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TexasWriter

FTF Ups and Downs

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Today I loaded up my kayak and drove 101 miles to go hunt down a cache (http://coord.info/GC3W2Z3) that had been published 20 months ago and had never been found. The journey and hunt were successful, so I was feeling a nice sense of fulfillment in making the trip. As I was driving home, I was thinking about the many ups and downs I’ve experienced on the FTF scene. The experiences have been all up and down the scale of fun, scary, dangerous, frustrating, baffling, hilarious, etc. I’ve driven, paddled, climbed, slid, jumped, and crawled for new caches for various reasons, and I know many of the experiences will stay alive in my memory for years to come. I thought it would be fun to hear some of the stories of others about things you’ve experienced when going after FTF’s.

 

  • Found one cache recently that was over 20 miles off coords, 2 - 3 others that were over a mile off coords, and (in these days of geocaching intro apps and “smart” phones) numerous caches that were 50 – 600 feet off coords
  • Triggered property alarms twice (ironically on caches by the same CO)
  • Totally pissed off a Copperfield police officer who threatened to take CornDoll and I to jail, and when I hastily left I realized my GPSr was still under the bridge where the cache was, so we had to sneak in again later to retrieve it
  • Had dozens of other encounters with police and security
  • Did a 3-stage multi by the light of my GPSr in the woods of a park to avoid detection by a po-po who just knew someone was out there and kept circling and shining his 2-billion lumen car floodlight into the tree line
  • Rode my bike in the freezing rain (28 degrees) for 2-1/2 hours chasing down four new caches (and had to knock the ice off my bike three times throughout the night)
  • Hiked in a torrential downpour for .23 mile, with the last 450 feet being solid bushwhack from hell, then had to climb a slippery tree for 15 – 18 feet….all to get the NTNC trophy for my wife J
  • Managed to get about 18 feet up into a tree for a cache where the tree had no limbs for the first 15 feet, was too large of diameter to scale, and I had no ladder (the CO called me the next day to ask WTH?)….came home with the FTF and bruises from groin to knee on both legs
  • Flushed feral pigs, almost stepped on snakes too many times to count, and had a coon drop out of a tree right behind me while squatted down signing a log
  • Been stung by spiders, bees, and ants
  • Encountered all kinds of night time wildlife (owls, rats/mice, skunks, foxes, armadillos, etc.) including getting T-boned on my bicycle recently by an armadillo
  • Encountered two separate packs of coyotes with CornDoll while FTF’ing in San Antonio at the start of our honeymoon, and the second pack was bedded down and didn’t move when we walked up on them….which is not a good sign for the humans
  • Came upon a young couple in a park who hastily pulled their clothes back into position…..ahem!
  • Was sent a nasty-gram from a Dallas area FTF hound for grabbing FTF’s on his turf in the middle of the night
  • Watched CornDoll do a total face-plant in a stream up in the Woodlands when we went after a new 9-cache series (she didn’t make it across the washout), and was equally impressed that I only came out of it with a “You suck” comment when I joined her on the other side (hats off to CornDoll for laughing it off)
  • Scaled a 10-foot wall to drop over the other side into a gated community in Oklahoma to grab an FTF on a cache that the locals had torn the CO to bits over for the previous 3 weeks (it was archived a couple weeks later)
  • Did a 6-cache off-trail bushwhack in GBP with with a caching buddy during the peak of the Ice-pocalypse (or Ice-mageddon, whichever you jokingly called it) and had a great time chatting along the way
  • Found some very nice (and sometimes cute) notes from kids for the FTF (one of those was on the trail with a rock on top of it in the cache above where the coon dropped out of the tree behind me)
  • Picked up all kinds of fun, cool, surprising, and odd FTF gifts from geocoins, pathtags, and travel tags to money of various denominations ($20 was the most)
  • Had the privilege of hunting down many new caches with other cachers all around the Houston area, many of whom I’d never met until I met them on the FTF hunt
  • Realized when my fiancé (and now wife) was with me in Addicks Reservoir (swamp) in the rain at 1:00 am to get some new caches that she was definitely the one for me

Yes, many of these things could've/would've happened whether it was an FTF run or not, but in many cases I wouldn't even have been there if it wasn't for a new cache publishing nearby. How about your FTF stories? Do tell...

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Fun read.

My FTF rule: it must be some running interval mileage or below for me to attempt it:

5k, 10k, half marathon, or marathon.

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Ha! Great to read... too funny. Sparky and Tuck-N-Seek and I have often wondered what sort of shenanigans you've gotten yourself into. LOL

 

GC48GQC - This was my very first FTF. I had only been caching a little less than two months. The notification popped up on my email and Tuck-N-Seek and I ran out the door like we were on fire. It wasn't the FTF I was chasing... it was the Maryland coin that was the FTF prize. I had lived in Maryland for three years and loved it and really missed it. I wanted that coin. :) Without giving much away, it involved climbing in the very front of quite a ritzy neighborhood. We made the grab and made it back to the GeoFIT... saw the po-po pulling in as we were leaving and figured someone had probably called them about two crazy people climbing in front of their Stepford Wives subdivision. LOL

 

GC4A4Q9 - This was my second FTF and memorable because I ran into two other cachers there. Had I known the proper etiquette at the time, I would have shared the FTF with "tandr" although I had signed the log and was getting back in my car when they drove up. I met them, we chatted, they mistakenly thought I was "Jshout" and as I was getting back into my car, yet another vehicle arrived which I found out later was Chef Kimmo. I was bummed that I didn't get to meet her because I needed a hint on one of her hidden caches. LOL It was this FTF in which I realized how competitive the FTF's can be!

 

GC4AHTR - This was the cache I met TexasWriter on. He had already found the cache and had the log out when I pulled up but he graciously shared the FTF with me. We chatted for a few minutes and off we went. Little did I know at the time that I had just met my favorite PAF and one of the nicest (albeit craziest) geocachers in the area! ;-)

 

I'm not a big FTF hunter. If they pop up within my area and I'm not in my PJ's, I'll hop in the GeoFIT and go look for them but that doesn't happen often anymore and when it does, I'm ironically out of town! Doh. One of my geo-buddies Sparky and I have discussed hiding a cache in some crazy difficult place and sitting back to see who fights over FTF. LOL We think we know who the competition would be amongst. ;-)

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You forgot to mention how many you got BEFORE they were published!  :notme:    :stirpot:

 

Yes, I seem to remember driving 40 miles down south of Houston one night to grab a new series and seeing two of them hanging on the fence in a gap on the cache map. For whatever reason, PR delayed the publishing of those two a few hours behind the others. The cache logs on those two were obviously offended even more than you were, Brian, because they were screaming at me for a signature as I rode by. I couldn't help but respond to the screams. :D If you think that's bad, I saw a small group of folks sign FTF on an entire series of 22 caches four days before they published.

 

C'mon, Brian, you're an FTF hound. Surely you've had some interesting ups and downs to share with the rest of the class....

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Jhawk! If BB can cache commando you surely can go in PJ's. :)

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Jhawk! If BB can cache commando you surely can go in PJ's. :)

 

Ok ok. You're right. I just hope I can snap a pic of myself with the cop that arrests me before they take my phone away. ;-)

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I looked at that cache in Houston County Lake and is 20 miles east of my dad's hunting property, where I spent a good deal of my childhood. Glad you could find the cache, but who puts a geocache on a island in a remote lake that is liable to only be visited once every 5 years ... and uses a film can as the container? :uglystupid2:

Early in my caching career, I wanted to get my first FTF and never seemed to be able to beat any of the locals to them in the Houston area. I happened to see a new cache in Beaumont that was unfound, so I drove 50 miles to Tyrell Park and hiked to the back of the park to get Geogal's Birthplace.  The FTF was a trackable Gnomad, but apparently that site doesn't work any longer.

 

A month later, I made a 430-mile day trip to San Augustine and back to get FTF's on a bunch of The Pastor's GBNF caches in some small country cemeteries.  I think I got 11 FTF's that day, which is pretty good for the pre-power trail days.  The wife thought I was crazy.

 

My favorite was probably on OHL Hockey Guy's FTFC #38.  I'd been inching to get the FTFC Trophy and when this cache popped up, I immediately knew how to solve it and had the answer in 20 minutes or so (I'd recently solved another very similar to it).  I jumped in the Geo-mobile and drove to the neighborhood, parked and quietly walked to the cache.  When I opened it and saw the trophy was still in it, I did a little happy dance!

 

I've gotten one out-of-state FTF and that was on an earthcache in Colorado.  I had stopped at this feature while on a ski trip and taken all the pictures and GPS readings and had collected all the evidence I needed to list it as an earthcache.  When I got home, I found that it just HAD been published as an earthcache.  I couldn't list it as well, but I COULD get the FTF!

 

I guess the "new" has worn off a bit for FTF chasing, since I've let ones go that are less than 2 miles from my house.  The stars have to align just right for me to go out in the middle of the night to hunt for pill bottles in the poison ivy.

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I've entered a new phase in my caching.  Like HC I look at all of this FTF a bit differently and I may have a relapse now and again.  To see the log of a newbie and their excitement outweighs my own.  YMMV

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I've entered a new phase in my caching.  Like HC I look at all of this FTF a bit differently and I may have a relapse now and again.  To see the log of a newbie and their excitement outweighs my own.  YMMV

 

That's okay, because it was a thread about FTF ups and downs anyway...

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I remember chasing one of the early FTFC Trophy caches.  It was a multi-cache that ended up near my Four Cache Lake series.  It had gotten dark by the time I was near the final location.  After looking for about 15 minutes, I saw a large, dark snake slither within a few feet of me.  My flashlight was getting dim, so I decided that it was time to quit for the night.  Someone else claimed the FTF trophy a few hours later.  

A bit of a disappointment.

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My favorite FTF story happened two years ago.  We were on our way home from our normal extended summer vacation.  We were headed east from Arizona, and said that we would only find caches on the South side of I-10.  Well, we stopped for one, and I said the Mrs. Z , "But there is one just on the other side of this underpass!  Since we've stopped, can we get it, too?"  Reluctantly, she agreed, so i dropped her off to start, and turned the car around.  I checked the logs, and saw four DNFs, so I call out to her to come back.  Then, I said , "Wait, it was published almost a month ago, and hasn't been found!  It is a 1.5/1 , so how hard can it be?"  Well, we looked for a while, and were going to give up, when I picked up a survey stake that was lying on the ground.  For some reason, I moved the ribbon, and found a nano hidden in a hole in the stake.  SCORE!     

I checked on the cache a about two weeks later, and saw that Third to Find was scored by the Beach Bums from Clear Lake, nine days after we got it.

 

Second favorite was getting FIVE FTFs in Ontario last summer.  We stopped at a McDonalds in Michigan to refresh our PQ and load caches before putting our cell phone on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges.   A few miles down the road, Kris said that she saw a mini power trail just up ahead.  When she looked at one, it had been published the night before.   We went to one, and found a virgin log!   As we were walking back to our car, some local cachers drove up.   We told them we beat them, but it was a long drive.   We talked for a few minutes and went on our way, not expecting more FTFs, but why not STF?    

A bit down the road, they were waiting for us, and asked if we wanted to try some CoFTFs.  We agreed, and we found two together.  It was too hot for them, and they decided to give up for the day.  We continued on for two more, but had to push on, since we were aiming for Niagra Falls that evening, and didn't have camping reservations.  That many 'International FTFs' was enough for us!

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I remember getting a lot of FTF's and a cacher complained that I was getting rich from the swag. 

 

Ha, that's funny. With the bizarre behavior I've seen on parts of the caching scene, I could actually see that happening. Hopefully you banked it all for retirement.  :)

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I really don't head out as soon as one is published very often.  If nobody has logged it, I will usually head for it in the morning if it isn't very far from the house.  15 miles is usually my limit.   

The other day, I was looking for one, about 8 in the morning, and I heard a skateboard on the sidewalk in the park.  A Jr. High kid came up and asked it I was looking for the cache. (What else would I be doing - standing by myself in a park at that time of the morning without a dog that I was walking?)

He said that it was "Over There" and pointed about 200 feet away.  I went with him and he told me the general area, and I was able to sign the log.  We put it  back where the posted coords indicated, and he went to school, and I went home.  Cachestacker and Juleed  tried it later that day, without luck.  

When he checked on it after school (the camo had come apart  when we moved it).  It was archived with my find as the only one.

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I really don't head out as soon as one is published very often.  If nobody has logged it, I will usually head for it in the morning if it isn't very far from the house.  15 miles is usually my limit.   

The other day, I was looking for one, about 8 in the morning, and I heard a skateboard on the sidewalk in the park.  A Jr. High kid came up and asked it I was looking for the cache. (What else would I be doing - standing by myself in a park at that time of the morning without a dog that I was walking?)

He said that it was "Over There" and pointed about 200 feet away.  I went with him and he told me the general area, and I was able to sign the log.  We put it  back where the posted coords indicated, and he went to school, and I went home.  Cachestacker and Juleed  tried it later that day, without luck.  

When he checked on it after school (the camo had come apart  when we moved it).  It was archived with my find as the only one.

 

 

Is that the one that you helped him move TO the posted coords?

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