Mega-Smiles at Latitude 61 in Finland
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. Cindy or Frau Potter works with geocaching community volunteers. This is her Mega-Event experience.
At Latitude 61, this time of year days are long and nights are short. With sunrise at 4:00am and sunset at 11:00pm, I found this left plenty of time for meeting geocachers at Mega Finland 2014 – Amazing Geocaching. In fact, more than 1,600 geocachers attended this event and I needed all that extra time to meet them all!
My weekend began with a 3-hour train ride from Helsinki, Finland to the event location at Himos holiday resort near Jämsä, Finland. I arrived just in time to witness hundreds of geocachers helping to set up the geo-village, including erecting tents and preparing campfires. It was terrific to see all the collaboration. The event organizers (Gnutcha&Joorz) are veterans at hosting Mega-Events. This was the third and biggest, Mega-Event they organized. They were understandably proud of this free event. The Himos resort supplied the location, showers, toilets and water free of charge in return for the paying campers and cottage rentals. Gnutcha&Joorz said the official expenses for the event came in at about 60 Euros.
The primary activity at the Mega-Event were two Adventure courses (one competitive and one leisure) and 10 fun Lab Caches. Geocachers were divided into teams to complete these courses. A highlight of my weekend was working with my team – Jarom, arnevela, tuulituuli and Gandal491 – on the course and Lab Caches. We had a lot of laughs together.
My favorite stations were “Flaming Tower, “Robin Hood” and “Bingo”. The Flaming Tower required three geocachers – one to pump water, one to aim the spray at the target and one to grab the container as it floated to the top. What a great activity for such a hot day!
Robin Hood looked like a modern practice for Hunger Games, except no one got hurt. And the Bingo activity was a creative Lab Cache that required you to get signatures from event volunteers who had completed certain geocaching accomplishments. The Bingo activity was a brilliant way to make sure participants talked with volunteers.
It was terrific to see why geocaching is so popular in Finland and to meet so many new friends. To my new Finnish geocaching friends, I say “Kiitos!”. Thanks for the adventure!