7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches, 1 Dinosaur

Geocaching Bucket List: 7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches

Any serious geocacher probably has a list of geocaches they wish to find before they “kick the bucket”, so to speak. We’ll be doing an intermittent series dedicated to bucket list geocaches, and today’s theme is, “7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches.” We hope this blog post inspires you to explore the world and expand the very idea of what a destination vacation could be.

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location.

Ready to go round the world and learn about Mother Earth? Let’s go!

Africa / Botswana
Okavango (GC4P93T)
D2 / T1.5

Learn all about the Okavango Delta in the midst of the Kalahari Desert. Per the Earthcache listing page, “Lying in the midst of the Kalahari desert – the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world – the Okavango Delta is the greatest of Africa’s wetland wildernesses, and among its last.”

Botswana Okavango Delta
Botswana Okavango Delta
Hippo says, "AAaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh...!"
Hippo says, “AAaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh…!”
Lioness and cubs
Lioness and cubs
Mommy Giraffe and baby
Mommy Giraffe and baby
Game walk on Chiefs Island
Game walk on Chiefs Island

 

Antarctica
Deception Island (GC115ZX)
D5 / T5

If you are one of the fortunate and adventurous few to journey to Antarctica, one of the high points is a visit to Deception Island. It has a distinctive horseshoe shape with a large flooded caldera, and is the rim of an young, active volcano. Make sure you read this sentence in the cache listing page before your visit, “Please be aware it is classified as a restless caldera with a significant volcanic risk.”

Antarctica Underwater Volcano
Antarctica Underwater Volcano
Through Neptune's Bellows
Through Neptune’s Bellows
Antarctica Polar Plunge
Antarctica Polar Plunge
Humpbacks Bubblenet Feeding
Humpbacks Bubblenet Feeding
Kayaking Antarctica
Kayaking Antarctica

 

Asia / Laos
Kuang Si Waterfalls (GC2HP5Y)
D1.5 / T2

The first EarthCache in Laos is, “…located about 30km from Luang Prabang, this series of waterfalls is a short tuk-tuk ride from town.” To log this cache, consider how waterfalls fall into the different types or classifications, and maybe go for a swim. Now, where did I put my passport…?

Cataract and cascade
Cataract and cascade
The waterfalls are beautiful
The waterfalls are beautiful
Soggy selfie
Soggy selfie
Please don't feed the Loatian Bears at the waterfalls
Please don’t feed the Loatian Bears at the waterfalls
swinging in front of the waterfall
Swinging in front of the waterfall

 

Australia
Uluru/Ayers Rock (GC28WD0)
D1 / T1

Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area. The Anangu Aboriginal people are responsible for the protection and appropriate management of these ancestral lands. Uluru’s awesomeness is described in the cache listing page as:

  • The second largest monolith in the world (after Mount Augustus, also in Australia)
  • 862.5 metres above sea level
  • 348 metres (1141 feet) high
  • 3.6 km long (2.2 miles)
  • 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles)
  • 9.4 km or 5.8 miles around the base (that’s walking)
  • Covers 3.33 km2 (1.29 miles2)
  • Extends about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground

Visit. Explore. Learn. Log!

Sunrise over Uluru
Sunrise over Uluru
Helecopter over Uluru
Helecopter over Uluru
At the base of The Rock
At the base of The Rock
Mars or Uluru?
Mars or Uluru?
<3 Uluru
<3 Uluru

Europe / France
Island or not island ? (GC2E34F)
D2 / T1

Mont Saint-Michel sits atop an island just 600 metres from land. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD, has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. It is easily accessible at low tide, but don’t get stuck there at high tide! Learn about the tides, and incredible history of this wonderful location.

Le Mont Saint Michel in the fog
Le Mont Saint Michel in the fog
Low tide at Le Mont Saint Michel
Low tide at Le Mont Saint Michel
High tide at Le Mont Saint Michel
High tide at Le Mont Saint Michel
View atop the island or not island ?
View atop the island or not island ?

North America / Canada
Table Rock Earthcache (GCMH1C)
D1 / T1

Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. It is the second largest falls on the globe next to Victoria Falls in southern Africa. One fifth of all the fresh water in the world lies in the four Upper Great Lakes—Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie. All the outflow empties into the Niagara river and eventually cascades over the falls. And this geocache is so spectacular, it earned “Geocache of the Week” in January of 2014!

A birdseye view
A birdseye view
A big boat suddenly looks so very tiny
A big boat suddenly looks so very tiny
The falls in winter
The falls in winter
Rainbow over Horseshoe Falls
Rainbow over Horseshoe Falls
How cool is cool? ICE COLD.
How cool is cool? ICE COLD.

 

South America / Bolivia
Formation of Salar de Uyuni (GC4M4B4)
D2 / T2

From the geocaching listing, “It is advisable (and optional) to take some interesting and funny photos in the salt flat area and upload with the log. Can you imagine a reason geologically why such photos can be taken there perfectly, e.g. distance, size, element, colour etc.” The photos on this geocache make visiting this place appealing enough, but in addition, you get to “find” a geocache and learn about the Earth? Awesome sauce.

The 50 Foot Woman
The 50 Foot Woman
The dinosaurs of the salt flats
The dinosaurs of the salt flats
Fee Fi Fo Fum!
Fee Fi Fo Fum!
Liisa from Finland
Liisa from Finland
Sunset and water at the salt flats
Sunset and water at the salt flats

Are there any amazing EarthCaches you’ve visited that you would add to this list? What about other “Bucket List” themes or geocaches you’d like to see featured? Tell us in the comments below!

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Geocaching Bucket List: Amazing Views Edition

Bucket List Geocaches: Amazing Views Edition
Bucket List Geocaches: Amazing Views Edition

Any serious geocacher probably has a list of geocaches they wish to find before they “kick the bucket”, so to speak. We’ll be doing an intermittent series dedicated to bucket list geocaches, and the first theme is, “Amazing Views.” We hope this blog post takes your breath away! 

 

1. GC1FPN1 – München-Venedig / Munich-Venice / Monaco-Venezia
Multi-Cache in Bayern, Germany
D2/T4
What has 28 legs, spans 3 countries, and covers 560 kilometers (65,000 feet) of altitude? Why, this amazing Multi-Cache of course! Make sure to set aside at least 2-4 days to complete this life-changing journey from Munich, Germany to Venice, Italy.

On the way to the top
On the way to the top

 

Lush valleys
Lush valleys

 

Beauty beyond belief
Beautiful beyond belief

 

Made it to the top!
Takin’ it to the top!

 

2. GC282A – Petra
Traditional in Jordan
D2.5/T3.5
Channel your inner Indiana Jones and visit Jordan’s first geocache in the ancient city of Petra. Petra was named one of the New7Wonders of the World in 2007, and was chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 28 Places to See Before You Die. That means it’s officially on someone else’s bucket list, too.

Approaching the geocache
Approaching the geocache

 

Mmmm... peanut butter anyone?
Mmmm… peanut butter anyone?

 

Along the route
Along the route

 

The famous city of Petra
The famous city of Petra

 

 

3. GCVTH7 – Chimney Top Cache
Traditional in West Virginia, USA
D4/T4.5
The North Fork Mountain Trail offers a plethora of breathtaking views. According to the cache page, “If this trail is the best for scenery in the state (I think it is), then Chimney Top would be the golden crown upon this king of trails.” Gorgeous.

You want me to climb that?!
You want me to climb that?!

 

Breathtaking
Breathtaking

 

Wow!
Wow!

 

In summer or winter
Hikeable in summer and winter

 

4. GC3QR3J – Arctic Circle Trail (K –> S)
Multi-Cache in Greenland
D5/T5
Only found 11 times due to the remote location and D5/T5 rating, this unique Multi-Cache is worth the effort. There are several adorable huts along the way to seek shelter, but make sure to pack in your own food and beverages since there are no stores along the route.

Camping along the way
Camping along the way

 

A slight upgrade the next night
A slight upgrade in lodging the next night

 

It's so quiet above the valley
It’s so quiet above the valley

 

Stunning sunsets
Stunning sunsets

 

Time to grab those hiking boots out of storage and get packin’! Special thanks to acadicus, eigengott, and Keystone for their wonderful contributions to this list.

Are there any amazing views you’ve visited while geocaching that you would add to this list? What about other “Bucket List” themes or geocaches you’d like to see featured? Tell us in the comments below!

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The Wild World of Underwater Geocaches

Taking the extreme plunge: underwater geocaching
For the extreme geocacher: underwater geocaching

Call me Geocache. Some time ago – never mind how long exactly – having little or no finds in my profile, and no particular geocaches to interest me on shore, I thought I would cache about a little and see the watery part of the T5 rating scale.*

What better way to fill out the Terrain rating on your Fizzy Grid than going underwater to find your caches? Grab your snorkel, SCUBA gear, and wet suits, then check out these awesome and inspiring underwater caches:

GC2W056 Hilma Hooker is located in Bonaire, just off the northern coast of Venezuela. The geocache is almost 30 meters (100 feet) underwater at an actual shipwreck. Some underwater caches have special paper and pencils to sign the log, but for this cache, you must write your name in the sand under the yardarm of the ship’s main mast. 

Finding the cache
Going for the dive cache!
Gotta look out for muggles when “signing” the log
Hilma Hooker sank on September 12, 1984
Hilma Hooker sank on September 12, 1984

Another idyllic underwater SCUBA cache is GC4BAC0 Kittiwake in the Cayman Islands. As the geocache description says: 

The ex-USS Kittiwake was a Submarine Rescue vessel (ASR-13). She was part of the 6th Submarine squadron (SUBRON 6) home ported at the Destroyer-Submarine piers in Norfolk, VA. She was transferred from MARAD to the Cayman Islands Government in August 2009 and was cleaned and remediated in Norfolk, Virginia to become an artificial reef. This included substantial work including the removal of all hazardous materials (like pcb’s, asbestos, mercury, cabling, wires, oils, lubricants and a very long list). Additionally, all thin or loose materials that could break off during or soon after sinking were removed. The Kittiwake is possibly the ‘cleanest’ wreck ever to be sunk as an artificial reef. 

Aha! GC4BAC0 Kittiwake has been found!
Aha! GC4BAC0 Kittiwake has been found!
Found it! Now time to sign the log.
Now time to sign the log.
Oh the things you'll see and do while SCUBAcaching!
Oh the things you’ll see and do while SCUBAcaching!


Did you know there are freshwater lake sharks in Germany? Well, not technically, but there is a fake shark 30 meters (98 feet) below the surface near
GCNQ40 Horka – Pumpenhaus. (You gotta admit that you were taken aback the first time you looked at these photos…) This Virtual Cache is, “…the cache owner’s revenge for all the climbing caches, which [he] will never reach.” 

GCNQ40 Horka - Pumpenhaus
SHARK!!!! Oh, it’s only GCNQ40 Horka – Pumpenhaus
The shark was impaled by a... huge steak knife?
Everyone’s safe. The shark was impaled by… a huge steak knife?
This is the beautiful location for this underwater cache


The deepest geocache on Earth is a small plastic horse on the seafloor, some
 2300 meters (2515 yards) down. GCG822 Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents was placed by Lord British, who is also responsible for the highest geocache located on the International Space Station. Oddly, the geocache in space has been found by a couple of astronaut cachers, but the one on our own planet has yet to be found. Per the underwater geocache description:

For the record, this geocache is real, and can be found… Scientific study of high temperature bacteria and anaerobic life forms are subsidised by taking tourists to the vents. I have visited them twice myself. With 10-30 people visiting a year, I presume one will be a geocacher like me… sooner or later!

GCG822 Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents
GCG822 Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents was placed using the Russian Mir Submersibles

But what if you don’t have all that fancy scuba gear or deep water submersibles? Well, we have a couple of other options for you. 

Head over to GC3KG2M Father Thames & The Mermaid (AS TIDES GOES BY) in London, England and wait for the tide to go out. This geocache currently has 387 Favorite points, and you can see why; it’s clever and takes you to a memorable location. 

GC3KG2M  Father Thames & The Mermaid (AS TIDES GOES BY) is only accessible at low tide
GC3KG2M
Father Thames & The Mermaid (AS TIDES GOES BY) is only accessible at low tide
London Low Tide Truck TB
London Low Tide Truck TB
I think I found it!
I think I found it!

We got one last geocache that may, ahem, float your boat. GC2H5GD Winnepesauke bumblebee scuba is located about 400 feet from the shore and about 35 feet below the surface. This geocache is available year round by diving in the summer, and ice fishing in the winter. Really depends on your perspective on what’s more difficult. 

GC2H5GD in the summer
GC2H5GD in the summer
GC2H5GD in the winter
GC2H5GD in the winter
Again, GC2H5GD in the summer
Again, GC2H5GD in the summer
Again, GC2H5GD in the winter (the container was updated since the summer...!)
Again, GC2H5GD in the winter!

Have you ever found a geocache underwater? How was it, or what’s holding you back from obtaining this type of cache? Tell us in the comments below!

*Deepest apologies to Herman Melville for this complete and very pathetic rip off of the opening passage to Moby Dick

Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 – Geocachers Conquer the Alps

Geocachers celebrate 15 Years of Geocaching by embarking on a grand geocaching adventure

You may followed them here on the official Geocaching blog: three brave geocachers recently embarked on a journey across the Alps on foot. Alexander Monsky (Berufsgeocacher), Tim Krüger (psycho_vm) and Benjamin Gorentschitz (MudMen_GER) finally made it across and have returned home feeling happy and exhausted.

In their words: “Crossing the Alps was the perfect tour for us to celebrate 15 years of Geocaching. It combined everything that is geocaching in its core: love for nature, the love of the game, and an overwhelming sense of community.”

But the journey was not without challenges. Benny reports: “On the 7 legs of the trail we walked 10-11 hours daily […] We climbed more than 32,000 feet of elevation with our 30 lb backpacks. Even when our feet hurt badly, we wedged them back into our hiking boots and kept going. […] Especially during the ascent we had to conquer our weaker selves daily. […] We kept going step by step through gravel, boulder fields, mud, and snow. Often we’d get cramps in our calves which slowed us down some more. Mentally you start searching for a way out when you know there is only one way: to keep going.”

Despite all the danger and exhaustion, geocaching in the Alps was an incredibly unforgettable adventure for the three geocachers. But it was hard: “Really, really hard,” says Benny. “Our “road trip” across the Alps has proven again for us that geocaching leads you to places you would have never seen without. Geocaching has also provided us unforgettable memories we will remember for a long time. For example, “Transalp Similaun Hütte 3019m (GCY5Y7)” where at 10,000 feet the cold had our teeth chattering. We had to get blankets from an emergency storage to be able to log the cache. Or when we found Fernwanderweg E5 – 01 – Los geht’s (GC1F5KV) and Benny got an electric shock on the buttocks when logging too close to a pasture fence.”

Despite their sore feet and shocked behind, there’s one thing the three friends agree on: without geocaching they probably would have never gotten the idea to embark on this kind of adventure. The reward was a set of amazing experiences they will never forget.

So what’s next? “We could already start hiking again,” says Benny. Spoken like a true geocacher.

Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 – Hoch hinaus und wieder herunter

Geocacher feiern 15 Jahre Geocaching mit einer abenteuerlichen Alpenüberquerung

 

Ihr habt die Geschichte vielleicht hier auf dem Geocaching-Blog verfolgt: Drei mutige Geocacher machten sich vor Kurzem auf den Weg, die Alpen zu Fuß zu bezwingen. Nun haben Alexander Monsky (Berufsgeocacher), Tim Krüger (psycho_vm) und Benjamin Gorentschitz (MudMen_GER) es geschafft und sind glücklich und erschöpft wieder zu Hause angekommen.

 

Ihr Fazit: “Die Alpenüberquerung war für uns zum 15. Geburtstag von Geocaching die perfekte Tour zum Jubiläum. Hier kam alles zusammen was Geocaching ausmacht: Freude an der Natur, Freude am Spiel und ein unglaubliches Gemeinschaftsgefühl.”

Foto 19.06.15 09 50 47

Doch die Reise war nicht frei von Strapazen. Benny berichtet davon: “Auf unseren 7 Etappen waren wir täglich 10 – 11 Stunden unterwegs. […] Wir haben über 10.000 Höhenmeter mit unseren 10-13 Kilo schweren Rucksäcken bewältigt, haben uns trotz schmerzender Füße immer wieder in die Bergstiefel gezwängt und weitergemacht. […] Gerade beim Aufstieg musste man täglich gegen seinen inneren Schweinehund ankämpfen. […] Man bahnt sich seinen Weg Schritt für Schritt über Geröll, Fels, Matsch und Schneefelder. Irgendwann setzen die ersten Krämpfe in den Waden ein und man muss das Tempo nochmal verlangsamen. Mental sucht man nach irgendeinem Ausweg, auch wenn man genau weiß, dass es nur einen Ausweg gibt: Man muss den Weg weitergehen.”

Trotz aller Gefahren und Anstrengung, sei Geocaching in den Alpen aber ein unvergessliches Abenteuer gewesen, auch wenn es hart war: “Verdammt hart sogar.” sagt Benny. “Auf unserem Road Trip durch die Alpen hat sich für uns aber mal wieder gezeigt, dass man durch Geocaching an Orte geführt wird, welche man vermutlich sonst nie zu Gesicht bekommen hätte. Geocaching hat auf dieser Tour aber auch für unvergessliche Momente gesorgt, die wir noch lange in Erinnerung behalten werden. Wir denken da z.B. an “Transalp Similaun Hütte 3019m (GCY5Y7)” und wie bitter kalt uns auf über 3.000 Höhenmeter beim Loggen war und wir uns erst einmal mit Decken aus einem Notfalllager versorgt haben. Oder beim Geocache Fernwanderweg E5 – 01 – Los geht’s (GC1F5KV), wo Benny einen elektrischen Schlag beim Loggen bekommen hat als sein Hinterteil den Stromdraht eines Weidezauns berührte.”

Trotz schmerzender Füße und Kehrseite sind sich die Geocacher aber einig: Ohne Geocaching wären sie vermutlich nie auf die Idee gekommen, sich in solch ein Abenteuer zu stürzen. Als Belohnung haben sie wunderschöne Eindrücke gewonnen, die sie ein Leben lang nicht mehr los lassen werden.

Und was kommt als Nächstes? “Wir könnten schon wieder los laufen.” sagt Benny.