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Category: CSG Blog

Confessions of a FTF-aholic

My name is Art…and I’m a FTFaholic.

The day starts innocently enough, I’m at work or at home and the cell phone vibrates. Its a NEW TEXT MESSAGE from noreply@groundspeak.com! A new cache has published within a few miles of home.

“Oh, no…not again”, exclaims Karen. “Where to NOW??”

“Let me check… it is within four miles of the house.”

I find the listing, note the information, hand enter it into the GPS, and off we go.

After a few minutes, we are at the location of the cache. Of course, while obeying all traffic laws.

We search, and there it is…. THE CACHE!

We open it, quickly unraveling the logbook. IT IS BLANK!! We are the first to find!!

With the sounds of the Alleluia Chorus playing in the background, we proudly enter our names on the logbook, followed by FTF!! I’m busy entering field notes on my phone for later recording on the website.

Why the effort you ask? Someone must be first. For a brief moment, I can excel in an athletic endevor caled geocaching. My name appears for the first five logs on the cache listing, the rolling off into geocaching history.

Prior to my discovery of geocaching, there has only been two other times where athletics were important in my life. In fifth grade, when I kicked a grand slam home run in kickball on the last ‘at bat’ to win the game.

The second time is when I had bowling as a physical education activity in College. It was there, I met my wife Karen.

A FTF may not be winning the Super Bowl, but it is pretty darn exciting!


Ode to the Virtual Cache

If you listen to our show #8, we discuss finding three virtual caches on our bookended weekend adventure in the Colorado mountains. For those of you unfamiliar to the virtual cache, these we available for listing on geocaching.com as “…exists in a form of a location. Depending on the cache “hider,” a virtual cache could be to answer a question about a location, an interesting spot, a task, etc. The reward for these caches is the location itself and sharing information about your visit.
Because of the nature of these geocaches, you must actually visit the location and acquire the coordinates there before you can post. In addition, although many locations are interesting, a virtual cache should be out of the ordinary enough to warrant logging a visit.” (Source:geocaching.com)
A few years ago, the site was reorganized, and a companion Groundspeak site, waymarking.com, was created for tracking and logging of ‘virtuals’ and ‘webcam’ caches. This site describes waymarks as ‘a way to mark unique locations on the planet and give them a voice.” (source:waymarking.com)
Existing virtual caches on geocaching.com were ‘grandfathered’ and are available even today to visit and log.
I would like to see the return of the virtual cache for the following reasons:
1) Many geocachers have physical limitations that prevent them from finding may geocaches that are hidden. I always love it when a listing states that the cache is handicap accessible, ‘except for the last few feet’. A cache is either handicap accessible or not!! By having virtiuals at historical monuments, plaques, or building; many of these locations are ADA compliant.
2) This would be good for Groundspeak from a public relations standpoint. Promoting the monuments. statues, and plaques that honor America.
3) I would prefer not to have to manage my visits on more then one site. The problem that I see with waymarking.com is that there is different logging requirements for different categories. In some cases the same location is listed under multiple categories!
4) waymarking.com does not have GPX file export. It would be useful if I knew what the logging requirements were BEFORE I got to the location.
How to bring back the virtual cache? The placement of earthcaches was standardized with the formation of earthcache.org This forced placers earthcaches to incorporate a ‘learning element’ into the proper logging of the cache. We can do the same thing with a virtual. A website like Roadside America can spearhead this effort in the setting of standards for new virtuals.
This important cache type should not be left to ‘die on the vine’.


I have just completed my second year of geocaching. Better know as a cacheaversary. This term was coined by fellow geocacher and podcaster darrylw4 on his blog posts, so I give him credit for coining a new word. If we can get it used enough in the lexicon, we may see it in the dictionary someday.

My first day caching was labor day 2006. I had been introduced to geocaching by accident. I attended a monthly Boy Scout roundtable the prior month, where the topic was use a GPS with a map. I almost didn’t go, but decided the topic was interesting enough to attend. My friend, Brian was presenting that evening. The topic was interesting enough, but the one thing that stuck with me was when he mentioned geoaching in the ‘other resoures’ section of the meeting. He described it as treasure hunting with a gps. I checked out the website that evening, and signed up for the free account. The next week, I ordered the Garmin GPSmap60cx that I still use today.

A few weeks later, I figured out how to load caches on the GPS, and then was off to the nearby park to attempt my first hunt. I bought my daughter along for support. The fist location has us searhing in a pile of rocks We searched for a half hour, but no luck. We decided to move towards the next one. After few minutes…SUCCESS!! We found the cache up in a tree! I boosted my daughter up to grab it and we savored our victory.

We decided to go back and try the first cache. After another half hour, we were about to give up. But I pick up one of the rocks, and this time turned it over. The cache was hidden in a carved out section. Success again! We signe the log and headed for home to record our day on geocaching.com.

In the two years since I stated geocaching, I have had one adventure after another. Geocaching take you places you never thougt you would go. From out of the way local parks, to a high cliff on the shores of Maui, to doing a podcast with Karen.

What is next?? Stay tuned.