The Geocaching Blog


Geocachers are the nicest people: My trip to the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event

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Can you spot the Geocaching HQ’er? (Hint: Look for the green sunglasses.)

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Paige Edmiston is a Communications Specialist for Geocaching HQ. She recently traveled to Hampton Roads, Virginia to attend the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event. Here’s her story.

I was the lucky Geocaching HQ staff member who attended the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The event takes place at the crossroads of nature and early American history, where the best of both are highlighted through unique geocaching experiences. But that’s not what makes this event so special. This event is special because it has an extraordinary power to bring people together into community.

At my first Geocaching Block Party, a geocacher gave me a pin that read “Geocachers are the nicest people.” I thought it was cute, so I’ve held onto it all these years. But now, for the first time, I think I fully understand the truth behind that statement. It only took 2400 miles, hundreds of geocachers, and a dance with Signal the Frog (more on that later) for me to finally “get it”.

Geocachers really, truly are the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

What I learned from the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic Mega-Event:

NewGeocachingFriends

My geocaching chauffeurs.

You can show up knowing no one and leave with friends for life. In what world can you go to a party without knowing a single soul and immediately feel like part of the family? The geocaching world, that’s where. Heck, the geocachers at the 12th Annual GCHR Picnic made me feel welcome even before the event started. A lovely group of geocachers who had driven from Pennsylvania to Virginia for the event waited at the airport to greet me. Showing up at the farewell breakfast the morning after the big event felt like catching up with old friends.

Geocachers are always prepared — and happy to share. Virginia has a few wonderful things Seattle doesn’t, and a few not-so-wonderful things: namely, chiggers and ticks. Luckily, a geocacher at the event had come prepared with enough bug spray to share with an unprepared Geocaching HQ’er. In addition to bug spray, the delightful event organizer Penguincacher equipped me with a yellow, trackable Jeep so that I could drive around in style. And yes, this Jeep was inspired by the Jeep Travel Bugs!

Love is in the details. Sometimes, it’s the small things that reveal how kind, caring and, well, detail-oriented the people you meet along the geocaching trail can be. Just a few examples from Hampton Roads:

A larger-than-life log book.

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The brains behind the log book. Think there’s enough room to sign your name?

A contest filled with creative challenges designed to reveal the true “GeoSurvivors.” I’m happy to report my partner Maingray and I took second place. I think that means we would survive a Zombie Apocalypse. Maybe.

GeoSurvivor

The epic slow walk of GeoSurvivor (second place) champions. Photo by steve-n-kim.

A special Lab Cache created to make me feel welcome.

Lackey, VA

Note: Lackey, Virginia. Photo by Monkeybrad.

And, of course, no portable toilet would be complete without a bouquet of flowers.

PortaPotty

An extra dose of geocaching love.

And finally, being quirky is awesome. Geocaching is about exploration, adventure, and discovery, but it’s also about being a part of a community that challenges you to step outside your comfort zone and, at the same time, appreciates you just for being you. I never dreamed I would ever be in a position where I had the opportunity — and the support — to show the world my love of goofy dancing by tangoing with a giant Signal the Frog. Then again, I should have known: geocaching is always full of surprises.

7 Souvenirs of August Achieved

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We always knew you were an Achiever. Thanks for proving us right.

This August, we challenged you to explore more of the geocaching universe by unlocking the 7 Souvenirs of August. The results are now in and it’s official: geocachers are not just Achievers—they are Over-Achievers.

Want proof? Check out 7 Souvenirs of August in numbers:

  • 555,000 geocachers earned the Explorer souvenir. That means 100,000 more geocachers logged a Traditional geocache in August 2014 than in August 2013.

  • 160,000 geocachers found a Multi-Cache to earn the Sightseer souvenir.

  • Nearly 150,000 geocachers earned the Puzzler souvenir by logging a Mystery Cache.

  • Over 85,000 geocachers earned the Socializer souvenir. The number of geocachers who attended an Event Cache more than doubled from August 2013.

  • Over 100,000 geocachers unlocked the Nature Lover souvenir. This doubled the number of geocachers who found an Earth Cache and quadrupled the number who attended a CITO event.

  • More than 100,000 geocachers found a Letterbox Hybrid, Virtual, Webcam or Whereigo to earn the Collector souvenir.

That’s not all. A whopping 69,550 geocachers around the world earned all six souvenirs to become Geocaching Achievers. Not too shabby.

With each new Found It log, geocachers unlocked more than a souvenir. They unlocked a new adventure, a new discovery and a new memory to share with friends and family.

Want to relive the 7 Souvenirs of August? Watch 15 seconds of #7SofA geocaching through the lens of geocachers like you:

Did you find your first Earth Cache? Mystery Cache? Make a new friend? Tell us about your favorite adventure from 7 Souvenirs of August in the comments below.

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The Ultimate Hiding Tool — Swiss Army Knife of Geocache Containers (GC53TZQ) — Geocache of the Week

Unfolded and ready to work! Photo by geocacher JerLin_c_seekers

Unfolded and ready to work! Photo by geocacher JerLin_c_seekers

Geocache Name:

Swiss Army Knife of Geocaching Containers (GC53TZQ)

 

Difficulty/Terrain Rating:

2/2

Why this is the Geocache of the Week:

The Achiever!

The Achiever!

Tweezers, magnifying glasses, flashlights, log rollers, backpacks—the sheer number of Tools of the Trade (TOTTs) for geocaching is incredible. But most of these go for finding geocaches? What about for hiding? Well look no further than the Swiss Army Knife of Geocaching containers. With this handy geocache, you’ll be ready with a container for any situation. This geocache is something that brings the “wow” factor into the find and is a magnet for Favorite Points. Not to mention, the resemblance to the Achiever icon for the Seven Souvenirs of August is uncanny!

 

What the geocache owner, eatdonutsfirst, has to say:

“There are so many cachers I know of that have a cache next to where they live. When I am invited to their house to start a day of caching I am given a GC number and not a street address. It is so fun to pull up to a find and not just a house. I put out this cache for that reason.

“The idea for the Swiss Army Knife of so many of my favorite cache containers brewed in my brain for months. It had to fit many containers, it had to fold well, it had to be durable, and it had to be fun. With those basic needs in mind I collected containers from craft stores and friends for about a month. Assembly took just a weekend.
“The positive logs make me smile. I am so lucky to use a woodworking talent to share a fun cache with others. The wonderful logs probably make me smile as much as the cachers who have found the cache… Thank You so much to all of you cache hiders. It is because of you that the game keeps going on. Keep being creative and keep challenging me to get my smiley. I love to work for the find.”

What geocachers are saying:

“We truly enjoyed finding all the logs – and signing them, just to be sure. We couldn’t remember if the ‘real’ log was a red herring or not. We really appreciated the effort and time you spent to create such a unique and FUN cache. Thanks!” – TrekkingTurtles

“When we arrived I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but soon had things figured out and the cache in hand. It’s one of the most interesting caches I’ve found as well as being one of a kind. Loved it!” – MrWalkie

“travelchick raved so much about this cache that I determined to stop by for a visit. My chance came this morning, and I grinned with delight as I explored this marvelous, ingenious “knife”. Bravo for a job superbly done! Thank you for a unique, clever, marvelously constructed cache! Another Favorite point for this one, and I wish I could give it more!” – charliewhiskey

Photos:

All the tools you could need. Photo by geocacher JerLin_c_seekers

All the tools you could need. Photo by geocacher JerLin_c_seekers

I guess you could say this cache is jaw-dropping. Photo by geocacher wearn3

I guess you could say this cache is jaw-dropping. Photo by geocacher wearn3

Happy geocachers with the find. Photo by Spitfire03

Happy geocachers with the find. Photo by Spitfire03

What’s geocaching Tool of the Trade (TOTT) do you never leave home without? Tell us and post photos in the comments.

 

Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog.

If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!

September’s Geocacher of the Month: Event Extraordinaire!

Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Kings must have difficult and weighty responsibilities—but none so difficult as naming the Geocacher of the Month, we think.

 

The nominations for September’s Geocacher of the Month include a globe-trotting ‘cacher, the founder of a GeoCamping group, and a man whom many tribute as the greatest CO in Sweden.

The earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin

The earned, never for sale, Geocacher of the Month geocoin

Nominated as an “unsung hero”, cincol’s accolades are certainly not going unsung anymore! This “gentleman and a geocacher” is credited with planting the seeds of geocaching in the United Arab Emirates. Christie says, “The UAE has a strong GC community and I could not be more grateful to him that this isn’t just something I can do when I visit the US in summertime. We will likely never meet but thanks cincol on behalf of the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman!”

fatkidsOTWunite is the driving force behind the Georgia Geo-Campers—a group of folks who mesh camping and geocaching in Georgia’s state parks. JunkingNGeorgia says, “[fatkidsOTWunite] puts a tremendous amount of work into these events every month, and always has a smile and laugh for all of us.”

1000sjöar is widely hailed as a “Swedish legend”. In Sweden, 10000sjöar is known as having hidden the most creative, interesting, and clever geocaches around (in the area? check out GC500Q5). Lok5 says, “This man has inspired a whole region in Sweden to start geocaching! He is always there if you need help in any way. With his creative logs, well-built hides, his sense of humor and his gentlemanly manners, he is with no doubt on of the uncrowned Geocacher Kings in Sweden!”

Drumroll please…

The September Geocacher of the Month award goes to fatkidsOTWunite! Hailing from Georgia, USA, fatkidsOTWunited has been geocaching for 7 years and has over 2,600 finds, but she stands out because of her incredible propensity to make others feel welcome in the game of Geocaching.

Congratulations to fatkidsOTWunite!

Congratulations to fatkidsOTWunite!

Although her work for Mega Events (like Going Caching), undoubtedly makes them incredible experiences for all, her specialty seems to be bringing smaller groups of folks together. fatkidsOTWunite is the driving force behind Georgia Geo-Campers, which geo-camps in a different state park for an entire weekend every month. In her nomination, LionsLair says, “She dedicates tireless volunteer hours working hand in hand with Georgia State Parks and each individual park manager to provide all attendees an experience that is not often offered to the general public.”

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Everyone has something sparkling to say about the Geo-Campers group. Jane says, “Attending our first GA Geocampers event and not knowing a soul, [fatkidsOTWunite's] friendliness, enthusiasm, and geo-spirit just amazed me and immediately made sure we met everyone! Now thanks to her dedication and hard work, we have a new monthly adventure of caching at a different GA State Park! Janet arranges moonlight ranger hikes, frogwalks, you name it!”

fatkidsOTWunite inspires other geocachers with her dedication to the geocaching community

fatkidsOTWunite inspires other geocachers with her dedication to the geocaching community

Scott says, “[fatkidsOTWunite] gives to Geocaching way more than she receives. [Remember] the old caching saying “Take something, leave something of equal or greater value”? Well she always leaves a “higher value” trade behind in everything she does.”

With her “terrific sense of humor” and “selfless” attitude, we’re happy to name fatkidsOTWunite as September’s Geocacher of the Month. And guess what? So were the 80+ folks her left nice comments about her.

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“[fatkidsOTWunite] is very deserving of this honor and has always been a good steward of our sport. Very dedicated and always volunteering to help new and old cachers alike enjoy their adventures in caching!” says JB.

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Thank you fatkidsOTWunite for all you’ve done to inspire and enthuse the geocachers you meet!

Three cheers for fatkidsOTWunite! Share your congratulations with her below.

 

If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be considered for the honor, simply fill out this webform.

 

A Wagging Good Time: Tips for Geocaching with Pups

By Dani Navarre

Your favorite geocaching companions

Your favorite geocaching companions

Nothing is better than geocaching with your best friend and who could be better than man’s best friend? Geocaching isn’t just a hobby for humans—your four-legged friends can join in on the fun too.

Coming home to slobbery kisses and a wagging tail is enough to brighten anyone’s day. Your dog waits patiently for you to return home, he hears the hum of the car engine, and bounds down the stairs to greet you at the door. He does so much for you and deserves a little treat. You can add a little color to your favorite canine’s grey day by putting a leash on that enthusiasm and heading out for some geocaches. Sounds like a walk in the park that earns more than one kind of smiley. As someone who has trained with scent detecting dogs, I know exactly how rewarding working with animals can feel. One of the most enjoyable parts is having a goal that you and your furry friend can work toward together. Whether you are practicing obedience training or just want to get out for some fresh air, geocaching can be a fun way to get all the members of your family (human and canine) outside.

Stellar geo-sense

Stellar geo-sense

So here are HQ’s top tips for geocaching pups:

 

  • Socialize at your local dog park. While your dog is having the time of his life, you could be catching a few smilies. Dog parks are a popular places to hide geocaches, so next time you are out take a look.

  • Is your dog an adventurous pup or does he make sloths look hyperactive? Be sure to choose caches that match your dog’s fitness level. If your dog is a trailblazer he may enjoy longer hikes with more challenging terrain, but if your dog is a couch potato an easy urban stroll might be a better match.

  • Turn your dog into a geocache. Has science gone too far? Don’t worry your pooch is safe, but he can become a trackable puppy with a geo dog tag. Your pup will enjoy all of the pets and your human friends will love the new trackable.

  • Sensitive puppy paws. Be aware of the geocache’s terrain. The summer heat and cement or metal surfaces can be a dangerous combination for your dog’s sensitive paw pads.

  • Carry water. Make sure you and your dog are hydrated to keep those tongues wagging.

  • A safe pup is a happy pup. Check to see that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date for tick and mosquito protection. A hike through the woods can make for a fun day…until you come home with a car full of ticks and one sad puppy.

  • Collars aren’t just a fashion trend. Local leash laws vary by city. Before you set Rover free to roam, check to see if a leash is required.

 

Geocaching with your dog can be fun for whole family. What’s your favorite geocaching animal story?

 

and they're fun!

and they’re fun!

 


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