This blog post was written by geocaching superwoman and Geocaching HQ employee, Annie Love.
One might think of a band playing gigs in different cities when they hear the term “Lackeys on Tour.” But those of us who work at Geocaching Headquarters, lovingly known as “Lackeys,” it simply means geocaching in an interesting new location.
Have you been to Seattle, home of Geocaching HQ, in the winter time? It rains here — a LOT and we just had our wettest winter on record. Many Seattleites try to visit sunnier climates during this season, and the employees at HQ are no different. So where to?
Factoring in our limited time (a weekend), our shared interest (geocaching), and our greatest desire (to see the sun), we decided to go to Las Vegas, Nevada!
Our first stop was Route 66, a historic highway that runs from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA. The highway fell out of use in the 80s when the Interstate Highway System was created, leaving behind ample, rarely-disturbed space for geocaches.
Our next stop was Hofbräuhaus Beer Hall for GC6BJG6, an Event Cache to meet up with local and visiting geocachers in Las Vegas.
Our last stop was the Valley of Fire, Nevada’s oldest and largest state park.
The park is home to petroglyphs, gorgeous red sandstone ranges, EarthCaches, and the final resting place of Captain Kirk from the movie Star Trek: Generations.
The peak seen in the movie is called Silica Dome, which also happens to host GC4Z3F6: an EarthCache by Landondena. There is an “easy” way to reach the dome and a “hard” way — we took the hard way.
Other notable EarthCaches (and a Virtual!) we found within the park: GC1PPNP, GC1PPNG, GCH723 (limited time meant leaving the park before we found all of the caches).
The next time you venture through Nevada, keep an eye out for the Lackeys on Tour stamp in the local logs.
Given that my college alma mater’s mascot is a bird (albeit a mythical one—the Jayhawk), perhaps it’s no surprise that some of my favorite geocaches are ones that get me in the air. I love climbing caches!
Some climbing caches are more accessible than others. Those that require ropes, harnesses and other gear can be fantastic, but may be beyond the reach of non-technical climbers. However, geocaches in trees are often suitable for a wide variety of ages and abilities. So what makes for a great tree climbing geocache experience?
The right tree: It should be sturdy enough for an adult to climb. If the limbs are too thin, it can be hazardous for the geocacher and the tree. (Never damage a tree or other wildlife while attempting to find a geocache.)
The right equipment: Even if you don’t need ropes or harnesses, you must wear the correct footwear and other apparel. Flip-flops are a no-no!
The right day: Don’t attempt to climb in wet, icy or otherwise dangerous conditions. And be sure to bring a friend. Not just to keep an eye on you, but to take great pictures!
Tree climbing geocaches are a blast. For me, it’s a combination of adrenaline rush and natural beauty that’s hard to beat. Just last week, I was signing a log and thought, “What a spectacular view!” followed quickly by, “Okay, now how exactly am I gonna get down from here?” On that note, I can’t stress enough the importance of safety in your pursuit. If at any point you feel you’re taking an unnecessary risk, just stop and return to terra firma.
I could talk all day about my personal favorite tree climbing experiences, but just a few that come to mind are “Bird House” (Fort Myers, FL) and Free Bird (Parkville, MO). Sadly, my tree climbing experience doesn’t yet extend beyond North America. But I hope to change that someday.
We here at Geocaching HQ love to hang out with each other during work, while throwing a few back at a local happy hour, and of course while geocaching together on the weekends. So when one of our lackeys suggested starting a book club, we got pretty excited and wondered about geocaching-themed books that may be out in the world. Turns out that there’s a LOT. There’s even a thread in our forums about it. Here are some of our top picks for geocaching books out in the world:
Ahh, romance and Tupperware in the woods. In Tracy Krimmer’s Caching In: A Geocaching Love Story, we meet broken-hearted Ally Couper who’s, “…had enough with her ridiculous life. Her job at the bank is going nowhere, and her love life might as well be non-existent. Determined to try something new, Ally becomes absorbed in the world of geocaching. The high-tech driven scavenger hunt introduces her to Seth, and she realizes the game isn’t the only thrilling part. Ally’s bad luck may finally be changing, until the past threatens to halt her future with Seth. Can they find happiness together, or is love the one cache Ally can’t find?” I hope this doesn’t have any DNFs!
Romance & caching seem to go hand in hand, but apparently not as much as mysteries & ammo cans. Check out these “whodunits”:
Cache a Predator: A Geocaching Mystery by Michelle Weidenbenner is a Gold Medal Winner in the 2014 Readers’ International Awards and gets high review marks from online book seller sites. “M. Weidenbenner plants the emotion of one vigilante’s mission into the cache boxes of a gripping tale that will leave readers locking their doors…” Plus, someone is planting body parts in geocaching sites. I wouldn’t want to be FTF that geocache!
The synopsis of Cached Out: A Cliff Knowles Mystery by Russell Atkinson already has me on the edge of my seat. “Newly retired from the FBI and alone after the tragic death of his wife, Cliff Knowles takes up geocaching. While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton and reports it to the sheriff’s office. Then a second body is found – a fresh corpse this time – right after Cliff found another geocache nearby. When it turns out the first remains are those of a fugitive he was supposed to arrest years earlier, he becomes a suspect in a multiple homicide investigation. He has no choice but to use his sleuthing skills to identify the mysterious cache owner, known only as Enigmal, and free himself from suspicion.”
But what about the kids? Oh the little ones certainly have a lot to choose from, too:
As a kid I loved the Boxcar Children series and the adventures of Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden. In The Box That Watch Found (The Boxcar Children Mysteries #113) by Gertrude Chandler Warner, their dog Watch discovers a mysterious box that turns out to be, you guessed it, a geocache! But just as the Alden kids start to embrace their new found hobby, they find that several geocaches in the area are disappearing. This book is a great way to introduce kids 7-10 to the world of geocaching or enhance their already established hobby.
Young teenagers might actually consider taking a break from texting and putting their smartphones GPS to use after reading Hide & Seek by Katy Grant. This 240 page chapter book follows 14-year-old Chase who, “…finally gets a chance to go on his first solo geocaching adventure. Using his GPS, he uncovers the geocache-a small metal box-hidden deep in the woods in some undergrowth. Inside, with a few plastic army men and a log book, is a troubling message for help in a child’s handwriting.” This one gets high points from both readers and educators in online reviews.
Finally, you clever cachers really have thought of everything, haven’t you? Including a book club themed geocache! If you ever find yourself in Ridgecrest, California and need a new read, hop on over to Paperback Book Cache GC1ADKF. The Ridgecrest California Geocachers Club says that this 2d/2t geocache is and easy to find, and bring a book if you want to take a book. One log said, “I took two books, one by Gordon R. Dickson that I haven’t even heard of, and one in the Honor Harrington series by Weber. Left two of Rysten’s books, signed by the author. Enjoy!”
So how about you? Read any good (Geocaching) books lately? Tell us in the comments below!