The rains fell for three straight days. The rivers rose. Roads were overrun with flood waters. And yet, more than 1300 geocachers from throughout Europe (and one geocacher from Geocaching HQ in Seattle—me) chose this water-logged weekend to visit a small Austrian community.
If you’ve never heard of geocaching you might wonder why not stay home. The couch is dry, it’s warm, the TV works just fine. The series Game of Thrones is really heating up. However, if you’re a geocacher, you’re probably thinking, “well, what’s a little rain?”
The geocaching Mega-Event, Projekt 2013, delivered a geocacher’s dream line-up. Get this: more than 600 geocaches were published throughout the day of the Mega-Event. That’s more than 600 First-to-Finds hiding in fields, and even one scuba geocache waiting patiently at the bottom of a lake. The mandate for all the geocaches was one word: quality. Organizers spent months lining up the geocache hiders and mixing together just the right chemistry of events for people to enjoy, when not searching for the fresh geocaches.
Want to show off your Trackable before the Mega-Event at a CacheMobile Event? Yeah, there’s that. Itching to learn how to safely climb to find your next geocache? It’s on the agenda. How about a concert for hundreds to cap off the Mega-Event? Okay, you get the idea. But one more—how about hearing the latest news from Geocaching HQ and have a nice little question and answer? Yep, I led that discussion.
The organizational team from The Upper Austrian Geocaching Society planned it all. Before the event, the mayor of the Austrian community had never heard of geocaching. After 1000+ geocachers poured into his town, he’s now one of geocaching’s biggest fans. Especially after the Mega-Event when hundreds of geocachers cleaned up during (a rainy) CITO Event. But it’s the type of people who geocache who made the event. Take one of the organizers, for example.
His name is Mattias, or rightly known by his geocaching name as ma ma. The night before the event, he gets a call. A geocacher he didn’t know was stuck in the mud. Their car wouldn’t move. Five minutes later, we’re there and pulling the car free. And here’s a little detail you shouldn’t know: it was his birthday. Whatever you do, do not go to his profile, send him a message and wish him a happy birthday. And whatever you do, do not click this link and wish him a happy birthday. (Okay, click the link.)
If you’ve never been geocaching in Austria, consider this Mega-Event an invitation. The FTF’s won’t last forever. If you’re from outside Austria here’s what you should know: there are more Multi-Caches and Puzzle Caches in Austria than Traditional geocaches. A city next door to the event, Wels, is known as The Riddle Castle because of all the Puzzle Caches. Get ready to crack some geocaching puzzles. The Mayor of Wels would appreciate your visit, and if your car gets stuck, you know who to call.
Check out all the pictures below of the event. And tell us in comments, what’s you favorite part of a Mega-Event or what would be on your list?