Memorial Geocaching:

A Tool to Help You Fill an Empty Space in Your Heart.©

This geocaching glossary is intended to help you navigate geocaching, and especially to help you get started making a memorial geocache.

Geocaching is a family-friendly, outdoor, recreational activity, sometimes called a game. Please don't try to memorize these definitions! Geocaching is for fun!

Geocaching basics

BYOP – Bring Your Own Pencil (or pen)
You'll be signing lots of logbooks during your geocaching, so it is wise to keep a pencil or pen with you. Pencils tend to work better than pens on damp or uneven surfaces.
Also called a geocache, a cache is a waterproof container (cache container) with at least a logbook or paper log.
Caches usually also contain items intended for trade (swag).
Cache container (often abbreviated CC)
Cache containers come in lots of sizes and shapes, from nano (the size of a thimble, or smaller) to micro (a 35mm film container) to small (a water bottle) to regular / medium (an ammo box [the classic cache container]) to large. Usually, the smaller the cache container, the harder to find.
Each cache container must be waterproof to keep the logbook, swag, and other contents dry and clean.
CITO® – Cache In Trash Out®
Geocachers tend to want to leave an area better than they found it. One easy way to help is to pick up litter on our way to and from a cache. Some cachers carry a folded trash bag in their back pocket to take trash home with them so that it can be recycled or disposed of properly.
Cache in / Trash Out logo
"CITO", "Cache In Trash Out", and the "Cache In Trash Out" logo are all registered trademarks of Groundspeak, Inc. They are used here with permission.
DNF – Did Not Find
We all get one, sooner or later, that eludes us. Come back later, with fresh eyes. Even better, with another geocacher; two sets of eyes are better than one.
A geocoin is one type of trackable. It may look like large coin or may be any other shape. Each geocoin has its own serial number, which is what enables it to be tracked. Please do not show the serial number if you upload a photo.
Geocoins may be made by individual people, groups of geocachers, or by organizations. Below is a loggerhead turtle geocoin made by Geocaching.Com.
Photo of a geocoin turtle
GPSr – GPS receiver
Ideally, your GPS receiver will be hand-held. A GPSr designed for geocaching will very likely be more expensive than your car GPSr. Do not invest in a special GPSr until you've investigated geocaching and are sure you want to make a financial commitment.
GZ – Ground Zero
"Ground Zero" means the immediate area around the cache, usually no more than a foot radius from the CC.
Each cache should have a logbook for you to sign in with your username and the date you visited the cache. Very small caches may have no room for anything in addition to the logbook.
No, not harvesting trees. "Logging" is going to Geocaching.Com, signing in, and reporting that you found (or didn't find) a specific cache and making a comment.
Adding comments to your log messages, such as "TNLNSL", "Right where expected.", or "Clever hide!", will help your geocaching community know how healthy the cache is. You'll earn respect and appreciation from cache owners if you leave specific comments about your find ("Logbook is almost full", "Traded geocoins", "CC was in excellent condition. Thanks!" etc.).
When you are new to geocaching, please be cautious about logging a "DNF" (Did Not Find) unless you spent at least half an hour searching near GZ. Yes, caches can get lost or stolen. If several people have found that cache recently (within the last six months to a year), then maybe you missed it. You can always talk to another local geocacher for advice!
The name "muggle" was derived from the Harry Potter books. In geocaching terms, it means a person who is not a geocacher. Calling someone a muggle is not necessarily an insult.
Cachers worry about muggles seeing caches found or finding caches accidentally because some muggles vandalize caches, either through ignorance or meanness.
If we say that a cache has been "muggled", we means that the cache has been opened and the contents either stolen or scattered. Sometimes muggles simply steal the whole cache.
Signal the FrogTM
The mascot of Geocaching.Com, Signal the FrogTM is instantly recognizable by the antenna on its head, representing the joining of nature and technology.
Groundspeak, Inc. (owners of Geocaching.Com) even has a Visit the Groundspeak ''Signal the Frog'' Page Signal the Frog Page.
"Signal the Frog" and the Signal the FrogTM logo are trademarks of Groundspeak, Inc. They used here with permission.
The cache owner usually will seed the cache with things that are intended for trade. Most cachers carry a small supply of swag with them when caching.
When you remove an item from a cache, you are expected to leave something of equal or greater value. Please do not leave money in a cache!
When choosing swag to swap, please keep in mind that geocaching is a family-friendly hobby. Many adult cachers take children with them when caching, and it is very likely that a child will be the one to open the cache container.
A geocoin is an especially valuable item to trade. Geocoins are trackables, and should be logged and moved to another cache soon. Geocoins range in cost from a few dollars on up.
Please do not leave food of any kind in a cache. Animals will be attracted to the smell of food and may destroy the cache. "Food" includes dog or cat treats, chewing gum, candy, or any other edible treats. If you find food in an existing cache, please dispose of it far from the cache!
Most swag is yours to keep when you trade for it, unlike trackables which are intended to be picked up and then dropped off soon. (There is a scallop shell that has been riding on Ernest's dashboard since he traded sidewalk chalk for it.)
"Where do I get swag to trade?" "How much do I have to spend on swag?" To answer the second question first, "As little or as much as you want!"
You can find caching swag around your home (a pretty marble, a toy car, a plastic ruler), at a flea market, or in a dollar store. For less than the price of a cup of coffee you can get enough swag to keep you trading for weeks.
Some of Ernest's favorite swag to buy and trade is sidewalk chalk, large erasers, pencils with crazy designs, small pencil sharpeners, party favors (pinball game, magnifying glass, trophy cup) that are sold four-for-a-dollar, and other dollar store finds.
Geocaching swag: Dollar store bird.
TFTC – Thanks For The Cache
When logging, this should be an absolute minimum entry. An alternative is "TFTH": Thanks For The Hide. Cache owners deserve our thanks, at the least!
TNLNSL – Took Nothing; Left Nothing; Signed Log.
When logging, this is a lazy entry. The cacher didn't even acknowledge the cache owner's effort. At least say "TFTC"
ToTT – Tools of The Trade
You don't need to make a big investment in tools to geocache! A GPSr is a necessity, of course.
A stick very often comes in handy (don't break branches off of trees!), a flashlight will help you see into dark places, tweezers will help you get tiny logs out of nano caches, and you'll need pencils or pens to sign logbooks. Foot protection for caching in or near wet areas is a good idea. Sunscreen and bug spray are a must!
Each trackable has its own serial number. When you log a trackable, you will be able to see where it has been on its journey, and you'll be able to see where it goes.
It is considered very impolite to keep a trackable that was found in a cache. Trackables are intended to be sent on their way within a short time of being found, usually within two weeks or so.
A Travel BugTM and a geocoin are two types of Trackables.
Geocaching.Com has a Page describing trackables; it has lots of great links!
Travel BugTM
A Travel BugTM is one kind of trackable, almost always loosely attached to a laminated card telling the Travel BugTM's own story. Some Travel BugsTM have a desired destination or mission to fulfill.
Photo of a Travel Bug with a Smurf
Each Travel BugTM has a unique serial number, which is what enables it to be tracked. If you take a photo, it is a good idea not to show the serial number.
"Travel Bug" and the Travel Bug logo are trademarks of Groundspeak, Inc. They are used here with permission.

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Memorial Geocaching specifics

A geocache memorial may honor a loved one, whether a person or a pet. Events may also be commemorated with a cache.

Cache containers
You may want your cache container to be large enough to hold more swag than a traditional cache container, and especially if you plan on having memorial scrolls.
The shape of your memorial cache may reflect the hobby, interests, or business of your loved one. The classic ammo container would be appropriate for a soldier or hunter, and would be easily found at a military surplus store in several sizes. For a fisherman, how about a tackle box? For someone who liked to garden, plastic cylinder with a tight-sealing lid might be painted to look like a flowerpot and have a plastic flower glued to the lid. A birdhouse can be modified to be waterproof (or at least water-resistant) to honor someone who was a bird-watcher. To see some classic containers used for geocaches, do an Internet search for the brand name "Lock'N'Lock" or "Lock&Lock" or "LockAndLock". You will find many containers on the Internet that come pre-camouflaged. Your imagination will help you find a decorate your own cache container!
Geocoins for your memorial geocache
You will probably find some geocoins for sale that are appropriate for remembering your loved one.
You may also decide to have geocoins created especially for your memorial geocache. In addition to Shop.Geocaching.Com, there are other companies which will take your design and produce a geocoin to match it. Prices, quality, and minimum quantities vary.
Hiding your memorial cache
Do want to hide your geocache so that beginning cachers can find it easily? Or do you want your memorial geocache to provide a challenge for experienced cachers?
Geocaching.Com/play/hide is an excellent resource for people thinking about hiding their first memorial cache. You may find it hokey, but it is worth watching for the real messages.
Memorial scroll
A memorial scroll is a document that tells the geocacher who finds your geocaching memorial more about who you are honoring and your cache.
Typically, you would design your memorial scroll using your computer, print it, and have it laminated. Laminating your memorial scroll makes it more sturdy, and make it easy to attach a Travel BugTM by simply punching a hole in the scroll's corner.
In addition to text about your loved one, you may want to include a photo of happy times, along with a brief description. What hobbies or activities did the person you're honoring enjoy? Fishing? Dancing? Gardening? You can embellish your memorial scroll with photos and drawings. If you need inspiration, search for "scrapbook embellishments" online or in a craft store.
Can you make a pleasing visual pun on the name or nickname of the person you're remembering? A few examples include "Jay" – a drawing of a blue jay; "Penny" – a drawing of a penny; "Poppy" – a drawing of a poppy in bloom; "Rose" – a photo of a single rose in a garden; "Scout" – a drawing of a wild west scout.
Is there a favorite saying that your loved one used often, or that makes you think of them? "Carpe diem.", "Choose forgiveness.", "When in doubt, tell the truth.", "Failure is success if we learn from it.", "People who don't make mistakes aren't doing anything new.", and "There are many paths up the mountain, but the view from the top is the same." are just a few examples.
You may want to make two kinds of memorial scroll: One version with an attached Travel BugTM, and one version for the finder to keep. People may enjoy your loved one's story.
Swag for your memorial geocache
Your swag will probably be very different from a traditional geocache owner's swag. You'll probably want to include memorial scrolls, at least one or two other Trackables, and inexpensive trade items that remind you of your loved one.
Please plan on having some child-oriented swag in addition to the above. Adult cachers will understand a memorial geocache, but young children will miss kid-friendly swag.
Trackables for memorial geocaches
Trackables are likely to be part of your swag. Geocoins for memorial caches are mentioned above. Sending trackables on their way across the world will spread your loved ones name far and wide.
Travel BugsTM for memorial geocaches
Attaching a Travel BugTM to a memorial scroll will enable you to track the other caches it visits. Also, you can attach a Travel BugTM to a doll, plastic figure, or other toy.

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