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TWiG – This Week in Geocaching – Logging DNFs

This is the third article in a weekly series titled, “TWiG – This Week in Geocaching”. Each week I hope to highlight my personal geocaching treks and comment on anything that I find of interest that’s going on in the world of geocaching (i.e. geocaching related websites, forum posts, blogs, podcasts, etc.).

Cache Log

Sort of a slow cache week with Christmas time activities, however, I did manage to find 3 geocaches and reach the 150 find mark. Two of the caches were found in a new little park in St. Florian and the third was a DNF that I posted last week. The owner checked on the cache after I logged a DNF, found it to be missing, and replaced it. When I went to sign the log, it was exactly where I thought it was supposed to be. Last week I said that I don’t always log a DNF, so this week I thought I would outline when I do and do not log a DNF.

Logging DNFs

The first question is: Why log a DNF? I think the most important reason is to aid the cache owner. If a cache log receives several DNFs in a row, the cache owner can check on the cache to see if it is in need of replacement of repair.

When I first started Geocaching I was a little unsure of when to log a DNF. As a new geocacher I wasn’t really sure of what I was looking for and wasn’t familiar with the different types of geocaching containers. As a result I didn’t want to log every DNF. The more caches I find, the more experience I gain. So even though I no longer consider myself a newbie/beginner, I know I still have a lot to learn. There are no set rules for logging DNFs, so I developed my own set of guidelines.

When referring to DNFs I group them into three categories. I call the first category NL – Not Logged, the second category LOS – Lack of Skill, and the third category I call PPC – Possible Problem with Cache

Here are a few of the basic guidelines I use when deciding to not log a DNF – NL:

  • My inexperience (the cache is probably there, I just don’t have the skills to find it).
  • I spend less than 30 minutes searching for cache, because of muggles, weather, etc.
  • The cache container is a new type for me and the log contains recent finds (in the past 30 days).

I don’t log these because I don’t want to give the cache owner, or anyone else reading the logs, any reason to think the cache isn’t there, when it probably is there after all.

Here are a few of the basic guidelines I use when deciding to log a DNF – LOS:

  • I’m sure the cache is there, log contains recent finds, and I’ve been to the cache location more than once.
  • The log contains a find in the past 30 days and I’ve searched for more than 30 minutes.

Here are a few of the basic guidelines I use when deciding to log a DNF – PPC:

  • I’ve made a thorough search of the cache area and the cache log contains recent DNFs.
  • I’ve made a thorough search of the cache area and the cache hasn’t been found in more than 90 days.
  • The cache location looks damaged or muggled.

These are general guidelines that I use and are in no way set in stone. Each cache can have its own unique circumstances, so use your best judgment and let your conscience be your guide.

More on Logging DNFs

Here are some other views on logging DNFs. These too are general guidelines.

“Logging DNFs” via Goundspeak Forums

I know that many geocachers have their own philosphy on when to log a DNF or when to use a note, or when to not log anything. That is fine by me, but I just want to let all the fresh geocachers know, that it is ok and even desirable to log DNFs when you don´t find a cache. There is no need to _not_ log DNFs when you don´t find a cache – nor is there an obligation to do so. Yet I want to point out, that for your personal geocaching history as well as the cache owner they can be very useful.

DNF (Did Not Find) via Today’s Cacher

There is no shame. There should be no embarrassment. Logging DNFs is like an athlete recording his training. It portrays effort and determination-not failure. There are many good reasons to log your DNFs. There are few good reasons to ignore them.

“DNFs” via JestCaching.com

There is no penalty for not finding a geocache and you shouldn’t be embarrassed if you can’t find one. Yes it does take a little time to log the DNF, but hey so it goes. Future seekers can use the info to determine how much time to spend at the cache site.

Geocaching in the News

Here are few links to geocaching articles that have appeared in online news articles in the past week:

Learn Some Snow Sports, Survival Skills at Workshop (Hometown Life)

An Oakland County Parks program gives local women a chance to sample winter sports during its annual Women in the Wilderness Winter Expedition.

The expedition, now in its third year at Independence Oaks Park in Clarkston, lists winter survival skills, geocaching, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing among this year’s workshops.

It’s the ‘bomb’: Old Cars Mark Practice Target (Bluff County Newspaper Group)

Geocaching took on an adven-turous and historic twist over Thanksgiving, when my friend, Dave, and I visited the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Waking up early Thanksgiving Day, we headed south of Badlands National Park and the town of Inte-rior, S.D. We crossed the White River and, after three attempts, found a through road leading us over some precarious badlands formations and stark, yet beautiful backcountry.

GPS Adventure Gains Traction at Kingsford (The Palladium Times)

Geocaching, a GPS adventure game played worldwide, is gaining followers, with students at Oswego’s Kingsford Park Elementary School leading the way.

“I tried to hit as many of the physical education standards as I possibly could, and this hits each and every one,” Ferlito said. She noted that in addition to the physical exertion and walking associated with geocaching, students also learn how to use a compass and a GPS system and how to get along in a team setting.

Geocachers Find Many ‘Treasure’ Stashes in Folsom (El Dorado Hills Telegraph)

“It’s incredibly popular,” said Christa Lindsey, who is an REI outdoor school instructor who leads geocaching classes.

On a recent December Sunday, several people took part in an REI outdoor school geocaching class held in Folsom to better learn how to use their GPS devices or to see it was something for them.

While there are many caches stashed throughout area, the class members hunted for ones “planted” along the American River near historic Folsom.

TFTC

One of my goals with this series of articles is to help keep me in the caching spirit and to remind me how much fun is involved with geocaching. I always appreciate comments and suggestions, so feel free to leave them here or send me an email. Have a great week and happy caching!