Geocachers gather around the logbook

Project Glück Auf

Jedes Jahr können ein paar glückliche Mitarbeiter des Geocaching-Hauptquartiers an einem Mega- oder Giga-Event teilnehmen. Bri Suffety und Cindy Potter waren kürzlich in Essen und haben das Giga-Event “Project Glück Auf 2016” (GC55555) besucht. Bri (Sassy Bandit) ist Frontend-Entwickler und Cindy (Frau Potter) ist Community-Direktor. Les weiter, was Bri über den Besuch schreibt.

Frau Potter, Sassy Bandit, Alex
Geocaching-Mitarbeiter, Frau Potter und Sassy Bandit mit einem der Giga-Organisatoren, Alex.

Inmitten der Region mit der höchsten Geocache-Dichte befindet sich ein altes Steinkohlebergwerk, welches einst vom Abriss bedroht war – die Zeche Zollverein. Schachte wachsen in den Himmel, Ziegelgebäude sprenkeln das Land und die Gehwege schlängeln sich um das Gelände, wie es einst die Gleise taten. Dieser Ort bietet eine einzigartige Kulisse für die 10000 Geocacher, welche sich 2016 zum Project Glück Auf Giga-Event zusammen fanden.

Crowds of people at the event
Food trucks and Geocachers galore
Geocacherin stempelt die Logbuch-Stechkarte

Der Name – Glück Auf – ist ein Bergmannsgruß. Sie wünschten sich damit “Glück, einen neuen Kohlegang aufzutun”, aber auch eine gesunde Rückkehr nach der Schicht.

Das “Glück Auf”-Wochenende begann mit der Registrierung, Lab-Caches und einem Meet&Greet-Event mit Livemusik und einem Logbuch, an welchem Geocacher mit einer Stechkarte “einstempelten”. Ich glaube, ich hatte noch nie so viel Spass mich auf einem Logbuch einzutragen.

Das Hauptevent fand am Samstag statt und sollte um 10 Uhr morgens beginnen – das hätte man nicht gedacht, wenn man die viele Leute gesehen hat, die sich schon um 8 Uhr versammelten. Überall sah man Menschen, aber zum Glück hat es sich nie gedrängt angefühlt. Die Organisatoren nutzten das Gelände gut aus; die Aktivitäten waren gut verteilt und trotzdem war alles zu Fuß erreichbar.

Geocachers versuchen eine Grubenlampe so lange wie möglich hochzuhalten.

Die Lab-Caches und Spiele waren am weitesten entfernt vom Mittelpunkt des Events. Das war für mich die perfekte Gelegenheit, um auf Erkundung zu gehen. Eines der Spiele, an welchem ich teilnahm, forderte Geocacher heraus, eine Grubenlampe so lange wie möglich mit ausgestrecktem Arm hochzuhalten. Man trat nicht nur gegen die anderen in der Gruppe an, sondern auch gegen die Bestzeit des Tages. Als ich an der Reihe war, war die Bestzeit länger als 10 Minuten. Ich konnte gerade mal halb so lange aushalten, bevor mein bebender Arm nicht länger aushalten konnte.

Ich war erstaunt zu sehen, wie viele Leute am Samstag auf dem Event-Gelände blieben. Ich hätte gedacht, dass es ein konstantes Kommen und Gehen geben würde, doch den ganzen Tag über gab es eine lebendige Energie auf dem Event. Picknick-Tische wurden zum Treffpunkt für Mahlzeiten und Zusammenkunft von Freunden, die Kaffee- und Eis-Wagen hatten eine sich stehts bewegende Schlage und und das Gebäude mit den Verkaufsständen war voller zufriedener Käufer. Selbst als das Tagslicht zu schwinden begann und die Geocaching-Band Dosenfischer zu spielen begann, sah man noch viele Gesichter, die sich um die Bühne versammelten.

Signal auf der Bühne während des Dosenfischer-Konzerts
Geocaching-Mitarbeiter Sassy Bandit mit hopmaniak auf dem Goodbye-Event

Sonntag morgen begann mit dem Schicht im Schacht Goodbye-Event und Wolken drohten mit Regen. Zum Glück fielen aber nur ein paar vereinzelte Tropfen.

Als das Event sich dem Ende zuneigte und Umarmungen verteilt wurden, fühlte war ich dankbar, dass ich die Möglichkeit hatte, am Project Glück Auf teilzunehmen, aber auch ein bisschen traurig, dass es Zeit war, von alten und neuen Freunden Abschied zu nehmen.

Ein riesiges Dankeschön an das Orga-Team für euer Engagement und dass ihr ein so erinnerungswürdiges und gut organisiertes Event auf die Beine gestellt habt, welches unglaublich Spaß gemacht hat und Menschen aus der ganzen Welt inspiriert hat, sich zu treffen und Geocaching zu feiern. Ihr verdient eine riesen Runde Applaus. Glück auf!

Das Orga-Team und Familie vor dem Meet&Greet Logbuch

 

Deutsche und Brasilianische Geocaching-Freunde trafen sich auf dem Giga-Event wieder.

 

Kurz bevor ich auf dem Goodbye-Event meine Stempelkarte einreichte.
Geocachers gather around the logbook

Project Glück Auf — The Good Luck Event

Editor’s note: Each year, a few lucky Geocaching HQ staff are able to attend a Mega-Event or Giga-Event. Bri Suffety and Cindy Potter recently traveled to Essen, Germany to attend this year’s Giga-Event. Bri (Sassy Bandit) is a Front End Developer and Cindy (Frau Potter) is the Director of Community. Here is Bri’s story of this visit.

HQ staff and an Event Organizer at the event site
HQ staffers, Frau Potter and Sassy Bandit with one of the primary Giga organizers, Alex.

Amidst the world’s most geocache-dense region is an old coal factory that had once been threatened with demolition. Mine shafts shoot skyward, brick buildings dot the land and sidewalks curve around the grounds the same way rail tracks used to. It all makes for an incredibly unique setting for 10,000 geocachers to gather for the 2016 Project Glück Auf Giga-Event.

Crowds of people at the event
Food trucks and Geocachers galore
Geocacher signing the logbook
Geocacher clocks into the Meet&Greet Event

The name – Glück Auf – is an expression used by miners. It was used to say “good luck” to miners to find coal, but also to come back safely from the mine.

The Glück Auf weekend kicked off with registration, lab caches and a Meet&Greet Event that featured live music and a logbook that had cachers “clock-in” with a time card. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun signing a logbook.

The main event was held on Saturday and had a scheduled start time of 10 AM; although, you wouldn’t know by the number of people who were already gathering at 8 o’clock. There were crowds of people everywhere you went, but I was pleased to find it never felt crowded. The organizers made good use of the space and were able to spread out the various activities while still having everything easily accessible on foot.

Geocachers playing a game at the Giga-Event
Geocachers seeing how long they can hold up a miner’s safety lamp

The activities furthest from the center of the event were the lab caches and games. I welcomed this as the perfect opportunity to go exploring. One of the games I stopped at challenged geocachers to see how long they could hold a safety lamp with their arm extended. Not only were you trying to outlast the other people in your group but you were also trying to beat the best time of the day. When I played, the time to beat for an adult was over 10 minutes. I made it about half that before my shaking arm could take no more.

I was surprised at how many people remained at the event site on Saturday. I had expected an ebb and flow as people came and went. However, there was a lively energy that lasted throughout the day. Picnic tables became the hub for meals and reuniting with friends, the coffee cart and ice cream trucks had a revolving line and the vendor building was bustling with happy shoppers. Even as the light started to fade and the geocaching band, Dosenfischer, started to play, there were still many faces settled in around the stage.

Geocaching band, Dosenfischer
Signal on stage at the Dosenfischer concert
Sassy Bandit and hopmaniak
HQ Staffer Sassy Bandit with hopmaniak at the Goodbye Event

Sunday morning brought the Schicht im Schacht (That’s It) Goodbye Event and clouds that threatened rain. Fortunately, our collective luck held out and scattered sprinkles were all that fell.

As the event wrapped up and hugs started to be doled out, I felt both grateful for the opportunity to attend Project Glück Auf and a little sad that it was time to say goodbye to geocaching friends old and new.

A huge thank you to the Orga-Team for your dedication in creating a memorable, well organized, incredibly fun event that inspired people from around the world to gather in a single location and celebrate the game of geocaching. You deserve a huge round of applause. Glück auf!

Orga-Team
The Orga-Team and family in front of the Meet&Greet logbook

 

HQ Staff with German and Brazilian Geocachers
German and Brazilian geocaching friends who were reunited at the Giga-Event

 

Sassy Bandit clocking out of the goodbye event
Getting ready to turn in my time stamped card at the Goodbye Event
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Geocaching Near the Top of the World – Finnish Style

This sign does not lie
This sign does not lie

Mega-Smiles at Latitude 61 in Finland

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Cindy or  Frau Potter works with geocaching community volunteers. This is her Mega-Event experience.

Cindy a.k.a. Frau Potter
Cindy a.k.a. Frau Potter

At Latitude 61, this time of year days are long and nights are short. With sunrise at 4:00am and sunset at 11:00pm, I found this left plenty of time for meeting geocachers at Mega Finland 2014 – Amazing Geocaching. In fact, more than 1,600 geocachers attended this event and I needed all that extra time to meet them all!

 My weekend began with a 3-hour train ride from Helsinki, Finland to the event location at Himos holiday resort near Jämsä, Finland. I arrived just in time to witness hundreds of geocachers helping to set up the geo-village, including erecting tents and preparing campfires. It was terrific to see all the collaboration. The event organizers (Gnutcha&Joorz) are veterans at hosting Mega-Events. This was the third and biggest, Mega-Event they organized. They were understandably proud of this free event. The Himos resort supplied the location, showers, toilets and water free of charge in return for the paying campers and cottage rentals. Gnutcha&Joorz said the official expenses for the event came in at about 60 Euros.

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Team Papan Poppoo
 Mega-Event Organizers Gnutcha&Joorz

Mega-Event Organizers Gnutcha&Joorz
My amazing team - Jarom, arnevela, tuulituuli and Gandal491
My amazing team – Jarom, arnevela, tuulituuli and Gandal491

The primary activity at the Mega-Event were two Adventure courses (one competitive and one leisure) and 10 fun Lab Caches. Geocachers were divided into teams to complete these courses. A highlight of my weekend was working with my team – Jarom, arnevela, tuulituuli and Gandal491 – on the course and Lab Caches. We had a lot of laughs together.

My favorite stations were “Flaming Tower, “Robin Hood” and “Bingo”. The Flaming Tower required three geocachers – one to pump water, one to aim the spray at the target and one to grab the container as it floated to the top. What a great activity for such a hot day!

Careful aim brings geocache container floating to the top
Careful aim brings geocache container floating to the top

Robin Hood looked like a modern practice for Hunger Games, except no one got hurt. And the Bingo activity was a creative Lab Cache that required you to get signatures from event volunteers who had completed certain geocaching accomplishments. The Bingo activity was a brilliant way to make sure participants talked with volunteers.

Geocachers prepping for Hunger Games
Geocachers prepping for Hunger Games
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Galdal491 signs for Bingo lab cache
Queue waiting to sign coffee event logbook
Queue waiting to sign coffee event logbook

It was terrific to see why geocaching is so popular in Finland and to meet so many new friends. To my new Finnish geocaching friends, I say “Kiitos!”. Thanks for the adventure!

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14 Km Geocaching Hike Starting after 10pm – That’s Portugal

14 Years Geocaching – Sintra | Portugal

Mega-Event in Portugal
Mega-Event in Portugal

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Annie or Love works as the Partners Program Manager, supporting all international distributors. This is her Mega-Event experience.

In early June, I had the pleasure to travel back to Portugal to attend 14 Years Geocaching – Sintra | Portugal. After the very warm welcome I received at Geocoinfest in Portugal two years ago, I was excited to spend some more time with the geocachers from one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  Even better, this Mega-Event would be taking place in the one of the most magical places. Sintra, a community hidden in the Sintra Mountains of the Lisbon region, is filled with unreal sites including a Moorish castle, architecturally stunning palaces and endless tiled sidewalks.

Mega-Event Attendees

The festivities spanned over five days in the Sintra region, and included a variety of geocaching walks, CITO events, a geocache lab adventure and lots of smiling faces. We walked, we cached and we blew bubbles. If you’ve ever wanted to use geocaching as your form of tourism, this Mega-Event would have been for you.

Bubble-blowing event
Bubble-Blowing Event

Some might think it’s weird to start a 14km hike at 10:30pm. Not geocachers. We thrive on adventures like that. If you can find about 35 caches on that 14km hike, even better. On the second night of the event, that’s just what we did.  When I finally returned to my hotel around 3am, I was able to reflect on a fun adventure through the mountains of Sintra with nearly 100 geocaching friends. Those are the memories that will stick with me forever.

Night Hike
Geocaching Night Hike

 

bruning portugal
“Bruning” in Portugal

Pride is one word I would use to describe Portuguese geocachers. Several times throughout the five days, I had conversations with individuals or geocaching teams about the incredible efforts they’ve put into their own geocaches. In a couple of cases, the teams had spent over a year perfecting one geocache. These are the types of geocaches that would inspire me to plan a return trip to Portugal.

New Friends
Love (center) and Geocaching Friends

If you are in search of a place where the people are friendly, the views are amazing, the culture is rich and the geocaching is pretty ‘darn’ good, Portugal has got you covered.

caching in portugal 2
Love and Geo-pup
Picnic Geocaching
Picnic Geocaching

 

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Allegany State Park Geobash IX Mega-Event

Signal, Amy and the whole ASPGB IX crew
Signal, Amy and the whole ASPGB IX crew

Geocaching is Better with Friends… Lots and Lots of Friends.

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Amy Faulkner is the Geocaching HQ staff member behind the Geocaching Block Party and other awesome events. She recently traveled to her home state of New York to join nearly a thousand people  in celebrating geocaching and the geocaching community at the ASPGB IX. Here’s her story. 

A Return Trip Home with Geocaching

Here at Geocaching HQ, we often hear glorious stories of geocaching taking people to places they never knew existed. And we’ve even experienced this phenomenon ourselves – stumbling upon EarthCaches that reveal large geological events that we never knew happened, or finding the Little Library around the corner that just so happens to contain a geocache.

As excited as I was to attend the ASPGB Mega-Event again this year, returning to the place where I grew up to attend an event I had previously attended seemed a bit anticlimactic. But I was wrong. Not kind of wrong, I was so wrong – out of the ballpark wrong- that I’m actually embarrassed that I had that thought in the first place.

To begin, the ASPGB was spectacular this year. It was great to see familiar faces from last year and meet all of the new attendees this year. The event was packed full of fun activities,  from Lab Caches to a creative cache contest to a raffle dripping with anticipation. I met so many great people including these lovely ladies (below) that were celebrating their 100th find. They presented me with the awesome smiley which now permanently resides at my desk.

100 finds
100 finds and a smiley

In addition to attending the event, I had the opportunity to spend a day geocaching with my mom in the town where I grew up. We found an amazing EarthCache at one of my favorite childhood spots, Rock City Park. My mother has become quite the geocacher over the last year.

 GC14E7K: Rock City Park
GC14E7K: Rock City Park
amys mom
Amy’s mom, geocaching pro.

 

A Hometown Still Full of Surprises

The biggest element of surprise happened on my drive back to the airport. About 30 minutes into my drive, I stopped at a rest area in a place called Friendship, New York. While there, I decided to peek at the Geocaching app to see if there were any nearby geocaches. To my surprise, there was one right at that rest area. I left the car and wandered to GZ and quickly made the find. As I was re-hiding the container, a car drove up behind me. From the window I hear, “Can we sign the log before you put that back?”

As I turned around, I saw a car full of geocachers. They pulled over and we shared stories, trackables and even had an impromptu photo shoot.

All in all, I realized that geocaching is so much more than finding new places. It’s about the randomness of the things that happen along the way, the people you meet, the experiences you have and the community that you belong to as a geocacher.

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Random encounters: Teamajk, theworldisfun, cheryyll, & Tiki tour