Geocaching HQ staff attend dozens of Mega and Giga-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. WatermanHQ and Prying Pandora recently attended the GeoNord is a Great Adventure Mega-Event (GC80000) in France. Here’s their trip summary.
In the picturesque 420-acre Parc D’Olhain in Northern France, GeoNord featured seven events over five days and never a dull moment!
The organizing team for this event, spearheaded by Oriol Planas and Beatrice Beugin, exhibited the utmost patience after this Mega-Event was postponed due to Covid-19. Oriol and Beatrice have organized seven Mega-Events in the past and GeoNord was their last! After hosting that many well-loved events, we think they have earned some rest 🙂
I immediately felt the excitement and energy from the community upon stepping foot into the park on the day of the event. Prying Pandora and I were greeted by geocachers from all over the world, eager to meet a Lackey. The enthusiasm was mutual and we gladly handed out Lackey tags. Many cachers were surprised, then delighted that I could speak French. I appreciated the opportunity to practice my language skills! Over the course of the weekend, we were given countless opportunities to interact with many of the over 1,500 geocachers in attendance. From discovering trackables to helping each other solve Adventure Lab® Locations, we were grateful for the time getting to know this great group of cachers.
There were a few firsts for me too, including seeing trackable tattoos, a T5 rock climbing teddy bear (which of course was trackable), and custom geocaching nail art. I was truly impressed with the creativity of this community.
GeoNord was also the debut of the GPS Maze in France. The organizers worked hard for two years to have this rare exhibit available in France and it was a huge success! Like the rest of the event activities, it was well organized and there was never a long queue to enter. I enjoyed reading about geocaching history and finding the 10 Adventure Lab locations in the maze.
Signal the Frog® was also very popular at this event. There were many cache types available on the day of the Mega, and geocachers (myself included) appreciated being able to gather as many icons as possible, including the Locationless Cache with Signal. Many cachers also celebrated caching milestones during the event and it was fun to see how they commemorated achieving their goals.
This was my first European Mega-Event, and attending made me appreciate the dedication of not only the event organizers but members of the worldwide geocaching community. I found it to be a particularly welcoming group of geocachers. I enjoyed seeing how geocachers from all walks of life came together to find caches and complete Adventure Labs. Despite language barriers, I witnessed cooperation amongst geocachers to build relationships and, of course, make the find!
The day after the Mega was the Goodbye Party, and I could sense that no one wanted the weekend to be over. I snuck in a few more conversations with geocachers and reviewers alike, and handed out my remaining Lackey Tags.
I’d like to give a big thank you to Oriol and Beatrice, their team of event organizers, volunteers, and the geocaching community. I felt truly welcomed in France and hope to attend another Mega-Event there in the future!