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Mother of Father’s Day: Investigating The 3 Parts of Every Geocache

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Mother of Father’s Day GC2FF6

By Dani Navarre 

Mother of Father’s Day

Each geocache you find has three essential stories and you’re one of them. Remove any of the three parts and geocaching, well just isn’t geocaching anymore. The three parts of geocaching are the location, the hider, and the finder. Of course there’s many more parts to the geocaching experience, but these three are the essential ingredients to any geocaching adventure.

It’s the location that brings us somewhere undiscovered or overlooked, the hider whose lightbulb idea brings the geocache to life, and it’s you (the finder) who makes geocaching an adventure. In order to best describe this recipe for geocaching success, we’ve zoomed in to look at geocaching through a microscope. We’ve taken one out of the 2.7 million geocaches around the world to explore this idea of the location, the hider and the finder to celebrate 15 years of geocaching, which started with a location, a hider, and finder 15 years ago in 2000.

Geocaching exists where these three storylines intersect. It’s a nexus where the story of the geocache hider collides with the story of the location where the geocache is hidden. Then each find of the geocache is another chapter. Geocachers discover the geocache and add their own chapter, and so on and so on. It’s happened a lot in the 15 years of geocaching. In fact… Did you know: We’re approaching 500,000,000 “Found it!” logs. This is a picture of 100,000,000 stars to give you an idea of how big 500,000,000 is.

Even though geocachers are separated by time and distance, when a geocache and its location become a meeting point for colliding narratives, geocachers are able to add their experience to a growing community experience. Despite taking different paths to get there, by holding a cache’s log in your hands and signing your name, you contribute to the ever growing cache narrative. An exploration of one particular geocache reveals how the stories of the location, the hider, and the finders meet.

Location

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Location: Spokane, WA USA

Location is the backdrop to every geocaching adventure. In some cases, it’s not the geocache you remember years down the line, but where the journey to find it took you. In the best geocaching adventure, you remember both the journey and the location. A side street in a small town in the U.S. state of Washington offers both, and a history lesson. At a private residence in Spokane, Washington stands an unmistakable stone monument, which often draws the attention of pedestrian passerby near the busy street. It is not unusual for cars to slow down to catch a glimpse of the plaque that highlights a story unique to Spokane’s history. However, little do they realize that they are actually passing a geocache as well. The monument adorns the residence of Sonora Smart Dodd, Spokane native and founder of the national holiday, Father’s Day. Dodd’s mission to honor her own father is now celebrated annually around the globe.

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Sonora Louise Smart Dodd

Thanks to the work of the current homeowners, Jerry and Bev Numbers, the house was placed on the U.S. National Registry of Historic Places in 2010, and the moment was erected the same year. The couple purchased the home in the 1970s from Dodd and rented it until they were able to move in permanently several decades later. Now the foyer of their home acts as a small museum dedicated to Dodd, featuring her artwork and family heirlooms.

Jerry and Bev joke that they have become adopted members of the Dodd family. They extend that same family feeling to anyone who knocks on their door, welcoming geocachers and visitors alike to view their treasures.

Few passersby realize that there is more to this plaque than meets the eye. “Mother of Father’s Day” GC2CFF6, is a geocache hidden nearby that pointedly commemorates this piece of Spokane history. When the homeowners were first approached by geocache owners, Bikely and Wifely, with the prospect of hiding a geocache, the two were intrigued. Although they had never heard of geocaching, they thought it would be “a great opportunity for people to find out a little more about the history of Father’s Day.”

Over the past five years, the small geocache has proven to delight and surprise its finders with its unique story. The owner exclaims that the geocache has “been a great learning tool, not only for geocachers, but for people stopping by on a very regular basis. Sometimes it’s almost daily, sometimes it’s several times a week. A car pulls up, some people sit in the car and read the monument, some get out and walk up to it. A host of different people though.”

Over the years, Jerry and Bev have encountered geocachers on a regular basis and greet them whenever they are home. From large groups to lone wolves, to families with young children to active seniors, each group and individual bares an original story that brought them to the geocache location.

Their favorite pastime is to watch the children set free by their parents to search high and low for the nearby treasure. Most importantly to the homeowners, the geocache has kept the history of Father’s Day alive in the community, especially among the younger generation.

The Hider

Bikely & Wifely
Bikely & Wifely

Geocache Owners Bikely and Wifely, a husband and wife team, hid “Mother of Father’s Day” in the summer of 2010. Bikely, an active geocacher since 2004, is the owner of numerous popular geocaches in the Spokane area, with “Mother of Father’s Day” being one of his most popular. Bikely’s inspiration for this particular geocache came after first noticing the geocache location on his regular bike ride. Passing by the location so frequently, he already knew a little about the house’s history. It was the newly placed stone monument that helped him decide that this spot would be the perfect location for a geocache.

However, what attracted Bikely most to the Dodd home was not the location’s history, but the homeowners. What impressed Bikely more than Dodd’s story was the homeowner’s dedication to preserving this rich piece of history. Using their own time and financial resources, Jerry and Bev extensively researched the home’s history and Dodd family tree. For a time, they even hired their own researcher to dig deeper into the home’s legacy. Thanks to their hard work, the home was placed on the National Registry for Historic Places list in 2010, and remains the only private Spokane residence to do so.

The geocache also gained the attention of a local Spokane Reviewer reporter. Having seen his fair share of geocaching dos and don’ts, the journalist felt that “Mother of Father’s Day” was an example of a thoughtful and quality geocache. What he admired most about it was that it brought geocachers to a location with historical significance, as opposed to being “yet another streetlamp” geocache. Indeed, the sensation of discovering a unique part of history and the creativity of the location make “Mother of Father’s Day” a truly memorable find.

Finders

Who are the finders you may ask? Well surprise, you are! With over a 150 logged visits, Mother of Father’s Day is the home to a number of memorable geocaching moments. You can hardly scroll past a log entry without someone commenting on the story of the house or being thankful for the unexpected piece of local history. Although the Numbers have seen a host of cachers pass through the area, one particular story has stood out to them over the years. Thinking back to within the first few months of when the cache was first hidden, Jerry remembers meeting a man in his front yard who seemed to be in a bit of a hurry. Much to his surprise, it turns out this geocacher was in a rush to complete the challenge of finding two caches on opposite sides of the world in a twenty-four hour period. After hearing this, the homeowners realized the geocaching may be a little bigger deal than they originally thought.

A full log sheet at the geocache site
A full log sheet at the geocache site

What impressed me, as a geocacher and a writer, was that I felt like I was discovering a hidden gem. Working three blocks from the geocache location made me realize that I did not to leave my city, yet alone my neighborhood, to discover something amazing. Thankfully, I now know that Father’s Day was not invented by greeting card companies, but by someone who loved their father and wanted the world to know. It also taught me that whether you’re finding a cache on your way home from work or after a flight from China, different journeys bring us to the same place. In that moment, no matter how we got there, we are all geocachers.

It’s those three essential ingredients, location, the hider, and the finders, that bring us each to that universal “ah-ha!” geocacher moment. A geocache is more than just another number in your stats, it’s a memory and by signing the log you cntribute to the cache’s constantly growing story. It goes to show that although geocaching is a global game, we’re all one big geocaching community with our stories at the foundation.

Fifteen years of geocaching means over 2.7 million location, over 6 million geocachers, and fifteen years of stories. What’s the next chapter in your geocaching story?

 

Assemble your Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 Team

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Invite your friends to join the adventure

Doing a happy dance by yourself after making a find is fun, but nowhere near as much fun as doing a happy dance with a bunch of your friends. No, really—see for yourself.

The Geocaching Road Trip ‘15, celebrating 15 years of Geocaching, is kicking off in a little under two weeks. Now is the time to get your friends to join you on the adventure. It’s easy. Just use our Refer a Friend page to post an invite on Facebook or Twitter, or to send an invite email. It’ll have all the details your friends need to join Geocaching. Plus, you’ll have the chance to earn a few more stats.

Begin assembling your Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 team now! Visit the Refer a Friend page.

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Author Talks Geocaching

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Geocaching partnered with Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney to create a fun set of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul trackable tags to celebrate the book’s release last year. What you may not know is that the Wimpy Kid trackables came about because Jeff Kinney is a geocacher. He enjoys taking his kids out on geocaching adventures. We are thrilled that he wanted to share one of his geocaching experiences with us.

If you are following his series, you will be excited to learn that the next book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, will be released on November 3, 2015. This book is particularly exciting because it will go on sale on the same day in 90 countries around the world, which has never been done by any book before!

Kinney shared one of his geocaching experiences with us, in his own words.

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Geocacher and author, Jeff Kinney poses with Greg Heffley from his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

By Jeff Kinney

When I first learned about geocaching a few years back, I was thoroughly confused. People have stored little treasures in hiding places all around me? It seemed like an odd pastime to me. But mysterious and exciting at the same time.

I was looking for something fun (and cheap) to do with my two sons. And so I downloaded the Geocaching app. I was ready to head off into the wilderness some miles away, armed with a walking stick and an iPhone, braving ticks and scrambling over felled trees. But as a swarm of blue dots filled the map on my screen, I was surprised (alarmed?) to find that there was a hidden treasure not 200 yards from the back of my house.

Now this was exciting. I made sure my kids had adequate footwear and we headed out, stepping from the verdant grass of our backyard into actual raw nature. There was some scrambling and some hopping over creeks formed by snow melt runoff. There was some negotiating of brambles. There may have even been some burs. I’ll admit, I’m not exactly the outdoor type, so the thrill of forging my way through the wild… with two of my progeny in tow… had the feeling of real danger.

Eventually, we reached a clearing where power lines cut through the woods (OK, so maybe it wasn’t raw nature). By now, we were getting close. The pulsing blue dot was nearby, but where could the hiding spot be? These were early days of GPS pinpointing, and the dot hopped madly around the screen. It seemed that our quarry was on the move, taunting us.

I was waiting for the dot to stop. Then we’d creep up on it, look down, and find the treasure at our feet.

My kids must’ve detected the confusion on my face. This was a strange ordeal for them to begin with, so the sight of me spinning in place and shaking my iPhone violently didn’t give them a feeling of confidence.

But then I realized I needed to start thinking like the first person who had decided that this was the place to hide a cache. I gave up on the teleporting dot on my phone and started using my eyes.

My eyes fell to a fallen tree. It was all starting to come together. But where was the cache? Under the tree? Oh no! Did someone place a cache in this spot and a tree fell on it? This was going to be very hard to explain to my sons.

By then, my eldest son had climbed over the tree to investigate it from a different angle. And that’s when he found it. A plastic box, hidden in a hole in the log.

A real eureka moment. Inside the box was a giant pencil. A decent treasure for the effort put in. We added our names to the log, proud members of a long list of explorers who had come to the same spot, but from different starting places.

Neither of my kids saw me palm a baseball I had brought from home and slip it into the box before putting it back in the fallen tree. I didn’t need the tears.

A good bite-sized adventure and one I’ve repeated in locales further from home.

I never did teach them how to throw a baseball.

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Add a Side of Geocaching to Your Other Hobby

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Photo caption: the official Scrabble Dictionary including the word Geocache can now be found in stores throughout North America

One simple question spin up into a first in the world of Scrabble. It all started when long time geocacher Roy Alexander, RCA777 was playing a game of Scrabble with a friend. He asked whether they would accept the word “geocache” in the game if it were played. They said, no. But Roy wasn’t about to take no for an answer.

At the time the word geocache was considered unplayable because it was not yet an official word in the Scrabble Dictionary. Roy jumped at the opportunity when he saw Hasbro announce the #ScrabbleWordShowDown contest on the Hasbro Game Night Facebook page. On March 12th, 2014, RCA77 suggested the word geocache to Hasbro.

“I posted a screenshot of my suggestion in geocaching groups on Facebook – and the response was remarkable. Geocachers spread the word and supported the cause; things snowballed very quickly. Hasbro announced that GEOCACHE had made it to list of the final 16 words.” said RCA777.

“Geocache” quickly beat out the competition and moved up the charts to the final round knocking out the word “zen”. It was officially announced as the winner on April 10th, 2014, landing it’s appearance in the Official Scrabble Dictionary later that year.

Due to the interest from the fanatic geocaching community, Geocaching HQ reached out to Scrabble to create a partnership. Hasbro had 800 trackable tags made and distributed at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party in Seattle. Copies of the new dictionary were also given away as prizes to lucky geocachers. The tags were hot items and geocachers couldn’t wait to get their hands on them!

Photo of two lucky geocachers who won the Scrabble board game and Scrabble Dictionary at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party
Photo of two lucky geocachers who won the Scrabble board game and Scrabble Dictionary at the 2014 Geocaching Block Party

 

“I was very happy when GEOCACHE beat the word BITCOIN; I was thrilled when GEOCACHE trounced COSPLAY… I cannot put into words (!) how ecstatic I was when ZEN took second place and GEOCACHE won the prize.

Everywhere I went, there was a Scrabble and GEOCACHE story – CNN, Good Morning America, CBC here in Canada… everywhere!” RCA777

Have you spotted a Scrabble Trackable in the wild?
Have you spotted a Scrabble Trackable in the wild?

The Scrabble success story isn’t the only example of a geocacher who combined their favorite hobbies. That’s what happened when Geocaching HQ heard about the popularity of Airstream RV’s with the Geocachers who love to explore and camp along the way.

Geocachers have been known to travel long distances in their RV’s for the perfect story worthy geocaching moment. Airstream and Geocaching were a perfect fit.

When we asked longtime Geocacher and Airstream enthusiast, FluteFace, about her favorite hobbies she said, “When we’re on a trip in the Airstream, geocaching is almost always involved. Most geocachers cache when they travel – what better way to travel than in an Airstream.”

During the Summer of 2014 Airstream and Geocaching HQ worked together to create 2,000 Trackables tags to be passed out at Geocaching events across the United States. Geocachers swarmed the events closest to their home location in the hopes of receiving an Airstream tag.

FluteFace parks her Airstream for the night near one of her favorite caches GC3VN6Y - Buttermilk, placed at what probably is a historical building (of sorts) and may be why the area is called Buttermilk.
FluteFace parks her Airstream for the night near one of her favorite caches GC3VN6Y – Buttermilk, placed at what probably is a historical building (of sorts) and may be why the area is called Buttermilk.

Nancy aka “yukionna” hosted the event Silver Bullet Launch Party in New Hampshire where her newly renovated 1964 Airstream Bambi II trailer made an appearance.

My husband, Brian, and I have owned Airstream trailers since 2002 and we started geocaching in 2008.  One of our favorite things to do is to travel in our Airstream while geocaching along the way.  Each summer we plan a couple of camping adventures to different destinations which include finding interesting caches during our trip.  When I saw the promotion last year between Airstream and Groundspeak, it was a dream come true for me and I wanted to become involved.” – yukionna

 

With ten geocacher appreciation events and over 750 attendees geocachers were literally happy campers. What hobbies do you think would be a geocaching match made in heaven?

Group photo from the Silver Bullet geocaching event in front of the renovateda 1964 Airstream Bambi II trailer
Group photo from the Silver Bullet geocaching event in front of the renovateda 1964 Airstream Bambi II trailer

 

 

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A Geocaching Life in Pictures – Farogdatter – Celebrating 15 Years of Geocaching in 15 Pictures

Editor’s Note:  Geocaching HQ holds an all company meeting once a month. The 80 folks from HQ discuss all things geocaching. The meeting changes each month. But there’s one constant. Every meeting starts with a geocaching community story. A Geocaching Life in Pictures is the story we shared in our meeting today. 

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Kristian and Maja, a father and daughter team from Denmark share their #Geocaching15 story in 15 pictures. In 2004, Kristian thought of an innovative way to connect with his growing daughter. He found geocaching by reading an article while waiting in the doctor’s office. Eleven years later the duo is known as Farogdatten and have collected more than 3,000 finds. Maja has grown from a 13-year-old to owning a house near her parents.

Kristian says they still geocache together from time to time. But one note he wrote to her teachers years ago helps explain their adventure.

I took her out of school two days, to prolong a weekend, but wrote a note to the teachers, that I would guarantee for her learning history, math, language and gymnastics on our geocaching trip. They had never before had an honest note like this and I am told the note was pinned at the teachers wall for a long time.

 

#Geocaching15 in 15 – Farogdatter

 

 

For Maja’s  confirmation in 2005 she asked for one gift that would mean the most to her: a dog. She then named her dog CITO.

Maja with CITO the dog thinking about trackables
Maja with CITO the dog thinking about trackables
CITO the dog upon hearing someone did not pickup trash while geocaching
CITO the dog upon hearing someone did not pickup trash while geocaching

 

Kristian says geocaching still inspires and unites his family, “Well – the most important lesson, we learned, is, that it is still surprising, that geocaching can bring us new surprises.”

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Farogdatten geocoin – 2007

Celebrate 15 years of Geocaching by sharing your #Geocaching15 pictures and stories with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram – and leave your favorite #Geocaching15 stories here on the blog in comments.

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Share your story and we might just send you one of these Geocaching car flags for your #Geocaching15 road trip