Showing posts with label FTF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FTF. Show all posts

Monday, February 21, 2011

FTF Hunts

Image from
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. 

Friday, March 24, 2006

Misadventures in Geocaching

Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong, does - almost as if your every action were scripted by some satirical deviant who planned the whole thing just for his own amusement? Earlier this week, I had one of those days. These are my adventures misadventures in geocaching from that day.

For the past several weeks, my geocaching activities have been suspended due to the birth of my second daughter. After almost a month-long absence from geocaching, I finally decided to head out and grab two brand new caches that were just hidden in our area on my way to work.

Early Tuesday morning, two new caches popped up on my screen and both were less than 10 miles from my home. Even better, they were mostly on the way to my office with only a slight detour through the town of Hewitt. I rushed to get ready in the morning, rushed out the door, and drove to the first cache site, Chapel's End, as quickly as I could while still obeying the speed limits! I pulled up to the stop, got out of my car, and practically ran over to the URP listed in the cache hint!! I opened up the bison tube, extracted the tiny logbook, got ready to sign my giant *FTF* above my name, and then I saw it - "Giggledodge 3/21/06 FTF." ARGH!!!

That was how it all began. With this first failed FTF attempt, I knew right then and there what sort of day I was going to have. Reluctantly, I decided to go ahead and go find the second new cache just over a mile away, Twenty-Seven Feet. Wearing my dress shoes, khaki pants, and a nice dress shirt, I arrived at the second location to find the cache container near a roadside water tank in a small tree. Unfortunately, the tree was surrounded by thorny briars and I got several big red scrapes all up and down my hands and arm why retrieving and replacing this cache. If that weren't bad enough already, I open the log and read "Giggledodge 3/21/06 FTF." ARGH, ARGH!!!!!!

But as you can probably guess from the image, the misadventures don't stop there. Hewitt is one of those little Texas towns that has a reputation for being a speed trap and has an overabundance of police officers with nothing else to do, and I am unfortunately one of those people who will sometimes forget to do certain yearly activities whenever my life gets a little hectic. This time, while preparing for the birth of my daughter, I apparently forgot three very important tasks:
  1. Mount my newest vehicle registration sticker,
  2. Get my vehicle's inspection sticker renewed, and
  3. Put a copy of my vehicle's most recent proof of insurance in my glove box.
Normally, in most cities and highways across Texas, all three of these are things that police officers usually check if and only if you get pulled over for something else like speeding - NOT IN HEWITT! One of Hewitt's local police officers happened to drive by in the opposite direction as I was just about to cross out of their city limits, when all of the sudden I saw him turn around in the middle of the road and begin to follow me.

I immediately ran through a mental checklist of all the things I could have been doing wrong:  Was I speeding? No. Did I run a stop sign? No. Was I following too close to another car? No. Was I swerving or driving erratically? No, none of the above. The officer just happened to notice as we passed that I still had the "5" vehicle inspection sticker instead of the "6" sticker and he didn't have anything else more important to do. Lucky me, I had actually paid for my 2006 vehicle registration; I just hadn't put the sticker on yet. For this, I just got a warning, but I wasn't so lucky for the other two issues. ARGH, ARGH, ARGH!!!!!!!!!

In summary, on my first morning out caching since the birth of my child, I missed two FTFs, got an armful of bloody scrapes, two citations, a written warning, and ended up being late to work by the time it was all said and done. It was... in every possible way... a really bad day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day FTFs

Last night, just before crawling into bed, I decided to check my "New Caches" pocket query. This query shows me all caches approved within the past 7 days. By monitoring this list regularly, I am able to get a jump on any nearby caches and improve my odds of being FTF (first-to-find). As luck would have it, there were 3 new caches approved just last night. Two were in a local arboretum which closes after dark and another was in a bad part of town where nobody would attempt to go at night. I knew really had a shot at getting some of these as FTF!

With my GPS waiting by the door for me this morning, I headed out on my way to work and stopped briefly by the arboretum which was just under 3 miles from my home coordinates. I could tell from the description that one of them was a quick PNG (park-n-grab), but the other would require a little hike off-trail. Since I was in my slacks and dress clothes, I decided I better only attempt the PNG. It was a pretty difficult cache to find at first. The container was a decon kit tucked away in a hollowed out spot in the ground along the limestone boulder trail. The hollowed opening was then covered by an additional limestone boulder which looked like it was just part of the trail. In order to access the container, you had to remove the top limestone rock from the edge of the trail and reach into the hollow underneath the original limestone rock to grab the container. Luckily, I had seen some caches hidden in a similar fashion before. This was FTF #1 for the day!

For my second FTF of the day, I decided to stop by the bad neighborhood near the downtown area on my lunch break since it was only about 2 miles from my office. By this time of day, I was sure that LifeOnEdge (our local FTF-hound) had probably already beat me to it since he seems to jump on local caches as soon as they are placed. When I arrived at the location, I was the only person around and quickly found the cache tucked into a hole in an old historic oak tree near a granite monument. The cache was a small film canister that was covered in leaves. When I opened the log book, I discovered that I was the FTF! In humorous irony, as I was placing the log book back into the container, another vehicle drove up and parked behind my car along the side of the road. Out climbed LifeOnEdge! I had just beaten him to this cache by a couple of minutes, but enough to still be FTF! We talked for a few minutes and he told me that he was on his way to the 2nd arboretum cache to claim FTF on the only new cache that I skipped earlier this morning. Unfortunately, it looks like he missed being FTF on this one too.

Sara's Place
What's in a Name?

Monday, April 25, 2005

FTF x 2

I haven't done that much caching lately. Most of last week was spent preparing for my annual evaluation at work. However, I have finally been FTF! In fact, I've now been FTF twice.

4/14/2005 Koehne Park Hike
4/21/2005 Bates Motel -- The Sequel

Also, last Tuesday, I attended my first Geocaching Event. This was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed meeting several of the local cachers including DrHogg, Sawdust92, BikerMike, Eagletrek, S1Waco, HOTCrawlDaddy, and others.