Geocaching is a very simple hobby with not much in the way of guidelines or rules. Indeed, Groundspeak list just three;
- If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
- Write about your find in the cache logbook.
- Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
Nothing really difficult there, easy to follow and implement, no problem. So why then do I find it impossible to follow?
Starting with ‘Rule’ (I say that in the loosest term, no one is going to get into trouble for not following) One
If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
Easy one this, I don’t recall ever taking anything from a cache myself (apart from travelbugs) as most caches you will come across will be either empty (people not following the rules?) or dirty and damp. However, I know that some people like to swap and trade and may cache with their children so it is important not to raid a cache of all its trinkets and to replace anything taken with something that you would enjoy finding in a cache.
Jumping to Rule Three in the list;
Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
No problems with this one either, I like my stats to show exactly how I am getting on and the caches close to me that I have still to find. I like to leave logs that thank the CO (cache owner) and tell them the fun or the enjoyment that I had finding the cache. I also like to read the logs of others to see how they got on finding the same cache I did. As a CO myself I like to receive interesting or witty logs.
This brings us to Rule Two.
Write about your find in the cache logbook.
Which is interesting in itself as until today, when I actually researched what was required, I thought it was required to sign the logbook with your caching name. Clearly it isn’t. GroundSpeak want you to ‘write about your find’ in the logbook, no mention of signing anything.
So whats the fuss? Sign the book and move on right, thousands of others do. Well that’s right but there are a number of reasons I don’t. which I have listed;
Primarily I’m lazy – I don’t want have to stop my walk to open a cache, dig out a pen from my bag, find the logbook, add my name, put the logbook back, close the cache and place it back. I want to physically touch the cache myself and get going onto the next one.
By signing the logbook I may compromise the cache hide to muggles or the elements by retrieving and opening it (I don’t let torrential rain stop me caching)
In caches hidden by Stickoflague, I may disturb this and have to place it all back on top.
Are there any negatives to not signing? I guess there may be but its not something that will stop me doing as I am doing. I once stumbled across a ‘decoy cache’ where it looked like the cache I was after but inside said “I am not the cache, keep looking” or some other nonsense. Nowdays I have neither the time or inclination to join in with such games, so if I were to find something I would move on to the next pretty quickly.
Another negative may be the CO not knowing that the log is full. Hardly a ground breaker, the next law abiding person along can tell them that.
A CO may go ‘Gung-Ho’ and remove my log online. Not likely to happen locally to my home as I would probably know the person involved and they would be aware of my habit. Could possibly happen with another cache but as we can see, its not strictly required to sign.
So will I keep doing as I am, yes I will (apart from 5/5s or FTF caches which I sign without fail)