By Heather Feather
Editor’s Note: Heather Murdoch (Username: Heather Feather) is a member of the Community Volunteer Support team at Geocaching HQ and (perhaps more importantly for the month of August) a member of The Explorer team for an internal HQ competition. Heather and her teammates, Founder Jeremy Irish (Username: Jeremy), Community Manager Sara Baarda (Username: Sara B), Community Volunteer Support Team Manager Cindy Potter (Username: Frau Potter), and Engineering Intern Virangi Shah (Username: virangishah) attempted to earn Achiever status on August 1st. This is their (obviously, epic) story.
Friday, August 1st was a whirlwind of a day! The 7 Souvenirs of August had finally been unleashed, sending geocachers out into the world with one mission: GET SOUVENIRS!!!
It was no different for Geocaching HQ. Geocaching HQ staff had been divided into 6 teams: The Puzzlers, The Sightseers, The Nature Lovers, The Socializers, The Collectors, and last but not least (my team) The Explorers. Together, we were faced with a challenge: the team (and all its members) to earn all 7 souvenirs first, wins. Wins what? Well we don’t know yet, but the competitive creature in me only heard WIN.
Thus, the race was on! Several Explorers wasted no time, piled in a van, and jetted out on the ferry (yes, the ferry!) from Seattle, WA to Bremerton (across Puget Sound from Seattle). Founder Jeremy Irish taught us how to play a deceptively “easy” and hilarious card game involving a princess, love letters, and her royal court. This was critically helpful for our team building, but no souvenirs were earned yet.
But that was about to change.
Stop #1: The Puzzler
Silverdale, to see about a Mystery Cache. Ground zero was located in a cute, little library. Quick calculations earned us The Puzzler in no time.
Stop #2: The Explorer
Across the street to “the dark side.” But really, it was a Darth Vader-themed geocache. Along with a few fellow geocachers also on the 7SofA hunt, we oohed, we ahhed, we used the force and earned The Explorer!
Stop #3: The Nature Lover
Next, we delved into the wondrous and dusty epochs of glacial erratics. A refreshing trail jaunt and gettin’ schooled on a few geo-educational nuggets earned us The Nature Lover.
Stop #4: The Collector
Our fourth stop took us right by a beautiful lily pad-filled lake. Rather appropriate, no? We were tempted to go for a quick swim, but stayed the course and earned The Collector with a Letterbox Cache instead.
Stop #5: The Sightseer
With over half of the souvenirs under our belts, the end was in sight! Where else to go next than a cemetery? At a nearby quaint and quiet neighborhood plot, we upgraded the decaying cache with some new digs and earned The Sightseer. At this point we were getting a little delirious, and thought it was a good idea to put on lots of sunglasses for a photoshoot. Maybe it was all the over-ripe blackberries we ate…either way it was a real good time!
Stop #6: The Socializer
Earning The Socializer was a treat. We attended a nearby Event Cache to swap stories from the day with fellow geocachers, crossed our fingers for the raffle prizes, and had a bite to eat. It was great to put some faces to names that we had seen in the logbooks that day.
7SofA Mission Accomplished!
With all six souvenirs logged, the Achiever was unlocked – for the win! Mission accomplished! Of course, we couldn’t help being over-achievers and logging a few more geocaches on our route back home. Over nine hours of fun and adventure – what a way to kick off August!
Editor’s Note: Shortly following this excursion, the remaining members of The Explorer team also unlocked all 7 Souvenirs of August, making them the first Geocaching HQ team to claim Achiever status. Heather Feather is *trying* not to gloat, but it’s true – they are the winners!