Geocachers know how good it feels to find a geocache, sign the log and leave the cache as unknown to the larger muggle world as they found it. There may be endorphins involved. Adrenalin definitely seems to play a role.
For me, bagging my first First To Find (FTF) (being the first to log a geocache after it’s been placed by the cache owner) last night for Tiny Toys – Nachos (GC2CV83N) felt a tiny bit like I imagine an adrenalin shot to the heart might feel. You know, like that scene from Pulp Fiction.
I’d felt two thirds of last night’s full FTF dose of adrenalin when I’d gone after Maggie’s Cache (GC2Q4R6) back in March. I’d gotten there so early and there’d been really no chance of me not getting the First To Find…
…so long as I could actually find the geocache. I didn’t, but I realize I experienced most of what I felt last night in anticipation of the Maggie’s Cache FTF. The buildup was the same. Only the outcome was different.
The FTF thing is like a short-notice race — a race where the start time could be any time, the finish line could be anywhere, and the reward for being first is an untouched geocache with an unsigned log. When a new geocache is published there seems to be a group of geocachers in any given area who will go for the FTF as soon as possible. Going after a First To Find is everything that geocaching is already with the extra-added jolt of racing to get there first.
Last night I got off to a late start. I didn’t leave my apartment until more than 30 minutes after the cache was published, and I doubted my chances of getting there first on a Friday evening with everyone wide awake.
As soon as I could, though, I jumped into my shoes and ran out the door, heart pounding, pounded down the stairs in a most un-neighborly way and just about ran to my car. I then drove calmly and safely to a parking spot as close as possible to ground zero.
When I reached GZ I quickly found Tiny Toys – Nachos but not quite where I expected to find it. Cache owner hotpanini placed the cache sometime Wednesday and we’d experienced some rough weather Wednesday night. I was hoping the weather had moved the cache and not another cacher.
After carrying Tiny Toys – Nachos back to my car I got in, and, hands shaking, opened the brand-new container.
The log was empty. Untouched. Pristine. It’s an official Geocaching.com log with that cool FTF section at the very top of the first page. It was all I could do to calm down, steady my hands, and sign it — my first First To Find!
I could say “Geocaching is just a hobby.” That might technically be true but in that instant I felt a profound sense of satisfaction. I’d gone on a little mission and accomplished my objective, just as all geocachers do whenever they find the hide, sign the log, and leave things as the CO intended. I just happened to be the first geocacher to do these things with this cache.
Going after a FTF is everything geocaching is already, plus the extra-added jolt of racing to get there first — and maybe making it!