Photo by DSVaughn
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Long lost APE cache is found!

A group of Seattle-area geocachers has claimed a historic victory against muggle forces by rescuing an APE cache more than five years after it went missing!

The History

In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie Planet of the Apes. Each geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution (A.P.E.). These geocaches were made using specially marked ammo containers and contained an original prop from the movie. Mission 9: Tunnel of Light was one of those caches.

Located about 60 miles east of Seattle, the container was placed by Geocaching HQ co-founder Jeremy and the father of the geocoin, Moun10Bike. The cache was found more than 3,000 times, surviving minor disturbances over nearly 10 years. There is even a Mega-Event (Going Ape) created by the Washington State Geocaching Association to honor this famous cache.

Sadly, Mission 9 was muggled and then archived in June 2011. Moun10Bike wrote at the time, “The decision to archive was not taken lightly, and was not easy for either me or for Groundspeak. However, the rule with Project APE caches has always been that once the container goes missing (which is part of the identity of the original series of caches), then it is no longer an APE cache, and thus must be archived (or at least have its APE status removed).”

While the community mourned the loss, a tribute cache was placed and the Going Ape event continued each year. But thanks to the incredible efforts of dedicated cachers, there is a new chapter in this APE cache’s story.

The Search and Rescue

In April of this year, cachers Winos_Seattle and rambudo met up with Geocaching HQ co-founder Bryan Roth. As they chatted, the subject of the lost APE cache came up. Winos_Seattle wondered if the container could possibly be found. Over the years, some have speculated that it’s unlikely that whoever muggled the heavy container would have carried it nearly two miles back to the nearest parking area. Perhaps they simply removed it from its location and discarded it nearby?

But even if that were the case, the area is hilly and densely forested. A rescue effort would require detailed planning and keen eyes. Sounds like a job for geocachers!

With encouragement from Bryan and Moun10Bike, and after months of planning, the search commenced on October 1. The group of 10 included Winos_Seattle and rambudo, as well as other Seattle-area cachers Sproutter, Lamoracke, _Shaddow_, DSVaughn, Curious Joe, gsbarnes, KnightWolf74 and Princess Trouble.

After hiking to the tribute cache, they split into three teams and spread out into the surrounding forest. Equipped with two-way radios, each team was assigned to one of three zones. Within minutes, one team had located what turned out to be muggled tribute cache containers. The other teams found a variety of swag and logbooks, including ones with signatures from 2011 and 2014 (likely from the tribute cache).

Following an extensive and courageous effort, a joyous call eventually came over the radio, “We think we found the original container!” Down in the woods below the original cache location, behind a tree with the open end of the container facing down, was the Mission 9: Tunnel of Light cache. Distinguished by stickers affixed to the inside, as well as some Planet of the Apes trading cards, the cache had fared remarkably well over the years.

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Photo by gsbarnes

After a lot of celebratory high-fives, the group phoned Moun10Bike, who was shocked and delighted by the discovery. A couple days later, Moun10Bike, Bryan, and others at Geocaching HQ welcomed the triumphant searchers and the long-lost APE cache. And now that the container is recovered, we’re left with an important question.

Photo by DSVaughn
The triumphant search party hiking out with the APE cache. Photo by DSVaughn.

What’s Next?

The Planet of the Apes caches enjoy a special place in geocaching lore. Today, only one active APE cache remains: Brazil’s Mission 4: Southern Bowl. Given how the global geocaching community treasures the APE cache series, we feel it’s very important to hear what you think should happen next.

Photo by Love
Bryan and Moun10Bike examine the APE cache container. Photo by Love.

Should Mission 9: Tunnel of Light be returned to its original location and reactivated? Should it be kept safe from muggles and instead be displayed at Geocaching HQ as an artifact of the game’s history? Are there other ideas that should be considered?

We encourage you to make your voice heard by completing this survey by November 27, 2016. We’ll gather the ideas and later give you a chance to vote for your favorite before the end of the year.

In the meantime, please join us in reveling in the knowledge that what once was lost has now been found. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who made it happen!

Several members of the search party at Geocaching HQ. Photo by Love.
Several members of the search party at Geocaching HQ. Photo by Love.
gotw-mex
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The Secret River — Geocache of the Week

Earth Cache
GC2NTRK
by Dragonfly E&N
Difficulty:
4
Terrain:
4
Location:
Yucatán, Mexico
N 20° 35.259′ W 087° 08.061′

gotw-mex10

Close your eyes. You hear nothing but silence and the faint sound of trickling water in the background. Imagine you are 80 feet below ground with your eyes open in the pitch black. You are one with Mother Earth. You are somewhere along an 800 meter stretch of a 14 kilometer underground river that originates in the interior of the peninsula and empties into the sea. The lights come back on. Look up and see thousands of jagged-edged stalactites pointing towards your head like the tips of poison Mayan arrows. It looks like you are either on another planet or on the set of a blockbuster Hollywood movie.

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This is a direct quote from the cache page for The Secret River, and they’re not kidding about the cinematic environment. The EarthCache could easily be featured in the next Indiana Jones movie. At 215.2 kilometers, the Secret River or “Sistema Sac Actun” (White Cave System) is the longest running underwater cave in the world. Its unique geological history make it a destination for geocachers and geologists alike.

gotw-mex2

EarthCaches provide an opportunity to learn a geological lesson and visit awe-inspiring geological locations. Visitors 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.

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The geocacher who visits The Secret River will leave with a solid understanding of how the cave and river were formed and how to differentiate between Stalactites, Stalagmites, Columns, Helictites

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Logs from a few recent geocachers to visit the caves:  

What a hidden gem. If you are anywhere near this area, you should take this tour and log this Earthcache. We happened upon it almost by chance. We were just looking for something local to do for the afternoon. We were in the area for 10 days and it was one of the best things we did. Wondering along with a guide for a couple of hours in an underground system of caves, along a river was simply amazing. This is not my first dave tour, I’ve done several in the US. But this was my first underground river cave tour.

So glad we happened upon this earthcache, and this tour.
Thanks Dragonfly E&N for creating and maintaining it, favorite point for sure! – JeeperDad

gotw-mex5

“One of my favorite caches on this trip. After spending a few days in warm swimming pools at the resort we were all happy to have this refreshing river to jump into. Our tour guide was really good and I enjoyed the history along with some local stories. Glad to share this experience with Dix1, 800rmk, tumbler77, the wee-ones and some friends. Thanks for sharing this secret river with us. Deserves a favorite.” – del2u

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The unique structure and vastness of the cave/river is what draws tourists to this location from around the world. The geological lessons, highly informative cache page, and the required logging tasks are what draw in geocachers from around the world. One might say the bat’s out of the bag for GC2NTRK – The Secret River.

gotw-mex9

Table Mountain Travel Bug Hotel in South Africa
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Table Mountain Travel Bug Hotel — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC31WXR
by CapeDoc
Difficulty:
1
Terrain:
1
Location:
Western Cape, South Africa
S 33° 57.444 E 018° 24.185

Breathtaking views. Exotic Flora. Adorable Fauna. Travel Bug Hotel. That’s what you’ll get if you venture to the top of Table Mountain in Western Cape, South Africa to this Geocache of the Week. And, while the northern hemisphere gets ready for fall, the southern hemisphere is getting ready for spring flowers (hello allergy season), shorts, and light jacket weather! What’s not to love?

Table Mountain is one of the world’s new seven wonders of nature (along with Puerto Princesa underground River in Philippines, the Amazon River and Iguazu Falls in South America, Komodo Island in Indonesia, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and Jeju Island in South Korea), and is definitely worth of a visit for many reasons.

Whether you hike or take the cable cars, the views are spectatular
Whether you hike or take the cable cars, the views are spectactular
Cable cars take you from bottom to top, then back down again
Cable cars take you from bottom to top, then back down again

To get to the top you can hike or take the cable car. But be prepared. If the wind gets too blustery, the cable cars will stop operations (Tip: follow them on Facebook and they will post regular updates on whether they are open or closed). Also, when you get to the top, it can be quite windy and chilly, so bring layers. But the trek is well worth the view, especially at sunset!

You and your geo-friend can check into this 5-star TB Hotel!
You and your geo-friend can check into this 5-star TB Hotel!

Fun facts:

  • Prehistoric people first left evidence here more than 600,000 years ago.
  • The original name given to the mountain by the first Khoi inhabitants was Hoeri ‘kwaggo (“sea mountain”).
  • Table Mountain is the ONLY geographic feature on earth to have a constellation named after it! The constellation is called Mons Mensa.
On a sunny day, you can see for miles
On a sunny day, you can see for miles

Richard.F says:

This must be the most well organised Travel Bug Hotel in South Africa (and possibly beyond). Well deserving of yet another FP. Two TBs that would like to take long trips away from South Africa took up lodging (hopefully for a short period) in the hotel. None of the current residents seem to want to travel around South Africa so were left in peace.

Thanks for contributing so meaningfully to the enjoyment of geocaching.

Another stunning view from the top of Table Mountain
Another stunning view from the top of Table Mountain

kellysail3 says:

Day two of our South African holiday all the way from Devon, England. Braved the queues on a glorious Spring morning to visit this jaw-dropping location. Dropped off ‘The Coinfather’ travel bug in the North American box, as it has ambitions to travel to Texas, and picked up three travel bugs that want to go back to Europe and the Salceda family’s Wild WestWinter 2015 geocard? Will have to find out what that is all about. Undoubtedly the best organised cache I have ever visited and in the most stunning location. I thought that we were lucky living in Devon! Thank you CapeDoc for bringing me here.

TB Hotel - up close and personal
TB Hotel – up close and personal

AdiaA says:

Might this be the cache with one of the best views in the world?

It wonderful up here on the mountain where we haven’t been for many years. We started the day very early to do the Swartland power series and then hastened back to Cape Town for the Table Mountain sunset event.

Dassies, or rock hyraxes, are kinda cute
Dassies, or rock hyraxes, are kinda cute
This view is gorgeous no matter where you look
This view is gorgeous no matter where you look
Good place to contemplate which geocache will be your next find...
Good place to contemplate which geocache will be your next find…
If you're afraid of heights, don't look down!
If you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down!
This handy 3-dimensional map/plaque give you and idea of scale
This handy 3-dimensional map/plaque give you an idea of scale

Thanks to CapeDoc for placing (with the permission of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company) and meticulously maintaining this amazing geocache.

 

Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.

Take a stachie with a mustCACHE

Geocaching ammo can with face

One of world’s most divisive questions: Is it spelled moustache or mustache? But more importantly, shouldn’t it be spelled mustCACHE?!

As people around the world grow their facial hair in honor of Movember, we wondered about mustache-themed geocaches. Most encourage people to pose with a mustache in their log. Here are some of our furriest finds:

Facial Hair – GC3F6P2

This D2/T2 traditional geocache is appropriately found in the mossy pacific northwestern state of Washington. Take a short hike to find this geocache, and you’ll find a fun prop to (optionally) pose with in your logs. The cache page even offers some mustache trivia:

Mustached Americans first arrived in the US to work. But in the 1800s, people started appreciating mustaches, and Mustached Americans were given high status. Our first mustached president was John Quincy Adams, whose presidency lasted from 1825-1829.

Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2
Facial Hair – GC3F6P2

Other names for MustCACHE include Bristle batons, Brocha, Bro-merang, Bro-mo, Bro-stache, Cookie duster, Crumb catcher, Crustache, Dirt squirrel, Double hamster, Face lace, Face furniture, Facial fur, Flavor saver, Grass grin, Handlebars, Lip cap, Lip caterpillar, Lip doily, Lip foliage, Lip luggage, Lip rug, Lip sweater, Lip toupée, Lower brow, Manometer, Mouser, Mouth brow, Mr. Tickler, Nose bug, Nose neighbor, Pushbroom, Smoke filter, Snot catcher, Snot mop, Soup strainer, Stache, Tache, Tea strainer, Upper lipholstery.

Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ

This geocache is found in Michigan near a disc golf playing field and coincidentally is also a D2/T2 traditional. The cache is a metal box painted camo with moustaches. You can find the cache without bushwhacking and stomping through mud, but only if you enter the woods at the right place.

Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ
Moustache Cache – GC57VAQ

Some famous people with mustCACHES include Albert Einstein, Alex Trebec, Billy Dee Williams, Burt Reynolds, Captain Kangaroo, Charles Bronson, Charlie Chaplin, Cheech, Clark Gable, Ditka, Dr. Phil, Freddie Mercury. Gene Shalit, Geraldo Rivera, Groucho Marx, Hulk Hogan, Jimi Hendrix, John Waters, Lanny McDonald, Lionel Richie, Ned Flanders, Nick Offerman, Prince, Richard Pryor, Ron Burgundy, Salvador Dalí, The Swedish Chef, and Tom Selleck.

Movember – GC415QR

In an unassuming area of the gorgeous Stanley Park in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, you’ll find this geocache. Coincidentally, every third Saturday of November the Moustache Miler a 5km fun run happens close by.

Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR
Movember – GC415QR

Looking to join the fancy follicle festivities? Check out our new mustache (ahem… mustCACHE) themed trackables at Shop Geocaching. Take a stachie, and tag your photos with #stachecache. We may feature your photo!

Cache Stache on!

Take a Stachie
Take a Stachie
Take A Stachie
Take A Stachie
Take A Stachie
Take A Stachie

 

 

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The world’s most friend-ly geocaching photos

During Friend to Find Week, thousands of geocachers took their “muggle” friends to find their very first cache.

We were thrilled with the submissions to the Friend to Find photo contest. Almost 2000 entries, from every corner of the world, provided evidence for a lot of friend-ly geocaching. The pictures were all so fun, we wish we could have named them all winners! However, we did cull it down to the Top Ten that we felt did the best job of portraying the breadth of your experiences. Well done to all of the participants, and congratulations to the winners – a new profile badge is headed your way!

 

Notognio with Jicki123 at GLPCQXHP

Notognio with Jicki 123 at first one (GLPCQXHP), Luxembourg
A small cache nets big smiles from these two pals!

 

Seemyshell with InTheLoop at GLPF8P1J

Seemyshell with InTheLoop at 1000 Young (GLPF8P1J), New South Wales, Australia
Seemyshell knows that if you’re going to introduce a friend to geocaching, you might as well start at the top!

 

Misselyne with GOCLO at GLPF85TA

Misselyne with GOCLO at la nano a Eric Monté à bord svp (GLPF85TA), Quebec, Canada
Could these two be any more excited?

 

Abbysch1 with Ces1993 at GC5B203

Abbysch1 with Ces1993 at Bailey’s Happy Landing (GC5B203), Connecticut, United States
Extra points for bringing the entire crew!

 

HumbleCat with ETraveller at GLPG6P4N

HumbleCat with ETraveller at Bassett Cove (GLPG6P4N), Southwest England, United Kingdom
Photobomb, geocaching style.

 

xprank with sysmeg at GC4FNB8

xprank with sysmeg at Зелен ад – Zelene peklo – Green Hell (GC4FNB8), Bulgaria
Keep smiling, don’t turn around. Nothing to see back there.

 

Icke! with DieKaiserin at GLPGEJMC

Icke! with DieKaiserin at “Klein Venedig” (GLPGEJMC), Bayern, Germany
Thumbs up for new adventures!

 

Robo56 with Paty-Ruth at GLPGNFNK

Robo56 with Paty_Ruth at 4P- Ctenicky haj (GLPGNFNK), Czech Republic
This is why it’s always better to geocache with a friend – you never know when you’ll need that extra lift!

 

TeamHokulea with CacherTobi at GLPGTN4Y

TeamHokulea with CacherTobi at Hawaii Kai TB hotel (GLPGTN4Y), Hawaii
Island-style geocaching.

 

KristaWalks with Zoey_the_Puppy at GLPGAG4A

KristaWalks with Zoey_the_Puppy at Elmiras Famous #3 (GLPGAG4A), New York, United States
Honorable Mention (to be fair, when we announced the contest, we never specified the number of legs).

 

A big thanks to everyone who participated in Friend to Find Week.

Who first introduced you to geocaching? Tell us in the comments below.