I don’t geocache for the numbers.  I do it because it’s a great excuse to get away from the computer.  So for me listing a did not find is no big deal.  If I give a cache a go and I can’t find it I’ll log a DNF.  I do this for two reasons:  1/ A DNF indicates that a cache was challenging which may be the point of that cache and 2/ to let the cache owner know how often the cache is being visited even if it’s not being found.

I’ve experienced two situations in the last couple of weeks were a DNF entry in the log would have been very helpful.  The first was for a cache that is less than 100m from the road.  The cache is in a nice spot so I thought I’d add it to a short geocaching excursion.  I saw that there was on DNF in the logs before I tried it but that didn’t deter me.  On September 6th I searched at the posted coordinates for about 20-30 minutes.  I looked back in the logs and I see that the last find was on July 1.  I also noted that the cache was being found about once every week or so.  So what happened over the two summer months?  Did only one other person visit the cache?  I doubt that.  I suspect visitors to the cache did not log DNFs.  By not logging a DNF they are doing a disservice to the rest of the community.  More people will visit this cache and waste time.  Additionally the cache owner is not alerted to the need for maintenance until a number of weeks after when the maintenance was required.

I had a similar experience this past weekend.  I was caching along a trail which has about eight caches on it.  This is a great trail and the geocaches are well done.  I searched and searched for one of the caches midway through the trail to no avail.  A couple of days after trying for this cache I decided to look at the logs and see if anyone had found it.  There were no entries after mine but there were entries for the cache before and after this one on the same trail.  I decided to contact that player and see if they tried for the cache and didn’t find it.  Sure enough the player replied that they tried but didn’t find it.  I ask myself then why didn’t this player log a DNF?  The player did reach out to the cache owner and ask them about it.  Maybe they didn’t DNF because they were going to go back.

My point here is that a DNF log entry is an important part of making sure we can all enjoy geocaching.  There is no shame in not being able to find a geocache.  The whole point is to hide them and see if someone can find them.  Difficult caches should be hard to find.  If you can’t find an easy one maybe it’s because it’s missing. Wouldn’t you like to know that  cache you placed had gone missing?  With that knowledge you can disable the cache until such time as you can check on it.

So tell me, do you log DNFs?  Post a comment to let us know.


I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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