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Hypothetical cache etiquette

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Probably should be a poll, but I hate polls :-)


Scenario 1 - You go to a cache. It's a mess, and logbook is soaked. You have a logbook in your backpack. What do you do?

1) Replace it and remove the soggy mass of log, dry it out and contact the cache owner and mail/deliver it to them?

2) Put the new one in, and leave the soggy old one to grow cultures?

3) Forget about it since the cache owner should know better?


Scenario #2 - Similar scenario. You go to a cache and find the container cracked/leaking/full of water. You have a container or two in the car, and it's a short walk. Do you?

1)Replace the container?

2) Forget about it since the cache owner should know better?


I know there's no "correct" answer, but I'd be interested in the consensus.




Sometimes a majority only means that all the fools are on the same side

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Well, I would replace the logbook, or the container, and contact the cache owner. In the case of the logbook, I'd offer to mail them the ironed-dry logbook, if they'll just give me an address to mail it to.


I can't necessarily recommend that procedure, since I have only a 50% success rate at it. Half the people I have done it for have been complimentary, and dead silence from the other 50%.


At least nobody has yelled at me yet, so I guess that's something of a recommendation.


We also tend to trade up heavily when the cache we run into is a little anemic.



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Recently visited cache that was flooded.... Log book was in ziplock bag so it was dry (lesson here)....


Dried out what I could and notified owner....





I'm Diagonally Parked, In A Parallel Universe.


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In scenario 1, if I had a logbook and ziploc, I'd leave it, along with the original. If I thought the cache was abandoned, I'd probably return with new container, trade items and logbook eventually.


I've done what you outlined in scenario 2. Previous logs mentioned the poor condition of the container, so I brought a new one along. I didn't have the time to dry the contents, so now a leak proof container is filled with wet stuff. Not much of an improvemnt in my eyes. In fact someone found the cache yesterday, 3 months after my visit and complained that the log book was still too wet to sign. So moral of the story is, if you're gonna replace the container, be prepared to replace the log book and contents.


"Paternalism is the greatist despotism" - Emmanual Kant

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The person who placed the cache is responsibile for it. I would email the person and let them know what bad shape their cache is in. If I read logs from a month ago that said the cache container was hosed or logbook was soggy, I would assume the person had no more interest in it and I would consider it a part of my trashout responsibility. It's just like cleaning a kids room won't teach them to do it themselves. Repairing other peoples caches just encourages more trash caches.


Yes I have finds, yes I have hides and yes I'm a charter member. My wife will not let me use our account on the forums...don't know why.

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I'm not the patron saint of geocaching and it's not my job to clean up every messy cache I find. I'll post a note in my log and send an e-mail to the owner but I don't feel like I have any obligation to replace containers or logbooks.


I will trade-up contents at a cache that is full of junk but the general well being of a cache is the responsibility of the cache owner.


I do carry an extra log book, but I use it to leave a note in the cache when the original book is full or to wet to use. I simply write my own note, tear it off and drop it in, and put the cache back where I found it. I'd rather use my spare log books and containers to place new caches.


Now where did I park my car??????? monkes.gif

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We'd dry out the contents and replace the log. We'd place the log in a new ziplock bag and replace the items we're able to dry out in a ziplock bag. We'd also try to figure out why the log was wet. We'd take the wet log with us and dry it out, then either return it to the owner or the cache.


Damaged containers are replaced.


With that said, there seems to be two camps here in regard to who's responsible for the cache. Some feel the cache owner is the only one responsible for the wellbeing of the cache. If it's in bad shape, only the owner should have to fix it.


My thoughts are it's everyone's responsibility. Each cacher is responsible for leaving the cache in good shape for the next cacher.


Recently, we were in a park that closed at 5pm the second to last cache was wet and we were running short on time. We TNLN'ed. Well, the cache has already been found again and in the same condition we found it. I feel bad that another cacher had to find a nasty wet cache. We could have done something about it, but we were selfish for finishing up the park. Guilt for not supporting my fellow cachers is what I feel.


Supporting another's cache, I feel, is like placing a cache, you are contributing to the sport, not just taking. It's kind of like how you trade. Do you see something and take it, even if you don't have a trade item of equal value? ...or do you always trade up?


So, I guess it's up to the cacher as to what he or she would do.





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I am super new to this, and don't have a large stock pile of containers yet. I do have a few little note books that would serve as log books in most caches. I do carry a small role of duct tape with me just in case it needs that special little fix up. Patch a hole or crack or the such. After reading this I am more confused.


A> It would be the neighborly thing to do to replace the log and the container if needed. And I will stock up on more containers, logs, and ziplocks.


B> It is also a very valid point that if you fix the cache back, then you are not teaching the owner to take care of their own. icon_confused.gif


Now my ? is. We don't have a massive amount of caches in WV (as compared to other states). Now do we in WV allow caches that are out there to be destroyed or do we take care of others cahces to make sure we keep what we do have?


I say if a cache is well made to start, and those that would visit it would have respect for the cache, then most should last rather well with some minor attendance from the owner. Now comes what do you do about those that have been vandalized? Is the cache owner responsible for that? How often do you have to go check on your sites? It could be fine today and a mess in the morning.


In conclusion I feel I would replace the log and leave the old one. People that return before the owner can get there can atleast log it. Send the owner an email with a REPLY request on it. If I do not hear from the owner in say a week maybe two. I would then either bring it to Geocaching.com's attention or replace/remove the cache and make all parties aware of it at that time (the day before in go).


By the way WV lets keep our caches healthy and our woods clean. I support the clean the trail as you go theory. A small plastic bag (WAL Mart style) will hold much trash from our forest floors. icon_wink.gif




The Important Things Are Always Simple and The Simple Things Are Always Hard.

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recently that was totally wasted. It was a rubbermaid container but not water tight. Everything in the cache was ruined except the log book, it was damp.


I posted a note in the log book and notified the owner. I didn't get any response even though the owner was actively checking other caches.


Later I found the cache was archived. I am curious to know if they went back and fixed it or removed it.


I agree the cache is the responsbility of the owner. If one of my caches is messed up then let me know and I'll fix it. Common courtesy is to acknowledge the person reporting the problem.


Fair winds, Capn Skully

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What is geocaching coming to?


I think the situation dictates the response.


If the cache or contents seems to have encountered a problem through no fault of it's own (animal, flood, etc.) and I had the replacement readily available - I would fix it and email the owner detailing what I did. Hopefully others would do the same if one of my caches was ina similar condition . On the other hand, if the cache container consists of a plastic bag or a hotel ice bucket (I've seen both) or is otherwise obviously not well executed (i.e. in my opinion the owner really didn't plan it out well) - I would probably just note it in my log. My thought is that if they didn't take the time, I'm not going to either.


Way back in the days when the grass was still green

and the pond was still wet

and the clouds were still clean,

and the song of the Swomee-Swans rang out in space...

one morning, I came to this glorious place.

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I was traveling and caching when I encountered a cache container full of water. Nothing salvagable. I did not have replacements with me. I took pictures of everything, suggested that it be archived, emailed the owner, posted photos. It was archived. I was the last finder. The owner was out of town for several months and was unable to get there to fix it in a timely manner. When he can, he will replace and reactivate.

I also carry an extra log book with me. Would use it in a minute.

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Oh, sorry... I thought this "Hypothetical Cache Etiquette" thread would be about how to behave when visiting a locationless cache site. I was going to say that you should behave in the same manner, whether it's a real cache or a hypothetical cache. But I'll move along now. icon_wink.gif



If there's no accounting for stupidity, then why do I need to file a tax return?

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Originally posted by The Leprechauns:

Oh, sorry... I thought this "Hypothetical Cache Etiquette" thread would be about how to behave when visiting a locationless cache site. I was going to say that you should behave in the same manner, whether it's a real cache or a hypothetical cache. But I'll move along now. icon_wink.gif


One should leave a hypothetical bag-o'-doots? icon_wink.gif

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It depends on additional factors. If I'm close to home, I'd be more likely to replace logbooks or containers, because it would be much easier to get the old ones back to the owner. If I'm further from home, I usually dry out the cache/logbook as much as possible, possibly add a new logbook (leaving the old), put everything in new Ziploc bags, and email the owner. If I know the owner is no longer an active cacher, I'd be more likely to replace than if not.


It would also depend on what kind of container the original is, and what kind of container I have in my vehicle, how far I have to walk to make the additional trip, and what kind of a time schedule I'm on.



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In scenario 1, I would probly go with number two. It also depends on the situation. If its just damp I would just try to air dry it a bit and put it back, but if its just soaked and turning into muss it would remove it. I would also replace as many ziplocks and trade items as needed(assuming of course I have enough with me).


As for scenario 2, referr to above.

I will replace as many logbooks, ziplocks, trade goods, stash notes & etc. as I have but not containers.

I don't carry around spare containers with me, so even if I felt like the cache fairy I couldn't be. To me the container is sorta the 'base' part of cache, so changing/replacing of that should generally be left to the owner. I have replaced a container, but I had contact with the owner and knew they we're very busy. so since I was planning to visit the cache anyways... I upgraded the container, and being they wouldn't have been able to get to the cache for weeks, they were very greatfull for my help.



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I'm very new to this.......so I've got some pretty unbiased views..... I've already taken the time to get a few extra pens, and log books, and ziplock baggies. Since this is such a great family activity, I'd replace the log-book with a new one that has a note explaining what happened,,,,then try to get the old log book to the owner of the cache. However, I'm not rich, and I also feel that the container is the base of the whole unit.....it must be well thought out...I cannot replace the containers. If we all help each other,,,the general condition of caches will be good. icon_razz.gif

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I usually am only carrying an extra pen and a baggie or two, not a cache container or even a logbook. Once we found a soaked, disgusting cache (full of toothbrushes!) but couldn't dry it out because of its location (it was permaently mounted and immobile). Notified the owner but it doesn't sound like it's gotten any maintenance. If I knew in advance that a cache was in bad shape and that the owner was inactive or non-local, I might bring more stuff to fix it up a bit.


The other weekend we ran into a wet cache placed by a team we'd met once. We had some paper towels along and spent some time drying the contents and trying to air out the damp logbook. It wasn't a total loss, and we didn't have a replacement, so I just sealed the still-damp stuff in a ziploc of its own. If it hadn't been getting dark, we'd have stayed a while to try to dry the paper stuff in the sun. I think it's a neighborly thing to do, fixing it up a bit if it's been damaged. I'd be leery of taking the logbook unless it's so extremely soaked as to be a sodden mass of paper, and I'd feel a bit like I was overstepping my bounds if I replaced the whole container (unless I happened to have something almost identical and knew the owner was unlikely to show up for their own maintenance). It just feels like the container is such an integral part of the cache that I'm horning in on someone else's turf if I unilaterally decide to replace it without permission. If it's a cheese container and I have one just like it, no biggie, but a different container might substantially change the cache in a lot of cases.

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Just recently, Moun10Bike, Kodak's4, Seth!, and me found a cache in our area that had washed away from it's hiding spot. The logbook was toast so Kodak's4 replaced the logbook with an extra one he had.


We decided to hang on to the container and have one of us contact the cache owner as there wasn't a good place to put the thing back.


Now, I was in Bremerton and found a cache that had been violated. Lots of trash lying around. I grabbed all the trash and took it out to a garbage can. As for the container, I put it back together and set it close to where it probably was hid adn contacted the owner about this. He went out and took care of it.


So basically it's case by case. Bottom line is that the cache owner needs to be alerted.

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Generally, it's probably a case-by-case situation, as others have noted. Some people might not like anybody to mess with their cache, others would welcome a helping hand.


I found a cache which was totally soaked. Even items in double ziploc bags were wet. The first person who found the cache already made mention of this fact, and all subsequent geocachers make a note of it; it's almost a year later, and the cache still has not been sorted out by the owner.


I dried everything as best I could, including the log book. I wouldn't remove a log book, but would put a new dry one into the cache if I had one on hand, and mention this in the new log book. I also sent an eMail to the owner, but there has been no response, although I know he is active.


If I would have had a spare container (unlikely thing to carry around when I'm geocaching) I would have replaced the leaking container and notified the owner, but ultimately, I believe the owner is responsible for maintenance.

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I would replace the log if I had an extra log book (and I usually do) I would replace the continer if I have one on me. but if it's in the car and it's a two mile walk back, then I'm going to do what I can and contact the owner. Why just last Saturday, Ttepee and I replaced a missing cache, because between the two of us we had enough cool stuff, a log book, and a container to make a whole new cache. Now, I just have to edit the cache page and let people know it's back.

So #1 on both counts if possible. Notify the owner if not. It also helps to find out if the owner is still around, some caches if been to the owner is gone, those you can request to adopt, as we did with the one we replaced.


Cache you later,



"To err is human, to forgive....$5.00"

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