The Ouzoud Waterfalls — Geocache of the Week

EarthCache
GC21VQ7
by Silvana
Difficulty:
2
Terrain:
2
Location:
Morocco
N 32° 00.900′ W 006° 43.181′

gotw-morocco7

Waterfalls draw people in with their effulgent mist, power, and calming radiance from the sound of flowing water. The Ouzoud Waterfalls are located in the epitome of an oasis, surrounded by trees and vibrant desert life. Can you imagine the excitement of crossing the Sahara desert and stumbling upon this multi-tiered waterfall?

gotw-morocco

This EarthCache here is designed to educate you on waterfalls and their formation. The geocache page does an excellent job in explaining the different types of waterfalls and will equip you with the right information so you can enjoy a fulfilling geological adventure.

gotw-morocco2

But to bring you up to speed: You’ll learn the difference between a cascade and a cataract waterfall, and how waterfalls are created. The peak of the falls reach 323 ft (98 m), and from there the water flows down several tiers of varying size. You can view the falls from both the top or from the plunge pool below. The name “Ouzoud” translates to “olive” in the ancient language of Berber, and was named that because of the plenitude of olive trees that surround the falls.

gotw-morocco10

There are also a ton of monkeys!

gotw-morocco8

SONY DSC
gotw-morocco6

gotw-morocco3

Take a break to take this all in. 

gotw-morocco4

Here’s what geocachers had to say:

On the day before we went home, we visited the Ouzoud- waterfalls. First, we looked at this beautiful natural phenomenon from above. The the stairs down seemed endless. Both views were breathtaking! Thank you for this great Earthcache! – Trittauer translated from German

gotw-morocco9

We have found this cache during our motorized one week long geotrip around Morocco. We have visited cascades d’Ouzoud, some caves and lakes and interesting and beautiful places in cities like Fes, Casablanca or Marrakech. We enjoyed our journey a lot and we definitely will come back to Morocco in the future. These waterfalls are really beautiful, it is probably the greatest place we have seen in Morocco. We liked also the meeting with monkeys and our trip through valley down the river. Thank you very much for our 6000. cache!!! Greetings from the Czech Republic. – R+D

gotw-morocci

Every EarthCache has delightful engaging facts about the geological site that you can observe first hand. Thank you Silvana for recognizing a great EarthCache and writing a very educational cache page. Go chase this waterfall if you’re in search for an amazing adventure!   

gotw-morocco11

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.

Old McPlumberman Had A Farm — Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC6V4ME
by Plumberman63
Difficulty:
3.5
Terrain:
1.5
Location:
New Brunswick, Canada
N 45° 30.592 W 065° 52.629

LastZoo and Plumberman63 are a geocaching couple from New Brunswick, Canada. They designed their gadget cache, “Old McPlumberman Had A Farm” in October 2016 as part of a local gadget-cache-building challenge. After 25 finds the cache still has a 100% favorite-point ratio, and more than a few geocachers have expressed their deep displeasure about being able to award only one favorite point!

Geocaching HQ reached out to Plumberman63 and LastZoo for a description of their cache, which is generating rave reviews from all who visit. Read on to find out how this intricate and involved gadget cache works!

small-dsc_4727

Darlings Island is a small, little known island in southern New Brunswick, on the East Coast of Canada, surrounded by a lake and a river. It is known for it’s hundred year old covered bridge, mild summers perfect for kayaking or fishing adventures, challenging winters with snow drifts and whiteouts, and the picturesque rolling hills and family farms. It is our goal to also make it known as a destination for gadget caches.

brutal-winters

Our first gadget cache is a small handmade barn complete with a weather vane, hay loft, barn door and attached silo. It is perched on a post along our driveway. As you enter our driveway, the bright red barn on a post could seem like a birdfeeder or birdhouse to the passerby, but the geocacher in search of this cache will immediately recognize it as ground zero. The unsuspecting geocachers will assume that one must simply walk up, figure something out really quick, and voila, the hidden cache container will be revealed, but… not so fast!

While it seems rather simple at a quick glance, this geocache container took nearly 40 hours to build from scratch. While one of the elements was inspired by a WVTim geocache my wife (LastZoo) and I found while exploring in West Virginia this summer, the rest is a combination of different little tricks and components that make the cache fun and challenging all rolled into one.

small-dsc_4728

As you approach the barn, you’ll easily see that tucked away underneath the barn is a padlock with a 4 digit code guarding access to the logbook compartment. Old McPlumberman had a code… E.I.E.I…uh-oh… Where is the code?

Each handmade component of the barn unlocks the next step to accessing the logbook compartment. The trick is to figure out which component does what, and which component one must start with. The barn is built sturdily so that it can be pulled and pushed and prodded without much danger or wrecking it, but thankfully solving each step does not require any force. Just patience. A barn-sized load of patience.

There are 4 codes for the padlock… and four steps to revealing the code. However, only the last step will provide the code to you, so that you won’t be tempted to give up at the third step. Once you’ve attempted the third step, you’ll know why we only revealed the code in the last step!

small-dsc_4720

SPOILER #1:
The first step is to examine the handmade weather vane closely. It is built with a long brass rode that reaches down into the hayloft and holds the hayloft door closed. Removing the weather vane is the beginning of the chain reaction you need in order to reveal the 4 digit code. In saying this, given that the weather vane is the first step, one would be correct in assuming that the second step has something to do with the hayloft.

SPOILER #2:
Once you’ve opened the hayloft door, you will notice several “bales of hay” stacked neatly in the hayloft. Oh, but wait…..! One bale is impaled with a steel rod. It is that very same steel rode that keeps the inside of the silo in place. You could stop there, and never find the logbook compartment, but since you’ve gone this far, why not unlock the silo by pulling on the hay bale?

small-dsc_4723

SPOILER #3:
Once you’ve unlocked the inside of the silo by moving the bale of hay, you will discover how devious Plumberman63 can be. This is the part that determines whether you’re standing in our driveway for ten minutes or an hour (or whether you want to throw eggs at our vehicles?). Hidden deep in the barn is another steel rod that guides the grooves carved into the inner cylinder of the silo. Lift the silo higher and higher by finding the right groove without making a wrong turn, and you will gain access to the final step required to reveal the 4 digit code. If it takes you over an hour, you can drop by our house for a break, and we’ll you a hug and some hot chocolate.

img_3454

SPOILER #4.
Since step 3 is the most difficult step, we decided to add a little fun to step 4 by including a popular kids game into the geocache. You’re welcome. The game instructions for our cache are on the game piece itself in French and English, the official languages in New Brunswick. This could take 3 minutes, or half an hour, depending on your observation skills.

The good news? You don’t have to repeat step 3 once you’re ready to put everything back together the way it was. Just insert the silo backwards, and then turn it the right way until it clicks back into place when the red arrows match up!

small-dsc_4718

Our favorite memories from this geocache are the reactions from the geocachers who read the description on the geocaching page, but weren’t sure what to expect. If looks could kill, Plumberman63 would have died as each geocacher attempted step 3… We also really enjoy the cleverly worded log entries, like the one made by 4CeasonS, which beautifully describe the experience without giving away the secrets. All in all, we’re happy to provide some entertainment as our way to give back in a small way to the geocaching community for the years of adventures and discoveries we’ve enjoyed through geocaching.

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.

Geocaching GPS
3 Comments

A geocacher’s secrets to making New Year’s resolutions stick

Guest blog written by avid geocacher Paige Edmiston.

We’ve all been there: only a week into January and your resolutions long forgotten… Good news, geocachers! Whether you’re wanting to get fit or give back, the game you love can help you achieve your New Year’s goals. Geocachers, after all, are nothing if not persistent.

In honor of 2017, here are 17 common New Year’s resolutions — and how geocaching can help you stick with them.

geocaching-mit-dem-gps-gera%cc%88t

  1. Lose weight and get fit.

Instead of buying yet another unused gym membership, why not try getting fit with geocaching? In 2014, Texas A&M researchers conducted a study on geocaching and its effect on health. One of the study’s principal investigators, Whitney Garney, M.P.H, said, “The results have important implications for how and why people are physically active. Geocaching is one option for people to have fun and be physically active at the same time without going to the gym and may be just what America needs to get moving.”

For inspiration, read one of the many geocaching weight loss stories out there, like this one or this one.

friends

  1. Make new friends.

Meeting new people can be downright terrifying. Luckily, geocachers are the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Whether you’re in your hometown or traveling abroad, geocaching events are a great way to make new friends — and you’re guaranteed to have at least one thing in common. Find an event and log your Will Attend now.

kimg0107

  1. Spend more time with family.

If you attended a family gathering over the holidays, you probably know how difficult it can be to find an activity everyone loves. (You know where we’re going with this, right?) Use geocaching to connect with family near or far, just like this father and son.

  1. Drink more water.

Geocaching gets you moving. Moving makes you thirsty. Carry this official geocache water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated. Added bonus: You’ll look cool.

  1. Be less stressed.

Remember that geocaching health study? Researchers also found that geocachers reported fewer days of poor mental health.

919081314199291677236115784

  1. Travel.

If you want to experience a new place like a local, find a geocache! Or better yet, complete a GeoTour. These custom collections of geocaches are designed to introduce you to new locations.You’re sure to discover an incredible spot not listed in a guide book!

If a big trip isn’t in the cards this year, send off a trackable with the goal of visiting all the places on your travel wish list. Check out the photos from this trackable’s big adventure for inspiration.

P.S. You’re always welcome to come visit us at Geocaching HQ!

img_11431-1024x1024

  1. Learn something new.

To find some geocaches, you’ll need to develop a very particular set of skills. Lockpicking, for example. Same goes for hiding. You’ll have to learn a little thing called “physical computing” to hide a geocache like this one.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone.

Stuck in a traditional cache rut? Challenge yourself to find at least one geocache of every type. You’ll solve puzzles, answer geology questions, and may even discover a new favorite cache type along the way.

gc2fwbx

  1. Get married.

Geocaching can help. Seriously. Watch this video to learn how to make a geocaching proposal.

  1. Break a personal record.

Visit your geocaching statistics page. Do you want to set a new record for longest streak? (Check out Moun10Bike’s tips for keeping up your streak in the snow.) Or maybe you want to set a record for the most caches found in one year. Write down your goal and share it with a friend who can help keep you accountable.

  1. Spend less time on social media.

Ok, fine. We admit it: We often encourage geocachers to share things on social media. (Like now, for example. You should share this post with a friend. Do it. Do it now. Unless you’re trying to spend less time on social media. Then, stop right now. We support you.) Thanks to the recent addition of offline maps in the Geocaching® app, you can now find geocaches without an internet connection. Tune out of the internet and into nature — temptation free.

nature1
  1. Spend more time in nature.

Speaking of nature, that’s where geocaches like to hang out! To find a great hiking cache, search for caches with higher terrain ratings. When you’re in a park or wild space, the Geocaching® app’s Trails map type will help guide you.

gc59df61

  1. Give back.

This one is easy: Cache In Trash Out (CITO) is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community. Learn how you can get involved.

  1. Eat healthier.

(Warning: We are not licensed doctors or nutritionists.) The key to healthy eating: planning ahead. Before heading out the door, make sure to pack healthy snacks so you don’t get stuck buying junk food later in the day. Check out these 4 tips to avoid getting hangry on the geocaching trail.

P.S. Please don’t leave snacks in geocaches. Bears love snacks.

P.P.S It’s probably safe to carry snacks. (Warning: We are also not licensed animal psychologists.)

  1. Start thinking more positively.

Scientists have found that practicing gratitude can lead to higher levels of positive emotions, like joy, optimism, and happiness. When you find a geocache, take the time to express your appreciation. You’ll make the cache owner’s day — and your own.

  1. Get organized.

We’re not exactly sure how geocaching can help tidy up your life. (We ran out of time to ask Marie Kondo. Ideas welcome in the comments below.) However, we can help you tidy up your geocaching. Try My Lists beta.

1026362129244768255236115784

  1. Enjoy life to the fullest.

Geocaching brings people together in pursuit of discovery, exploration, and adventure. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s wrap it up.

The moral of the story: We’re better at sticking to our resolutions when we’re having fun. Geocaching is fun, ergo geocaching can help you achieve your goals. 83% of the time it works every time, guaranteed.

So tell us — what’s your New Year’s resolution?

GOTW Senhora da Pedra, Madeira Portugal

Senhor da Pedra—Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC2ZWP5
by luisftas
Difficulty:
4
Terrain:
3.5
Location:
Arquipélago da Madeira, Portugal
N 32° 50.110 W 016° 54.419
GOTW Senhora da Pedra, Madeira Portugal
GOTW Senhora da Pedra, Madeira Portugal

Off the southwest coast of Portugal and northwest coast of Africa lies the beautiful archipelago of Madeira. It is the outermost region of the European Union and an autonomous region of Portugal. Known for its idyllic climate, flowing wine, romantic beaches, and sheer cliffs, Madeira is also home to close to 1,200 active geocaches.

You must be thinking, “Geocaching in gloriously warm climate with stunning landscapes and flowing wine—where’s the grit and the character-building adventure of that?!” Luckily, this traditional cache provides a mildly challenging hike with a big pay off in a phenomenal location. Perfect!

You’ll start your journey at the São Jorge (St. George) lighthouse, a sweet little spot to prepare for your trek and take in the ocean views. The lighthouse was, “…designed in 1948 and started to function in 1959. Its structure is a cylindrical tower 14-meters high, and the focus is at an altitude of 271 meters. Its light has a range of 16 miles, and its operation is automated in 1986 after being electrified in 1962.”

São Jorge (St. George) lighthouse
São Jorge (St. George) lighthouse

The next step is to find the path to the geocache. Once you are on the path, you will see why this geocache earned its 3.5 terrain rating. There are many paths—will you take the correct one? Will your path be full of mud with no alternate route? Will you slip and fall in the mud? Will this actually be worth it? Stay strong, intrepid geocachers, because yes, the payoff will be worth it.

Path to the geocache
Path to the geocache

At the end of the path on the very edge of a cliff, you will find a very large rock. Many years ago it broke free from the hills above, rolled down the rugged terrain, then suddenly stopped right on this precipice. This was so amazing and odd that the locals built a small shrine in honor of the “Lady of the Stone” and placed it underneath the boulder. This “monument’ is full of religious statues, candles, flowers, stones, and other knickknacks. It is also a wonderful place for quiet reflection and to sign a logbook.

Path to the geocache
Path to the geocache

If this amazing rock and little shrine weren’t enough, check out that view! On the left you can see Porto Moniz very far away, while on the right you can look down and see the old pier of São Jorge. Can it get any better than this?

View from above the rock
View from above the rock

Recent logs:

Siggi72
This is my second time visiting Madeira but the first time with Geocaching. Without geocaching I wouldn’t have seen this “balancing” rock with the small shrine and the great views. Thanks for showing!

Amazing location for a geocache
Amazing location for a geocache

Comètes
On our way, we could not miss this cache, that we already bookmarked in France when preparing our trip. Its D/T ratio is the only one missing in on matrix. We first discovered the lighthouse, then went down to GZ. 148 steps later, we were at the right place. A special place, as many ones that we can discover since we are practising geocaching. We found the box with the help of the spoiler. While we were signing the logbook, a rainbow appeared above the Ocean. To celebrate our fully filled matrix? Thank you for this great cache!

At the shrine under the rock
At the shrine under the rock

ED77
First we had problems to find the right access and had almost given up. Fortunately we found the right way otherwise we have missed a great adventure and a total crazy place! The path down was a real adventure but at the end worth every step How curious to place a shrine under this huge stone! We enjoyed the mystic and peaceful place, stayed some time staring at the sea This place is worth a favorite point

Just before the geocache
Just before the geocache
Great view and a great experience
Great view and a great experience
The shrine
The shrine
Gorgeous views
Gorgeous views
View to the right
View to the right
Even pooches love this geocache
Even pooches love this 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.

1 Comment

A new country souvenir: Romania!

Be prepared to hike mountains, take field notes on a volcanic crater, check out Europe’s largest parliament building, ward off vampires at Dracula’s famous castle, and travel back in time to the 17th century on our virtual visit to Eastern Europe.

Because our final new souvenir of the year takes you to Romania!

romania
Aside from having Europe’s most abundant resources of gold, there is a rich and vibrant geocaching community in Romania. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to check out the local geocaching events. The community is warm and welcoming to people who travel to the country for geocaching, and are eager to share stories. You may be invited to join in on the adventure and broaden your visit by tagging along to learn more about the country and culture.

Balea Lake

GC2DYPD | by delcho | D3/T3.5 | Traditional Cache |

romania
Visitors will fall in love with Romania’s picturesque countryside filled with landscapes of the Carpathian Mountains, steep valleys, and glacier lakes. Our first stop is in the heart of Romania at a place that even impressed hollywood superstar Jean-Claude Van Damme: GC2DYPD – Balea Lake.

romania5

The drive to the Balea Lake will bring you up winding roads that climb to 2,034 m of elevation through the Carpathian Mountains. Be prepared for the cold air that sweeps through the valleys during winter time. Though if the cold doesn’t bother you too much and you only want to escape the wind, you can always seek refuge in the nearby Ice Hotel in case of a snow storm. The cache is south west of the lake and is located at the best vantage point. While you’re in the area be sure to also check out nearby caches “A walk in the clouds” (GC1VM88) and “Dragon’s Window”(GC5CF4R ).

rm1

Nobody Home

GC1BFHH | by silentmouse | D2.5/T1.5 | Traditional Cache |

romania6

Stop by this old 17th century village in the capital city of Bucharest, but don’t bother to knock because there’s Nobody Home (after you make it through the museum entrance). The village museum is open to the public and you are welcome to poke around and imagine you are back in time — with a GPS or smart-phone of course. If you find yourself overwhelmed with joy here, know that it’s probably not by coincidence, because the city of Bucharest literally translates to “City of Joy.”

rm2

[MR] Casa Poporului

GC5FPEX | by miss_shady | D2/T1.5 | Traditional Cache |

romania14
Not too far away from GC1BFHH and the open-air village museum is Casa Poporului the second largest parliament building in the world. If you plan on doing some sight seeing through Bucharest this is a must-grab geocache. It is a small cache on the street facing the palace strategically placed for some great photo opps. However this is a major tourist attraction in the city, so be wary of muggles in the area.

rm3

Volcanic Crater in Racos

GC1QAVH | by Mioritics | D2/T2.5 | EarthCache |

romania27

Of the 51 EarthCaches in Romania  the Volcanic Crater in Racos tops the list when it comes to that “wow” factor and provides a glimpse at the country’s eclectic geomorphological features. As far as geology enthusiasts go, the volcanic crater is a perfect place to study all types of slag, ash, pumice, volcanic bombs, and hardened lava.

rm4

Dracula’s Castle

GC5D8 | by Orangefizzy & Buntoro | D3/T3.5 | Traditional Cache

romania39

The Bran castle is better known as Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, and has the most favorite points of any geocache in Romania. The former abode of Vlad the Impaler attracts over countless visitors each year. If you take the tour, you will see the vampire theme played out in the castle: coffins, red colored drapes, and melted wax candles. Bran castle is open to the public year-round and you can stay in the castle overnight on Halloween.

romania32

This legendary castle also has a legendary geocache. On April 1, 2001, Team Romania placed the country’s first official geocache at this location. The castle is an international icon and surrounded by mountains, giving it the perfect conditions for a geocache. The contents of the cache consists of mainly of toys and games, but also includes a few essential vampire deterrents, including a mirror, a Croatian pre-paid phone card with a photo of the Pope on it, and a large pencil that could be used as a wooden stake in an emergency. The cache container is a rectangular plastic tupperware container with a green lid. According to the cache page there are three different ways to grab this cache depending on how you would like to get there.

rm7

Romania is home to 3,221 geocaches and a strong community. Whether you are visiting the capital city of Bucharest or sight-seeing in the rural regions of the Romania, you will have a geocaching adventure you won’t forget!

La revedere!
(Good-Bye)