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And The HQ Duck Dash Winners Are…

From July 20–August 20, over 15,000 trackables competed in the HQ Duck Dash. The following trackables crossed the finish line at an International Geocaching Day event, and have been awarded eternal bragging rights (and a digital HQ Duck Dash Winner Badge) for the categories listed below. Congratulations!

Best Trackable Photo

1st Place: Natalie247 with Nat’s Wrath.

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2nd Place: Aerophile with Army Duck.

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3rd Place: n8vision with Monchhunts Deadly Duck Lust.

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Most Story-Worthy Moment (Best Log)

1st Place: 2512 with A Duck Called Wanda

2nd Place: AmigaAZ with Bugmann’s Greed.

3rd Place: stellarissa with ErnaE Water for Duck Race.

Furthest Distance Traveled

1st Place: geniejoan with GLUTTONY DUCK. Total Distance Traveled: 75,726.610 miles

2nd PlaceMoti7469 with 7 Deadly Ducks tag von MoTi. Total Distance Traveled: 66,187.34 miles

3rd Place: rubymoon05 with 7 Deadly Ducks TagTotal Distance Traveled: 55,065.08 miles

Most Geocaches Involved

1st Place: Isola d’Vess with Lucky the Greedy Duck. Number of Geocaches: 1095

2nd Place: Terkel10 with 7 Deadly Ducks Tag. Number of Geocaches: 1092

3rd Placevon’ene with 7 Deadly Ducks Tag. Number of Geocaches:1053

Most Geocachers Involved

1st Place: Fay, R+R with Doodle DuckNumber of Geocachers: 36

2nd Place: MommyTRex with Duck Dash ’16 Duck Hunt TBNumber of Geocachers: 7

3rd Place: The following geocachers’ trackables tied, with 6 geocachers involved each!

Thanks to all participants for helping us celebrate 15 years of trackables!

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Arctic Circle Trail (K –> S) — Geocache of the Week

Multi-Cache
GC3QR3J
by TriNitro
Difficulty:
5
Terrain:
5
Location:
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
N 66° 55.220′ W 051° 21.626

Arctic Multi-Cache Greenland

On a recent trip, I got the opportunity to fly over the Arctic Ocean. As the plane flew 36,000 feet above Greenland, I looked deeply into the ice, trying to spot a polar bear mid-traverse across an ice field. Ever since then I have been dreaming of a Greenland adventure and what amazing scenery and community I might discover there.

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With a population of just over 57,000 people, Greenland is a vast landscape that has yet to be developed and is slowly increasing in annual visitors (about 40,000 in 2016). For that very reason, I have dreamed of going to Greenland to explore such a uniquely raw place and experience pristine nature. What could make a trip to Greenland even better? Perhaps finding a Multi-Cache along the Arctic Circle Trail!

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As the most famous hiking trail in Greenland, the Arctic Circle Trail is a 160 km (almost 100 mile) backcountry trail between Kangerlussuaq and Sisimiut. Open until mid-September for hiking, the faint trail leads you through low arctic vegetation and into rocky mountains. Along the way, there are daintily placed huts for you to overnight in or take shelter from the unpredictable arctic weather and also find geocaches along the way. If you do not have 7 or 8 days to make this trek in the summer, or if you are a brave soul, you can embark on the journey via dog sled, snowmobile, or cross country skis. Although completing the trek in the winter sounds magical, you may have some trouble finding the final geocache due to lots of snow.

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Although we are featuring one Multi-Cache on the Geocache of the Week, geocache owner TriNitro was kind enough to place another one going in the opposite direction. So no matter which way you begin your journey, you can find a fun final stage. Check out Arctic Circle Trail (S –> K) if you choose to hike from West to East.

TriNitro hauled 12 days worth of supplies and the caches on his back into the backcountry with him:

In front of us, there were about 160 km of walking, 15 km of canoeing, and twelve days of unforgettable impressions in a widely remote landscape. Again, the weather was incredible and we had so much fun along the trail. And: silence! In my opinion this is one of the most impressive and precious things to experience.

  • Just a few of the gorgeous images from this amazing Multi-Cache

TriNitro was also nice enough to host a geocaching event in Greenland for the very small, but welcoming Greenlandic geocaching community:

Before leaving for our trip to Greenland, I submitted an event in Sisimiut to meet some of the local geocachers. So we found ourselves standing in drenching rain at the old church of Sisimiut waiting for other cachers. As we left directly after the event was published, we did not know how many geocachers might join us, if any at all. Finally, the only local Sisimiut geocacher joined our very private event. Due to the weather conditions he decided to put us in his truck and gave us a sightseeing tour of Sisimiut. Not enough, he invited us to his home where we met his lovely family and joined some tasty meal after we found a geocache in his garden. All the people we met during our trip have been very polite and open minded and we were absolutely overwhelmed by this hospitality.

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After reading about this geocache and viewing all the breathtaking photos, I am inspired to book a flight to Kangerlussuaq right now! It would truly be a badge of honor to have that guidebook in your home library and that find on your profile.

Thanks to TriNitro for sharing geocaching with the Greenlandic community and for sharing Greenland with all of us geocachers around the world!

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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.

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Love Love Braga: A Mega-Event full of Love, Community, and Geocaching

 

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High-Five for an awesome Mega-Event!


“All you need is love,” The Beatles

100espinhos, a small but dedicated geocaching team from Portugal, had an important revelation back in 2014: the world needs more love and geocaching is one way to help spread it.  For the past several years, they have fully embraced the movement, throwing three 500+ geocacher events— all full of “Love Love.”

“We organize these Megas because we love geocaching and believe that the game brings  immense joy to people’s lives,” said Tiago, one of the 100espinhos. “There’s nothing more powerful than friendships, smiles, and love.”

And it worked. Through their events, they’ve created an inspiring community of geocachers, all dedicated to the game and the love initiative.

100Espinhos Team
100Espinhos Team

In August, I was lucky enough to experience the latest edition of the Love Love Mega series, GC60WBP.The event I attended was held in beautiful Braga, a historic and postcard-perfect city in northern Portugal. It was a long journey from Seattle to Braga but after two six hour flights and a three hour train ride, I had arrived in what I considered geocaching paradise. The event would be four days jam-packed with geocaching activities, Signal the Frog, Lab Caches, mini-excursions throughout the city, and plenty of love-filled community moments. I felt like I was twelve years old again, off to my favorite summer camp… not sure what to expect but unbelievably happy to be there.

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Love Love Braga

Whatever your geo-heart desired over the next four days, Love Love provided. The main event space was in a large auditorium where daily workshops, trackable exchanges, creative container competitions, vendor shopping, and dance classes took place. There was an ongoing CITO initiative where used bottle caps were collected (tampinhas in Portuguese) from event-goersall bottle cap proceeds went towards a wheelchair for a little girl battling a rare disease. In addition to the main space, there were side events planned every day throughout the city where you could take in the city’s main attractions while geocaching. If you didn’t feel like participating in one of the planned outings, you could relax at the swimming pool or visit a nearby museumall free of cost. Everything was very well organized and laid out, all I had to do was embrace the love and have a grand ol’ time!

Carly, Signal, and Tiago
Carly, Signal, and Tiago

Every day was a treat, but the meal times were my favorite. I truly enjoyed the time I spent relaxing, sipping on vinho verde, and chatting with different groups of geocachers while tasting the local cuisine. Their geocaching stories and dedication to the game truly inspired me. Note: There are so many epic geocaches in Portugal that you must plan several return trips to experience them all.

Making a splash at a T5 cache
Making a splash at a T5 cache

Other highlights from the weekend included a fireworks show, meeting the VP mayor of Braga and an Olympic athlete who had just returned from Rio, taking 500+ photos (no exaggeration), CITO-ing, trying Peddy Paper for the first time, finding two T5 caches (one in a cave and one on an island), high-fiving Signal (many times), eating way too many Portuguese pastries and making lots of new friends.

  • The event begins and Signal greets attendees!

After the event, I spent a couple days in Lisboa, eating more pastries (I’m currently detoxing) and wandering the streets. I also had the opportunity to meet the incredible Portuguese reviewers for a nice dinner. For being a relatively small country, Portugal has nearly 40,000 active caches, and the community volunteer reviewer team does an amazing job supporting the growth of the game and the community.

The Portuguese Reviewer Team!
The Portuguese Community Volunteer Reviewer Team with Carly

What more can I say? My trip to Portugal was very special and one that I will never forget. The community, the hosts, the country, and the geocaching adventures were extraordinary. To fully understand “the love,” you must experience it for yourself. Next year’s event is in Oporto (August 11-13th), another magical city in the north. See you there!

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Love Love Volunteers!
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Last Call For Fall CITO Events 2016!

Cache In Trash Out® Week is almost here! CITO Events are a chance for geocachers to give back to their local spaces and communities, and may involve tree planting, litter pick up, or even habitat restoration. From September 17–25, you can even earn a special souvenir by attending one.

It’s not too late to submit a CITO of your own. Check out this blog post for tips on hosting your own CITO. But remember: CITO Events must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event date.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Check out CITO gear from Shop Geocaching.

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16 Years Later

On March 24, 2009, Jon Stanley (username: Moun10Bike) stood on 5th Avenue in downtown Seattle, WA. He snapped a selfie before walking into the nondescript office across the street. It was Jon’s first day at a new job.

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Jon’s first day at Geocaching HQ.

“I took a selfie — perhaps my first-ever — of me arriving at Groundspeak on my first day working here,” said Jon. “I was told I was employee #28.”

Jon had a long history with the game before joining the company behind Geocaching.com, now known as Geocaching HQ. He first met Founder Jeremy Irish in 2000. Over lunch, the two discussed software that Jon had provided for an early version of the website. “The community was small then and I was in the same geographic area,” Jon said. “So it was natural that we would end up getting together.”

Jeremy realized that Geocaching.com’s traffic would quickly outgrow the website he’d started as a hobby site. In 2000, he partnered with two co-workers, Elias Alvord and Bryan Roth, to start a new company. With the proceeds from selling 144 geocaching t-shirts, they began to scale the website to keep up with its growing audience. The three founders continued working at their day jobs while managing the website on the side.

Cathy Hornback (username: Prying Pandora) first met the founders when they spontaneously showed up at her Cache In, Trash Out® Event. “I almost peed my pants when they just showed up. No warning.”

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Cathy with Geocaching.com Founder Jeremy Irish in 2006.

Today, Cathy wears multiple hats: player (she’s going on 15,000 finds), volunteer reviewer, and Community Volunteer Support Coordinator at Geocaching HQ. “We exist because one guy had a crazy idea to hide a bucket of trinkets for other people to find with their newly accurate GPS receivers. Then another guy (Jeremy) had the gumption to build a website to list them all,” said Cathy.

Cathy first met Jon in 2005 while looking for the same geocache. Five years later, she joined him as an employee at Geocaching HQ. “We exist because of our community’s engagement,” Cathy said. “Without them, there would be nothing.”

Jon and Cathy were welcomed on their first days at Geocaching HQ by another long-time geocacher, Annie Love (username: Love). “I still pinch myself daily that I get to work here,” Annie said. “Geocaching was my hobby before I started working here and it’s a dream to get to do something I love for work. Sure, I sit at a desk most of the time, but getting to help people with this game for work is pretty awesome.”

Annie joined Geocaching HQ on January 29, 2007. “My first job was to work as the receptionist at the front desk, answer phone calls and emails about the game of geocaching.”

When Annie started, there were a dozen or so employees and 353,685 active geocaches. Today, Geocaching HQ has 74 employees and the website lists nearly 3 million geocaches hidden all over the world.

Annie, now Partner Programs Manager, said, “We really listen to our community. We might not be able to make everything to perfection overnight, but we definitely hear the wants and needs of the community and apply that directly to what we work on.”

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A company photo taken in June 2007, shortly after Annie and Jenn started.

A few months later, Jenn Seva (username: MissJenn) joined Geocaching HQ as employee #17, having previously served as a Community Volunteer Reviewer. “I started as a player of the game in 2001. I’m lucky enough to have combined my hobby and my livelihood without ruining either one of them.”

Now Senior Manager of Tourism and Travel, Jenn said, “Geocaching HQ is different than most other companies because we are made up of employees who want to be here. We want to delight our community and encourage people to go play outside. I don’t feel like just an insignificant cog in a giant wheel.”

Jon, Cathy and Annie feel similarly. “You only need to talk to the founders or any employee to see that we are passionate about the game and keeping people engaged with a fun and rewarding pastime for years to come,” said Jon. “While we may seem to move slow, it is not because of a lack of desire to improve things, only that we are a lot smaller than people know. I see our purpose to be good custodians of the game and provide the tools and means for people to have and share these experiences and adventures.”

Company pic 2015 summer
A company photo taken last summer.

Sixteen years later, Geocaching HQ remains a strong, independent organization on a mission to enable adventure, exploration, and discovery. We are led by our original founders and we have no outside investors or influences who would maximize profits at the expense of the game. 

Annie said, “The community creates the game. We want to create the best tools to play it.”

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Have questions about Geocaching HQ? Post them in the comments below.