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!

Welcome to our new Geocaching Beginner Series!

With another exciting Mega on the horizon and an influx of new geocachers within our community, Geocaching Victoria thought that it would be great to launch a new blog series – specifically for Beginners. I am sure that many of us have been in a conversation on a Monday morning, where you are asked what you did over the weekend….

“I went geocaching and ….” geo-what?

“Yeah I climbed some sand dune looking for…..” Tupperware?

“Drove a few hundred kms for a find….” insert look of disbelief here…..

But how often do you find that you spark the interest of someone that can see passed your geo-nerdiness and can appreciate the adventure, the opportunity for great family time but perhaps also the challenge.

As we count down to our next Mega, (yes in only 126 days) – we would love to introduce this crazy game to those whose interest is sparked, to let them in on our little geo-secrets and perhaps convert them from being a “muggle” to one of our own. Do we dare?

Recently I spoke to Tim from veevers12 who started playing the game in 2019, precovid and asked him how he got into the game and what advice he had for those curious about geocaching.

Hi veevers12, can you please share with us when you started Geocaching and what got you into this crazy hobby we love?

My daughter had a school geocaching excursion to Westerfolds Park in Templestowe in mid 2019. We had not heard of geocaching before then, so we gave it a try by looking at GC60BE0 Eltham Fire Brigade (now archived) after the kids had their swimming lessons at Eltham Leisure Centre. We soon wanted to find another, then another, then another, then we were hooked and we have been hooked ever since. We started with a basic membership, but on one of our early geocaching outings my daughter and I bumped into shack1961 who told us we would probably sign up for premium soon and never look back. She was right!

Some of the things we love most about geocaching are:

  • It gives us something really fun to do as a family.
  • It takes us to lots of different places and when we are at a loose end, instead of being bored, we go and find a cache.
  • We have met lots of really nice people. We love how people of all different ages and different interests are able to get along and talk about their adventures.
  • It connects us with other people, some of whom we may never meet, but who have interests in geocaching in common.
  • Every time someone posts a find log on one of our caches. We love reading every log, especially the ones with a story.

Okay so I am a little bit excited with your response, sorry total #geonerd here – I have to ask what is your favourite type of geocache and why?

We find this hard to choose as we like them all, however there are three particular types that we like. One is a good puzzle, another is a good gadget cache, and the other is any cache that takes us to a really nice secluded location. A geocache that does all three of these is the ultimate.

When you first started geocaching, what helped you learn more about geocaching (cache types, styles of hides, puzzles etc)

Quite often, it was other geocachers that we bumped into at caches or at events that have helped us with this, however most of what we have learnt has been from solving and finding geocaches of all different types and styles. We also looked at lots of geocaching videos on YouTube when we were stuck at home during lockdown. We particularly enjoyed the videos from West Virginia Tim.

Research is a great suggestion, what advice would you give a newbie geocacher just starting out?

If you can’t find a cache, don’t give up. Don’t ask for hints too soon as it is much more satisfying to go back to a cache multiple times and eventually find it than it is to ask someone where it is. If you can’t find it, check the hint, check when it was last found and read some of the past logs. If you still can’t find it, leave it and try again with a fresh mindset. If you can’t find it after multiple visits then message the cache owner (CO) for an additional hint.

Look for good areas to go geocaching. We looked for caches that had lots of favourite points when we were starting and they gave us lots of joy and helped us to get hooked (thanks Mister Doctor!)

We also recommend that you write a good log. Something more than ‘got it’ or ‘found’. This is much more rewarding for the cache owner who has gone to the trouble of hiding the cache for you. Try to log your finds promptly and try not to copy/paste logs too much.

Over the past few years, what has been your most memorable cache/cache adventure?

We remember most of them. There are a few that stand out. Winding Waters (GC367RT) was one of our first as it was in a beautiful location and we went back to it so many times with more and more ideas and tools before we finally managed to locate and retrieve the cache. My daughter really enjoyed our time at Hillcrest Hike (GC1CD5F) because it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. We also really enjoyed our adventure after the Community Celebration Event at Wangaratta when we decided to do the Wherigo 3MC Workout (GC8HWM6) because it just kept going and going. We bumped into The Easter Bunnies, who I went to uni with, who joined us for the adventure. We didn’t know when the adventure would end and by the time we got back to the car it was very late and very dark!

Thank you so much veevers12 for sharing your insights! Now for those of you that are new, or for those geocachers that have friends and family that are curious about geocaching – we have a brand new event scheduled which is perfect for newbies.

Geocaching Victoria is excited to announce a newbie event in the lead up to the Whittlesea Mega (GC9WXFY). This will be held at the Whittlesea Showgrounds on Sunday 28th August 2022 @ 10.30am. We encourage all those new to geocaching or curious about what geocaching is, to attend.

For those in the community who have been caching for a while, we would love you to tag a muggle and introduce them to this great game of ours.

Caching with our Geo-Dogs

Hands up all you dog lovers out there!!

Who doesn’t love geocaching with our furry friends often affectionately referred to as Geo-Dogs or Geo-Pups. I know that since my Geo-Pup joined our family Ally became an integral part of our family, she often accompanies Ross and I on geocaching day trips or weekends away!

But caching with our Geo-Dogs does come with responsibility and I thought that I would share a couple of thoughts on some “Geo-Dog Etiqutte”

Geo-Dog Etiquette and Reminders

  1. When attending geocaching events with our dogs, they must always remain on a short lead. As much as we love our furry friends, not everyone is comfortable with dogs (large or small) and some in our community also have allergies to dogs. By keeping our dogs on a lead, it helps to encourage an environment where everyone is safe and comfortable to attend events. Leads should be short and not retractable so as to keep our Geo-Dogs close by our side.

  1. When it comes to dog training, we have a community with a whole lot of different expectations, so some general principles should apply.
    • Don’t let your dogs jump on others or on picnic furniture
    • Ask permission of the dog owner before you pat or hug a Geo-Dog (no matter how cute they are)
    • If meeting another Geo-Dog, ask permission of owner that your dogs can meet. Some smaller dogs or puppies may still be learning to be around bigger, well trained dogs.
    • Be prepared that dogs will poop and you will need to clean up after them

  1. Assistance Dogs (Service Dogs, Guide Dogs or Hearing Dogs) should wear their coats to signifiy to others that they play a special role in your life and that they are working. It is really important that we don’t pat an assistance dog, as they are trained to provide love and support to their owner. But they are working hard in their role and we should respect that.

  1. We can’t actually take our Dogs to all cache locations so it is important that we do our research before we take our furry friends caching! Some things to consider:
    • National Parks – Dogs are not allowed in most National Parks in Victoria. As a general rule, driving through a national park on a public road with pets in the vehicle are permitted, provided they remain in the car. But this is not always the case, so be sure to check and plan your journey ahead of time.
    • State Forests – Most State Forests are open to dogs, but there are a few exceptions. So be sure to do your research and confirm each location.

  1. If you are lucky enough to be caching with your Geo-Dog, be sure to give him or her a special mention in your log, because who doesn’t love a good shout out when you have done a good job helping to sniff out a geocache! Maybe even share a photo of your geo pups adventure in finding the cache.

Another Great Promo for Geocaching Victoria

We were again grateful that ABC Victoria continues to show an interest in our awesome community. Recently Gavin McGrath, an ABC journalist contacted GVI President Jo Cox to learn more about geocaching, after his kids displayed an interest in geocaching.

This is the third interview this year, which we embrace, as it helps to promote this great game of ours and the regional communities that it extends into. For more information on this latest article, please see this link.

ABC Article link

Juicy July Goss!

We have offically passed solstice, so I for one am looking forward to the warmer days and longer days of sunshine!! Despite the weather, it has been great to see so many events occuring over the past month and we loved seeing your photos, so thank you for sharing! June’s Event Photo competition winner is Cracknleelee. We will be in contact soon with details of your prize.

What is amazing though, we appear to have more events scheduled in July than we did last month, so if you have a free weekend, make sure you check out all the events on offer.

BernieH’s July Challenge

For the month of July, we have a special challenge… one set by our lovely committee member Bernie Hollaway. As I am sure most of you know, he has been caching for the past ten years and has achieved so many milestones but he has one that has elluded him for some time that he would love to achieve……. and for anyone who loves data, numbers and challenges, will appreciate this.

Bernie has one final date left in his “Placed caches by found date” – which means for all the caches he currently has hidden (over 100 active caches), they have been found on every calendar day EXCEPT ONE!! That key date is 11th July!!!

And so the challenge for the month is, you need to find a BernieH cache on the 11th July and the winner will be the best found log for a find on that day on a BernieH hide! To help you with this challenge, we have created a BernieH cache list –