The DNF Lament

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    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    I find it fascinating watching DNF logs! Sad, I know. But if you’ve logged a DNF on Dartmoor, the chances are I’ve read it!

    DNFs fall into 3 types: those who accept that it was their fault and will return another day; those who are certain it is missing and expect the CO to take immediate action, sometimes calling for a missing cache to be instantly archived! and those who blame everything but themselves.

    The last category is the most interesting, but I daren’t give specific examples! The biggest culprit of course are the coordinates. Sometimes these can be out, but we expect too much. I got a criticism on Leap Day because one of my coordinates was 11 feet out!!! As far as I’m concerned 11 feet is a great result! Nobody can set accurate coordinates in woodland, we all know that, so why moan. If it’s 10 metres out that’s absolutely fine, 25 metres and it’s a bit careless.

    On Leap Day I watched with great amusement as 15-20 cachers tried to find my new series. Half of them went nowhere near GZ, so how can they expect to find it! Leap Day 3 was the best, everybody was convinced the cache was in location A, but actually it was in location B about 4 metres away. Almost nobody bothered to look at location B and the couple who did didn’t see the cache. Hobo checked it and immediately found the cache! Today it was logged “Spot on coordinates gave us a quick find. TFTC”; what can I say!

    One thing everybody should remember, a difficulty 2 cache is one that should be found in under 30 minutes, not under 30 seconds! So why not just blame yourself or give the CO some praise for a crafty hide – now that would be a novelty!


    There is of course a fourth DNF type.
    The ”My caching ego wont allow me to log a DNF” DNF 🙂

    Avatar photodartymoor

    What I’ve noticed, and it’s only from a few, is that any problem with GPS accuracy is the cache-owner’s fault. Even when I’ve used waypoint averaging to get the most accurate coordinates possible, someone comes along with a smartphone under the trees and if it’s not where *their* equipment says it should be, it’s my fault!

    Vast majority are people who, even if they think it’s not their fault, are neutral or even accept responsibility (“It’s probably me”). Although I got 3 yesterday from someone sounding very grumpy about mud (description mentions it clearly), poor coords (very high find ratio from others) and old data on their GPS (although they did say that wasn’t my fault) and they abandoned the series. But! I can understand that, having aborted a series myself because I wasn’t “feeling the fun”, and the route caused a couple of significant double-backs, but that’s fine.

    Stopping when you realise it’s not fun right now is a good thing, no?

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    Dartymoor, it was those DNFs on your series that prompted me to create this topic! It’s really down to my 30 second comment with some people – they just continue to want/expect easy finds. I’m beginning to think that the best caches are those with a 25% DNF rate and I am now trying to create such caches. However, I don’t expect people to walk 6 miles on the open moor for a difficult cache, maybe half a mile 🙂

    Avatar photoreb10

    How about a DNF because the last person to find it also lost it (yes me). Found the cache, signed the log and replaced it only to see it roll down a gap in the wall. I did log it as found then as needs maintenance because ‘wall swallowed it up’.
    This is one reason caches shouldn’t be put in walls, another one is the damage done to the wall as people search for the cache.

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    Phil, we had to DNF on the last cache of the day today, as we had run out of time and with guests arriving here we just had to leave. Whilst looking through the other logs I noticed one which said “At last, 4th attempt and found TFTC” and another which said “Found at the second attempt. TFTC.” So I checked the earlier logs for DNFs, not a single DNF for either of these two! Do you think I should point out this omission to them? Or perhaps you would like to? Cache:

    Tamerton Chocolates

    DD/Dartymoor – I am quite happy for you to mention my name in this topic.

    I see you both take offense to someone logging a DNF on your caches (or at least attempt to ridicule them on a forum).

    I am not sure why it is hard for you to accept that not everyone likes the same sort of caches (or indeed may have a different reason for doing geocaching then yourselves). In my case I simply cannot be bothered nor want to spend more then a few minutes searching for a cache. I also don’t think I have ever “blamed” a CO in this case either (Dartymoor explicitly states himself that the GPS reception is “fuzzy” – those are his words and not mine).

    But fair enough I shall abstain from leaving any logs other then a TFTC should I come across a box of yours again 🙂

    Tamerton Chocolates

    Hmm .. I can’t amend a post. I think I misinterpreted DM comment about the DNF’s slightly .. anyway ..

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    TC, although my original post was prompted partly because I had read your DNF logs, it made no mention of the cache or the cacher. Most of what I wrote was because I had watched the group attempt to find my Leap Day caches and I specifically mentioned those caches.

    I certainly don’t take offence at DNFs logged on my caches, in fact I sent out 2 emails yesterday asking for DNF logs as I knew that the cachers had been searching but had found a nearby letterbox. Neither do I ridicule DNF logs, I was just trying to categorize them.

    As I have said before, those of us who take the time and trouble to try to place decent caches for others’ enjoyment really would like to receive thoughtful logs, either Finds or DNFs. The simple TFTC is really annoying as discussed elsewhere, but my original post was about cachers criticising the owner because they have failed to find a cache, and suggesting that maybe they should consider that it is possibly their fault and not the CO. When the large group returned to my Leap Day cache they admitted that the coordinates had been spot on and they couldn’t explain the DNF.

    It seems to me that the current trend, at least on Dartmoor, (to a lesser extent elsewhere) to give totally explicit hints and spoilers is making a mockery of the difficulty rating. If you are not prepared to spend 30 minutes looking for a cache, then you should avoid difficulty 2 caches.

    LB also makes a very valid point when he says “There is of course a fourth DNF type. The ‘My caching ego wont allow me to log a DNF’ DNF” I have noticed many cachers write a note explaining why they haven’t found a cache, instead of logging a DNF. If you’ve looked then it is either a Find or a DNF, and writing a note isn’t really an option.

    Avatar photodartymoor


    “I see you both take offense to someone logging a DNF on your caches (or at least attempt to ridicule them on a forum). ”

    I think you misinterpreted what I said too – I most certainly did not take offence at your DNF, nor even at you complaining about the mud! Read what I wrote please. I even explained why abandoning a series and saying why was ok. I’m secure enough that from all the good logs on that series that most people have enjoyed it and that’s enough for me, and I certainly don’t blame you for abandoning. The ONLY thing I’m miffed about is the scrote who keeps stealing #8. Replacing it for a second time today, and if it goes again I’ll have to archive.

    I also disagree with DD about difficulty. 30 minutes for a D2? So a D5 would take at least 2.5 hours of searching on the spot? Do I need to take a tent and rations? 😮 I take perhaps10 minutes before a DNF, far less if it’s an area with people in or I feel uncomfrotable searching. As explained before, it’s mostly about the walk, the place or the story for me, not about the physical act of looking under stones.

    That said, mentioning searching time is a bit redundant. I could take 30 minutes searching for something and not find it, and the next person walk up and spot it from 30′ away, or vice-versa. I feel after 10 minutes I’m either going to spot it or not. Sometimes going away and trying again has helped, but if not – well, there’s plenty other green boxes on my maps to try.

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    Dartymoor, there is no point in disagreeing with me over difficulty ratings. They are defined as follows:

    * Easy. In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.
    ** Average. The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunt.
    *** Challenging. An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.
    **** Difficult. A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter – may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.
    ***** Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.

    You don’t need a D5 for 2.5 hours of searching, according to the guidelines you only need a D3. We are so used to overrated caches that sometimes it is worth looking at the guidelines.

    I think muddypuddles’ Tavy Treasure Trail is a good example of a D5 cache. I can’t believe anybody achieved this in less than 10 hours, certainly not 2.5 hours. Judy and I took 10 trips! It might be argued that it isn’t really extreme and isn’t a serious mental or physical challenge, but I don’t think any of us who have completed it would accept that argument!

    Avatar photodartymoor

    Of course I can disagree with you, it just means I have to disagree with Groundspeak as well…

    Those guidelines are nonsense. Even allowing for luck and experience, there’s no such thing as an “average cache hunter”. 30 minutes is far longer than most people would try – and that’s only a 2? By all means keep the 5 for those that require it, but spread out the curve a little.

    I’ve found a 4/4 and I’ve never spent 30 minutes searching for a single cache. And GC2N47N – you’ve mentioned that one yourself. That’s 2.5 and took me less than a minute when at GZ.

    I very often don’t read DT’s before setting out – pretty sure I play the game differently to you, and even if it mattered, I don’t care who’s right or wrong, as long as I’m still enjoying it. 🙂

    As for the thread origin, GP #8 was in place and coords are accurate (rechecked today), although it had been entirely covered in pine needles and difficult to find without sweeping the whole area. Rehid and amended clue a little.

    Avatar photoDartmoor Dave

    Whether you agree or disagree with the guidelines, I can’t see how you can describe them as nonsense. Surely the idea of these guidelines is to try to give a consistency across all caches. It doesn’t mean that you should be spending 30 minutes, it actually says less than 30 minutes, so less than a minute is fine if you are lucky, but possibly the cache should have been rated less than D2.5.

    I don’t agree that most people wouldn’t spend 30 minutes – I know I’ve watched them, and you only spent 10 minutes on Leap Day 3 🙂 I would imagine that many have spent far more than 10 minutes on the Great Plantation Walk caches.

    Avatar photodartymoor

    And I know many have spent far less and moved on – each to their own, which is the point I keep making!

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