How to earn almost 5,000 Favorite points: Interview with cache owner goblindust

Creative caches are memorable. You hear about them from your friends, at events, or from our blog/social media. But what goes into them? Who is behind them? In Washington state, a name you hear often synonymous with innovative geocaches is “goblindust.” He has an array of caches unique from each other.  

Goblindust, also known as Scott Meyers, has been a member of geocaching for 15 years and hid his first cache on December 20, 2003. Since then his active caches have accumulated over 4,700 Favorite points. With that statistic in mind, it sounded like he might know a thing or two about cache hiding, so I sat down with goblindust to discuss who he is, where he finds his inspiration, and what tips he has for the rest of us.

Geocaching HQ: What’s your background outside of geocaching?

Goblindust: Oh, I was born in the wild and lived among coyotes. No! (laughs) As far as my background goes I’m no engineer. A little bit of experience in electronics, but mostly I enjoy tearing things apart and sticking them back together…Appliances, cooking equipment, etc.

Geocaching HQ: How and when did you hear about geocaching?

Goblindust: 2003! I think I went to a park in Portland, Oregon for a concert and I found a little tube, it looked like a bug catching tube or something. It had a sticker on it that said, ‘don’t take it’ because it had to do with geocaching. I went home and looked it up, signed up, then went to REI to buy a GPS. The first cache I did was in Colorado.

Geocaching HQ: Was the first cache you found the one that got you hooked?

Goblindust: Yes, it was pretty fun and exciting. The cache was a Multi that was pretty difficult. Dummy me, first one should have been an easy one. Still was pretty cool to do and I enjoyed it.

Geocaching HQ: Where did the name “goblindust” come from?

Goblindust: Someone who didn’t like me said I was like a goblin. I had to come up with a name on the spot, and I went with that thinking I would change it, but here we are.

Geocaching HQ: What cache have you found that made an impression on you?

Goblindust: The Raven’s Labyrinth down in Arizona. You’ll find a few keys in a tree, then it says to go back to the map box. You’ll use the keys to open the box with hydraulics. You’ll play around with the movements of the the box and electronically a steel ball drops down through a labyrinth, and you’ll balance it and guide it to a hole. The side will open up and you’ll sign the logbook. Though if you make it to the final hole, you get your name on a brass plaque.

A geocacher attempting The Raven’s Labyrinth

Geocaching HQ: For you what makes a quality cache?

Goblindust: I would say different, is the biggest thing. We’ve all done lamp skirts, but you could design a lamp skirt that is different. Think about what else it could do.

Geocaching HQ: What’s the best approach to a creative geocache?

Goblindust: How do you tell people to be creative? First you need to think, “What do I want to do?” and it needs to be different than what someone else has done. Think of something new. I’ll go into Goodwill and generate ideas then think of what can I do with that.

For example birdhouses are easy to do because there are so many ways to open them. You can use magnets, hooks, latches.

Geocaching HQ: You say you go to discount/thrift stores for inspiration. Do you have other means of finding inspiration?

Goblindust: Discount stores are great because I don’t want to spend a lot of money and people like to throw out wonderful stuff. You know, they removed the fire hydrant in front of my house and I asked the fire department if they would give me the old one. They wouldn’t give it to me. But you got to look around and ask, what could I do with this? Any kind of hardware store is great or marine stores for waterproof stuff.

Goblindust helped create a geocache featured on Geocaching HQ’s GeoTour: GC32A0H

Geocaching HQ: You have a number of complicated and intricate caches. Do you find it difficult to provide maintenance on them?

Goblindust: Not difficult but they do require batteries sometimes. I often find that when building them I need to make them geocacher proof so they don’t break it. How do I make a (geocache) so it cannot be forced open or destroyed by geocachers? One of the things I learned was to not use standard screws.

I don’t worry about muggles. None of my stuff is Premium only and I try not to have too many because it could turn into too much time and batteries. I try to make them as maintenance free as possible.

Geocaching HQ: Do you have a favorite hide of your own?

Goblindust: I would think Dr. Who is probably the favorite, because there was nothing like it at the time. It was fun to put together. It was a big challenge to me because when it was done it was still hard to find. It took a lot of effort to make it work and build.

Geocaching HQ: Have you ever had an idea that you thought was impossible?

Goblindust: No. I don’t think anything is impossible. It’s always doable but how much does it cost? How long will it last? The biggest thing is always where to put it. You’ll need to pick somewhere safe so people cannot trash it out. Nothing is impossible, it’s just time and effort.

Pretty much anything I’ve built I’ve doubled the work with what didn’t work, got stolen, or easily broken.

Goblindust having fun at one of his pirate ship events hosted in Washington state

Geocaching HQ: What keeps you playing the game?

Goblindust: The social aspect of it, mostly building the caches, but also the places it takes you to. It’s good motivation to get you outside and to another country because of an event or special cache in the area.

How can you add more creativity to your hides? If you challenge yourself to think outside the ammo can, keep an open mind, and always look for inspiration you’ll be one step closer to a creative cache. Look around at other caches, or as goblindust does, visit second-hand stores and ask yourself what you want to do–and also if it needs batteries.

Andrew Baldwin
Andrew is a community manager at Geocaching HQ. He is typically laughing at his own jokes, getting into mischief with Signal, or looking for the next adventure.