Monday, February 21, 2011

FTF Hunts

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One of the things that I really enjoy about geocaching is the thrill of being FTF - First To Find.  This special honor comes from being the first geocacher to find a newly published geocache, and is usually accompanied by a little Jig known as the FTF Dance - a slightly longer and more vigorous version of the normal Geocaching Happy Dance.

Over the years, I've been FTF on just over two-dozen caches.  In fact, my only traditional cache find in 2010 was an FTF on a monstrously difficult puzzle cache that stayed unfound for well over two years - GC18N56.  A couple of weeks ago, I saw another cache published about 20 miles from home and decided to be FTF on that one too since it was still unfound after several days.

However, neither of these recent FTF's were really true FTF hunts.  Don't get me wrong, I was the first finder on both geocaches and signed a clean log book, but both caches were published online for several days (or years in the first example) before being found.  This usually happens with out-of-town geocaches and difficult puzzles.

A true FTF hunt is different.  A true FTF hunt usually occurs when a new geocache is published in the middle of a safe, suburban area and is sought after by numerous geocachers within hours of being published.  True FTF hunters often have email and SMS alerts notifying them of such caches and are often ready to be FTF anytime day-or-night. 

Although I don't have email or SMS alerts notifying me of new caches, I decided to go on one of these FTF hunts anyway last week.  The cache was published in the early evening hours and was just 2 miles away in a very safe and easily accessible residential area.  I knew when I saw the cache listed on the website that it would be popular that night, but I didn't realize exactly how popular until I checked Twitter and signed the geocache log as STF. 

This is the Twitter dialog from that night.  Both of the first two messages were posted at almost exactly the same time -  9:17pm.  The last message was posted at 9:35pm. 


P.J. said...

FTF hunts can be fun. I've gotten away from them, but I always enjoyed them. Around here, it wasn't really a hunt, but to see who could get there within a day or two. As for those caches that are there for a year or more and not found? Those are great FTFs. I had an FTF on a cache that had been out for five months and had several DNFs (me included) and it's probably my favorite FTF of all time!

newfiecacher said...

I LOVE FTF hunts! My son (9-years-old) and I have gone on many a FTF hunt. Can't say we are always the first ones to get it but that's the fun of it!! It is disappointing, however, when there is a FTF logged in the book before the cache is published. We went out 7:00 one evening to hunt 3 caches that were JUST published and found the first two...which were signed by a friend of theirs that was actually with them when they put it out. We looked for the third but, at that point, my son's spirit was broken and we didn't stay too long to look. He was disappointed because he wanted to get FTF or compete with someone else who was out to get it THAT NIGHT. Not already have it logged 6 days before publishing.

Luke said...

There is definitely a special feeling about being FTF, rather than just signing the fifth or sixth page of a log book. Keep up the interesting posts!

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