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New Giga Announcement!

MailerImage_04212014_GigaAnnounced_vFINAL2_Blog-2

We are excited to announce the newest Giga-Event!

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Project Glück Auf 2016 (GC55555) – June 11, 2016 in Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany

Giga-Events are the largest event type and are attended by over 5,000 geocachers. For those who attend, you’ll earn the rare Giga icon in your statistics, plus you’ll get the opportunity to meet tons of geocachers from around the world. See the list of upcoming Mega/Giga-Events.

Will you be attending a Mega or a Giga this year?

From the Mailroom…

Original post written by Andrea Hofer

We recently had the pleasure of receiving the following letter from Bannack of Cave Creek, Arizona. Here’s an excerpt:

Hello, my name is Bannack and I am a geocacher from Cave Creek, Arizona. I would like to say thank you for everything about Groundspeak and the geocaching because if it wasn’t for this, I wouldn’t be seeing amazing places, going on treasure hunts, and meeting great people. You have made my life change in a good way. I would like to ask some questions about geocaching to help me with my geocaching career. 

A few of us here at Groundspeak/Geocaching HQ answered with some of our thoughts:

Hi Bannack,

My name is Andrea and I have worked at Geocaching HQ for 2 years. Through geocaching, I have met many wonderful people, yourself included! I’ll do my best to answer your questions with the help of a few friends at Geocaching HQ…

If I had to pick only one geocache to go to in the U.S. where do you think I should go?

From Andrea:
I personally am excited for my upcoming trip to find the very first geocache. It’s near Portland, and it’s called GCGV0P Original Stash Tribute Plaque. One day I’d like to hike the Zion Narrows in Utah to find Earthcache GCZ5YD Zion Narrows.

GCGV0P - Original Stash Tribute Plaque
GCGV0P – Original Stash Tribute Plaque
GCZ5YD Zion Narrows
GCZ5YD Zion Narrows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Cathy:
There are too many amazing geocaches in amazing places to pick just one, so I’d say go to visit GCK25B, Geocaching HQ. It is a unique experience to visit HQ and there are many, many excellent geocaches nearby to experience as well. The cache I am looking forward to finding one day is GC2B034 Necropolis of Britannia Manor III in Texas. I will get there someday!

GCK25B Geocaching Headquarters
GCK25B Geocaching Headquarters
GC2B034 Necropolis of Britannia Manor III
GC2B034 Necropolis of Britannia Manor III

 

 

 

 

 
From Derek:
My favorites are EarthCaches, but it’s hard for me to pick just one. I’m looking forward to finding GC1F7W3 A Dynamic Earth, on the summit of Mt. St. Helens, this summer!

GC1F7W3 A Dynamic Earth
GC1F7W3 A Dynamic Earth

Which mega geocaching events have the best trackables and geocoins to trade and keep?

From Annie:
At just about any event I’ve attended, I’ve found at least one geocacher showing off their personal trackable collections or offering up their personal trackables for trade. However, if trackables are your passion, you won’t find a better place to embrace that passion than at a Geocoinfest event. These events typically happen twice a year – once in the United States and once in Europe and they draw diehard trackable enthusiasts from all over the world. You’ll have the opportunity to browse the latest and greatest in Geocoin designs from vendors or find new friends willing to trade. Just make sure you set a budget before leaving the house when attending Geocoinfest – all the beautiful new coins or rare collector coins may be hard to resist.

Geocoins!
Geocoins!

From Cathy:
Geocoinfest – there are lots of trackables traded at every event, but nothing comes close to this.

From Derek:
Every Mega I’ve been to has had tons of trackable trading. Although, I bet the Giga events in Germany have even more since so many people attend.

 

Should I go to the Geocaching Block Party this year?

From Andrea:
Absolutely. The 2015 Block Party on Saturday, August 15, will be our 6th and last, to give us more opportunities to focus on other ideas and projects. You’ll get to see the HQ cache and get/trade some great trackables. I also recommend signing up for one of the HQ tours. Then on Sunday, don’t miss the Going APE Mega-Event up north.

From Cathy:
YES!

GC5G4X5 2015 Geocaching Block Party
GC5G4X5 2015 Geocaching Block Party

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I’m posting this to our blog to give the geocaching community a chance to share their answers to your questions, too. These will be included in my letter back to you. Happy caching!

Best,
Andrea

 

Now it’s your turn, geocachers! Who, what, where, when, how, and why do you geocache? What would answers would you suggest to Bannack?

 

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A Special Geocaching Mission to a Ghost Town

Crew from Geocaching HQ
Crew from Geocaching HQ

Any excuse to find a geocache in a ghost town, right? Geocaching HQ received notification that public access to the ghost town of Monte Cristo in the mountains outside of Seattle was about to be closed. Hazardous mining-related waste has to be removed. It’s the same location where Geocaching founder, Jeremy Irish and his wife Samsy placed one of the oldest caches in the state, on November 19, 2000. We decided to use the last weekend before the closing date of April 15th, 2015 to retrieve the historic geocache.

An unexpected snowfall upped the terrain rating of the caching trip but gave us a chance to explore a winter wonderland. The 10 mile hike (including side excursions to cache) led us across rivers, through woods, and to crumbling miners’ homes.

We look forward to repeating the hike and replacing the cache when the mining town opens up to visitors again. Now to fill in the next hole for the Jasmer Challenge!

Check out the pictures of the adventure below. Tell us your favorite geocaching adventure below, and we just may feature it in our next blog post!

Monte Cristo 2
Bri crossing the only “bridge” to Monte Cristo
The snowy trail to the geocache site
The snowy trail to the geocache site
Ghost town building
Ghost town building
Jeremy and Samsy recovering the geocache hidden in 2000
Jeremy and Samsy recovering the geocache hidden in 2000
Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, co-founders of Geocaching
Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, Co-Founders of Geocaching

 

Mia San Giga 2014

By Andrea Hofer

On August 16, 2014, the world’s first Geocaching Giga Event took place. Annie, Andrea, Raine and Annika traveled from Geocaching headquarters in Seattle to the Bavarian capital of Munich to witness this historic moment. Below is a trip report in the Lackey’s own words:

The first-ever Giga was a blast! In geocaching terms, Giga means 5,000+ participants, but Mia San Giga 2014 had well over 8,000 participants!

A Giga would not be complete with a whole weekend of mega entertainment. The night before the giga, we attended the “ochsenessen,” where a whole ox was roasted on a spit in true Bavarian style. This was a chance to sit down and chat about local ‘caching customs. We learned that German cachers refer to each other using “Du” instead of “Sie” (both meaning “You.”) Normally “Du” is reserved for family, extremely close friends and sports teammates. This is an example of the instant community geocaching creates.

Photo Credit: rejuch
Roasting Ox- Photo Credit: “rejuch”

 

Photo Credit: rejuch
Delicious!- Photo Credit: “Rony90”

Saturday was the big event! The doors opened at the Munich Olympic Stadium and hundreds of visitors to our shared lackey/volunteer booth started flowing in. We enjoyed the wide selection of options available from vendors, including geocaching socks, Geocoins, and T5 gear. The food stalls, beer garden, and stage also provided constant entertainment. Particularly fun were the bavarian-themed games for kids of all ages including a stein lifting contest, a “cow” milking contest, and a coaster toss (the target was a barrel.) All the while geocachers ziplined overhead across the stadium and toured the rooftops of this architectural marvel.

Geocaching HQ Crew
Geocaching HQ Crew
Event Grounds-Photo Credit: vossis 71
Event Grounds- Photo Credit: “vossis 71”

On Sunday we rounded out the weekend with a great finale at the breakfast event in the festive hall of the famous Munich Hofbräuhaus. Together with hundreds of cachers we enjoyed a beer and white sausages for breakfast followed by a tour of the most interesting places in Munich thanks to 30 lab caches.

Sunday Meal
Sunday Meal
City Walks
City Views

We would like to thank all the friendly geocachers from all over the world for the fun, the insights, and the opportunity to participate in the geocaching community. A special thank you goes to the giga organizers and all the volunteers for their hard work in creating such a smoothly running and memorable experience.

 

Want more? This video immerses you in the experience (and it’s only 3 minutes!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IvdlzMI9Y0

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Nightcaching at Sweden’s largest Mega-Event

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Andrea, representing Geocaching HQ. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Andrea Hofer attended Swedens oldest and largest annual Geocaching event – FUMBLE AFTER DARK 2013. This is Andrea’s account of her trip.

After attending Florida Finders Fest, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Fumble after Dark in Sweden, getting a chance to see two different communities back to back! Sweden in November feels much like Seattle in November – short, drizzly days and long, chilly nights. That’s why Fumble after Dark is so great: 900 participants come together to embrace the long nights and make them into an opportunity for amazing geocaching!

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Photo courtesy of Marcus Bengtsson

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The event was in Sodertalje, a one-hour drive from Stockholm. After my 22 hour travel from Florida, I gratefully settled in at the adorably Ikea-esque Scandic hotel. A few fun facts about driving in Sweden:

  • You have to keep your Headlights turned on 24/7 by law.
  • Traffic lights briefly turn orange after red to warn that green is coming.
  • In a Peugeot, “A” means “drive” and when you brake, the motor goes completely silent.

The Fumble After Dark event ran from 10 AM to midnight. Noon to 5 was reserved for presentations, which included puzzle cache tips, a fascinating presentation on “lost places” (especially Detroit), and cache hiding tips from the Swedish Reviewers. I gave a presentation focusing on what the Geocaching HQ Community Team does and our plans for 2014. I also learned that the majority of the attendees are on Facebook and completed the entire #31in31 August challenge!

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Swedish reviewers presenting. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

Next it was time to load up the night caches’ GPS coordinates (including the 10 lab caches) and head out into the woods for 3-4 hours of spooky excitement celebrating All Souls’ Day.

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Setting out. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

 

The only light is the one you bring. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson
The only light is the one you bring. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson
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A knot-based puzzle off-trail in a forest.
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Climbing to get the find code for one of the Lab caches. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

It was utterly dark, chilly, off-trail in a forest, muddy, hilly, scary, and exciting, and I was glad to have been invited to tag along with the Swedish Reviewers. Much of the cache terrain was higher than one would see at a similar event in the U.S. and the geocaches were all clever, especially the haunted kindergarten lab cache:

Many thanks to organizer Fredrik Wellener and all the geocachers who helped create this very special experience.

Click here to see more pictures from Fumble After Dark.

 Have you ever gone nightcaching? Share your best experiences with us in the comments below!