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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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.
“A camera is a ‘save button’ for one’s mind.” Rogu Kingston.
Geocaching is more than a hunt. Geocaching is that “first to find” smile… the secret beach you stumble upon… the mountain you never thought you’d climb… the unexpected sighting of a rare bird… a forgotten piece of history… a new friend you pick up along the way. All of these geocaching “moments” can be captured through a camera lens (and beautifully, with a nice filter).
Everyday, geocachers on Instagram share their visual geocaching experiences with the world through the hashtag #geocaching. The official geocaching Instagram is our way of joining that conversation, sharing beautiful and inspiring geocaching images. Launching only 2.5 years ago, we’re thrilled to announce that the Geocaching Instagram has reached 30,000 friends and is still growing! Our eyeballs have never been happier.
Here are some of the most stand-out Instagram images from the last couple years.
You too can join in the Insta-fun and share your #geocaching endeavors with the world! Oh, and follow us too www.instagram.com/geocaching.
It’s the same old story.
Boy meets Girl. Boy takes Girl geocaching. Boy falls in love with Girl. Girl falls in love with geocaching. Eventually also warms up to Boy. Here are the 13 dates that made up this imaginary geocaching love story. This is a fictional account, so, basically steal any tips you find here to make your own moves on your potential geo-crush.
THE FIRST DATE
TamsinTugboat and I found this one on our walk through Discovery Park. I got us to GZ, but she
made the find (her first). Had a really great time, hope she did as well.
(Haven’t read her log yet…here’s crossing my fingers).
THE SECOND DATE
Cheers to making this incredibly tricky D3 cache my fifteenth! RusselltheSpaceman and I
spent the good portion of Sunday afternoon looking for this one. We gave up several times
and decided to re-energize with fresh pears from Pike’s Place Market. He convinced me
to try this really odd looking peanut butter drink. After that feat, finding this cache among all the
red-herrings was a piece of…gum!
THE THIRD DATE
Time to spice things up with some good ‘ole EarthCaches. Thanks for bringing
TamsinTugboat and I to this part of the world. Despite living across the water from it,
neither of us have made it out to Bainbridge Island very often. We had a heck of a time
figuring out whether this was glacial till, outwash, or silts and clays…but
guess who’s taken at least one geology course in college? (Hint, of the
two of us, it’s the prettier one.)
THE FOURTH DATE
Let’s get one thing straight—I was not the one to suggest this 4am hike up Sun Top Mountain.
RusselltheSpaceman thought it would be “appropriate” to get to the top at sunrise, given
the name of the mountain. I thought it would be appropriate to sleep in.
Guess who thought wrong?
‘Twas a beautiful hike, I’ll admit, and this geocache was a worthy reward. TFTC.
THE FIFTH, SIXTH, AND SEVENTH DATES
GCPWDY (among others)
If a 4am hike to a geocache on top of a mountain to reach a ‘cache didn’t discourage
TamsinTugboat, I think it’s safe to say she’s hooked on geocaching. She came on this
three-day camping trip in the Cascades with me, so things must be going well. This cache
our fourth find of the trip, and the first island cache for both of us. The swim
was frigid, but there was no getting around that. Thanks for the T4 ‘cache!
THE EIGHTH DATE
Geocaching Headquarters on the eighth date?! Smooth move, my friend. Smooth move.
THE NINTH DATE
I reached GZ with TamsinTugboat. We weren’t sure what to expect from a
Terrain 4 cache in the middle of a residential neighborhood. If we’d known we’d be
climbing this pine, we probably wouldn’t have worn flip-flops. Okay, so shoes off, and
up the tree we went, barefoot as Mowgli. Due to technical restrictions, we each
went up separately, but I caught this shot of TamsinTugboat waiting patiently for me to
get over my vertigo and climb down.
THE TENTH DATE
It was bound to happen eventually — the dreaded DNF. According to RusselltheSpaceman,
the streak of 45 finds and 0 DNFs we had going was unusual. Even when you know
you’ll have to DNF eventually, it’s hard to accept. But it’s a bit easier to accept when you’re
with a friend.
THE ELEVENTH & TWELFTH DATES
First Geocaching Mega event! TamsinTugboat and I took a road trip up to Saskatchewan
to attend this awesome event. Met so many other nice folks and found over twenty geocaches.
She’s almost caught up to me (has someone been geocaching alone on the side?!).
THE THIRTEENTH DATE
We came back to the park where we found our first cache to celebrate our 100th find together!
(Actually, this was my 140th find and RusselltheSpaceman’s 132nd find, but who’s
counting? Well, I am of course.) This EarthCache took us to the stunning sea bluffs at the edge
of Discovery Park, and as luck would have it the weather was gorgeous. From GZ we could
see the little lighthouse at West Point. I’d love to someday restore that old lighthouse to
live in. Beautiful buildings like that deserve loving inhabitants. Answers to the required
questions have been sent off to the cache owner. We’re both crossing our fingers on this one.