Geocachers Care – “One Ring to Rule Them All”

AgTitan receives his alumni ring, again

Erik Hulse, AgTitan, gets straight to the point, “This is a story I will be telling for the rest of my life, a story I will never forget.”

The story he’s talking about – and will talk about for decades to come – begins on the soft, muddy bank of a Texas river.  AgTitan and Kenny Wade, GeoGeex, hiked through a park on an early April geocaching adventure.

Their first obstacle would be little more than a slithering side note. AgTitan says, “The hike was several miles and the snakes were out in force.  GeoGeex spotted the first snake of the twelve we saw that day.  We both had several close calls, almost stepping on several snakes during the day, but thankfully we averted disaster with the snakes.”

But an attempt to cross a river set the stage for a good deed that AgTitan could little imagine. He fell hard into the water. He says, “According to GeoGeex, the high pitched wail and spastic water dance was a sight to behold.  We learned several things during the encounter… like… when your hand hits the muddy, clay-like material on bottom of a creek, Aggie rings easily slip off the finger!” AgTitan lost his beloved “Aggie ring.” It’s a Texas A&M University alumni ring.  He says, “It sobered the mood the rest of the day.”

But AgTitan put a call out for help. He posted the coordinates of his fall into the river on a local geocaching Facebook page, jokingly calling the location, “One Ring to Rule Them All.”

Ground zero (GZ) where the ring was lost

Jeff Cruser, Z_Malloc, saw the post and reacted, “I knew that I could not let a fellow Aggie (Texas A&M Alumni) lose his ring without at least hunting for it! So I packed up my metal detector from work and loaded up the cachepack for a water trip.”

But Z_Malloc wasn’t prepared for the jumble of fallen trees when he reached the location where the ring was lost. He says “As I approached GZ (the coordinates) I saw that it was not just a simple narrow stream with a single log to search around, but it was to be a whole blockade of logs and other submerged debris with small rapids flowing by.”

Z_Malloc says that time was crucial. Rains were expected later in the day which could wash the ring downriver. He says, “I made some logical guesses about where the mighty AgTitan may have fallen in and focused on the partially submerged log in the middle of the stream. I was really glad I was alone because I bet it was quite funny to see me bent over at the waist in thigh deep water running a metal detector in one hand and feeling the bottom with the other. But after about ten minutes, and on my third hit on the metal detector, my hand brushed something in the moderately packed clay on the bottom.”

Z_Malloc recovers the ring

Z_Malloc pulled a silt covered ring from the water and kept his sense of humor intact. “I had the ring in my hand. So as I dragged the cache (ring) to the surface. I knew I was going to be FTF…..but NOOOOO the log (inscription) read Erik J. Hulse. All that work and to not get the FTF! So feeling all depressed, I tossed the ring back in the water for the next person to find and walked away.  Just kidding.”

Z_Malloc says he got a great story out of the adventure and helped a former Texas A&M alumni and geocacher.

AgTitan says that he only found out the ring was recovered when GeoGeex called hours later, “Kenny (geogeex) called me when I was at work because Jeff (Z_Malloc) posted on Facebook that he found my ring.  I didn’t believe Kenny at first, and kept asking him if he was joking with me.  When I realized it was for real, I found Jeff’s number and called thanking him.”

AgTitan says he didn’t just receive his ring back – he also earned a new respect for the geocaching community, “It is amazing what geocachers (and Aggies!) will do for one another, even when you hardly know someone.  TFTR (Thanks for the ring!) Jeff!!”

GeoGeex, Z_Malloc and AgTitan

Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – April 20, 2011

Keep Geocaching Spoiler-Free


It is hard to say exactly what makes geocaching so addictive. Is it the fresh air? The exercise? The amazing places this activity has taken you? It’s most likely all of the above and more. We’re willing to bet that one of the many reasons you love geocaching is that each geocache you find feels like a small victory; you had to meet and overcome a challenge in order to find that cache.

The challenge for you might be in solving a puzzle to determine the coordinates for a Mystery/Puzzle Cache, surviving the journey to the cache location, discovering the cache, and/or figuring out how to retrieve the logbook from a tricky cache container. Cache owners spend a lot of time and energy designing these experiences. You can help preserve them for others by keeping information that might spoil such moments private. This could include videos of a cache find or the answers to Question and Answer stages of a Multi-Cache.

If you would like to contact a cache owner to request permission to post spoilers publicly, you can email them through Geocaching.com. Thank you for helping to ensure that the experience at each cache you’ve found remains just as it was for you!


Cache In Trash Out (CITO) – A Lackey’s Story


"This CITO's a Beach"

By: MissJenn

The CITO season is thick upon us. This past weekend, several Lackeys joined dozens of other geocachers at two CITO events near Groundspeak HQ.

Dani, LutherNation and myself (MissJenn) participated in “This CITO’s a Beach.”

MissJenn holding the CITO flag

Rain fell heavily as we drove towards the location and when we got there, no one else was in the designated meeting point. Oh no! Did everyone else cancel because of the weather?

Not at all. It was simply the fact that we had arrived an hour early and no one was there yet. This was a perfect opportunity to go find a nearby geocache where we enjoyed views of Puget Sound and listened to the barking of the nearby sea lions.

At the actual start time, gloves and yellow CITO garbage bags were distributed to the many people who braved our typically-wet weather. What at first looked like a very clean little park proved to be a park that really needed our help.

Larger pieces of trash cleaned off the beach

We collected a spare tire, various chunks of discarded metal, fluorescent light tubes, some bad beer that teenagers had saved for a later party, and a car seat . There were plenty of the usual discarded cans and bottles. The highlight of the day was a huge and heavy piece of bulky chain link that was actually still attached to something buried deeply in the sand. I pulled on it and it would not budge. Several more-muscled geocachers came to my aid. We joked that perhaps we ought not to yank it out in case it is the drain plug that keeps the water in Puget Sound. The team eventually managed to “encourage” a weak link to break off and we trashed that very large eyesore off the beach. The sea lions playing nearby looked at us approvingly.

We hauled the litter that we found all the way down the beach, up a steep staircase that crossed the railroad tracks, and through the park to the litter collection point. A job well done!

Trash collected during CITO

Meanwhile, a few miles away, other Lackeys joined nearly 30 other geocachers at the Bellevue Parks Arbor Day CITO.

They planted evergreen trees that towered six or more feet tall. While this was part of a larger tree-planting, there was a portion of this event that was specifically organized by geocachers and for geocachers. It was a great way to give back to Washington, also known as the Evergreen State. Another job well done!

More events like these are coming up all over the world. Please check the CITO calendar to find one near you.

Tell us about your CITO event. What was the most unique piece of garbage you threw away?

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“La dent du Turc” GC1PP6C GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – April 18, 2011

View from near grounds zero of GC1PP6C

La dent du Turc” GC1PP6C translates into English as “Turk’s Tooth.” The rugged rock ridge erupts from the French countryside. Franky84 hide the cache some 400 meters above sea-level back in 2009. The difficulty 2, terrain 5 geocache has already garnered 9 Geocaching.com Favorite Points.

Relaxing after logging a smiley

The cache page is written in both French and English and warns adventurers about the terrain.  There’s also some advice. Franky84 writes, “If you’ve never been up there. Try this cache! You will never forget it.” More than 30 people have logged a “Found it” on La dent du Turc.

Geocachers use their log entries to thank the cache owner for taking them to a new vista. One geocacher writes, “This was a great challenge for me. And I made it to the top . Thanks for this great cache.”

This Geocache of the Week was chosen from suggestions on the Geocaching.com Facebook page.

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.

Ground zero for "La dent du Turc"




11 Years! Oeiras

Nota do editor: No decorrer deste ano, os Lackeys da Groundspeak estão a viajar milhares de quilómetros a partir da sua sede (o HQ) para participar e espalhar boa disposição em mais de uma dezena de Mega-Eventos espalhados pelo mundo. Nate, também conhecido por Nate the Great, foi uma das presenças no Mega-Evento 11 Years! Oeiras – Portugal que teve lugar a 1 de Maio em Lisboa, Portugal. Nate é Lackey desde 2003 e coordena o desenvolvimento de novas funcionalidades na Groundspeak. Este é o seu diário de viagem:

Lackey Nate the Great

Estou a mais de 12000 Km de casa e entre 500 dos meus amigos mais próximos (e que acabei de conhecer hoje) num parque nos arredores de Lisboa, Portugal. No preciso momento em que estão a fazer uma caricatura minha, o DJ de serviço passa “Take On Me” dos A-Ha. Uma situação absurda como esta seria o suficiente para me colocar um sorriso lunático nos lábios durante os 10 minutos que demoraria a terminar o meu retrato. Mas passa um geocacher anónimo, sorri e tira uma fotografia, enquadrando a placa trackable com o meu nome. Dá-cá-mais-cinco e tal… E desaparece entre a multidão. Só tenho tempo para ouvir o caricaturista a dizer “Senta-te quietinho, se faz favor…”

A equipa iURKings

É dificil ficar sentado quieto num Mega-Evento.

Choque de cultura? Geocaching é cultura. Quando estamos em viagem e nos sentimos desenquadrados de tudo, vamos a um evento de geocaching e sentimo-nos em casa, identificando desde logo as personagens habituais: o frenético doido dos FTF agarrado ao telefone; o escondedor de caches compulsivo, com mais tupperwares escondidas no meio do mato que caches encontradas… e mais geocachers de botas cheias de lama que crianças a brincar no parque infantil. Se não fosse a agradável sonoridade do português falado à minha volta, podia ser em qualquer parte do mundo.

O Nate não está nesta fotografia

O espírito de aventura é algo naturalmente partilhado por todos, mas os portugueses em particular têm o instinto explorador gravado na sua identidade nacional. Na era dos Descobrimentos, entre os séculos XV e XVII, exploradores como Vasco da Gama trouxeram fama e riqueza a Portugal viajando pelo mundo. É impossível viajar por Portugal sem tropeçar num monumento comemorativo desta ou daquela viagem. A probabilidade de haver uma cache mistério baseada num desses factos é alta. Hoje em dia, é fácil comprar mapas topográficos detalhados do território, o que pode explicar o crescimento exponencial do geocaching em Portugal durante os últimos anos. É no geocaching que este povo está a redescobrir o seu desejo de explorar e de conhecer coisas novas, mesmo que seja à porta de casa. Por tudo isto e pela história e tradição que me rodeiam, Portugal é o centro de tudo.

Ou então o geocaching é divertido. Para quê complicar?

O Geocacher TZR

Estou de volta aos Estados Unidos, a folhear um bloco de notas cheio de ideias rabiscadas à pressa sobre como melhorar o site Geocaching.com. Sim, eu admito. Havia um motivo subjacente para ir a este Mega-Evento. Não, o meu motivo não era só encher o bandulho de porco no espeto (divinal), desfrutar da hospitalidade dos geocachers locais (interminável)… certamente que não era ouvir tesouros deprimentes dos anos 80 enquanto me desenhavam a caricatura (que coisa bizarra). Quis, acima de tudo, estar em contacto com geocachers, perceber melhor o que é que a Groundspeak faz bem e o que é que podemos fazer para ser melhores. Como Lackey, aprendi que a melhor coisa que posso fazer aos geocachers é aparecer, ouvi-los e tomar notas para depois fazer com que o website esteja ao nível das suas exigentes expectativas. Porque os geocachers portugueses estão muito à frente no que toca à inovação no geocaching. E isso facilita-me muito o trabalho.

Muito obrigado pelo Mega, Portugal!

11 Years! Oeiras – Portugal Mega-Event foi patrocinado pela GeocacherZONE.

Os seguintes Mega-Eventos terão também a presença de Lackeys da Groundspeak:

Nova Iorque, EUA – ASP GeoBash 6
Ontario, Canadá – COG Spring Fling
Salzburgo, Áustria – Pinzgau 2011
Pensilvânia, EUA – GeoWoodstock IX
Ohio, EUA – Midwest Geobash
Gales, Reino Unido – Mega Wales 2011
Wisconsin, EUA – West Bend $1000 Cache Ba$h
HQ no Estado de Washington, EUA – Groundspeak Block Party
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Alemanha – Geocoinfest Europa
Catalunha, Espanha – Mega Event Catalunya
Carolina do Sul, EUA – Geocoinfest