CacheCrazy.Com: Confessions Of An FTF Hound - By: Smithie23

Friday, July 18, 2014

Confessions Of An FTF Hound - By: Smithie23

Back in September 2009 I was new to Geocaching. It had been less than two months since I logged my first cache, and I was learning the ropes, in regards to receiving mobile and e-mail notifications on things such as new caches, caches found, etc. I would read countless articles, on the Groundspeak forums, about cachers and their adventures. Some were claiming a milestone FTF (maybe 50, 100 or even more) while others had multiple FTF’s in one day. I didn’t think much of it. Big deal, you were first.

One Friday night, I received a text alert. The Enjoy, Enjoy Northeast Pennsylvania series had been published. For those unfamiliar with the series, NEPAG published a themed series of caches in honor of Manny Gordon, who recently passed away. There was to be a cache placed in each county as a tribute. It’s a great series, and I recommend checking it out. Anyways, I saw the Luzerne County cache was placed in theNescopeck State Park, a 20 minute drive from home. I decided to head out the next morning and try for the FTF.

The hike to the cache was not unlike others I had made, but as I approached GZ, say in the last 1500 feet or so, a different sense of excitement started to kick in. Maybe the FTF Hounds on the Groundspeak forums are right. Maybe there is something to being first. I found the cache after a little bit of searching, as I was only using myHTC smart phone at the time- it wouldn’t be until shortly after I found this one that my Delorme PN-40 arrived. There was only one thing left after actually finding the cache. Had anyone logged the cache prior to me? To my delight, there it was, an empty logsheet! FTF success!

Photo by Stellascapes
Since then, I’ve logged twelve more FTF’s. Most I’ve acquired by luck. I’ve been in the right place at the right time. I’ve only had one or two where I said to myself “No one has found this one yet?” I can credit a lot of that luck to having a job which has liberal policies regarding work hours and lunchtime. I can also take several different routes to work, which allows me to cover more ground.

I primarily cache Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The NEPA FTF hounds and the Sussex County FTF Hounds each have their own redeeming qualities. A lot of the newly published caches in NEPA are found AND logged before one can even say “Honey, I have to run to the store quick.” The new caches in New Jersey can go either way. Some could sit for two to three days before being found. Others are found quickly, but logged a day, or even two, after the fact.

Photo by Stellarscapes
My favorite FTF, to date, isGC2BT8Y- I DOUBLE DOG DARE YOU! This was a group FTF, and was quite the adventure.

In any event, I find an added excitement to the game, when hunting down an FTF. Not that I’ve done it before, but I would imagine it’s a similar feeling to powercaching. Not only are you trying to make the find, but you get that feeling your back is against the wall, that you’re trying to beat the clock. 

"If you ain't first, you're last!"
All things considered, and almost two years later, here is my take on the FTF debate:                                 

• Geocaching is what you make of it. There are many, many different aspects to it, and most, if not all, are very subjective. The FTF hunt is no different.

• There are caches out there with thousands of logs-but someone had to have the first one.

• Want to meet a fellow geocacher? Hunt down an FTF. On several of my FTF’s I met up with a fellow cacher, either going to or coming from the cache site, or stumbled upon him/her while on the hunt. (BTW, always offer to share in the FTF, especially if you’re about to make the find. The other guy will appreciate it. Remember, no one really keeps track of this stuff.)

• Wanting to claim every FTF is a major sign of being obsessed with Geocaching. Seek help immediately, or just go find the cache.

Photo by Shoob & Sheeb

Sounds to me like smithie23 is CACHE CRAZY! 
Photo by Shoob & Sheeb
Thanks for sharing an aspect of the game that many of us consider a treat but few of us actually set out to "get it"! Well, maybe more of us than we would like to admit. Are you an FTF HOUND?


Heather Cook (Lady-Magpie) said...

Oh yes Smithie, I'm a FTF hound and now have 14 to my name. Not only do I enjoy the hunt but I'm known to get up before daylight on a Sunday morning to claim it. It's reading my fellow local cachers comments that I find fun, usually the quips about the early birds been out again (being Lady-Magpie), or as per last week a colleague wrote, "Once again on the tail feathers of that Lady-Maggie". Good post Smithie!!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

The FTF Hounds in our area are fast and furious. It's a good day for me if I beat one of them to a new cache.

Anonymous said...

ditto what Kim@Snug Harbor said. I've gotten one FTF ever. :) oh well. it's not a biggie for me. I mostly love where geocaching takes me. :)

Big_Dog1970 said...

Good Story Smithers

I too love that rush I feel when getting a FTF, but I lack the ambition to become a full fledged FTF Hound.....LOL.

If it's within 1.5 to 2 miles from my location, and the weather is ok, I'll go for it.

I guess you can call me a fair weather cacher... :)

BigAl said...

Nice post Smithie. I have several FTF's, but nothing to brag about. The ones I really enjoy are the FTF's I find with one of my kids. That makes it really special. Like Big_Dog said, if it's close to my house I'll go for it. See you on the trails for that FTF.

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