Four geocachers finally stood atop the rock covered peak of a desert vista. The geocachers could see the horizon stretch out before them for miles. Geocaching.com Lackeys Colin Williams (Colin) and Jenn Seva (MissJenn), accompanied by two other geocachers, climbed high enough to look down on the flight path of an observation helicopter.
There were no homes to be seen. They squinted to even find a road. But hidden on the largest geocaching course in the world – 55 square miles – 450 geocaches waited in crevasses and cracks, bushes and trees, to be discovered. Colin and Jenn were part of one of two Geocaching.com teams competing in the Wild Canyon Games. The Wild Canyon Games is a team-based adventure race competition.
Colin and Jenn’s GPS coordinates told them a geocache was somewhere on that peak. They teamed up with other geocachers to find it. Geocaching is just one event in two days worth of adventure games.
In the geocaching event hundreds of competitors had four hours to accumulate the most points – by logging geocaches and recording the unique codes inside. Each geocache carried a point value based on its difficulty, terrain, and distance from the start.
The course crawled with more than 600 geocachers. Teams plotted strategy to unlock the geocaching route they believe would deliver them the most points. They raced the clock.
Nearly 130 teams from the Pacific Northwest of the United States competed in the games.
Colin says they had to take the long detour to try to find just one cache – to help even the playing field, “Sure, we climbed the highest mountain in the area. If we spent the whole time geocaching it would have been unfair to the rest of the field.”
Lackeys helped the rest of the field prepare for the event. The Lackey teams assisted competitors by downloading the waypoints on GPS devices and offering GPS device training before the geocaching event began. Groundspeak’s two teams of seven also competed in an Olympic length relay triathlon and a seven stage relay which included, among other obstacles, a 50 foot canyon swing, an elevated ropes course, and a zip-line.
Lackey Annie Love (Love) completed the zip line safely. But she says, her fate seemed a little unsure at the top of the tower, “As I was about to step off the Zip Line platform, I had a quick thought of ‘OMG, I am going to die!!’ and then I thought to myself ‘My team needs me.’ and I leaped off.”
The weekend wrapped up with a team relay race called Creek to Peak that features Cyclo-Cross, an obstacle course, a lake sprint swim, two mountain sprints, and much more.
But for Lackeys like Constance Baldwin, it was the geocaching that defined the weekend. She says, “Geocaching brought us together in sometimes adverse terrain and we cared for each other. It was extremely profound for me personally and made me love the game and Groundspeak and what we do even more.”
Wild Canyon Games 2013 is already being planned for next year. When asked by the emcee of the event, “Are you coming back next year?” Lackey Bethany Buer simply said, “Duh!” And we hope to see you there.
A special thanks to the Wild Canyon Games organizers and Paul Tannahill (Pablo Mac) and his team for preparing the geocaching course.