Geocaching Road Trip to Ankara, Turkey

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A road trip unexpectedly leads to a Turkish orchard

There’s a geocaching frontier out there. These are places where “geocaching” is rarely said aloud and they exist in countries and regions where geocache hides are measured in the dozens or hundreds, not tens of thousands.  But where there are frontiers, you’ll find determined pioneers. Geocaching Türkiye is a collection of hearty geocachers exploring Turkey. It’s a country slightly larger than the U.S. State of Texas.

Texas boasts nearly 65,000 active geocaches. The country of Turkey has fewer than 1,000. Geocacher omaggo is helping lead the group Geocaching Türkiye into the future, including placing more than 200 geocaches for others to discover. And what better way to spread the word about geocaching than an old fashioned road trip? But this road trip would lead the pioneering geocaches on an unexpected adventure.

Omaggo says, “I am a geocacher from Istanbul and am part of a group of geocachers who gather once a month… We decided to visit the capital city of Turkey, Ankara. We thought it would be a nice opportunity for us to meet new geocachers from Ankara, while also finding some geocaches there.”

True to the DNA of geocachers everywhere, the group arrived early for their event, eight hours early. He says, “The event was at 6pm, however we arrived at 9am!”

The group spent the time talking with a university trekking club about the hobby that combines so nicely with hiking and the outdoors. Omaggo says, “Everything was perfect. The University Trekking group members heard about geocaching but hadn’t tried it before. We met with this group in the Middle East Technical University of Ankara. We gave them a brief presentation about geocaching.”

geocachers aboard the Ankara Express
geocachers aboard the Ankara Express

“After the presentation we decided to find some caches on the University campus. GokhanGoKartunal, a geocacher from Ankara, hid most of the caches there. What we didn’t know was that he is a lecturer in the university. So, our aim was to show the new geocache members how to find caches and how to log them.

When we reached the first geocache, however, we found a special note for us in the box. Ankara was expecting us and they wanted to welcome us by preparing a little surprise. They made a little puzzle with the solution bringing us to a special geocache.

New geocaching members were already excited just to understand geocaching, find caches etc, but we were more than excited to have a surprise puzzle cache from Ankara. We rapidly found the five different caches necessary for the surprise. We gathered the clues and solved the mystery. Eventually we learned the coordinates.”

Presenting geocaching to university students
Presenting geocaching to university students

“We walked to the GZ. When we were near the coordinates we couldn’t believe our eyes, because no one expected what we saw! The Ankara geocachers made a wonderful surprise for us. They bought a potted apple tree and had already dug a hole and left us a pick axe. We found a note next to the plant which said, ”We wanted you to have a tree in our campus to remember this day.'”

Clues leading to the apple orchard
Clues leading to the apple orchard

The tree was symbol, a call to action to be aware of local encroachment into wild spaces.  Omaggo says, “All of us were aware of this issue before but to have this tree as a surprise made us very happy and we were touched. We decided to hide a new geocache near our apple tree. We will always remember this event and every geocacher that comes to Middle East Technical University can learn about this day.”

The road trip went so well, Omaggo says the group is planning other road trips. But the next time they might not take the bus and stay a little closer to home, “Ankara was 5 hours away and we used a bus for transportation.  The next city might be somewhere nearer. We have also thought about doing a trip by motorcycle. In our Geocaching Istanbul group we have about 6-7 motor riders. I think It would be very interesting if we could organize a tour by bike.”

Share your geocaching road trip stories in comments below!

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Planting a tree and commemorating a new geocache