Flood Tested – Geocacher Approved: Lost Cache Found Years Later 30 Miles Downstream

Geocache found after 3 years after washing away in a flood
Geocache found after 3 years after washing away in a flood

Isn’t a wet logbook the worst? Or maybe a geocache filled with water is the worst? Or a geocache that isn’t well-marked might be the worst? Or  maybe even a geocache that can’t be found because it’s washed away by a flood is actually, really, the worst. Well then Sandra, aka junglehair‘s, geocache is the antidote to all those “worsts.”

She’s found more than 13,000 geocaches and hidden more than 70. She knows her geocaching stuff. Sandra’s knowledge includes using the right container for the right circumstances. They’re containers that are durable and last years. She says those containers are most importantly water-tight. None of that seemed to matter much though when a spring flood washed through Manitoba, Canada in 2010. Even though her geocache named Splashing New York Style was hidden high on the bank of a river, it was swept away.  After a string of DNF (Did Not Find) logs, she replaced the geocache container.

Lost & Found
Lost & Found

Then the years rolled by, until an email popped into Sandra’s inbox. She says, “I found out that one of my caches that was washed away in a spring flood in 2010, was found on an island about 60 km North of where it was originally hidden.” The story goes, “The cache was found by Rob Bruce, Marsh Manager at Oak Hammock Marsh while he was on a hunting trip in Netley Marsh. He had been camping on the island where the cache was found.”

Sandra says the geocache survived those three years intact and water tight. It was well marked so Rob knew the container was a geocache and he also knew how to contact the geocache owner. The geocache just bobbed along for years before finding a resting place on an Island on the south end of Lake Winnipeg.

Sandra says, “The really amazing part of this story is that the log book and other contents of this cache were still fairly dry inside! It was hidden in a Lock & Lock container (the real kind, not a dollar store knock off).”

It’s a Lost & Found lesson about quality, well-marked, water-tight containers. It’s also a lesson about luck. It helped that it ended up in the hands of a friend who geocaches, a lot. OHMIC returned the geocache, but he happens to mostly find them with more than 15,000 finds.

What are your tips, advice, techniques, tools… well you get it…  for placing a durable, water-tight, well-marked geocache?


Tips on Geocache Hints



Sometimes geocaching hints create a confusing chorus that doesn’t lead anyone closer to the actual geocache. “Hints” like, “It’s in the obvious place” or “Yes, it’s really there” or “You don’t really need a hint” lead to a little confusion and a lot of shoulder shrugging. The hint shouldn’t spoil the exact location of the geocache, but be should be used as a good clue as to where it can be found. If you’re a geocache hider, consider a clue that would help someone who’s finding their first geocache step closer to the container.

The hint can still be clever and require geocachers to think about their surroundings. If you’re new to geocaching, or even a seasoned pro, sometimes the hint takes a little decoding. Here’s some help:

Tie Your Shoe = Bend down and look at a lower level
Attractive = Magnetic geocache
Troll = Under a bridge
SPOR/UPR = Suspicious Pile of Rocks/Unusual Pile of Rocks
Handyman Special = Magnetic bolt


Do you still have more questions about hints? We’ve got you covered. Another great destination to decipher and share your favorite hints is the Geocaching Facebook page.  Inspire a geocache owner, leave your favorite tips on hints below in comments!


TattooBarbie Discovers Geocaching

After attending Geocoinfest 2013: Las Vegas, Nevada, TattooBarbie and her friend cybercat completed the El Dorado series. They had so much fun they decided to also do the Route 66 series!

This is the story of a woman with Asperger’s, who became a geocacher with Asperger’s. It’s not about conquering a disorder or beating an affliction. It’s about something more. It’s about the most human of all conditions: adaptation. It’s a condition geocachers are known to excel at, and Toni Brown first discovered that at work.

In many ways, Toni (Username: TattooBarbie) is a geocacher like many others: adventurous, fun, and outgoing. But this has not always been the case.

Long before she discovered geocaching, Toni was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.  She says, “With Asperger Syndrome, it’s sort of a problem with your social life. You just don’t fit in. You don’t understand people and people don’t understand you. That has led me to have a rather secluded life.” Like many others with Asperger’s, Toni found it difficult to meet new friends and to get outside.

Then, one fateful work retreat, she found a way to do both. Toni works for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). TPWD uses geocaching as an educational tool for its Outdoor Family Program, and so the department decided that it would be a good idea for TPWD employees to test out geocaching during its annual retreat. For Toni, this activity turned out to be more than fun – it turned her life upside down (sometimes literally).

“Geocaching changed my life…I finally fit in somewhere. I’ve even hosted events when I travel out of town just to meet other geocachers.  This activity is so much fun that no matter where you go you can meet perfect strangers and share a common bond.”  With nearly 10,000 finds and 200 hides, Toni now spends a lot of time outside exploring. Her geocaching dream is to travel to Brazil to find the last remaining Project APE geocache. She also would like to find the International Space Station geocache, but concedes that “Brazil is [more] doable.”

telephone pole
Toni climbs out of her comfort zone (and ours!).
TattooBarbie’s trackable treasure chest tattoo.

Toni has been hooked on geocaching ever since that first experience at the TPWD retreat. Don’t believe us? Check out her rad trackable tattoo, featured in the video below. It’s in the shape of a treasure chest, which she thinks is the perfect representation of what geocaching is all about.

We think that Toni herself is the perfect representation of what geocaching is all about. She has used geocaching as a tool to step outside her comfort zone, to explore new places, and to surround herself with a wonderful community of folks united by their shared love of this crazy thing we call…well…geocaching.

Has geocaching helped you to overcome a challenge or step outside of your comfort zone? Tell us your story in the comments below.

Watch the video below (created by TPWD) to learn more about how geocaching helped Toni overcome the challenges associated with Asperger Syndrome:




Geocaching HQ – The Land of Extreme Coincidence

Lindsey (flossinmatoof), Larry (apawinmyface), and Ciaran (Goldencircle)
Lindsey (flossinmatoof), Larry (apawinmyface), and Ciaran (Goldencircle)

This story begins with some high expectations. A chance meeting would lead to the statement, “Visiting HQ is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time, and as it turns out, the experience was crazier than I could have ever imagined.”

It all started on a typical Friday in the Seattle lobby of Geocaching HQ. We see the world come together in 500 square feet of solid, wall to wall, Geocaching . There’s a treasure chest, logbook and usually hundreds of Trackables coming and going. It’s Geocaching HQ after all. You hear languages like German and Portuguese spoken along side English and Spanish. People around the world find themselves visiting for an hour or so and meeting new friends. Rarely, extremely rarely- and let me not under sell this – maybe once or twice a decade, geocachers randomly stumble upon an old friend from another part of the world in our lobby.

Ireland Event Cache 'Toof & Paw's Jetlag Beater"
Ireland Event Cache ‘Toof & Paw’s Jetlag Beater”

And it just happened again. As most stories like this do, this one begins with a Puzzle Cache in Ireland. Larry, username APawInMyFace, and Lindsey, username Flossinmatoof visited Ireland in August. Larry contacted Ciaran, username GoldCircle, for help on a Puzzle Cache. Well, you know, so many email flew across the Atlantic between the America and Ireland that an Event Cache was planned.

More than a dozen people welcomed the out-of-town guests from America. Ciaran and the American couple went their separate ways. Most stories end there. They might never have seen each other again, except for an intervening photo booth in the Geocaching HQ lobby.

Larry and Lindsay were visiting Geocaching HQ from Miami. Larry and Lindsay were visiting friends in Seattle that Larry hasn’t seen in three years. They’d just finish taking pictures in the Geocaching HQ photo booth. Larry placed the strip of photos in our scrapbook. He noticed a familiar face. That guy looked like Cairan, aka GoldCircle. It was GoldCirle. But he wasn’t at HQ.

Carly at the Geocaching HQ front desk, told Larry Cairan would be back in a few minutes. If that one connection would be missed, if a page would have been flipped in our scrapebook, if Larry visited from Miami one week later…. well, you get the idea. It. Was. Close. It was also significant. Cairan just happened to be in Seattle for business.

Photobooth pics reveal a startling discovery!
Photobooth pics reveal a startling discovery!

Geocaching HQ was Cairan’s 1000th find. Can you guess what Larry gave Cairan as a thank you gift for hosting the Event Cache in Ireland? Yeah – a 1000th Find Geocoin.

Larry says they could have never planned this meeting if they tried. Wow right?

That word, “wow” gets said a lot in the Geocaching HQ lobby. People meeting friends they’ve connected with a world away. Some reacquainted themselves with long lost Travel Bugs that ended up in the Geocaching HQ Treasure chest.

Larry wrote in the Geocaching HQ log, ” The ways in which the geocaching community can make our enormous world feel so small are indescribable, yet somehow, rarely surprising. Thank you for the truly unforgettable day and for the wonderful memories that we formed both in and around HQ.” Lindsey wrote in her log, “The world is an incredible place.” She’s right.

Geocaching HQ Lobby (the photo booth is in the corner)
Geocaching HQ Lobby (the photo booth is in the corner)

That’s the thing about geocaching…  you’re always welcome. Whether that’s at a geocache, at an Event Cache or at Geocaching HQ, you never know who you might bump into.

The question now might be where in the world will Larry, Lindsey and Ciaran connect again?  We have a guess. The might randomly bump into each other while claiming the First to Find at this geocache.

What’s the strangest coincidence you’ve encountered geocaching? Tell us about it in comments below.