An Honorable Challenge: 200 Thunderbird Geocaching Art

The 200 Thunderbird Geo Art geocaches create a crystal clear picture that geocaching can extend beyond searching for a container outside. Geocaching means different things to different people. To many, geocaching is a reason to get outdoors, explore, and stay active. To others, geocaching is a challenge, a puzzle, or a creative outlet. To some, it is a venue for memorializing a certain event, location, or person. The 200 Thunderbird caches are a combination of all of the above.

200 Thunderbird Geo Art trail, birds-eye view

Developed by timtreinen, X$r, Johnny Rango, and Danzilla, four cachers from southern Idaho, the 200 Thunderbird is Geo Art compiled of 200 caches. The trail is located near the Mountain Home Air force Base (AFB) in Mountain Home, Idaho and forms the shape of an F-16 Thunderbird fighter plane in honor of the men and women who have served on the base over the years.

The Mountain Home AFB has been open since August of 1943 and has played a significant role in United States history. Cache developer timtreinen writes, “While we chose to do the F-16 as a nod to Mountain Home AFB and its men and women, we wanted the art to be part of something larger. We wanted it to be something our local area cachers would not only enjoy but be proud of, something they would want to invite their friends, locally and nationally, to come and enjoy with them.”

Thunderbirds in flight

After extensive research and preparation, the four cache creators spent ten hours placing all 200 caches in a single day. The plan was to have the entire Geo Art project ready in order to be introduced at the Western Idaho 11/11/11 Event. The event was orchestrated primarily by Johnny Rango and the League of Idaho Geocachers.

According to timtreinen the plan worked, “By 11/11/11, we were ready. More than 75 people showed up from all over Idaho and neighboring states to enjoy the fun of launching this new Geo Art. Many of them braved the dark, wind, and cold that night to start caching the art. ”

200 Thunderbird Crew

Here’s the catch – this Geo Art is more than an organized compilation of traditional caches. Included in the 200 Thunderbird Geo Art are 15 Wherigo Caches, 12 Letterbox-hybrid Caches, 22 Multi-Caches, and 151 Traditional Caches. The effect of using different cache types creates a color-coordinated design.

The Geo Art covers close to 5 square miles and is 5.7 miles long from top to bottom. Timtreinen states that, so far, “at least half a dozen others have finished the art with times ranging from 8 to 23 hours.”

According to timtreinen, “Judging by the participation, it seems evident that we have accomplished our purpose to create something cachers can enjoy.”

If you’re interested in popular existing  Geo Art designs, make sure to check out: Head Alien #01, PEACE SIGN SERIES #1: Can you feel the Peace?, and CREW Rookery #09 – Clyde Butcher (JP136).