multicache in Fayetteville! Hmmm, I have 3 hours until I have to get home….Let’s give it a go!”
So I headed towards the first coordinates. NO PROBLEM! It is just up the road from one of ours.
Headed off to the second set. Stopped at a nearby office so I could park and get a good look at the location. Well the man that owns the office happens to be a native to the area, and happens to be a HUGE history buff, AND a member of the Cape Fear Historical Society. He gave me a tour through his office, that practically doubles as his own private museum.
Headed off to the third set. Got that with no problem as well and thought, “Hmm, I have gotten all three so far in just a matter of a few minutes. I have 2 more hours to find the final, this should be a breeze!”
Following my GPS, I drove and drove until I got in the general vicinity. I circled around residential areas until I found myself at the edge of the area, and on the verge of the WOODS. Hey! I am only .38 of a mile away, NO PROBLEM!
.38 of a mile AS THE CROW FLIES! I headed off down the slope, through the woods, determined to get there. I battled my way through briars and brush, and mud and sludge. I came to a little lake. Okay, the lake is in my way, I have to go AROUND IT. So off I go. I battled the blood-sucking bugs, thankful I had brought my 29%DEET bug spray with me in my pack. I got myself within a few feet, and circled and circled and searched. I thought, “I KNOW IT IS HERE!” Checked my coordinates. GASP! I mis-entered one digit. Okay no problem, it was a smaller one, and only set me off by a few yards. I head off, and again find myself circling and searching, searching and circling. I look at the time.
OH NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I had to go. Unfortunately the KIDS would be home, and they might not appreciate being locked out of the house. So I hang my head, and I head back to the car–which I remembered to mark!
Back around the lake, back through the mud, the bugs, the briars, and up, up, up to the car.
I emerged from the woods, huffing and puffing and bleeding hungry and filthy. Those two peices of toast and 1 cup of coffee had burned off somewhere around the first 10th of a mile. But that luke warm water I still had from my morning hike was SO GOOD. I guzzled it down praying I wouldn’t give myself a cramp.
I went home and checked the map, thinking there HAS to be another way of getting there. There was. checked the coordinates, and UGH!!!!! I had mis-entered ANOTHER number as well!!!!
I laid in bed last night, sore and exhausted, but all I could think about was “THE CACHE” and how it had TAUNTED ME!
* * *
The second log:
August 26, 2004 by MrsMamaHen
I have decided that I have some sort of illness. I hike and walk for miles and miles. I go to bed, but can I sleep? NO.
Why? I can’t get “THE CACHE” off the brain!!!! After 2 hours I get up and take some Tylenol PM. My body is sore, but it won’t sleep. I NEED to go to sleep, or how will I have the energy to go after “THE CACHE” in the morning?
2 hours later, I finally fall asleep. An hour later, I am awake again. “THE CACHE!” I decide I am obsessed.
Finally I fall asleep for good.
I awaken to the smell of coffee being held over my sleeping, half-dead body. I had turned the alarm off without even realizing it, and “Mr. S.M.E.” was so sweet as to bring me a cup of jump-start.
I drag myself out of bed, and prepared my pack for the day. I checked the site to see if any overly ambitious cacher had claimed it since I collapsed into bed the night before. Nope. “YES!”, I think to myself, “I WILL GET the FTF!” Bwahahahahahaa!!!!!!
So I get the kids off on the bus…waiting in the CAR with the engine running….for them to leave. They get on the bus, and I am OFF! I beat the bus out of the housing area.
THIS time I went to the RIGHT place to begin my adventure.
I headed out full of energy and anticipation of getting the FTF. THIS time with the RIGHT coordinates leading me the way.
I passed a lady out on a walk. I am not worried, because I am just getting started and a long ways away from where I am going. I walked and walked and walked, enjoying the great scenery. Thinking, “This is so cool, I have to come here again!”
What is that I hear? Voices. Ahead. Close to where I am going. OH NO! Fellow Cachers?????
I watch as I come upon the source of the voices, and breathe a sigh of relief. No, it’s some moms out pushing baby strollers…no GPS or caching gear in sight.
FINALLY I see the area again. I pause long enough for the GPS to catch up. It is overcast so it takes it a moment.
I begin to head towards the area 50ft……40ft…..What’s that noise?
A truck. I get out my camera and take pictures of trees, and wave as the driver goes by, looking at me like I am nuts.
I RUN to the cache, I fling it open, snatch out the log book, and hastily look through for any other logs.
THERE. ARE. NONE.
I run back out and do a happy dance!!!!!!
I sign the log and place it back.
I take a d-ring flashlight, and leave a wood calling card #28, an Appalachian Trail flashlight, and a “Support Our Troops” wooden nickle.
I take several pictures and walk back to my car, and a blissful cloud…..The sun even came out as though it was happy for me as well
I GOT THE FTF and I have DEFEATED THE CACHE!!!!!
Stede Bonnet, thank you for a GREAT Hunt!!!!!