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Five ways to scare away the ghosts of DNFs past


Staff member
Jan 19, 2024
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This Halloween, we have all things spooky on the brain. Some folks tell scary stories this time of year about vampires and ghosts, but for geocachers there’s nothing more haunting than tales of geocaching outings that ended in a “Didn’t find it” (DNF) log. A chill runs down the spine as you remember the search for a geocache and the moment you had to walk away, wondering where that container could be, sure that you had looked for it in every possible corner. However, these tales don’t have to haunt you forever! Read on for tips on how to scare away the ghosts of DNFs past.

1. Read past logs
A good first step for turning a DNF into a “Found it” is looking through past logs from other cachers, especially logs from cachers who found the cache after a long search or after their own previous DNF. There’s often useful information there. For example, a past finder might mention that the geocache was hiding in plain sight or cleverly camouflaged.

2. Bring a friend
As the saying goes, many hands make light work. Bring a friend or two along to revisit the site of the DNF and you’ll have the advantage of their fresh perspective and the ability to cover more area around the coordinates of the hide.

3. Strengthen your geo-senses
Take some time to find other geocaches before returning to a DNF. It can help to get in some practice looking for different types of caches. Every find teaches you something and sharpens your geo-senses, so you can come back with more knowledge and experience, ready to avenge your DNF.

4. Contact the cache owner or phone a friend
If you’ve returned to the site of the DNF and still have trouble finding the cache, it could be a good idea to contact the people who have the best idea where the cache might be, the cache’s owner and geocaching friends who found the cache in the past. Send the CO a message asking for an extra hint, or check to see if any of your geocaching fiends have found the cache and reach out to them for a tip or two.

5. Post an “Owner attention requested” log
Sometimes if you don’t find a cache, it could be because the cache actually isn’t there, or it’s drifted from its coordinates. If you’re still not finding the cache on a second visit, consider posting an “Owner attention requested” log. This will alert the cache owner that their cache might be missing and they should check on it.

What are your tips for avenging DNFs? Share in the comments below!
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