GeoCache: DNF

DNF!There are games I like such as football. There are games I don’t like, such as checkers and there are games I like that have elements I don’t like, such as geocaching. I started geocaching four months ago and discovered 475 caches in 12 different cities and two states. I love it, but there’s one element that infuriates me. It’s not the scratches, sunburn, bites or heat. The hated element is the dreaded DNF (did not find).

Geocachers know finding the cache is part of the journey, but a significant game element is reporting or logging your finds on the international geocaching website. Unfortunately, even the most seasoned geocachers can’t find them all. When I started geocaching, I always found every cache I sought, but eventually, I sought more challenging or more caches per day and as the complexity and quantity increase so do the chances of not finding the prize.

The reasons for not finding a cache vary. Sometimes fatigue, terrain or weather interfere. Sometimes a preconceived notion or poor search pattern discourages the find. Sometimes, the cache is missing because the weather, an animal or reckless cacher damaged, destroyed or displaced it.

Regardless the reason for not finding it, geocachers are supposed to log their failed attempts on the website so cache owners and other cachers know what to expect. I hate logging my failed attempts because I’m admitting to the geocaching world I couldn’t find the 1-star hide that 2,000 other seekers found.

I logged 20 Did Not Find (DNF) attempts. That means I can’t find 1 for every 25 (0.04%) I seek. There may be a few I neglected to log, found on a second visit or waited to log until after a second attempt, but all 20 misses made me mad. Not finding the cache means I lost and I don’t like to lose so I keep a list of all the caches I didn’t find so I can return to find them someday. On every miss, I searched an extensive period, broadened my search and chanted some choice words.

My goal is to find every cache I seek, minimize DNFs and redeem myself by finding all past DNFs. Geocaching is simple. Finding is fun. Not finding is not fun.