The Riddle Of Ink

For my last cache search of 2022, I went backward a bit. There had been a Mystery Cache here that had been sitting around taunting me for years. Its puzzle was based on chemistry, and while I am well versed in many scientific subjects, chemistry is a weak point for me. After several attempts over the years, I decided to revisit it again. This time, however, my brain flipped the switch that I hadn’t activated for all those other attempts. I made an obvious connection, and the scales fell from my eyes. I had been overthinking it all these years. My problem resolved, I set out to find the cache, and it was more easy peasy (in a lemon squeezy fashion) than I had guessed. I signed the log, and that was mostly that. But that is not why I’m writing this entry. Definitely not the thing I was thinking about for the first one of a new year.

One of my concerns about this cache was that people had been finding and logging it, so I had thought I was just a doofus. Once I found it and looked at the log, I noticed something. People had been signing this log since at least 2015, but its last written date was “3/21.” Did that mean March 21st or March 2021? I compared it to the logs on the cache page. Two parties other than I had logged it in 2022, and ten had logged it in 2021, but there were not that many signatures for the two years combined on the paper.

I try not to be judgmental about someone not signing a log. I have committed that particular sin myself for different reasons. Everyone has found themselves at a simple cache without a pen or tweezers. I’ve been with groups that have found and signed the cache while I was getting snacks or going to the bathroom. On several occasions, I just couldn’t get the cache itself open. I almost couldn’t sign one of my earliest, high D/T caches because I couldn’t get a writing implement to work. All that said, why is it that so many people haven’t bothered to sign this cache? My first thought was that maybe there was a second container, and people had been signing the wrong one. I looked, but I didn’t find one. Then I thought that maybe a bunch of newbies had just solved it and logged it. Nope again. Several of them had thousands of finds, and a couple had posted photos of themselves, obviously at GZ. Is there another reason I couldn’t think of? I totally get a couple of people not signing it, but eight or ten during twelve finds in two years? I don’t see it.

I guess my point here (and I do have one) is twofold:

A) Go back and revisit those old puzzles that you just don’t think you can solve. You never know when the crucial piece will find you after all those earlier failed attempts!

B) Signing the log is important. Geocaching, to an extent, is an honor-based activity, but putting ink on that paper is an integral part of it. It’s a link back to the earlier times when it wasn’t as simple as using an app, back when it was a point of pride to hold that book in your hand and leave a message to the world (and the next finder) that you were here. Without that, what’s it all even for? If you want to just make a number go up, there are far more efficient ways to do it. I can make the number of episodes I watched in a row go up from my couch. I can make a game character’s level do the same. If you’re going to make your cache count go up, it’s easy to make it mean a little more, and some ink is a small price to pay for that.

4 thoughts on “The Riddle Of Ink

  1. If I ever can’t sign the logs for any reason, I have a picture. After twice dealing with deleted logs of caches I ave found, I now take a picture of every log sheet and submit it with my log. One I’m pretty sure was me finding someone else’s throwdown rather than the actual cache. The other was the CO being a jerk.

    I had one finder of my caches claim he would “find” the caches but didn’t want to touch them to extract the logs because he is a germophobe. Then either bring gloves with you or find a new hobby. I rarely delete logs, but I deleted his.

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  2. I’m like you in several ways. I have not signed a few I couldn’t get out, and yes the tweezers weren’t with me. But I do sign logs !! Once in a while I get surprised, had friend we came behind and not one log they found was signed?? They have photos they were there. Then there are some in have talked to that don’t sign and don’t log on line?
    Really? One teaches geocaching too.
    We all play the game our own way. But even the rules say coordinates and gps is part of the game. 😀

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