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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.

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, 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’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.”

Cathy with 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.”

June 28 2007
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.

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Petrified Forest- Route 66—Geocache of the Week

by PEFO Ranger
Petrified Forest National Park, United States
N 35° 03.067 W 109° 48.319

Today is the US National Park Service’s 100th Birthday! In addition to the NPS offering free entry into all National Parks this weekend, Geocaching HQ has created a Find Your Park GeoTour where you can explore geocaches placed by the National Park Service and their partners.


We want to highlight a fun, car-themed geocache that was hidden by a Ranger in Petrified Forest National Park. Besides, what’s more American than a road trip on Route 66?

Made popular by the Nat King Cole Trio song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” and the 1960’s TV Series, Route 66, the road spans from Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois. Along Route 66, you can visit Petrified Forest National Park, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Petrified Forest National Park was created to protect large deposits of petrified wood and other fossils from the Triassic Period, which makes this park Dino-Mite! Over 10,000 years of human history can be found in the park, including over 800 archeological and historical sites.

Things to know about the geocache:

  • There is an old car sitting in the roadbed of the previous road.
  • This place is a popular spot to visit, so watch out for muggles taking pictures!
  • This is a “TNLN” geocache, which means “Take Nothing; Leave Nothing”. Bring a pen, sign the log, and save your cool swag and trackables for a different geocaching experience.
  • Please respect the rules and regulations of the park and the resources it was established to protect.

While you’re in Petrified National Forest, check out other caches the PEFO Ranger has hidden:

Thanks PEFO Ranger for hiding some super fun and informative caches and also for serving our National Park Service.

And I’ll leave you with a seemingly relevant dinosaur joke:

What do you call it when a dinosaur has a car accident?

A Tyrannosaurus wreck!

Make sure to share your experience with the community by using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #Geocaching while on your National Parks adventure this weekend.

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.


GeoTour Spotlight: Heritage Hide’n’Seek in Ontario

GeoTour Name:

Heritage Hide’n’Seek


Northern Ontario, Canada

Number of Favorite Points:


Photos by S. Hansen.

You remember the first time you took your kids geocaching like it was yesterday. Their excitement at finding the cache and rifling through the goodies it contained was likely what kept your family looking for more geocaches. But now your babies are off to college or university. As they spread their wings and take flight, they will be putting to use the skills and lessons you taught them over the years.

Geocaching may have taught your family some things to, such as persistence. If at first you don’t find the cache… take a deep breath, review the description and the hint, and keep looking. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, either. Geocache owners and geocachers who have previously found the cache are happy to help. Most importantly geocaching creates a sense of belonging, whether it be simple family bonding or feeling part of the world-wide community of geocachers.

So, as you pack your car to take your big kid to college or university, why not re-live those joyous memories and go geocaching together one last time by making a road trip out of it. There may even be a GeoTour along the route, which will let you earn a prize for your efforts.

For example, if you are heading to Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, participate in the Heritage Hide’n’Seek GeoTour. Here are some geocaches which may appeal to students going into various programs:

We’d love to hear about your geocaching experiences as you head off to college or university this fall. Why not share them with us?!

What geocachers have said:

Jakehound mentioned he was “In Thunder Bay to drop my son off for school & had a few hours on a beautiful Saturday morning to get some caching in…enjoyed the adventure. TFTH

Clodhoppers found HHS-What’s in a Name and wrote: “Went to Thunder Bay to pick up our son and take him home for the summer. He is attending Lakehead University. He took us to some sites while we were there. When he was younger he used to enjoy caching. TFTC.

Additional Information:

Logo_GeoTours_Main_vFINAL_060116_1200x950_150dpiFind more about the Heritage Hide’n’Seek GeoTour here.

Note: All the above information was provided by the GeoTour host. Copy has been edited by Geocaching HQ.

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The Secret Whitelist — Geocache of the Week

Mystery Cache
by El abnorgollums724
N 47° 22.913 E 008° 51.881

“The Secret Whitelist” is a well-crafted, highly entertaining dramatic comedy short film and mystery cache.

The clues that will lead you to its final location are hidden within the film, created by and starring the cache owners: El Tornado, abnorMali, sven724 & die-gollums.

When the film opens, geocachers have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances left and right, and the frantic and frightened Thomas Upper finds himself next in line. He suspects the criminal organization, the Muggles, who target geocachers and geocaches, are behind it all. The police are no help.

Upper knows he must be added to the Whitelist, a list of geocachers who’ve paid protection money to the Muggles in exchange for being left alone. He appeals to David Öseler—a disheveled, rookie detective who loves his drink—who agrees to take the case. “My first case!” he says. “And maybe my last.

Detective Öseler listens intently as Upper describes the situation.

The detective calls an associate of his, and a meeting is set up. After an exchange of the secret code (“A crocodile is like this: the greener it is, the more swim…” and “In the winter, it’s colder than outside…”) they get down to business.

Öseler meets a strange stranger in an underground parking lot (even stranger!)

The detective’s associate shows him which tools he’ll need to locate the secret Whitelist. He warns the detective, “The Muggles are more hostile than ever.”

The secret contact shows Oseler what he'll need to find the Whitelist.
The secret contact shows Oseler what he’ll need to find the Whitelist.

And after that, the viewer is told to slip into the role of the Detective, and begin the hunt for the Whitelist! The viewer has all the same tools and clues at their disposal as the detective…that is, if they paid attention!

In the seven months since being published, the cache has earned 94 favorite points (a 90% favorite rating).

The team that created this cache were elated by the response from the community. “Wir wollten etwas ganz spezielles auf die Beine stellen. Wir waren überzeugt, dass dieser MultiMystery bei der Community gut ankommen wird. Dass dieser so einen Hype auslösen würde, hat uns doch überrascht.” [We set out to create something truly unique. We were shocked at the incredibly positive response from the community. The fact that it generated such a hype really surprised us.]

The cache owners had this to say to the geocaching community: “Als erstes möchten wir uns bei der Community bedanken, für die positiven Feedbacks und die tollen langen Logs, die geschrieben wurden. Danke auch an alle Cacheowner für die unzähligen tollen Caches die wir besuchten und die wir noch besuchen dürfen. Passt auf die Muggels auf!” [First of all, we want to thank the Community for the positive feedback we’ve received and all the great logs that have been written. Thanks also to all the cache owners out there for countless amazing geocaches that we visited, and that we may still visit. Watch out for the Muggles!]

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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.