Downhill Strand Dragonstone
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Geocaching Game of Thrones: The Real Westeros. Guest blog by Sarah Murphy aka The Geocaching Junkie

Written by Sarah Murphy aka The Geocaching Junkie

Fans of the HBO series Game of Thrones will be familiar with the fictional setting of Westeros, but did you know that many of the filming locations used for the cold and icy north are in Northern Ireland? We’re warned that ‘winter is coming’ and that’s certainly true on the Emerald Isle when a warm, sunny day is often followed by a stormy, wintery one. However the changeable weather is probably not what attracted Game of Thrones producers to Northern Ireland; the breathtaking landscapes and magical ruins were a much more likely draw.

There are lots of great geocaches placed near filming locations so you can do your own Game of Thrones caching tour. Here are some of the highlights:

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Smileys by bicycle in Slovenia

Written by Cindy Potter, a Geocaching HQ Employee

Geocaching inspires adventure. Last summer, my family commenced on a cycling and geocaching adventure through Slovenia. On our two week journey, we biked 200 kilometers — from the capital, Ljubljana to the coastal city of Piran.

Why Slovenia? As a Geocaching HQ staffer, I meet adventurers from all over the world. It’s one of the wonderful perks of my job! A couple years ago, icabrian, a community volunteer translator from Slovenia, visited us at Geocaching HQ. He is a terrific ambassador for his country, and encouraged HQ staffers to visit Slovenia.

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A geocacher’s secrets to making New Year’s resolutions stick

Guest blog written by avid geocacher Paige Edmiston.

We’ve all been there: only a week into January and your resolutions long forgotten… Good news, geocachers! Whether you’re wanting to get fit or give back, the game you love can help you achieve your New Year’s goals. Geocachers, after all, are nothing if not persistent.

In honor of 2017, here are 17 common New Year’s resolutions — and how geocaching can help you stick with them.

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  1. Lose weight and get fit.

Instead of buying yet another unused gym membership, why not try getting fit with geocaching? In 2014, Texas A&M researchers conducted a study on geocaching and its effect on health. One of the study’s principal investigators, Whitney Garney, M.P.H, said, “The results have important implications for how and why people are physically active. Geocaching is one option for people to have fun and be physically active at the same time without going to the gym and may be just what America needs to get moving.”

For inspiration, read one of the many geocaching weight loss stories out there, like this one or this one.

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  1. Make new friends.

Meeting new people can be downright terrifying. Luckily, geocachers are the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re in your hometown or traveling abroad, geocaching events are a great way to make new friends — and you’re guaranteed to have at least one thing in common. Find an event and log your Will Attend now.

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  1. Spend more time with family.

If you attended a family gathering over the holidays, you probably know how difficult it can be to find an activity everyone loves. (You know where we’re going with this, right?) Use geocaching to connect with family near or far, just like this father and son.

  1. Drink more water.

Geocaching gets you moving. Moving makes you thirsty. Carry this official geocache water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated. Added bonus: You’ll look cool.

  1. Be less stressed.

Remember that geocaching health study? Researchers also found that geocachers reported fewer days of poor mental health.

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  1. Travel.

If you want to experience a new place like a local, find a geocache! Or better yet, complete a GeoTour. These custom collections of geocaches are designed to introduce you to new locations.You’re sure to discover an incredible spot not listed in a guide book!

If a big trip isn’t in the cards this year, send off a trackable with the goal of visiting all the places on your travel wish list. Check out the photos from this trackable’s big adventure for inspiration.

P.S. You’re always welcome to come visit us at Geocaching HQ!

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  1. Learn something new.

To find some geocaches, you’ll need to develop a very particular set of skills. Lockpicking, for example. Same goes for hiding. You’ll have to learn a little thing called “physical computing” to hide a geocache like this one.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone.

Stuck in a traditional cache rut? Challenge yourself to find at least one geocache of every type. You’ll solve puzzles, answer geology questions, and may even discover a new favorite cache type along the way.

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  1. Get married.

Geocaching can help. Seriously. Watch this video to learn how to make a geocaching proposal.

  1. Break a personal record.

Visit your geocaching statistics page. Do you want to set a new record for longest streak? (Check out Moun10Bike’s tips for keeping up your streak in the snow.) Or maybe you want to set a record for the most caches found in one year. Write down your goal and share it with a friend who can help keep you accountable.

  1. Spend less time on social media.

Ok, fine. We admit it: We often encourage geocachers to share things on social media. (Like now, for example. You should share this post with a friend. Do it. Do it now. Unless you’re trying to spend less time on social media. Then, stop right now. We support you.) Thanks to the recent addition of offline maps in the Geocaching® app, you can now find geocaches without an internet connection. Tune out of the internet and into nature — temptation free.

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  1. Spend more time in nature.

Speaking of nature, that’s where geocaches like to hang out! To find a great hiking cache, search for caches with higher terrain ratings. When you’re in a park or wild space, the Geocaching® app’s Trails map type will help guide you.

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  1. Give back.

This one is easy: Cache In Trash Out (CITO) is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. Learn how you can get involved.

  1. Eat healthier.

(Warning: We are not licensed doctors or nutritionists.) The key to healthy eating: planning ahead. Before heading out the door, make sure to pack healthy snacks so you don’t get stuck buying junk food later in the day. Check out these 4 tips to avoid getting hangry on the geocaching trail.

P.S. Please don’t leave snacks in geocaches. Bears love snacks.

P.P.S It’s probably safe to carry snacks. (Warning: We are also not licensed animal psychologists.)

  1. Start thinking more positively.

Scientists have found that practicing gratitude can lead to higher levels of positive emotions, like joy, optimism, and happiness. When you find a geocache, take the time to express your appreciation. You’ll make the cache owner’s day — and your own.

  1. Get organized.

We’re not exactly sure how geocaching can help tidy up your life. (We ran out of time to ask Marie Kondo. Ideas welcome in the comments below.) However, we can help you tidy up your geocaching. Try My Lists beta.

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  1. Enjoy life to the fullest.

Geocaching brings people together in pursuit of discovery, exploration, and adventure. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s wrap it up.

The moral of the story: We’re better at sticking to our resolutions when we’re having fun. Geocaching is fun, ergo geocaching can help you achieve your goals. 83% of the time it works every time, guaranteed.

So tell us — what’s your New Year’s resolution?

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Brand new geocaching country souvenir for Russia

By Nicole Jendro, Community Volunteer Support Coordinator at Geocaching HQ

We are excited to announce our newest country souvenir: Russia!

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As the largest country on earth, Russia has many wonders to show and one of the best ways to find them is through geocaching, or “геокэшинг”. From the desolate wildlife reserves to the cosmopolitan streets of Moscow, Russia is an exciting destination for adventurers and geocachers alike.

Tolbachik volcano

GC2DG9N | by X-JAM | D2/T4 | EarthCache

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‘Tolbachik volcano’ is Russia’s easternmost cache. This EarthCache brings you to a research station at the active volcano Tolbachik. The last eruption happened as recently as 2013.

Inside Volcano Mutnovsky

GCY8QY | by Pitr & Oleg | D3/T3 | Traditional Cache

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If you like to get your feet warm, find this Traditional Cache, Inside Volcano Mutnovsky. Another active volcano, this location promises gorgeous views and stunning clouds of volcanic gas.

Мыс Хобой

GC2BC0T | by kapsa | D2/T3.5 | Traditional Cache

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Кругобайкалка

GC2BC0N | by kapsa | D2/T2.5 | Multi-Cache

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Visiting ‘Мыс Хобой’ will give you a great view of Lake Baikal and ‘Кругобайкалка’ teaches about the lake’s railway that was once part of the Trans-Siberian Railway route.

Moscow Kremlin

GC2Q7KY | by Mr. REM Esq. | D2/T2 | Wherigo

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Learn about the fascinating history of the Kremlin in Moscow while enjoying this Wherigo.

Tishinka

GC3A264 | by -CJ- | D1.5/T1 | Traditional Cache

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Learn how the Tishinsky flea market began after WWII in the heart of Moscow by finding this traditional geocache.

St. Petersburg’s Most Beautiful

GCGNHF | by Gary Samad | D1/T1 | Virtual Cache | 611 favorite points

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We’ll unveil one or two new souvenirs every week until all FIVE are officially released and awarded by mid December. Souvenirs that are currently available can be found here. A list of currently available geocaching souvenirs and even the ones you’ve already earned can be found on Geocaching.com. And, if you’ve already found a geocache in Russia, we will automatically add this souvenir to your profile.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or right here on our Blog to find out which countries are next.

Have you found a geocache in Russia? Tell us your experience in the comments below!

Geocachers gather around the logbook

Project Glück Auf

Jedes Jahr können ein paar glückliche Mitarbeiter des Geocaching-Hauptquartiers an einem Mega- oder Giga-Event teilnehmen. Bri Suffety und Cindy Potter waren kürzlich in Essen und haben das Giga-Event “Project Glück Auf 2016” (GC55555) besucht. Bri (Sassy Bandit) ist Frontend-Entwickler und Cindy (Frau Potter) ist Community-Direktor. Les weiter, was Bri über den Besuch schreibt.

Frau Potter, Sassy Bandit, Alex
Geocaching-Mitarbeiter, Frau Potter und Sassy Bandit mit einem der Giga-Organisatoren, Alex.

Inmitten der Region mit der höchsten Geocache-Dichte befindet sich ein altes Steinkohlebergwerk, welches einst vom Abriss bedroht war – die Zeche Zollverein. Schachte wachsen in den Himmel, Ziegelgebäude sprenkeln das Land und die Gehwege schlängeln sich um das Gelände, wie es einst die Gleise taten. Dieser Ort bietet eine einzigartige Kulisse für die 10000 Geocacher, welche sich 2016 zum Project Glück Auf Giga-Event zusammen fanden.

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Food trucks and Geocachers galore
Geocacherin stempelt die Logbuch-Stechkarte

Der Name – Glück Auf – ist ein Bergmannsgruß. Sie wünschten sich damit “Glück, einen neuen Kohlegang aufzutun”, aber auch eine gesunde Rückkehr nach der Schicht.

Das “Glück Auf”-Wochenende begann mit der Registrierung, Lab-Caches und einem Meet&Greet-Event mit Livemusik und einem Logbuch, an welchem Geocacher mit einer Stechkarte “einstempelten”. Ich glaube, ich hatte noch nie so viel Spass mich auf einem Logbuch einzutragen.

Das Hauptevent fand am Samstag statt und sollte um 10 Uhr morgens beginnen – das hätte man nicht gedacht, wenn man die viele Leute gesehen hat, die sich schon um 8 Uhr versammelten. Überall sah man Menschen, aber zum Glück hat es sich nie gedrängt angefühlt. Die Organisatoren nutzten das Gelände gut aus; die Aktivitäten waren gut verteilt und trotzdem war alles zu Fuß erreichbar.

Geocachers versuchen eine Grubenlampe so lange wie möglich hochzuhalten.

Die Lab-Caches und Spiele waren am weitesten entfernt vom Mittelpunkt des Events. Das war für mich die perfekte Gelegenheit, um auf Erkundung zu gehen. Eines der Spiele, an welchem ich teilnahm, forderte Geocacher heraus, eine Grubenlampe so lange wie möglich mit ausgestrecktem Arm hochzuhalten. Man trat nicht nur gegen die anderen in der Gruppe an, sondern auch gegen die Bestzeit des Tages. Als ich an der Reihe war, war die Bestzeit länger als 10 Minuten. Ich konnte gerade mal halb so lange aushalten, bevor mein bebender Arm nicht länger aushalten konnte.

Ich war erstaunt zu sehen, wie viele Leute am Samstag auf dem Event-Gelände blieben. Ich hätte gedacht, dass es ein konstantes Kommen und Gehen geben würde, doch den ganzen Tag über gab es eine lebendige Energie auf dem Event. Picknick-Tische wurden zum Treffpunkt für Mahlzeiten und Zusammenkunft von Freunden, die Kaffee- und Eis-Wagen hatten eine sich stehts bewegende Schlage und und das Gebäude mit den Verkaufsständen war voller zufriedener Käufer. Selbst als das Tagslicht zu schwinden begann und die Geocaching-Band Dosenfischer zu spielen begann, sah man noch viele Gesichter, die sich um die Bühne versammelten.

Signal auf der Bühne während des Dosenfischer-Konzerts
Geocaching-Mitarbeiter Sassy Bandit mit hopmaniak auf dem Goodbye-Event

Sonntag morgen begann mit dem Schicht im Schacht Goodbye-Event und Wolken drohten mit Regen. Zum Glück fielen aber nur ein paar vereinzelte Tropfen.

Als das Event sich dem Ende zuneigte und Umarmungen verteilt wurden, fühlte war ich dankbar, dass ich die Möglichkeit hatte, am Project Glück Auf teilzunehmen, aber auch ein bisschen traurig, dass es Zeit war, von alten und neuen Freunden Abschied zu nehmen.

Ein riesiges Dankeschön an das Orga-Team für euer Engagement und dass ihr ein so erinnerungswürdiges und gut organisiertes Event auf die Beine gestellt habt, welches unglaublich Spaß gemacht hat und Menschen aus der ganzen Welt inspiriert hat, sich zu treffen und Geocaching zu feiern. Ihr verdient eine riesen Runde Applaus. Glück auf!

Das Orga-Team und Familie vor dem Meet&Greet Logbuch

 

Deutsche und Brasilianische Geocaching-Freunde trafen sich auf dem Giga-Event wieder.

 

Kurz bevor ich auf dem Goodbye-Event meine Stempelkarte einreichte.