Nate geocaching-hiking-mountains

Geocaching HQ Employee Spotlight: Nate Irish

This is part of a series of blog posts shining a spotlight on the people of Geocaching HQ. We hope to show you the “geo-who” behind the “geo-what”. :-)

What is your name?
Nate Irish

Yeah, but what’s your Username?
I have two: My lackey name is OpinioNate, and my player name is Nate the Great. In the old days most Lackeys had two usernames but I think now it’s more common to have one.

Nate geocaching-hiking-mountains
Nate the Great on a mountain high

How did you come up with your username?
Nate the Great was a nickname given to me by my grandfather when I was little. He used to make short little poems about me like, “Nate the Great is never late to eat the food that’s on his plate”. That is still mostly true, but I try to make the plate smaller and have more green things on it. Being a grown-up can be a drag sometimes. OpinioNate because I have a lot of opinions, obviously.

What is your job title?
Currently, I’m the Product Manager. I’ve had around five different titles in my twelve years at Geocaching HQ. In the past I have been a project manager, quality assurance tester, community manager, discussion forum moderator, merchandise distributor manager, and way back in the day I stuffed Trackables into little yellow envelopes and drove them to the post office. These days the postman comes to us. We’re in the big leagues now baby!

Go Sounders, Nate, and baby
We’re in the big leagues now, baby!

What does your job title actually mean? In other words, how do you explain what you do to someone that has no idea what you do?
I lead a team of six people whose mission is to identify product opportunities to support the game of geocaching. The product in this case is our website and mobile apps. When we do our job correctly, the output is new features that simultaneously serve the needs of our community, our company, and the game of geocaching itself. That’s a very tough thing to do, but we work hard to achieve that balance.

Tell us about your geocaching style (exotic locations / quality over quantity)?
I’m definitely a less-is-more cacher. Usually when I travel, I sort by Favorite and look for a cache that is high terrain and is medium or large in size. I love to see the best and most extreme of what geocaching has to offer. Gadget caches are pretty high on my list, as well as anything inside a cave.

Nate the Great Papa
Nate the Great Papa

What’s something that surprises you about geocaching – whether it’s the game itself, working at headquarters, or anything else?
I love learning about some new local geocaching lingo or hiding style. For instance, in the Chicago area they used to have a lot of “Superman” caches. It’s when you tie a fishing line to a preform container and sling it over the branch of a tree. Then you reel in the line so the container is way overhead and secure the line against a tree knot or whatever. Everyone there knows what to look for when “Superman” is the hint.

Superman geocacher
Nate the Great – Superman geocacher

What’s the best piece of geocaching advice or information you ever learned?
Let someone else stick their hand in there first.

7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches, 1 Dinosaur

Geocaching Bucket List: 7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches

Any serious geocacher probably has a list of geocaches they wish to find before they “kick the bucket”, so to speak. We’ll be doing an intermittent series dedicated to bucket list geocaches, and today’s theme is, “7 Continents, 7 EarthCaches.” We hope this blog post inspires you to explore the world and expand the very idea of what a destination vacation could be.

An EarthCache is a special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence. Typically, to log an EarthCache, you will have to provide answers to questions by observing the geological location.

Ready to go round the world and learn about Mother Earth? Let’s go!

Africa / Botswana
Okavango (GC4P93T)
D2 / T1.5

Learn all about the Okavango Delta in the midst of the Kalahari Desert. Per the Earthcache listing page, “Lying in the midst of the Kalahari desert – the largest continuous stretch of sand in the world – the Okavango Delta is the greatest of Africa’s wetland wildernesses, and among its last.”

  • Botswana Okavango Delta
    Botswana Okavango Delta

 

Antarctica
Deception Island (GC115ZX)
D5 / T5

If you are one of the fortunate and adventurous few to journey to Antarctica, one of the high points is a visit to Deception Island. It has a distinctive horseshoe shape with a large flooded caldera, and is the rim of an young, active volcano. Make sure you read this sentence in the cache listing page before your visit, “Please be aware it is classified as a restless caldera with a significant volcanic risk.”

  • Through Neptune’s Bellows

 

Asia / Laos
Kuang Si Waterfalls (GC2HP5Y)
D1.5 / T2

The first EarthCache in Laos is, “…located about 30km from Luang Prabang, this series of waterfalls is a short tuk-tuk ride from town.” To log this cache, consider how waterfalls fall into the different types or classifications, and maybe go for a swim. Now, where did I put my passport…?

  • The waterfalls are beautiful

 

Australia
Uluru/Ayers Rock (GC28WD0)
D1 / T1

Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area. The Anangu Aboriginal people are responsible for the protection and appropriate management of these ancestral lands. Uluru’s awesomeness is described in the cache listing page as:

  • The second largest monolith in the world (after Mount Augustus, also in Australia)
  • 862.5 metres above sea level
  • 348 metres (1141 feet) high
  • 3.6 km long (2.2 miles)
  • 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles)
  • 9.4 km or 5.8 miles around the base (that’s walking)
  • Covers 3.33 km2 (1.29 miles2)
  • Extends about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground

Visit. Explore. Learn. Log!

  • <3 Uluru

 

Europe / France
Island or not island ? (GC2E34F)
D2 / T1

Mont Saint-Michel sits atop an island just 600 metres from land. The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD, has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. It is easily accessible at low tide, but don’t get stuck there at high tide! Learn about the tides, and incredible history of this wonderful location.

  • View atop the island or not island ?
    View atop the island or not island ?

 

North America / Canada
Table Rock Earthcache (GCMH1C)
D1 / T1

Niagara Falls is made up of three waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. It is the second largest falls on the globe next to Victoria Falls in southern Africa. One fifth of all the fresh water in the world lies in the four Upper Great Lakes—Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie. All the outflow empties into the Niagara river and eventually cascades over the falls. And this geocache is so spectacular, it earned “Geocache of the Week” in January of 2014!

 

South America / Bolivia
Formation of Salar de Uyuni (GC4M4B4)
D2 / T2

From the geocaching listing, “It is advisable (and optional) to take some interesting and funny photos in the salt flat area and upload with the log. Can you imagine a reason geologically why such photos can be taken there perfectly, e.g. distance, size, element, colour etc.” The photos on this geocache make visiting this place appealing enough, but in addition, you get to “find” a geocache and learn about the Earth? Awesome sauce.

  • Sunset and water at the salt flats

 

Are there any amazing EarthCaches you’ve visited that you would add to this list? What about other “Bucket List” themes or geocaches you’d like to see featured? Tell us in the comments below!

Geocaching Laura Yoga

Geocaching HQ Employee Spotlight: Laura

This is the first of a series of blog posts that will shine a spotlight on the people of Geocaching HQ. We hope to show you the “geo-who” behind the “geo-what”. :-)

What is your name?
Laura

Yeah, but what’s your Username?
cruisinhughesin

Geocaching Laura Van
“I like to cruise around in a DIY camper van my boyfriend and I created.”

How did you come up with your username?
It was actually a name given to me! I like to cruise around in a DIY camper van my boyfriend and I created—it’s a great way to explore new places. :)

What is your job title?
HR Manager

Holly & Laura Geocaching Photo Booth
Yes it’s true—our HR crew may definitely contain awesome.

What does your job title actually mean? In other words, how do you explain what you do to someone that has no idea what you do?
I lead our HR team at Geocaching HQ, which includes managing our recruiting efforts, benefits, and professional development, among many other things. Essentially, I spend my time ensuring that we provide everyone who works at Geocaching HQ with the things they need to be happy and effective. At a company like ours—where we literally play where we work—it’s a delight to be in this role!

Geocaching Laura Yoga
Sometimes finding a geocache is a real stretch!

Tell us about your geocaching style (exotic locations / quality over quantity)?Over time I’ve learned that I’m definitely a social geocacher! I like to be out with friends when we’re looking to earn smileys. If we’re having fun and looking for geocaches, it doesn’t matter how many we find most of the time.

What’s something that surprises you about geocaching – whether it’s the game itself, working at headquarters, or anything else?
I was surprised to find out that Signal the Frog is actually an epic dancer!

Bri & Laura Geocaching Original Stash
Always bring a pen!

What’s the best piece of geocaching advice or information you ever learned?
It’s basic but a tried-and-true piece of advice—always, always bring a pen.

The Houma area is steeped in history, including this antebellum sugar plantation. GC5HFAD will take you here.

Houma Travel GeoTour

Location:
Houma,Louisiana
Favorite Points:
#161
This cache (GC5HF82) is great for birdwatchers and nature lovers

Why the Houma Travel GeoTour is unique:

The Houma area is known as Louisiana’s Bayou Country. With over 2,500 square miles of swamps, bayous, and marshes, the Houma area is the perfect place to explore Louisiana’s wild side. Here you will be surrounded by wildlife and nature preserves, swamp tours and alligator farms. Cajun culture is also alive and well in Houma. From the delicious food to the lively music and dancing, you’ll be an honorary Cajun by the time you complete the GeoTour.

You’ll find your wild side on the Houma Travel GeoTour

Best time of year to visit:

The spring brings mild temperatures and blooming flora throughout the Houma area. Another great time to visit is between the months of September and November. This is known as our festival season. Almost every weekend, the Houma area celebrates local music, food, art, and folklore during these three months. For more information on local events, visit www.houmatravel.com/events.

Must-see attractions:

Don’t miss Wildlife 2 (GC5HF85) on the GeoTour. The scenery is beautiful and many cacher’s have stated, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Hidden gems only locals know about:

Check out  Military (GC5J0PN) on the GeoTour. This museum houses working vehicles and weapons from WWII through modern military history. It is also staffed by local war veterans and houses a military history library.

Prizes: 

The Houma area GeoTour has an exclusive geocoin that you can earn by find at least 20 caches on the GeoTour. Bring your completed game board to the Houma Area Visitors Center to claim your coin.

The Houma Travel GeoCoin, an exclusive prize

What Geocachers are saying about Houma Travel GeoTour:

A happy group of Geocachers in Houma, LA.
A happy group of Geocachers in Houma, LA.

shell1fish: “And our delightful day following the Houma Travel GeoTour comes to an end. After confirming by phone this morning that the Visitor’s Center is open until 5pm, Geo202 and I enjoyed visiting the highlighted locations, and we finished the Tour with 22 Finds, 1 DNF, 3 Did Not Looks, and half an hour to spare. We followed the GPS around back for the quick grab and added our last sticker to our sheet. We really appreciated the various businesses welcoming us to their properties, and we definitely applaud all the work involved in creating and maintaining this great guided journey around Houma. Thanks so much for all the caches and for the coin commemorating our Louisiana bayou adventure!”

the4lollygaggers: “Me, Chickypoo, and my sister came down to Houma to work on this challenge. The first day we got 17 of the 20 needed. Went to some fantastic locations. The plantation homes, the nature trials, and the touring of the city. So much fun. Thank you for setting these locations up for us to come. Great day spent.”

quiltcarver: “We had a wonderful day: sunshine, interesting locations, interesting hides, fun stickers and the chance for a prize at the end! This was just a perfect location for someone new to LA. It introduced us to an environment that is completely new to us. A favorite point for that.”

Additional Information:

The Houma Travel GeoTour takes you through a variety of locations, from historic downtown to swamp land, so be prepared for adventure! Visit www.geohouma.com to learn more about the tour.

GeoTours_121615_vFINAL_Twitter

Note: All the above information was provided by the GeoTour host. Copy has been edited by Geocaching HQ.

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Valentine’s Day Special: 11 Romantic Geocache Locations

Do you like candlelight dinners, soul-lifting conversations, and long walks on the beach with a little geocaching in between? If yes, then these romantic geocache locations were made just for you and your honey. Escape to the colorful beaches in Bali or explore the narrow streets of enchanting Casablanca, just in time for Valentine’s day.

1. TidesChallenge Cache — Bali, Indonesia
Geocache Type: Traditional

Bali is often associated with the word “love” and it’s evident when you visit why this word fits perfectly. The beaches are picturesque and the atmosphere is relaxing, all things that one would “love.” This geocache is placed in a sea cave  only accessible during low tide, adding a little adventure to your romance.

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2. Juliet’s Balcony — Verona, Italy
Geocache Type: Traditional

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Travelers (and geocachers) from around the world come to Verona, Italy to catch a glimpse of the balcony where Juliet might have called out for her Romeo. Visitors will stand by the statue of Juliet and proclaim their love by adding a lock (hint hint) to the nearby fence.

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3. Twilight — Forks, Washington
Geocache Type: Multi-Cache

If you’re someone who swoons over the word “vampire,” this cache is calling your name. Indulge a bit and experience the ultimate Twilight fantasy by journeying to the place where Edward and Bella met. This Multi-Cache leads geocachers to all the famous book locations.

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4. I ♥ Paris — Paris, France
Geocache Type: Wherigo

Nothing is more magical than a stroll through the streets of Paris, peacefully gazing up at the Eiffel Tower as you roam. Experience the entire city to its fullest through this fun Wherigo geocache.

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5. N Seoul Tower : Tree of Love Locks — Seoul, South Korea
Geocache Type: Traditional

If you love someone, lock them down. There are many ‘love lock’ locations around the world. This one wins quirkiest. Couples from around the world sketch their names on padlocks and latch them to one of the trees near the N Seoul Tower. The geocache that’s hidden there blends in  almost too well.

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6. Eternity in Casablanca — Casablanca, Morocco
Geocache Type: Mystery

Here’s looking at you, kid. Casablanca is known for its beautiful mosques, colorful buildings, covered markets, and historic sites. Enjoy getting lost in it all with your significant other.

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7. Dirty Dancing  — Asheville, North Carolina
Geocache Type: Traditional

We all remember Baby from Dirty Dancing. She spent her summer at a family camp, met a handsome boy, learned to dance, and then lived happily ever after. This geocache is placed at the film location, which is beautiful and remote. Feel free to recreate the famous dance scene with your partner if you feel up to it!

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8. Mount Aorai (2066m) — Tahiti, French Polynesia
Geocache Type: Traditional

Get away from it all. This geocache is perfect for the adventurous honeymooners. It’s hidden at the very top of the one of Tahiti’s highest summits. Although the hike can be strenuous at times, the views are stunning at the end.

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9. Brugge : Belle Lettere — Bruges, Belgium
Geocache Type: Multi-Cache

Fairytale Bruges enchants visitors from all over the world, and the delicious Belgium chocolate keeps them coming back for more. The city’s open squares, charming houses, and cobblestone streets creates a romantic atmosphere. Take a boat ride through the picturesque canals and then find this Multi-Cache to cap off the trip.

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10. Milford Sound — South Island, New Zealand
Geocache Type: EarthCache

A cruise through the Milford Sound to nab this EarthCache should be on everyone’s bucket lists. Waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife make for the perfect lovey-dovey escape.

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11. Love Lock — Buenos Aires, Argentina
Geocache Type: Traditional

It’s easy to get swept away by Buenos Aires’ vibrant nightlife and fun culture. Spend your nights drinking delicious wine at fun tango bars and spend your days exploring the city, finding geocaches like this heartfelt love lock cache.

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What’s the most romantic place you’ve discovered through geocaching?