To some people geocaching is about the numbers, to some it’s a casual hobby, a sport, a game, or even a lifestyle. Geocaching can be anything you make it, but it cannot be disputed there are certain milestones and achievements that can make the geocacher feel good about the activity – “First to Finds” (FTF) are one such milestone.
The probability of you getting an FTF depends on a number of factors – such as the geocache density in your area, number of active geocachers, whether you’re regularly checking email alerts from geocaching.com, time of day, or just plain luck. I listen to a few geocaching podcasts where they talk about “First to Find Hounds” (people who put a lot of their geocaching energy into being the first to find a newly listed cache), and “First to Find Parties” (where one may go to seek out a FTF and come across other cachers in there area with the same intention).
So when I noticed an email from geocaching.com about a newly-listed cache only 4km from my home co-ordinates, I did get a little bit excited. The new cache was a medium-sized hide by local cacher Shifter Brains, called Fountains Falls (GC1KPMX). The alert came in very early in the morning as I was getting ready for work. I figured we’d be out of luck… surely somebody else would beat us to the cache. It was frustrating knowing there was a brand new cache so close to home, yet I couldn’t get a chance to seek it out for another 12 hours. The odds of getting a FTF on this one now seemed slim.
At work I thought about the cache some more. Using my iPhone I checked out the route to the cache on google maps, even looked at the street view so I could be familiar with parking, and location of the track. The day passed slowly, and finally at about 4pm TeamWolfie made their way up to the location for a possible FTF. The online log was still empty, so we were hopeful.
There were two ways to access this cache. We chose the “short” option – about a 600m walk down a fairly well formed fire trail. GZ was close to a beautiful stream running through the bushland. Our iPhones guided us up another track running parallel to the stream as we closed in on GZ.
Hoping to get a better fix I punched in the numbers on our Mio DigiWalker – which is designed really as an in-car navigator but we find it quite accurate on the track. The Mio and the iPhones seemed to be matching up and indicating a location just off the track. Time to put the GPSRs away now and rely on the TeamWolfie geosenses… tried one minor trail or animal-track first with no luck, then tried another one and quickly noticed something that didn’t look quite right. Yes – it was the cache. Woo Hoo !
Now the anguish and excitement builds to see if we are indeed the FTF. We carefully remove the cache, and open it. So clean, so new, so very well stocked with nice things. Wow. I’d never seen a cache so new and full of nice new things before. Time to open the log book. YES – It’s Empty! We are FTF!!
We do our caching deeds: signed the log book (and gloated about our first FTF), we took a Bottle Opener and left a Travel Bug, then carefully resealed the cache and placed it back in it’s hiding spot – leaving it exactly how we’d found it.
After this we did a spot of exploring on the opposite side of the track and found a really nice little waterfall where the stream was running through. Being a hot day, TeamWolfie took the opportunity to cool down and enjoy our moment of satisfaction, knowing we now have a FTF under our belt.
Thanks to Shifter Brains for another awesome cache in a great location. You’ve really been giving TeamWolfie a lot of caching to do and we appreciate it.