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Advice to Geocache Hiders from Law Enforcement

Use a well marked container
Use a well marked. clear container whenever possible

Here are two words geocachers crave hearing when their geocache is published, “Found it.” And then there are two words all geocachers would prefer never to hear when talking about a geocache hide, “suspicious device.”

In an age of increased concern, geocachers must be increasingly diligent to follow the rules while hiding a geocache. Make sure to read and follow the Geocaching Listing Requirements/Guidelines. Also make sure to use common sense, and always keep in mind how your geocache container or the location of your container may be perceived by people who are not familiar with the game.

We asked law enforcement professionals and a bomb disposal tech with the U.S. Army to offer advice to geocachers. It’s easy to ensure your logs say “Found it” and your geocache hide never alarms authorities.

Here’s their advice.

Question: What are the do’s for geocachers when hiding containers?

Sgt. Kent Byrd answers this question. Sgt. Byrd has been featured in Geocaching videos, and is a Explosive Ordinance Disposal expert with the U.S. Army currently deployed to South Korea. He’s an avid geocacher with the username, JrBYRDMAN162

Get permission: Sgt. Byrd says, “If you hide the container near a public building, make sure that you obtain permission from the business /property owner.”

Take pictures: “Also, try to give pictures of the geocache to the business/property owner. That way if the geocache gets called in, the owner has the option and ability to present those pictures to the personnel investigating/dealing with the geocache.”

Mark it clearly: The “Official Geocache” stickers are a huge help. Also, if the size of the geocache allows, write your phone number on the geocache itself in large numbers. This will give a law enforcement another option to deal with the geocache.

Be PROACTIVE: Talk to your local law enforcement entities. Offer to do a short workshop on geocaching. Get them involved. All it takes is getting one Bomb Disposal Technician involved in the game and they will start to solve the problem in your area for you, because of their personal love for the game.

Question: What’s your one piece of advice for geocachers?

Karin Fechner with the Austrian Polizei answers this question. Her unit, like many police departments, utilizes a complimentary Premium Membership to help them identify geocaches. 

Karen says, “Always carry an id-card, passport or other document to be able to show it in case of a control. Show the navigation item or mobile-app you use in case of a control. We already had cases, when suspects claimed being geocachers but actually weren´t.  So it is always a good advice to show your equipment to the officer in case of a control. There are still a lot of law enforcement-officers who don´t know geocaching – of course there are also a lot of geocaching police-officers – but be prepared to explain what geocaching means and what you are actually looking for.”

Question: What shouldn’t geocachers do?

Josh Nelson answers this question. He’s with the Department of Natural Resources at Wasatch Mountain State Park in Utah. 

Josh says, “If you are geocaching in a State Park (Specifically speaking for Utah, but with my experience it’s universal) and are confronted by a park employee or law enforcement, don’t try to give some story of “I saw a cool bug” or the likes. These stories are great for other muggles, but just make you look suspicious to Rangers. Just tell them you are Geocaching, often they know the program and may even enjoy hanging out with you until you make the find.”

Question: What are the don’ts when hiding a geocache container?

According to Sgt. Byrd, “DO NOT put caution words on the outside of containers such as CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER, BEWARE, DO NOT OPEN, etc., regardless of what follows such words.”

Sgt. Byrd says, “Do remember, that some departments do have Standard Operating Procedure’s that require them to deal with all packages of a certain dimension in a destructive manner. Nano-caches, micro, and mini, caches are not only less likely to be spotted by a muggle, but are not of great concern to Bomb Squads… Use the common 9-volt battery as a reference. If it is smaller than a 9-volt battery, it is much LESS likely to be destroyed.  Use clear containers whenever possible.”

Sgt. Byrd reminds geocachers that law enforcement are doing their jobs and their best to protect the communities they serve, whether it’s in Austria, a State Park in the U.S. or military serving abroad.

If you’re a Law Enforcement representative or Parks Personnel we offer a complimentary and ongoing Premium Membership for the purpose of monitoring geocaching activity in your jurisdiction. Learn more here at the Law Enforcement & Parks Professional resource page. Simply create a free basic account on Geocaching.com, choose a username that reflects your organization, and email us at geocaching.com/help for your upgrade.

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A Powerful Father and Son Connection through Geocaching

Tonycropped2.0
Tony and his son’s adventures take them to find Ko Tapu James Bond Island (GC2179V) in Thailand.

Meet Tony Linberg (Username: galdrin): IT guy, geocacher, and proud father. Meet Tony’s son: 13-year-old treasure hunter, adventurer, and explorer. They’re your everyday father-son geocaching duo. But dig a little deeper and like most geocachers you’ll uncover something remarkable about their relationship and why they geocache.

In 2006, Tony’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with severe autism, meaning that he is unable to use spoken language. He also suffers from asthma, light epilepsy, and hyperactivity. This diagnosis would change the Linberg family’s life. They moved away from their friends and family in the city to a quiet house in the countryside, an environment more suitable to their son’s needs. A year after the move, the Linberg’s daughter came into the world. She was also diagnosed with autism.

Then, in 2008, Tony happened across an article about geocaching.  After discovering that his son enjoyed being driven in a car, Tony had started the routine of taking long car rides with his son. They would just drive and drive for hours at a time. Tony says, “The article gave me an idea to create a goal for our next evening in the car so that the trip would have some meaning for me also and not just for my son. And this is where our life takes a new direction for me, my son, and in the end all our family. If the [autism diagnosis] started a downward spiral then the discovery of geocaching started an upward spiral that just keeps on going.”

On that first geocaching experience, Tony and his son both fell in love with geocaching – but in very different ways. Tony loved the way that finding the treasure at the end of the trail made him feel: excitement building, pulse racing, confidence growing. Tony says his son fell in love not with the find itself, but rather with the adventure of getting there: “My son has never cared about the box at the end of the trail, he only cares about the trail and what he got the day we found geocaching is the activity needed to feel good.”

Geocaching has not only changed Tony and his son’s life, but also the way in which the entire family lives, loves, and exists.  Through geocaching, Tony says, “I get small glimpses of the boy behind the handicap, small moments when his hyperactivity lets go of him and he can sit down and enjoy the situation, and short moments when he grabs my arm and laughs when we have successfully logged a geocache and are walking back to the car. He almost never laughs normally, but when we are geocaching I am blessed with the sound of his laugh… Geocaching is a water balloon full of  goodness that hit me, but it splashed everyone in our family.”

Tony's son 2.5
Tony’s son finds a geocache in their early years of geocaching.

Tony and his son are now going on 1400  finds and currently own two geocache hides. Their geocaching adventures inspired a new level of physical activity for both Tony and his son. Tony’s son started sleeping more than four hours a night and improved his balance. Perhaps most importantly, geocaching showed the Linbergs that their children’s autism diagnoses were not the final chapter. At first, the Linbergs thought that autism spectrum disorder meant that their family would never get to explore the world together. Because of his disorder, Tony’s son cannot be left alone for even short periods of time. But through geocaching, they learned that they can still lead lives full of exploration and adventure and – like all parents hope to do – they can challenge their children to try new things and discover interesting places. Tony has started calling his son his “shadow cacher” because they get to have adventures together all the time.

Today, Tony’s son is beginning to learn to communicate using an iPad. For the most part, the language is very basic (e.g. “I’m hungry” or “I need to go to the toilet”). However, there is one phrase that Tony says his son uses more than any others: “I want to go geocaching.”

For Tony and his son, geocaching is not about the numbers. 1400 finds means 1400 adventures, 1400 memories, and 1400 reasons why any parent and child – of any ability – can find a common bond through geocaching.

You can follow shadowcacher’s adventures on Tony’s blog. If you have a story you would like to be considered for the next installment of “Geocachers Care,” please email pr@geocaching.com.

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Dear Geocaching Diary: 31 Days of Adventure with Geocaching HQ

 

Dear Geocaching Diary,

This has been one exciting week at Geocaching HQ! Last week we accepted the 31 Days of Geocaching challenge. We vowed to find at least one geocache every day in August. And guess what…Our streak is still alive! Here is a photo recap of the first week of our 31 Days of Geocaching.

Day 1: Geocaching HQ staff came up with a creative solution for this tricky high hide. Business Development Coordinator Katie Barker (Username: Katie-B) says, “It’s going to be hard to top the first find! Nothing like building a human pyramid with your co-workers to start the 31-day streak off!”

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Day 2: Rain could not stop us from seeking out this totally ingenious geocache. Office Manager Maria McDonald (Username: AKprincesswarrior) jumps high to celebrate our second find.

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Day 3: We may have had to go our separate ways over the weekend, but that didn’t stop us from getting down and dirty. Like Wesley and Princess Buttercup, Volunteer Support Specialist Cindy Potter (Username: Frau Potter) and her family survived the Fire Swamp to log 03 of 31. Cindy says, “We escaped before being eaten by the Rodents of Unusual Size.”

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Day 4: The danger didn’t stop there. Founder Jeremy Irish (Username: Jeremy) and Marketing Director Michelle Broderick (Username: Michelleb108) tackled graveyard caches and white water rafting to grab 04 of 31. Inconceivable!

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Day 5: Geocaching takes the dynamic duo Community Support Specialist Cathy Hornback (Username: Prying Pandora) and Community Relations Engineering Liaison Jon Stanley (Username: Moun10Bike) to an instrument out of place. Moun10Bike is clearly a geocacher of many talents.

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Day 6: Tuesday was double sweet for Community Manager Jayme Hewitt (Username: banandjayme). She says: “The taste of GOLD, baby! 100 WA State Park caches on the GeoTour have been signed by benandjayme. We invited Ranger Tina to celebrate with us. Bam!”

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Stay tuned for more adventures from Geocaching HQ. What are your favorite tales from the 30 Days of Geocaching trail? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Click for a printable version of the 31 Days of Geocaching Calendar
Click the image for a printable version of the 31 Days of Geocaching Calendar

Mid-West Geo-Bash 2013 — One Geocaching HQ staffer’s journey into Area 51

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Derek Hamilton, a.k.a. ScatterMyCaches, attended Mid-West GeoBash (GC3T8EH) in Wauseon, OH, USA in July. Derek has been with Geocaching HQ as the Copywriter since 2012. This is Derek’s account of his trip.

Me (left) with Irene from team geocite.
Me (left) with Irene from team geocite.

This past week I had to opportunity to attend one of the largest geocaching Mega-Events in the mid-west United States—Mid-West GeoBash. All in all, I had an amazing time, got to meet tons of great geocachers, found several geocaches and left needing a few day’s worth of sleep. Here’s a short recap of my trip:

The trip began with a 4 a.m. ride to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From there, I made the journey to Detroit, Michigan, where I picked up my rental car and drove to Wauseon, Ohio. After checking in to my hotel and grabbing some dinner, I ventured out to the Fulton County Fairgrounds where “Area 51” was already in full swing. For those of you not familiar with Area 51, this is one of the most popular parts of Mid-West GeoBash. Each night at 10 p.m., the bonfire area is closed off to people under the age of 21, coolers are wheeled out and adult beverages are enjoyed. I wasn’t quite ready for what this entailed. Let’s just say that since I was the only Geocaching HQ employee at the event, attendees were very generous.

The 9/11 memorial. Photo by geocacher Rross1973

Friday was my day of geocaching. I drove around the town of Wauseon, picking up geocaches and even attending a second event, Caching in Corsets. Despite the name of the event, I did not do my Dr. Frankenfurter impression and squeeze into a corset (which was probably better for everyone). One of the geocaches I found was Fulton County’s 9/11 Memorial multi-cache. This began at a memorial that featured a piece of the Twin Towers. The path to the final stage took me past a very patriotic wooden sculpture. In my log, I recounted where I was and what I was doing on that fateful day in 2001. Later that night, I again visited Area 51, where, again, the bonfires raged and everyone was very generous.

Saturday was when the geocaching community, volunteer reviewers who attended, and I got down to business. We held a Geocaching HQ/Reviewer panel to answer questions and discuss topics from geocachers who attended the event. The questions and discussion was awesome and I brought back quite a few suggestions for the team at Geocaching HQ. After the Q&A session, I roamed the event taking photos and handing out Geocaching swag. Later, we took the event photo and officially wrapped up the event. Of course, I had to attend the final night of Area 51. However, I had to cut my time short in order to be able to wake up and make my 8:30 a.m. flight out of Detroit.

This was my first Mega-Event and I had a blast. A huge shout-out to Pete and Sonja for putting on such an amazing event! And thanks to everyone else that I met, those that I hung out with, and everyone who attended. If you’re able to make it to the 2014 Mid-West GeoBash, I would highly recommend it.

Bonus: There was even a 30-minute TV segment filmed about the bash. Check it out below.

Your Geocaching Community Awaits…

Connect to 100,000’s of Geocachers with One “Like”

WeeklyMailer_06013_GeocachingWithFriends_vFINAL_blogWhoever said the world is a small place might have just been a geocacher connected through the Geocaching Facebook page. It’s a snap (or a click) to discover geocaching groups around the globe, keep up on the latest and greatest geocaches and discover insider tips and tricks. A few more clicks and you’re wired into the adventure of thousands of your fellow geocachers.

Follow @GoGeocaching on Twitter for the latest updates from Geocaching HQ and track #31in31 for news from the 31 Days of Geocaching. See geocaching from another perspective through the Geocaching Google+ page. Ever hope to explore the perks of using a Geocaching app in less than 2 minutes? The Geocaching YouTube channel can do that, plus introduce you to more than 100 other time-saving and inspirational videos. Explore the glossy side of geocaching through the beautiful images and video on the Geocaching Instagram feed. And don’t forget to tag @GoGeocaching and #31in31 in your geocaching videos on Twitter or Instagram to play a part in the upcoming video, “31 Days of Geocaching in 31 Seconds.”

It’s a wide world out there with more than 2 million hidden geocaches to discover and 6 million of your fellow geocachers joining you in the adventure. See the wonders of geocaching and share your exploration by connecting to Geocaching through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram.