Am I The Grognard?

I managed to get another FTF yesterday at a cemetery I had never heard of before, placed by one of the new cachers (actually, I think it’s a parent and child using one account) in the area. I went ahead and gave it one of my stingily hoarded favorite points for its camo and because it brought me to a new location in a city I was pretty sure I had traveled from one end to the other. But something else began to occur to me. I’ve been grabbing these new caches on and off for over two months. They’ve put out an entire series, around twenty caches, based at various murals around town. I pulled up their stats and saw they have hidden seventy-seven caches in four months of caching! I’ve been doing this for over four years and only have twenty-eight hides. Add in my hosted Events, and I still don’t come close to their hide count. At the same time, they have only two hundred finds in those four months. I’m not trying to sound elitist when I say “only,” either. Forty per month is nothing to sneeze at. I myself don’t always find that many per month. But my point here (and I do have one) is this: something feels odd to me about having that many hides when you have so few finds. I’m not saying that you can’t hide that many. It’s obviously been done. But I think that one of the many reasons for finding caches before hiding them is to get a feeling for what you like and what you don’t, for what works and what doesn’t. I have trouble imagining that someone who has seen so little of the possibilities of our hidden world can do well at making additions to it. There’s something to be said for experience.

At the same time, the axiom “out of the mouth of babes comes the truth” is not necessarily wrong. There’s something to be said for approaching the entire enterprise with fresh eyes, without the judgements and prejudices of other cachers. I occasionally complain about grognards, complainers who let their opinions on caching become the rules for how caching should be. Some days, however, I am the grognard. Long ago, I posited that the thing that marks the difference between a cacher and merely someone who caches is being informed enough to have opinions. It took me a while, but I came to realize that I am, in fact, a cacher. But, of course, those opinions – mine, yours, everyone’s – need to be challenged lest they become calcified and rigid. A tree unperturbed by wind grows brittle and collapses easily. And, of course, you can insert your own appropriate metaphor here. That is why I engage in the struggle against both the grognard without and the grognard within. And, in this case, that means that I, a person of many words, need to shut my pie hole. That’s not to say there aren’t some legitimate points or criticisms to make. But there’s nobody, myself included, who has the right to tell anyone how they can or cannot cache. Well, other than maybe Groundspeak, that is. So, make your hides and don’t listen to me!

6 thoughts on “Am I The Grognard?

  1. When I first started caching up here, it seemed like the hides were coordinated by a group who were just hiding them for each other. They seemed to know each other’s hides and resent it if someone got a FTF outside of their circle. So I started hosting a monthly breakfast event and eventually I got to know them as well. We still tease each other a lot – one of the ladies who never hides in a guardrail and I found a cache of hers right near a guardrail in the middle of nowhere and she always mentions my log “what a waste of a perfectly good guardrail!” Of course, she knew I was kidding but we were having fun. Maybe invite them to one of your events so you can get to know them? Although, hiding my the murals sounds like a good plan.


  2. Along with the long laundry list of different cacher types, is the **hider**. I know some geocachers who get out and find very few caches, but love hiding them. A few local cachers (local to me) have some very creative hides (gadget caches even) but rarely go out looking themselves.


    1. Oh, I know those people. There’s a reason Travis and neighboring Williamson counties have a combined 5000 caches, which is more than all the surrounding counties combined. We’ve got a few serious hiders around here.


  3. As someone who never rants about geocaching, I applaud your ability to sound diplomatic here, but what I am getting is: I wish these inexperienced Normans would stop saturating the area with uninspired hides!


    1. You’re partially correct. A couple of their new hides have been really, really good. I also give them credit for some of their 3D printed containers, which very few people around here do (though, my most favorited hide is one…).

      I also own my hypocrisy. I contain multitudes.


      1. I have seen a couple of 3D printed containers. My favorite was a “light bulb” properly screwed into a light socket on the outside wall on the rickety porch of an abandoned BBQ restaurant. Talk about hidden in plain sight. It had me going and going and going. I nearly gave up. Then I was very close to that light fixture when my gaze landed upon it again, and I thought something was just a bit off. Touching it revealed that it was not glass.
        So, I unscrewed the “bulb” and found a log filled cavity within.


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