Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – March 3, 2011

Get Involved with Geocaching Groups

Geocaching organization at a Cache In Trash Out (CITO) event

Local geocaching organizations and associations have done a lot for this activity over the years. They have worked with parks departments to bring geocaching back to parks that once misunderstood it, set up geocaching programs in their communities, taught those new to this activity about good geocaching practices and much more. They are local geocaching ambassadors.

Geocaching groups are also a great way to meet friends to go geocaching with, whether you’re finding your 1000th cache or are a brand new geocacher who wants to try geocaching before purchasing a GPS device. Headed to a foreign country for a week? Contact the group closest to your destination and you’re likely to have a group of local geocachers eager to show you the best caches in their area.

Check out the geocaching groups sections of the Groundspeak Forums to learn more.


“Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 21” GCP439 GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – February 28, 2011

Geocachers facing off against the killer rabbit

A killer rabbit, the Holy Grenade of Antioch and Monty Python’s search for the Holy Grail all intersected at one precise location in 1975. This Scotland location is  Tomnadashan Mine, but for fans of the British comedy troop Monty Python, and the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” the location is best known as the lair of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

The geocache “Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 21” (GCP439) has brought more than 100 adventurers to the location since it was hidden in 2005.  Some geocachers even add their own makeshift props adapted from the movie, including their own “killer rabbit.”

The killer rabbit about to attack

The logs thank Snaik and a Deceased Parrot for placing the cache and keeping a small part of movie history from vanishing into the Scottish countryside. One entry reads, “I would never have known this were here if it weren’t for geocaching! I packed a holy hand grenade just in case, but the rabbit must be hibernating early. Thanks for bringing me here!”

The cache page for the difficulty 1.5, terrain 4 cache also details the non-cinematic history of the site as an abandoned mining operation. But it’s the reference to the Monty Python movie that has geocachers traveling deep into rural Scotland with their GPS device, a pen to the sign the log and a “killer” stuffed rabbit to pose in pictures.

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.


“Language of Location” – A Geocaching.com Video

Each of the more than 1.3 million geocaches around the world share an adventure and tell a story. We call it  the “Language of Location.” A Geocaching.com video crew tracked three stories from Larry Yuzuki (NakoTacoPatrol) and friends in Los Angeles, California, Trez Moore (Trez*) at Lake Lanier, Georgia and Molly Shock (mshock) in Hollywood, California. Each geocacher shares the story of what makes the location of their favorite cache so captivating, and what that location says to them.

Trez revisits his very first find in Georgia which hooked him on geocaching in 2002.  This location, deep in the woods, has a personal and sentimental history.

NakoTacoPatrol along with geocaching friends visit a string a caches he placed along a breathtaking look out.  He’d lived next to the hiking path for almost half a decade and never knew it existed. He decided the location had to be shared with other geocachers and placed a cache series called, “The Queen’s Necklace.” You’ll have to watch the video to find out how the cache series got its name.

Mshock shows us a rare view of the Hollywood sign that she might never have found were there not a cache in the area.  She loves caching for its historical  significance, specifically related to films that she loves.

Watch the video and learn the “Language of Location.” Now tell us, where does your favorite cache take you?


Travel Bug with 350 Million Miles to Return to Earth

Space Shuttle Discovery (source: NASA)

UPDATE 2/24/2011

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew launched into  orbit on February 24th, 2011.  The mission was originally scheduled for late 2010. According to NASA, the official mission rockets the shuttle toward the International Space Station (ISS) to deliver a module and critical spare parts. The mission will also make geocaching history, again.

NASA Astronaut and geocacher Michael Barratt (source: NASA)

Astronaut Michael Reed Barratt is the flight-surgeon on the mission.  Barratt is also a geocacher.

According to geocacher, cosmonaut and video game developer Richard Garriott (Lord British), Barratt will spend part of his free-time in the extreme environment of the International Space Station going geocaching.

Garriott tells Geocaching.com, “The mission takes the NASA orbiter to the International Space Station and the highest geocache in existence. In the two years that bug has waited on-board the ISS, it has sure made some distance!”

Garriott contributed $30 million to the Russian Space program for a seat aboard a Soyuz rocket bound for the space station. While on the space station he hid the geocache  “International Space Station” (GC1BE91) and placed a Travel Bug inside it.

Richard Garriott

The ISS and the Travel Bug placed onboard travel at 17,500 miles an hour. So far the Trackable has moved more than 350 million miles since Garriott placed it in October of 2008.

Garriott met Barratt during preparation for his trip to the ISS. According to Garriott, “I know Mike from my training time in Star City [Russia] as he was training there too. In fact, he was one of the very first Astronauts /Cosmonauts I met in Russia.”

Garriott says Barratt already had one chance to grab the Travel Bug but missed it: “He has already flown once between the time I left the bug and this flight. He even saw the bug, but he was not a geocacher at the time, and so my hidden in plain sight worked!”

Travel Bug aboard the ISS

Barratt has a rare second chance to grab the Travel Bug.  And Garriott says that Barratt is going to take it: “Now that he is a geocacher, he recognized the item immediately! I have spoken with him about his upcoming flight and intentions to recover the well traveled bug.”

Garriott hopes the Travel Bug takes a final trip to his doorstep, “I do indeed hope that the bug finds its way back to me, that would be a real thrill.” Although he hopes that it experiences some more extreme conditions first: “I think Mike may have it visit the NASA undersea lab before it finishes its exotic journey to the heights and depths humanity can take it.”

Watch the Lost & Found video below showcasing Garriott placing the ISS geocache.  The video also details Garriott hiding the lowest geocache in the world.  He placed the geocache “Rainbow Hydrothermal Vents” (GCG822) in 2002. It sits 2300 meters below the surface of the ocean.


Groundspeak Weekly Mailer – February 24, 2011

Groundspeak Lackeys to Attend Mega-Events in Eight Countries

Groundspeak Lackeys are traveling thousands of miles from H.Q. this year to share smiles, shake hands and make geocaching memories at more than a dozen Mega-Events worldwide. We’d love to meet you and to hear your geocaching stories! Come find a Lackey at one of these Mega-Events:

Illinois, USA – MOGA (Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure)
Bussum, Netherlands – Geocaching Multi Event 2011
Oeiras, Portugal – 11 Years! Oeiras – Portugal
New York, USA – ASP GeoBash 6
Ontario, Canada – COG Spring Fling
Salzburg, Austria – Pinzgau 2011
Pennsylvania, USA – GeoWoodstock IX
Ohio, USA – Midwest Geobash
Wales, UK – Mega Wales 2011
Wisconsin, USA – West Bend $1000 Cache Ba$h
HQ in Washington State, USA – Groundspeak Block Party
Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany – Geocoinfest Europa
Catalunya, Spain – Mega Event Catalunya
South Carolina, USA – Geocoinfest

We hope to attend even more Mega-Events next year!