Geocaching

Happy Memorial Day! As I mentioned in my post from yesterday B and I have a pretty hardcore Geocaching habit hobby. Basically, caching is “using billion dollar technology to hunt for Tupperware in the woods”. But it’s not just the woods. It’s everywhere. You likely pass by several in your daily travels. The awesome thing about this game that I love is you can do it anywhere in the world [except North Korea].

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The home to Geocaching is local for us, Fremont, WA [the center of the universe] and we are lucky enough to be friends with several lackeys [Geocaching HQ employees]. It’s pretty common for them to show up at a local event.

Up until 2015 they had an annual celebration called Block Party where literally thousands of people would come from all over the world to participate. We started caching in 2015 so only attended one Block Party, you can see my recaps for the Brewery Tour, Ballard at Night, Main Event & Ape Cache which still happens every summer [except this year due to shelter in place]. The last Ape event will be summer 2021, come out and see me as I will be a volunteer!

There are all kinds of Geocaches, the main types are listed below but this is not an exhaustive list;

  • Traditional [go to cords, hunt for container – use hint if needed, log cache].
  • Puzzle [solve a puzzle in the description to obtain final cords – repeat above].
  • Multi [field puzzle involving two or more waypoints that lead you to the final cords – repeat above].
  • Earth [go to cords, read description, observe geology, email answers to questions about area to CO, log cache].
  • Virtual [go to cords, read description, observe item you were lead to, email answers to questions about item to CO, log cache].
  • Letterbox [go to cords, hunt for container – use hint if needed, log cache, take provided stamp and stamp your book if you do this – repeat above].
  • Whereigo [download WIG app, download cartridge for specific WIG, go to cords, follow cartridge directions – repeat above].
  • Webcam [go to cords, capture photo from webcam [make a funny face or whatever], log cache with photo proof].
  • Event [go to cords at specific time/date, meet up with other cachers, discover trackable items, chat and partake of local eat/drink if at an establishment that offers those things, sign logbook].
  • CITO [go to cords at specific time/date, meet up with other cachers, clean up trash in area, sign logbook].

There are as many different ways to play the game as there are players. B likes to spend a day blacking out an area and solving puzzles. I enjoy working on challenges [puzzle caches that require meeting certain goals before you can log the cache] and seeing interesting Geology & items of interest that caches take me to/near. I enjoy particularly inventive cache hides and chronicle them here on the blog while preserving their anonymity. I also like collecting souvenirs and trackables. We both especially love caching when we travel and have done so in many states, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Belize & Honduras.

  • Souvenirs are virtual pieces of art that can be discovered and displayed on your profile. They are associated with a particular location and may also be bound by time. The more you get or a specific type may even qualify you for specific challenge caches.
  • Trackables are physical game pieces that move from geocache to geocache.

I have a series of blog posts called Awesome Cache Hides that detail some of my favorite caches we have found. I especially love it when there is a clever or cute container that goes with the theme of the hide. I have not posted in this series in a while but I have plenty of photos to get started on some new entries! Some highlights below [please note that all cache names are changed to protect the real cache identity name];

  • Rock Wall this is a specific type of hide I am not a big fan of. You can buy fake rocks that hide a log. People like to place them in rock walls or rock garden areas in public places. They blend in and make the find harder to locate, especially if they are in a high muggle [non Geocacher IE the general public] traffic area. As one of the goals of caching is to not draw attention to what you are doing. These are generally evil.
  • Loading Dock is a special type of cache hide called a gadget cache. We have a couple cachers in our area that love to create these amazing gadgets. A lot of time and energy go in to these. They often also need permission from the business they are placed at.
  • Get Out of My House! A lot of caches in our area are crafted using natural materials. One common favorite is a log and this one is representative of a stump that has been altered.
  • Sit for A Spell A lot of little libraries end up as cache containers. Some are pretty elaborate with false spaces within the actual library or items that “appear” to be books. I love to read and this type of hide combined with a cache is one of my faves!
  • Water Stopper Sometimes caches are hidden within existing items at a site or they “look” like they are existing. We have found caches placed in signs that look like they officially should be placed there and are not. Bird houses are another common item that caches get placed in. Pinecones and animal shaped containers are common too. Don’t even get me started on the world of 3D printed containers!
  • Thirsty Work There are some types of hides that require additional TOTT’s [tools of the trade] to make a successful find. There are several that involve water and some that require headlamps [as they are easier to find at night by following a series of “fire tacks” along a trail]. There are also some that require a UV light.
  • Link This cache hide is literally hidden in plain site but hidden so well the average person would not know it was there. Similar hides to this are hidden behind reflectors, in guard rails [not typical guard rail cache] and in lamp skirts. Often hides are magnetic and on the back of a strip of something that looks like it belongs or behind a panel that looks like its covering something electrical and should be there.
  • Cold War This is the only cache hide of it’s kind I have found. There are trackable hotels like Loading Dock noted above where people can drop and pick up trackables to move along but this was the first and has been the only wormhole I have come across. Basically any trackables placed in the container are transported from South Carolina to New York. I suspect there is a similar hide in upstate New York somewhere. I would love to create a cache hide like this but am in need of someone far away to partner with me. If you are a cacher and live far from the Seattle area please let me know if you are interested!
  • Constellation B and I have come across a few caches like this and they are evil. Sometimes you strike gold quickly and other times not so much.
  • Pillings Pond often some of my favorite caches are not so spectacular as far as the hide goes but it brings you to a really cool place with some interesting history.

Caching is something B and I dedicate quite a bit of time too. In the summer of 2016 we spent most of our vacation time taking Friday’s and Monday’s off so we could head out in the bus for long weekends and get as many Washington State Park caches as we could. This was a specific challenge that we found out about a year in to caching and had a deadline because there were a limited amount of gold coins [30] given out so made it extra special to finish. Our friend Dug did a lot of it with us. To prove you found all of the caches and to allow for no armchair caching [logging without actually finding it] you had to bring a passport and a specific stamp found in the cache container had to be stamped for that cache. The object was to get 100 [103 were available] specific cache hides in State Parks all over Washington. Memorial weekend 2016 we found the last one to complete the challenge and get the gold coin [completing 50 got you a silver coin].

We have since done a second challenge where we had to find 120 caches but our first list qualified so we only needed an additional 17 and they could be any cache as long as they were within the grounds of a State Park. When we were working on the first state park challenge we also started working on the Washington State Delorme Challenge and are down to needing 14 of 90 pages. I have a list of over 200 challenges I am working on. They vary for all different reasons and some I may never complete but it’s fun to work on them!

Do you Geocache? What are some of your favorite hides/caches?

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