It takes all kinds to make geocaching the quirky, wonderful, interesting hobby/game/community that it is right now. Some like to solve puzzles, others like to trek across mountains; some are serial geocache finders, and others are serial geocache hiders. Altogether, these different types make for a healthy (and fun!) geocaching ecosystem.
Within this geocaching ecosystem, I’ve always considered myself your everyday, traditional finder—like moss (a little bit boring), but surely important for some unknown, ecological reason. That is, I used to think of myself like moss. Then, a few months ago, I attended a Maker Madness event hosted by Geocaching HQ. I walked out of the event knowing that I too wanted to create great geocaching experiences for others to enjoy… But I didn’t want to hide just any old geocache. I wanted to hide the Mona Lisa of geocaches.
There was, however, one small problem. When it comes to any and all geocache making skills…well, I don’t have any. I never took woodshop. I don’t know anything about Arduino computers. And (much to my puzzle-loving grandfather’s disappointment), I cannot solve the Monday crossword puzzle, let alone design a worthwhile puzzle of my own.
So how does one hide a masterpiece geocache without having any relevant Maker skills?
Luckily, I discovered that geocache hiding, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has a built-in Phone-a-Friend option. You see, like the broader geocaching community, geocache hiders come in all shapes and sizes. There are the Makers, who imagine (and implement) the future of geocaching containers; then you have the location hiders, who have a knack for finding breathtaking hiding spots; and finally, there are folks like me. I am nothing if not reliable, which as it turns out, is a key ingredient to a great geocache. (Ahem, you’ve heard of a little thing called geocache maintenance? No one likes a soggy log.)
So, I used my Phone-a-Friend card to call up my friend and Geocaching HQ mobile developer Arne Moen (Username: RandolphAgarn). He is everything that a Maker should be: creative and innovative with more than a few DIY tricks up his sleeve. And fortunately for me, he enjoys making geocaches more than maintaining them, so we formed a geocache hiding partnership. He built the container and I will be in charge of maintaining his creation going forward.
RandolphAgarn and I were so excited/nervous about putting our geocache out in the wild that we decided to sneakily camp out on a nearby bench to watch the FTF (first-to-find) in action. Given our geocache’s proximity to Geocaching HQ (home to 70 plus geocachers with instant notifications set up), we weren’t shocked to see the FTF go to a couple of HQ staffers within 20 minutes of publication. ScatterMyCaches and ReidSomething were pumped to earn their first FTF (but less excited to FTF the giant spider that had been quick to make the geocache its home). A big congrats also to MedicineManOfSeattle and TrailGourmet for the STF (second-to-find).
Okay, so our geocache may not be the Mona Lisa of geocaches, but it sure feels good to have played a part in creating a quality experience that many will be able to enjoy. And, unlike moss, it’s nice to know that we all have the ability to choose what role we’d like to play in our geocaching ecosystem.
It’s more fun. ‘Nuff said.
You can share the workload. From building a container to maintaining it, hiding a geocache can be a lot of work! Splitting up or sharing responsibilities makes it a whole lot easier.
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