Thursday, March 26, 2009

The art of logging

After 3blackcats and I came back from our desert run this week, I settled down to write my logs for the caches. With 24 caches, I had a lot of logging to do. I always take my PDA along with me to take notes for each cache. I usually don't write a whole lot in the PDA, just enough that will spark my memory of what happened. Little notes like, "Date Shake. Mmmmmmm." will be enough to remind me that at that particular cache we stopped for a date shake and that the hummingbirds were dive bombing us at our picnic table. It was a very cool experience and one that I shared in my log.

The reason I do this, is I feel it's part of the entire geocaching experience. When the hobby first started, the caches were all fairly large. Large caches meant large logbooks and so people wrote of their experience in there and on-line. I can remember one cache I found with friends up on a ridge overlooking Los Angeles. The area was large enough for a helicopter to settle down on, which is exactly what happened. Not while we were there, but sometime earlier, because two FBI agents had flown up there in there, inadvertently found the cache and logged their experience in the log book. It was really fun reading that account.

With the proliferation of micro caches and the tiny logbooks, or pieces of paper in some cases, there's hardly any room to place much more than you're name anymore so logging in the logbook seems to have gone by the wayside. I am fully guilty of not writing much in the logbook on most caches I find as well. I try to make up for it by writing something about the experience on the on-line cache page. I figure I can give any cache, even a lamppost skirt hide at least 50 words. I try to give 100 words per cache log. I'm not always successful, but I try. In reality, 50 words is easy.

And, I don't cut and paste. Each log is unique, so it takes me awhile to log all of my caches after a big day. I was logging Tuesday's run from Tuesday evening until Wednesday morning around noon. It helps that I'm on vacation, but when I'm not that means it probably gets spread out even more. I feel I owe it to the hiders to give them what I experienced while out looking for their cache.

Wednesday afternoon, I received a nice email from turtle lady.

"I am the owner of Heartbreak Hotel cache in Shoshone California and I just read your log. I want to say THANK YOU for that long, well written log! What fun reading that!

I get so many emails from people logging my many caches and so many of them just say "TFTC" or "Got it" and I am disappointed! ...... When I get a log like yours, it makes me want to place more caches! Not many places like Heartbreak Hotel left to share with people but I will keep looking!"
This email makes my logging all worthwhile to me. It just confirms that I'm doing the right thing when I take the time to log each cache individually with separate and unique comments for each log.

I've met people on the trail that have made comments to the effect that I write "wordy" logs. I feel that's a compliment. I want people to know my experience. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've read logs that have helped me find caches that I never would have found otherwise. And it's not necessarily that the previous finder posted a "It's right under the log" type of post. Many times finders write in such a way that a simple comment will turn a light bulb on in my head that will lead me to the cache.

One thing that I always post at the end of each log is a thank you for placing the cache out there. If the hider went to the trouble to hide a cache, I figure I should thank them for their effort. It's simple courtesy, something that we in general can always use more of in our world.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Heartbreak Hotel - by Turtle Lady and Cause I Can
Dublins Tin Can Alley - by mtngirls

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1 comment:

Just John said...

I read a similar account on another blog when I first started caching (about a year ago), and I took it to heart.

I can't imagine a cache owner really getting any enjoyment out of a "cookie cutter" log entry. I have fun on every find, so why not write about it?