Beginner Series #2 – The Art of Log Writing

The excitement of finding your first few geocaches, is often followed by the wonderment and awe of the hide. It is common for us to start with entry level hides (mint tins, sistema containers, perhaps even bisons), but as you start to explore further afield you discover that the variety of the containers are vast and so many caches have great camo, cleverly hidden in plain sight.

Often though, the excitement is not captured in the written logs of a new geocacher, and it can be common to not appreciate the value of the digital log. As we get more involved in the game, we try for harder more complex caches and undoubtably come faced with a cache that we just can’t find. It’s often at this stage, we trawl through the logs of past finds skimming for clues and realise that there is more to a log than…..

Found it… Got it…Good one!

TFTC! (How cool am I that I know the acronym!)

I remember this moment as a beginner and started to notice that there was much more to writing a short note and that I could actually be more creative with my entries. I started to have a deeper appreciation for logs and discovered that I could actually get to know my local geocachers. But aside from that, as I became a Cache Owner myself, I started to love and enjoy the logs from the finders of my own caches. Years on, I still love a really good log!

To explore this concept further, I recently spoke with Brain aka Angus to hear his thoughts on creative log writing, as he too is known for inspiring geocachers through the art of log writing.

Hi Brain, please share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love?
Once upon a time it was mid-January in 2015 and a smaller version of me read a newspaper article explaining a fun little game involving hidden containers around the world and it sounded pretty good! I was on holiday on the far south coast of New South Wales at the time and found my first few that day with my family – we all really enjoyed it and I’ve since found that I am physically unable to stop which is a little concerning but mainly fun!

There has definitely been commentary amongst our community for the great logs you have written, tell us where do you get your inspiration?
You’re too kind! A lot can happen in the process of solving and finding a geocache, and many of my logs are just transcribing the events of the world around me (perhaps with a few embellishments here and there – lets not let the truth get in the way of a good story!).

A few sentences explaining the context of the hunt can build the foundations of a substantial log pretty quickly, and from there the experience of finding the cache tends to form the rest (the more intricate the cache, the more inspiration there is to be found). Often times I find that the easiest ones to write are when something’s gone wrong, or when I can’t find a cache – but why not share the adventure and sometimes the pain!

Why is log writing an important aspect of the game?
Geocaching wouldn’t be the game that it is without the dedication of its cache owners and logs help to give something back to them! If a CO has gone to the effort of putting a great cache out, it’s usually because they want other people to enjoy it, so receiving a detailed log can really make their day. Plus, it helps to indicate to other cachers which ones are worth their time.

For newbies to geocaching what advice can you share on ‘how to write a great log?”

Start small! It’s easy to think that “great log = long log” but that isn’t always the case – focus on getting the main points down:

  • What do you want the CO to know?
  • What do you want other cachers to know?
  • What do you want to remember about the cache and experience if you read your log in a few years’ time?
  • Is there anything else interesting worth mentioning?
  • But just remember never give way the location or placement of the hide in your logs, as it can ruin it for the next set of finders….and you might end up with a grumpy CO!

From here you can expand the details from there if you want to. You don’t have to write an A+ essay, just something that you (and hopefully others) would enjoy reading. Writing logs comes more naturally over time, so keep up the effort as you find more caches!

Thanks Brain, that is great advice – can you share with us one of your favourite logs (that you have written?)
I more commonly find that I like certain bits of logs that I’ve written – a sentence or two that sticks in my head for a while after I’ve written the log. My (current) favourite (it usually changes) is from my log on GC2JD7V: Balnarring The Headache Maker which reads:

“I pretty much entered a state of shock as is all too common in my puzzling escapades where I am simultaneously overjoyed that the puzzle is solved and bewildered by the fact that I have managed to keep myself breathing for so long despite being this stupid.”

And a quick note to include my favourite logs that I haven’t written… I frequently find myself going back through the archives of those written by the hamfish. Regularly poignant, often humourous and beautifully crafted every time – highly recommend a read.

Haha thanks Brain for your insights, you certain have given some great tips to think about! But it is important to call out, is that we all do play the game differently, some love the hunt, others lovely the social events, whilst others love the creative expression of logs. We are not all going to embrace and embellished stories of our caching adventures, nor will we all share in the woes of the DNF nemisis – but it’s nice to share some of the etiquette associated with what you should or should not add to a log.

I encourage us all that if we receive a log from a new geocacher, to remember that we were were all newbies at some stage and it takes time to learn the etiquette relating to log writing – you can always reach out to them and welcome them to our community and perhaps give them some tips.

Keen to hear your thoughts, who in the community inspires you through their logs? Share some of your favourite logs below!