We hope lots of you are still enjoying some Geocaching even though the weather is now wetter and colder and the evenings are darker. We think caching is the perfect incentive to get out there in the fresh air, and your cosy house and a warm drink will be much more appreciated when you’ve been out and had some exercise.
Perhaps now, though, is a good time to consider all those cache owners, without whom we wouldn’t have anything to find. If there’s a problem with a cache you find, then of course the owner needs to know and a “needs maintenance” log, explaining the problem, can be very helpful.
But maybe the issue is something you could put right yourself whilst you’re there at GZ? We can’t all carry replacement containers around with us or do much about locations which are inaccessible due to maintenance work or weather damage. And even if we think a cache is missing, it’s usually safer to assume that we just couldn’t find it.
However, a few “needs maintenance” logs simply say “log full”. So let’s assume you just enjoyed a bracing walk to the top of Snaefell. Or Mullagh Ouyr. Or Slieu Managh. Or one of the other wonderful but isolated places on the Isle of Man. Consider for a moment that the cache owner might not relish a long hike in a howling gale or falling snow the way you did. They might have a dose of winter flu, or have family or work commitments that make it difficult to do much cache maintenance just now. Or maybe they just came home from a bracing walk up North Barrule. Or along the Raad ny Foillan. And don’t really want to dash out again for the sake of a piece of paper.
We’re suggesting therefore that the third important item you should take with you when caching, after a GPS enabled device and a pen or pencil, should be a piece of paper. Or two. If you actually have a few “rite in the rain” log sheets so much the better, but otherwise any writing paper will do. You can then post in your log “new log sheet added”. And the other piece might come in useful for making your own notes, for example if the cache contains some information for a bonus cache.
By the way, please check that both sides of a log sheet are actually full. We have had a “log sheet full” message when side 2 was completely blank! If the container is too small to hold more paper, remove the old log sheet and message the owner to ask if they want to collect it, although we have yet to meet anyone who does. Some paper tissue to dry out wet caches is also useful, and a plastic bag or two to keep log sheets or other contents dry or to take home soggy items for disposal is handy. But a piece of paper to replace a full log sheet should be considered basic geocaching etiquette.
Even if the cache is a simple urban one and it’s a warm sunny day, we can guarantee that the owner will be delighted that they don’t have to make a special trip just for the sake of a piece of paper.