3 Reasons to Rediscover Your Home Coordinates


You might think this is an ordinary pier in Blaine, WA, but GC2VW16 is nearby.
You might think this is an ordinary pier in Blaine, but GC2VW16 is nearby.

You’ve read about geocaching in far off lands, on ships and mountains…even in space. Wild, exotic geocaching stories make the news so often, that sometimes they seem more common than, well, the commonplace.


But for once I’m tired of palaces and underground tunnels! I’m even tired of spaceships! We’re going geocaching in the most exciting place of all—this geocacher’s home coordinates.

The small town of Blaine is packed so tightly into the northwestern corner of Washington state that it looks like it’s hiding from the rest of the country. The town itself feels that way too—which is odd, considering a population of around 5,000 and the presence of two international border crossings. It doesn’t seem like the type of town where anything terribly exciting is likely to happen. I grew up in Blaine, so you’d think I would know.

Turns out, all it took was a weekend of geocaching in Blaine to completely derail my perspective.

Over the course of two days, my mom, dad, sister, and I made 15 finds and 4 DNFs. (For all you hard-core geocachers out there, stop your scoffing! These are impressive numbers. My 16-year-old sister had recently come into possession of her learner’s permit and was driving us for the very first time. For once I was appreciative of my town’s severely conservative speed limits.)

Those 15 finds were accompanied by three realizations about why my hometown was the best place I could possibly go geocaching—and why the same is probably true for you.

1)  Learning new things about old places

GCD65A, Canada, and the United States of America all share this area of land.
GCD65A, Canada, and the United States of America all share this area of land.

The Peace Arch (yes, there’s an actual arch) that stands on the international boundary between Blaine, Washington and Douglas, British Columbia, is supposedly one of the first earthquake-proof structures in North America. Had I not gone geocaching at the Peace Arch, it’s likely I would have continued to lose sleep over the fate of unsuspecting border-crossers in the event of an earthquake.

2)  Writing logs with a personal touch

It turns out writing a log for a geocache in a place you know is very different to writing a log for a geocache in a place that’s new to you. When caches take me to new places I find myself writing with much the same sentiment: “Beautiful spot! Never been here before, but now that I know it’s here…” And so on. In Blaine, I found myself adding my own memories of places to my logs. I wanted the CO’s to know that I too really loved this spot, because of that one time we jumped off this pier in the middle of winter…

3)  Revisiting old memories

Blaine is a small town. Spend fifteen years there and you’re bound to have a memory tied to every lamppost, street corner, and homeland security office. One geocache took me to the forest where I first met one of my best friends on a field trip. Another took me to the sewage treatment plant they built to replace the one near my house. Both good memories, happily re-lived in the name of geocaching.

So what’s the take-away here?

Blaine really is a lovely town, worth more than a drive through on your way to Vancouver or Seattle. Geocaching at home can be as rewarding an experience as something more fanciful and exotic. And, whoever decided that learning to drive at 16 makes sense clearly never met my sister.


What’s your geocaching at home story?


This is right between a sewage treatment center and GC3A175,
This is right between a sewage treatment center and GC3A175,

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Nightcaching at Sweden’s largest Mega-Event

Andrea, representing Geocaching HQ. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Andrea Hofer attended Swedens oldest and largest annual Geocaching event – FUMBLE AFTER DARK 2013. This is Andrea’s account of her trip.

After attending Florida Finders Fest, I hopped on a plane and made my way to Fumble after Dark in Sweden, getting a chance to see two different communities back to back! Sweden in November feels much like Seattle in November – short, drizzly days and long, chilly nights. That’s why Fumble after Dark is so great: 900 participants come together to embrace the long nights and make them into an opportunity for amazing geocaching!

Photo courtesy of Marcus Bengtsson


The event was in Sodertalje, a one-hour drive from Stockholm. After my 22 hour travel from Florida, I gratefully settled in at the adorably Ikea-esque Scandic hotel. A few fun facts about driving in Sweden:

  • You have to keep your Headlights turned on 24/7 by law.
  • Traffic lights briefly turn orange after red to warn that green is coming.
  • In a Peugeot, “A” means “drive” and when you brake, the motor goes completely silent.

The Fumble After Dark event ran from 10 AM to midnight. Noon to 5 was reserved for presentations, which included puzzle cache tips, a fascinating presentation on “lost places” (especially Detroit), and cache hiding tips from the Swedish Reviewers. I gave a presentation focusing on what the Geocaching HQ Community Team does and our plans for 2014. I also learned that the majority of the attendees are on Facebook and completed the entire #31in31 August challenge!

Swedish reviewers presenting. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

Next it was time to load up the night caches’ GPS coordinates (including the 10 lab caches) and head out into the woods for 3-4 hours of spooky excitement celebrating All Souls’ Day.

Setting out. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson


The only light is the one you bring. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson
The only light is the one you bring. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson
A knot-based puzzle off-trail in a forest.
Climbing to get the find code for one of the Lab caches. Photo: Marcus Bengtsson

It was utterly dark, chilly, off-trail in a forest, muddy, hilly, scary, and exciting, and I was glad to have been invited to tag along with the Swedish Reviewers. Much of the cache terrain was higher than one would see at a similar event in the U.S. and the geocaches were all clever, especially the haunted kindergarten lab cache:

Many thanks to organizer Fredrik Wellener and all the geocachers who helped create this very special experience.

Click here to see more pictures from Fumble After Dark.

 Have you ever gone nightcaching? Share your best experiences with us in the comments below!


#SpaceCaching on Planet Earth – The Photo Album

On November 6 and 7, 2013, more than 26,000 geocachers attended almost 1200 Geocaching in Space Events in close to 40 countries all over the world to watch a Travel Bug® make its way to the International Space Station (ISS). American astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who was asked to take the Travel Bug to space by its owner Czissors, plans to use the Travel Bug as a tool to teach students on Earth about geography and science.

He has also earned the Solar System’s most elusive smiley and made the the First Geocaching First-to-Find in Space at the International Space Station geocache.

The Travel Bug has made its way around the earth many times aboard the ISS. We think this is a great time to look back and say “Thanks” to all you geocachers out there, who hosted and attended events, posted on the  Travel Bug details page and have shared pictures, videos and stories with us.

Here are some of the most interesting pictures and videos we got to enjoy from all over the world:

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Did you miss your #SpaceCaching picture or video in the gallery? Let us know and share in the comments below!