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‘The Ghost Orchid” GC112JY GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – April 11, 2011

The journey to "The Ghost Orchid"

The cache page for “The Ghost Orchid” (GC112JY) pulls no punches. Three paragraphs into the description, SeaAggies lets adventure seekers know what awaits them on this difficulty five, terrain five Multi-Cache.

The page reads, “Put on your mud boots, slather on the mosquito spray and be sure to bring a lot of water and some snacks for this four mile journey through some remote parts of Fakahatchee Strand.”

Fakahatchee Strand is home to a delicate ecosystem populated by endangered plants and animals, including the rare Polyrhiza lindenii, known as the Ghost Orchid. All the plants and animals in the Fakahatchee Strand are protected by state and federal laws. The cache page lets geocachers know that the journey to this cache will offer amazing opportunities for breath-taking photos.

The Ghost Orchid

“The Ghost Orchid” includes five challenging stages, some of which even contain multiple components. The cache was placed in February of 2007 and has accumulated 20 Geocaching Favorite Points.

Most geocachers keep the cache on their watch list for months, slowly assemble a group to tackle it and then work together to earn a smiley. One geocacher who recently logged a “found it” on the cache writes, “The strand is beautiful. The plants, the water, the structure and the places you visit/stumble upon inspire some sense of respect and as a biologist I enjoyed the experience of traversing this area by doing the stages.”

Continue your exploration of some of the most engaging geocaches from around the world. Explore all the Geocaches of the Week on our blog or view the Bookmark List on Geocaching.com.

 

 

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Your Virtual Visit to Groundspeak HQ

By: Sara (gonzogrrl)

Every Friday at 2pm, geocachers come from as far away as China and as close as the neighboring office complex to visit Groundspeak Headquarters. No matter where they come from, they have two things in common before they arrive:  an enormous love of Geocaching and a story they can’t wait to tell.

Groundspeak momentarily transforms from the busy buzz of Lackeys keeping the website running into a lobby full of cachers squealing with delight as they drop Trackables, trade stories and hang out with other geo-addicts from all over the world.

Sara and Nicole

Along with Nicole (Louie Bliss), a fellow Community Relations team member, I’m Sara (gonzogrrl) one of the lucky Lackeys who gets to be there each time, greeting cachers as they find the epic HQ cache, GCK25B. “So…what do you do here?” cachers often ask us. By day, we’re the ones answering emails and phone calls, helping people solve issues so they have the best geocaching experience. But when geocachers drop in, we stop what we’re doing and spend time with them as they discovering the cache, take photos in the photobooth, buy souvenirs and check out the big screen map of geocaches being logged in real time all over the world.

If you ever want to drop in, it’s easy to get an appointment. Just email us at contact@geocaching.com. Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re coming from, and when you can visit and we’ll be happy to send you the coordinates to the office (hint:  we’re not in the middle of Lake Union. Shocking, I know). Since we are a busy office, we like to schedule visits on Fridays at 2pm. Sometimes one of the Founders and other Lackeys drop by to visit too—we all love meeting the people that make this game more than Tupperware in the woods!

Sole Seeker's photo inside the Groundspeak photobooth

I’ve met so many different cachers, but I can still remember some of my favorite stories from the visits. There’s Sole Seeker, who came here for his 10,000th find, and was surprised to find we’d made him a sign and blown up balloons to celebrate with him. There’s also J&J Brown, who told us about the huge camouflaged cache they have hidden in their front yard that fools seekers every time because it (spoiler alert) looks just like a tree. And then there’s foomanjoo, a world-traveling photographer who had just done some caching in Korea and was off to his next adventure finding caches along Route 66 in California.

But whomever you are—whether the HQ is your fifth find or your 5,000th—we welcome you at the lilypad. We hope you come see us soon!

 

 

 

 

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Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – April 6, 2011

Accessible Geocaching

 

One of the greatest things about geocaching is that anyone with a GPS-enabled device can participate in the activity. Whether you are a parent with young children, an extreme sports fanatic or a disabled individual, there are geocaches designed with you in mind.

As a Cache Owner, you can help fellow geocachers determine whether your cache is a good fit for their needs. Simply add attributes to your cache listing. Attributes are icons that indicate what to expect on the geocache journey and at the cache location. “Recommended for kids,” “climbing gear required” and “wheelchair accessible” are just a few of the dozens of attributes.

Cache Owners who are planning to add the “wheelchair accessible” attribute to their cache page or are debating whether their cache deserves a 1-star, 1.5-star, or 2-star terrain rating should check out handicaching.com. As you can see from this video, just because the ground is flat does not necessarily mean that a geocache is wheelchair accessible. Handicaching.com will help you determine the accessibility of your cache based on five factors: distance to cache, route surface, route slope, route obstructions and cache height. When in doubt, mark the terrain rating as 1.5 stars and explain the details in your Long Description on the cache page.

The ability to rate caches based on accessibility is not limited to Cache Owners; everyone can help. All geocachers are welcome to contribute their input at handicaching.com. Thank you for your efforts to make geocaching more accessible for all!

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Na klar! – Natürlich lernen die Lackeys Deutsch

Na klar!

Neben den Klängen von “Good Morning” und “How are you?” wirst du die Lackeys (Angestellte bei Groundspeak) auch ein “Guten Morgen!” oder “Wie geht’s” austauschen hören, wenn sie sich auf dem Flur begegnen. Ist dies dadurch bedingt, dass wir plötzlich flüssig Deutsch sprechen? Leider nicht, aber wir versuchen es! 18 Lackeys treffen sich zweimal wöchentlich für acht Wochen, um zu lernen, besser in Deutsch zu kommunizieren und zu verstehen. Die Gründer von Geocaching.com saßen neben den Lackeys, die Emails aus aller Welt beantworten und anderen Lackeys die üblicherweise mit den deutschen Geocachern kommunizieren.

Sprachunterricht in Deutsch bei Groundspeak macht Sinn. Mehr als zehn Prozent der weltweit versteckten Geocaches können derzeit auf deutschem Boden gefunden werden. Um das rasende Wachstum von Geocaches in Deutschland zu sehen, sieh’ dir am Besten das YouTube-Video auf dieser Seite an. Das Video endet 2009, wo mehr als 118.000 Geocaches im Land versteckt waren. Zwei Jahre später sind es mehr als 180.000 aktive Geocaches in Deutschland.

Nach acht Wochen Untericht haben es die Lackeys geschafft, ihre Kenntnisse von grundlegenden Begriffen wie “mein Name ist…” oder “Wie bitte” zu kleineren Sätzen wie “Jeremy und Bryan kommen per Fahrrad vorbei.” auszubauen.  Lackey Annie Love hat neulich deutsche Geocacher in der Lobby von Groundspeak mit ihren neu erworbenen Sprachkenntnissen begrüßt: “Woher kommen Sie?”.

Verständlicherweise sprechen die Lackeys nicht flüssig Deutsch… noch nicht. Weitere Deutschkurse sind in Arbeit.

Da die weltweise Geocacher-Community weiter wächst, streben die Groundspeak-Lackeys an, sowohl die vor Ort gesprochenen Sprachen, als auch die Kultur zu verstehen, und vor allem auch, wie man den regionalen Geocaching-Communities den besten Service bieten kann. Man kann die wichtigsten Bereiche von Geocaching.com bereits in elf verschiedenen Sprachen auswählen und in diesen lesen. Geocaching vereint mehr als fünf Millionen Geocacher weltweit, egal ob sie sich mit “Hello”, “Hallo”, “Ahoj”, “Hej”, “Hola”, “Ciao”, “Bonjour”, “Óla”, “Witam” oder “Tere” begrüßen – wir alle sagen “Geocaching”.

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Geocaching.com Caption Contest 23 – Win a Barely Coveted Prize

WINNING CAPTION: "Ask him if he has a pen."- hpacheco

EDITOR’S NOTE: The voting was close between this caption and Spade76’s entry, “My mother in law wants to get into geocaching so I set this one up for her.” Many Facebook users who voted for Spade76’s caption also admitted they really do like their mother-in-law.

Exercise your caption writing wit and wisdom in the 23rd installment of our Geocaching.com Caption Contest.  You could earn a barely coveted prize! What caption would you write? “Now I know why this is rated as a difficulty five.” You can do better!

Barely coveted prize

Submit your caption by clicking on “Comments” below. Please include your geocaching username in all entries. Then, explore the captions that other geocachers have crafted.

You can influence the voting. “Like” the caption that you think should win.  If you think your caption should win, convince your fellow geocachers to “like” your caption. Lackeys decide between the top captions to crown the winner of the Geocaching.com Caption Contest.

Click on the image to see the winner of this Geocaching.com Caption Contest

The winner receives a barely coveted prize from Groundspeak Headquarters. This contest the barely coveted prize a sheet of eight Geocaching.com stickers.

16 Lackeys voted to award the winner of the 22nd Geocaching.com Caption Contest a barely coveted prize. Click on the image at right to discover the winning caption from the previous Geocaching.com Caption Contest.

Explore all the past winners by checking out all the Geocaching.com Caption Contests.