7 Tips to Sprinkle Extra Awesome on the 7 Souvenirs of August




Geocaching HQ staffers love August. The Seattle weather is perfect. We get to meet geocachers from all over the world who come to log the Geocaching HQ geocache or attend Geocaching Block Party. And each year, we find a new way to challenge each other to geocaching greatness.

See, we love teamwork at Geocaching HQ!

This year, we have a collective goal: 100% of the 70+ HQ’ers will earn all 7 Souvenirs of August. This is something we’ll do together, and we would love to see you use the same teamwork-based strategy in your local geocaching community.We’ll carpool to geocaches, help each other solve Mystery Caches, and cheer each other on.

At the same time, we couldn’t resist throwing a healthy dose of competition into the mix.

To add in an extra sprinkle of challenge and fun to keep us geocaching all month long, we’ve formed seven teams that, in addition to supporting each other in achieving the 7 Souvenirs of August, will compete against each other to be the best in the following categories:

  • First team to have every member complete all 7 Souvenirs of August
  • Most geocache finds in August
  • Greatest distance traveled
  • Greatest number of Travel Bugs moved
  • Average difficulty rating
  • Average terrain rating
  • Best geocaching-themed Instagram video with the hashtag #7SofA

This summer, you and your family, friends, coworkers, and geocaching organization can take the 7 Souvenirs of August to the next level too.

Here are Geocaching HQ’s 7 steps to attaining geocaching greatness this August:

1. Break into teams. Here at HQ, we decided to randomly assign teams to allow staffers to spend time with coworkers they don’t usually get to work with. Dividing by skill level or geocaching interest (i.e. the perfect blend of geocaching personality types) is also a great way to ensure the competition will be close.

Last year was all about orange headbands; this year, we’re rockin’ green sunglasses.

2. Give your team an identity. Team names are a must. Without one, what will you chant when you are victorious? Our  teams are (surprise, surprise) named after the 7 Souvenirs of August: The Nature Lovers, The Explorers, The Puzzlers, The Collectors, The Socializers, and The Sightseers. (We’re all going to be Achievers, after all.) Bonus points for jerseys, headbands, sunglasses, and 7 Souvenirs of August SWAG.

3. Set up a leaderboard. Share a spreadsheet to track individual and team stats, or if you’re technically inclined, work some GPX magic.

4. Strategize. Get together with your team to talk shop. Will someone host a midnight Event Cache so the team can earn all 7 Souvenirs first? Or will you focus on find count or terrain rating? Is your team made up of people who are great at solving puzzles, climbing trees, or road-tripping? (Hint: Eating pizza while strategizing helps the brain think. It’s science.)

5. Make a calendar of geocaching outings. Once you have your strategy, plan when you’ll make it happen. Geocaching together is a great way to keep inspired and avoid the dreaded DNF.

6. Create a shared online space. Setting up a Facebook group or email chain is a great way to share updates, make sure you’re on track to achieving your goals (and winning!), and keep the team engaged and inspired.

7. Capture your favorite geocaching moments. So maybe your team won’t find the most geocaches or travel the furthest distance, but you can show off that you had the most fun. Create a geocaching highlight reel and be sure to share it on your favorite social media platforms. Don’t forget to use the #7SofA hashtag.

Ready to start plotting your August strategy? Share this video and invite your friends to join in the fun:

Now Tell Us Your Tips

How will you and your geocaching organization sprinkle a little extra awesome on the 7 Souvenirs of August?

The Theory of Caching is Found in Canada

COG Fling 10 – The COG Cache Theory


Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Cathy or Prying Pandora works supporting geocaching community volunteers .  This is her Mega-Event experience.


Canada Day with reviewers CacheViewer, GeoawareCA, and CacheShadow
Cathy (center) – Canada Day with reviewers CacheViewer, GeoawareCA, and CacheShadow

When I found out I had been selected to attend COG Fling 10 – The COG Cache Theory in Ontario, Canada, I was very excited.  I knew that the Central Ontario geocaching community was super creative and fun, and they would turn this year’s science theme into a weekend full of laughter and crazy surprises.  The chosen location for the 10th Fling was Tottenham Conservation Area, a beautiful 41-acre park about 40 minutes away from Toronto.

The kickoff event on Friday evening was COG Spring Fling, a nod to the COG Fling’s traditional springtime date.  This year the event took place during the long hot days of summer, so how do you make a Spring Fling out of that?  By flinging springs, of course! That was just one of a crazy hodge podge of activities, including racing to fill pipes by squeezing water into them with sponges, and performing an interpretive dance with shock absorbers before tossing them at a target.  The prize?  A fine trophy made of springs!

Elf and Fababoo doing their shock absorber interpretive dance. She has a bubble on her finger.
Elf and Fababoo doing their shock absorber interpretive dance. She has a bubble on her finger.
Swifteroo’s shock absorber interpretive dance
Filling pipes with sponges

I had a blast at the Mega-Event on Saturday, meeting and chatting with 800 geocachers. Some of them came all the way from Australia and Germany! Keeping with the science theme, the event log was a lab coat, there were 8 super creative science lab caches, and a mad scientist too! Games, workshops and a bunch of new caches in the area kept people busy all day.

Fababoo the Mad Scientist
cog 7
Potato Experiment Lab Cache
Light Bending Prism Lab Cache
Light Bending Prism Lab Cache
cathy 1
Two of the COG volunteers helping with the event, Juicepig and Elf
Me with one of the cachers I met, luvvinbird
Me with one of the cachers I met, luvvinbird


The weekend wrapped up on Sunday with the COG’s Anti Trash Theory CITO event.  Lots of trash was collected from the area surrounding the park, and a few unusual items too.

cathy 3
Tromelin heaves in an old satellite dish

I completed my Canadian adventure after the event weekend by visiting the nation’s capital in Ottawa with some of Ontario’s volunteer reviewers to celebrate Canada Day. It was the perfect end to a wonderful trip!



Geocaching Headquarters (GCK25B): Been There, Logged That.

Panorama HQ Lobby
Panorama HQ Lobby


Geocaching Headquarters (aka GCK25B).

Many have heard of it, only 7,000 of 9 million geocachers worldwide have logged it. Whether on a geocaching road trip across the country or living down the street, geocachers love to make a pit stop at Geocaching HQ to sign the famous logbook, celebrate a milestone, share stories with fellow geocachers and see for themselves where all the geocaching magic happens.

You made it
You made it

History was made.

In 2004, the official HQ geocache was placed in the downtown office of Groundspeak Headquarters. Over the last 10 years, the geocache has lived in four different locations, now residing at the newest office in the Fremont neighborhood. Co-Founder Bryan Roth said the geocache was placed so that everyone at HQ could stay connected to the community.

“Geocachers were already stopping by the office before we placed the geocache” said Bryan. “We felt that adding an official HQ Geocache would enhance the experience and help create an environment where geocachers always feel welcome.”

Originally on Friday’s only, HQ visits are now available Tuesday-Friday at 2pm to accommodate all travel schedules and the influx in visitors.




What to expect during a scheduled visit.

1) Awesome encounters and conversations with Geocaching HQ employees. The staff at Geocaching HQ anxiously awaits for the clock to strike 2pm. For an entire hour, the lobby transforms into a room of geocaching chatter and storytelling.

2) A giant trunk with a plethora of trackables, SWAG and signature items. Don’t believe us? Check out the trackable inventory for yourself.

Inside the HQ Geocache
Inside the HQ Geocache

3) Geocachers from across the globe. In the last year, visitors from over 30 countries have visited HQ, making it an international destination for all geocachers to gather, swap stories and even learn a new language (or as least communicate in geo-language.)

4) Photo-op and selfie heaven. With a photobooth and new signage to pose in front of, the photo opportunities are endless.

5) Historic geocaching relics including the original International Space Station Travel Bug. In case you are new to geocaching (or have been hiding under a rock for a year), this travel bug went all the way to outer space.

6) The Geocaching HQ Store. Shop for trackables, geocoins, t-shirts and other goodies including some exclusive HQ merchandise.

HQ Geotour: GC32A0H
HQ GeoTour: GC32A0H

 7) Geocaching! The fun doesn’t stop after you leave the lobby. Before and after a scheduled visit, geocachers wander around the local quirky Fremont neighborhood in search of the nine geocaches on the HQ GeoTour. With over 2,000 favorite points, geocachers don’t want to miss out on these creative geocaches hidden by the staff at Geocaching HQ.

The ultimate HQ experience.

In addition to HQ Visits, Geocaching HQ invites the entire community to join them for the annual Block Party Mega-Event in August. The week prior to the big event, geocachers can sign up for full office tours to get the full breakdown of what goes on every day at HQ.

So geocachers, when do you plan on joining the other 7,000 geocachers and logging the HQ Geocache? We’d love to meet you!

How to DNF a DNF

Sometimes, expectations don’t match reality. Sometimes, geocachers are absolutely fine with that.

The team of intrepid Geocaching HQ’ers who left Seattle on Friday, June 27th were expecting their weekend culminate in a hike halfway up Mount Rainier. At 10,080 feet in elevation, the Camp Muir hike wasn’t one to scoff at. For five hours, the team would slog straight up rock, ice, and snow. Virtual caches GCA69 and GC1192 would be waiting for them at the top (hopefully holding a sign, flowers, and hand warmers). Logging these, one very old T5 and another very old T4.5, would be the ultimate payoff.

Alas, despite fervent pleas and several bouts of sun-dancing, the team of geocachers was not able to ward off the mantle of clouds that hung over the mountain. When the big day came, Mt. Rainier was to reveal itself for only a few seconds before vanishing shyly again.

2014-06-28 14.33.37

At that point, the team found itself on the cusp of failure.

A triple DNF hung across their shoulders—two for the caches, one for the mountain itself. They had no back-up plan, for the hike up to Camp Muir had consumer their very beings. It was the only ascent they’d considered, the only slope they’d trained for. The team was inconsolable.

Inspiration hit them like a bison charging down a mountain. What do geocachers do when they DNF? They break into song of course.

Explorers, sleuths, adventurers,

finders, keepers, hey!

We the brave, the geocachers,

three dozen finds per day!

The song, which was sung to the tune of “Ronda Alla Turca”, rallied the team immensely. They realized what they had to do to cancel out their DNF: find some more geocaches! Unsurprisingly, the surrounding cliffs, valleys, trails, rivers, and lakes were dotted with geocaches of every type. In little time, the team was hiking merrily along a thin, winding trail rimmed with wildflowers. The prospect of two more caches at the end of the trail lifted their spirits immensely.

2014-06-29 12.36.17

The team thought about all the reasons they loved geocaching, and added one more to the pile: A DNF isn’t synonymous with failure. Lots of things can get in the way of a find. Weather turns south. Batteries die. The dog eats all the snacks. Does that mean the adventure is over? Nope!

Three tips to DNF a DNF

1) Bring a friend. Someone with Pollyanna-style enthusiasm will do nicely.

2) Look around. Are there other caches nearby? Go find ’em.

3) Plan for a return trip. A DNF isn’t a permanent status.

4) Try singing the song mentioned above. Try singing anything to the tune of Ronda Alla Turca. It will cheer you up, we promise.






Time to Phone-a-Friend: Sometimes hiding a geocache takes two

FTFers in action
RandolphAgarn and I camped out to (sneakily) watch the FTF in action.

2 x 2 Makers and Hiders Unite

It takes all kinds to make geocaching the quirky, wonderful, interesting hobby/game/community that it is right now. Some like to solve puzzles, others like to trek across mountains; some are serial geocache finders, and others are serial geocache hiders. Altogether, these different types make for a healthy (and fun!) geocaching ecosystem.

Within this geocaching ecosystem, I’ve always considered myself your everyday, traditional finder—like moss (a little bit boring), but surely important for some unknown, ecological reason. That is, I used to think of myself like moss. Then, a few months ago, I attended a Maker Madness event hosted by Geocaching HQ. I walked out of the event knowing that I too wanted to create great geocaching experiences for others to enjoy… But I didn’t want to hide just any old geocache. I wanted to hide the Mona Lisa of geocaches.

There was, however, one small problem. When it comes to any and all geocache making skills…well, I don’t have any. I never took woodshop. I don’t know anything about Arduino computers. And (much to my puzzle-loving grandfather’s disappointment), I cannot solve the Monday crossword puzzle, let alone design a worthwhile puzzle of my own.

Hiding without Making

So how does one hide a masterpiece geocache without having any relevant Maker skills?

Luckily, I discovered that geocache hiding, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, has a built-in Phone-a-Friend option. You see, like the broader geocaching community, geocache hiders come in all shapes and sizes. There are the Makers, who imagine (and implement) the future of geocaching containers; then you have the location hiders, who have a knack for finding breathtaking hiding spots; and finally, there are folks like me.  I am nothing if not reliable, which as it turns out, is a key ingredient to a great geocache. (Ahem, you’ve heard of a little thing called geocache maintenance? No one likes a soggy log.)

RandolphAgarn makes final adjustments to our geocache.

So, I used my Phone-a-Friend card to call up my friend and Geocaching HQ mobile developer Arne Moen (Username: RandolphAgarn). He is everything that a Maker should be: creative and innovative with more than a few DIY tricks up his sleeve. And fortunately for me, he enjoys making geocaches more than maintaining them, so we formed a geocache hiding partnership. He built the container and I will be in charge of maintaining his creation going forward.

RandolphAgarn and I were so excited/nervous about putting our geocache out in the wild that we decided to sneakily camp out on a nearby bench to watch the FTF (first-to-find) in action. Given our geocache’s proximity to Geocaching HQ (home to 70 plus geocachers with instant notifications set up), we weren’t shocked to see the FTF go to a couple of HQ staffers within 20 minutes of publication. ScatterMyCaches and ReidSomething were pumped to earn their first FTF (but less excited to FTF the giant spider that had been quick to make the geocache its home).  A big congrats also to MedicineManOfSeattle and TrailGourmet for the STF (second-to-find).

Okay, so our geocache may not be the Mona Lisa of geocaches, but it sure feels good to have played a part in creating a quality experience that many will be able to enjoy.  And, unlike moss, it’s nice to know that we all have the ability to choose what role we’d like to play in our geocaching ecosystem.

3 reasons to hide a geocache with a friend

  1. It’s more fun. ‘Nuff said.

  2. You can share the workload. From building a container to maintaining it, hiding a geocache can be a lot of work! Splitting up or sharing responsibilities makes it a whole lot easier.

  3. Collaboration inspires creativity. The brain is a wonderful thing. Two brains are even better.
The FTF team!
RandolphAgarn and I talked the FTF’ers into taking a celebratory selfie with us!
Early finders Jwlatona and COOP.

 What’s the story behind your first geocache hide?