Geocaching: The Lingo

I need to start this post by saying that this is an incomplete list. There are many different sites available that have glossaries of geo-slang, but as for myself, I felt the need to keep reading these ridiculous words and abbreviations, that made no sense, until I found out what they meant.

The first one that started driving me crazy was found while browsing through digital logs: TFTC. It was showing up multiple times, in multiple cache logs. This is a short way to log a find, and it stands for “thanks for the cache”, a close companion to this is TFTH, meaning “thanks for the hide”.

Second weird thing I found in logs was “out collecting smileys”. What the heck could that mean?! I was thinking maybe little smiley face erasers? Nope! I should have figured this one out much sooner, but I was a little slow on this.


When looking at the “live map”, an option on your apps main screen, the caches you have already found show up as smiley faces. It’s cute and quirky, but now you know!

SWAG is a common term in today’s culture. Some of the cache descriptions would have a line, such as “loaded with SWAG”. I figured out pretty quickly that SWAG meant that there were little trade items in the cache, my kids call it treasure. I was browsing through a geocaching website recently and discovered it stands for “Stuff We All Get”.

The most recent term to throw me came from a fellow geocacher. CO. Now, to me, an Army brat, that means Commanding Officer. Luckily, he was right there to ask, so this one was answered quickly. CO stands for Cache Owner. This is the person who placed the cache and is responsible for its upkeep.

This is in no way a comprehensive list of terms, only the ones that made me bonkers or struck me as weird. For the best list of these geo-words, be sure to check out the geocaching glossary. It will fill you in on all the important and not-so-important ones.

Happy caching!


Basic Find

Geocaching is something that is becoming a little more mainstream. More people are discovering this worldwide treasure hunt, and I have to say that it is a blast! For those who don’t know what it is, I encourage you to check out This can be as expensive or inexpensive hobby as you choose it to be, which in a society where money doesn’t go as far, can be a very good thing. My original interest in this came from a pin. I pinned it about two years ago and put it out of my mind until last summer. My parents had the kids for almost two weeks, so Tony and I had some time, and I suggested we try this thing called geocaching.

It starts with downloading the c:geo app, available through any appstore for free. Again, this can be a very cheap and fun hobby! You will need to create an account, choosing a geo-name. On the main screen of your app, one of the options is “NEARBY”, which will show you the closest caches to your location. By clicking on a particular cache, it will give you the details, such as location and stats. The stats include a basic description, such as why the person placed that cache, possibly a hint, the difficulty rating, which is how complicated it will be to find, and the terrain rating, which will give you a hint on how physically demanding it will be to access the cache and the size of the cache.

Once you get close to the cache, there is also a compass feature that will direct you closer to your cache. Then you need to rely on yourself to find it. Once you find the cache, hopefully, you just need a pen to sign the physical log and to log the find electronically on your app. This allows you to keep track of all of your finds. It also gives you a “smiley” on your geo-map.

The most common urban find, in my opinion anyway, is the lightpole. This was actually my first find, at the end of my street. They are usually a pill bottle, tucked under the skirt of a lightpost. Inside the cache, in this case, the pill bottle, you will find a log, which you sign and (usually) date, and sometimes small tradable items. Tradable items are usually simple things like character erasers or shells, inexpensive items.

Hidden Tupperware

Another nice thing about this hobby, is that it gets you outside. Yes, we live in a technological age, our phones are our lifeline, but it is still good to go outside, breathe fresh air! There are many caches that are placed in parks, or forested areas. These can be, but are not always, larger caches, with bigger tradables. My kids love these kind of caches. Yes, the toys are cheap and break, but to them, this is an actual treasure hunt! Caches can be resting against the base of a tree or tucked into a stump, so observation skills are a necessity for this activity.

Stinky Find

Some of the COs, cache owners, get a little creative with the hides. These are always good for a laugh. They may have fake snakes guarding the hide, or in this case, fake poo!

Tricky Hide

Not all park hides are big. Some COs like to make things difficult by hiding micro or nano sized caches in the woods. This particular one is a perfect example of the necessity of observation skills. This is a bison tube tucked into a hollowed out tree branch. You have to start being aware of nature in a whole new way if you become a cacher!

Hiding in a Drain

Not all urban hides are lightpoles, some get a little tricky. Tony was particularly proud of this find, our first of this type. It was a small tube, suspended by fishing wire to a parking lot drain.

I have a lot more on this subject, so it will be broken down a little more over several more blogs. I hope I gave you some good starter information. I hope you’re looking forward to more! If you have any specific questions, send me a message and I will try to cover that in my next post.

Try the Grey Stuff……. It’s delicious!


This is a pin that I’ve only recently pinned and it looked scrumptious (maybe I should say delicious?)! Then on Girls Night, Emily, our hostess made some. The picture above is actually the stuff she made. It is super rich and super yummy! Don’t overindulge, savor.
My recipe, which was very similar to the one she used, came from this site.
To make this amazing desert, all you need is:
•1 regular package of vanilla pudding (not family sized)
•1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk (I used 2%)
•12 Oreos (not double stuffed)
•1 8oz tub of cool whip
•2 or 3 tbs of chocolate pudding mix
•sprinkles or edible pearls (optional)

Start by mixing your milk and vanilla pudding mix, then refrigerate while you complete the next step:


Use a food processor, or just smash them manually, but grind up your Oreos until you have a fine powder:


**Side note on how important it is to read directions:12 Oreos, not a package. My Grey Stuff, while still yummy, was definitely brown.**

Combine your Oreo dust and vanilla pudding, mixing well. Mix in your Cool Whip, I pulled out my hand mixer at this point because my Cool Whip was still a little solid. Slowly add your chocolate pudding mix, stirring as you go, so hopefully yours will be grey instead of brown!


**The picture does make it look grey, but trust me, brown!**

Refrigerate for at least an hour, then serve up on brownies, or just in a bowl like pudding, which is what my kids call it, decorating with sprinkles or pearls at your discretion:


All in all, delicious! And who knows, maybe next time it’ll be grey……

Happy dining!