Secret Code Hidden in Leap Day Souvenir Revealed

When someone becomes a geocacher, they begin to see things others do not. Sticks are just a little too straight, every rock suggests a secret compartment and even lamp posts become suspicious. And to think that the majority of people go through life oblivious to the hidden delights all around them!

In the spirit of hidden delights, Geocaching HQ’s Designer Roxxy Goetz decided to encode a secret message in the 2016 Leap Day souvenir. Take a look:



Did you catch it? Read on for clues and a behind-the-scenes look at the Leap Day souvenirs.

What do you do at Geocaching HQ?

I’m a graphic designer in our Creative Studio. We manage and create most of the art assets you see on our social media, like Facebook and the Geocaching Blog, and in our Shop. I personally handle many of our Geocoin designs, and I was one of the illustrators at the start of the Souvenirs project.

Roxxy is a big fan of Signal the Frog.

What is your username?

Over the last couple of years I keep being asked if I’m that Roxxy, the one who designed this souvenir or that geocoin, and the rest was a bad joke waiting to happen. My username is Yes, That Roxxy.

Tell me about the Leap Day souvenirs. How did you and your team come up with the theme?

We really wanted to make something special for the community, something that was unique and not like anything else being put out there. We started by designing a Leap Day theme, which we used for the Leap Day Geocoin as well as the two souvenirs.

Our inspiration came from the Roman origins of Leap Day as we record it on our modern calendar. There aren’t many modern traditions for Leap Day that fit naturally with a geocaching theme, so we decided to call out the day itself. We looked at imagery that reflected the passage of time and the unique circumstances that gave us Leap Day to begin with.

The finished Leap Day souvenir has elements of a sundial, to reflect the passage of time over one single day, as well as imagery depicting the orbit of the earth around the sun, representing the passage of a year.

The 2016 Leap Day Geocoin, designed by That Roxxy.

For the Leap Day Event souvenir we decided to draw imagery not just from our own planet, but from the other planets around us. We wanted to reflect the way our own personal experiences are a part of a much greater system, a sort of celebration of those experiences coming together into something bigger.

The theme even carried over to our Leap Day Geocoin, which featured the Roman god of the sun—Sol Invictus—on one side, with the planets in orbit around his crown. The other side was a functioning sundial, which is not as easy to design in as some might think.

I hear there’s a hidden message encoded in the Leap Day 2016 souvenir for attending an event. How do we decode it?

You caught me! I love trying to hide little messages for our community—I can’t help it! I guess I’m a Puzzler geocacher at heart.

I’ll give you two hints: one for those who just want a starting point, and a second for those who want to get right into decoding the souvenir…

Hint #1:

Nine are the planets

Nine are the rings

Nine are the letters

in the finding of things

Hint #2:

Each orbit has a pattern, a series of dashes, repeating all the way around. These dashes spell out a letter in Morse code. Each orbit represents only one letter.

Have you discovered any secret messages or hidden surprises while geocaching? Tell us about them!


SPOILER: And the hidden message is… DISCOVERY!

Paige Edmiston
Paige (ThePaigeTurner) is a Marketing Specialist at Geocaching HQ. She likes books.
  • brian_lang

    Why was the number “8” represented with “IIX” instead of the traditional “VIII”?

  • Firetaz

    “VII”= 7

  • tanjental

    Probably because of the symmetry around the curve. It was an equally valid representation of 8, used in documentation of the time… just out of style nowadays.

  • Joey Smallwood

    Strange. I’ve known morse code for 25 years and all I could get out of that was DISKODERK, or KREDOKSID or UISKOUERK or KREUOKSIU depending which direction you go.

  • Dan

    Same here, Joey – pounding out code since ’78. I’m glad I’m not the only one that had “..–..” appear above my head when I repeatedly read DISKODERK in the souvenir.

  • Robbie

    When do we get our leap year souvenirs?

  • sharktank21

    you don’t get one if you didn’t attend a event

  • Lisa Jayne Canning

    I’ve got it!

  • bau-ch

    Since 2006 we have only 8 planets.

  • Robbie

    I did attend an event and found some caches. How will I get my souvenirs?
    Will the just come in the mail or is there something I need to do?

  • Sally Harper

    They’re virtual not real. Look on your profile on the geocaching website under SOUVENIRS.

  • Sally Harper

    You get 2. One for an event on the 29th. One for finding any type of cache that weekend. So you don’t HAVE to have attended an event to get one 🙂

  • Sally Harper

    Disco Duck? Seriously though they got the morse code wrong? Wow.

  • sparky don

    I would love a T shirt of the leap day souvenir. I am also into astronomy and It highlights the solar system.

  • Andre Schreiter

    no problem to decode it: DISCOVERY – I’m also a ham radio operator. –… …–

  • Robert Hoge

    I didn’t get the same image, so I’m not sure if there is anything to decipher.

  • brian_lang

    This is the Leap Day Weekend 2016 souvenir.
    Did you attend an event on Feb 29th? You needed to do that (and log it dated the 29th) to get the second, Leap Day 2016 souvenir.

  • Ken DeJonge

    –… …– – — -.– — ..- .- … .– . .-.. .-.. ..-. .-. — — -.- -.-. —.. -.– — ..-. — .. -.-. …. .. –. .- -.

  • Robert Hoge

    I was unable to go to an event. I figured that was what the other one was for. Thanks Brian!

  • Andre Schreiter

    -.- -.-. —.. -.– — ..-. -.. . -.. –. —– -.. –. -…- – -. -..- ..-. . .-. .- -. … .– . .-. .-.-.-
    -. .- — . …. .-. .- -. -.. .-. . .-.-.- .. … . -. -.. ..- .- .-. . –.- ..- . … – — -.
    ..-. .- -.-. . -… — — -.- .-.-.- …. .–. . -.-. ..- .- –. -. .-.-.

  • Brian Ream

    Why did geocaching show my achievement as tomorrow?

  • fixer70

    I see “-..” in the outher cirkel and so i become from in to out: “DISKODERD”

  • Cache_Counter

    I got: “Don’t forget to drink your ovaltine”

  • Kilomanjaro4

    Pluto has been a planet for the past year again. I expect they had to make it a planet again because the space probe had gotten that far and no one would be as interested in seeing Pluto if it wasn’t a planet.

  • Tom Herriman

    Please, share with us the reference where you got your information that it was acceptable to write an 8 as IIX.

  • TLB

    Pluto actually hasn’t been made a planet again. There are various factions that want to make it a planet again based on new information but it hasn’t officially been given back the status of planet. Which means we do indeed only have 8 planets.