The Geocaching Blog


Geocaching.com Turns 14 – Rare Fun Facts Revealed

Happy Birthday Geocaching.com

Remember the year 2000? In the United States a pound of bacon only cost $3 and a gallon of gas set people back $1.26. The iPhone was still 7 years away from being introduced. But on September 2, 2000 some hearty adventurers, tired of being tied to an office cubicle day after day, launched Geocaching.com. The adventure to inspire outdoor play through GPS technology began.

Just like any story-worthy journey Geocaching.com’s beginning was filled with uncertainty. Before geocache joined the ranks of approved Scrabble words or a Geocaching game piece rocketed to the International Space Station, Geocaching.com launched with only 75 geocaches.  Today, the site lists the locations and descriptions for nearly 2.5 million geocaches hidden around the world. Adventure is truly waiting to be discovered all around you, as long as you’re in the 180+ countries where geocaches are waiting to be discovered [hint: you are].

Here are some more little known facts about the game you love:

  • The activity of geocaching was originally known as the GPS Stash Hunt.

  • What we now know as the 1st geocache was hidden on May 3, 2000.

  • Running Geocaching.com was originally funded by the sale of  144 donated t shirts.

  • More than 9 million people have created Geocaching profiles.

  • Hugh Jackman geocaches (and other celebrities like cyclist Jens Voigt).

  • The word ‘geocache’ means ‘hidden location on Earth’, as ‘geo’ means Earth, and ‘cache’ is French for a hidden location or place.

Share your Geocaching birthday wishes and your geocaching adventures in comments.

There's a geocache out here some where...

There’s a geocache out here some where…

 

A little adrenaline never hurt anyone — Klettersteig Schweifinen (GC2FX7P) — Geocache of the Week

Easy hikes don't make for views this good! Photo by geocacher papounet

Easy hikes don’t make for views this good! Photo by geocacher papounet

Geocache Name:

Klettersteig Schwefinen

Difficulty/Terrain Rating:

3.5/5

Why this is the Geocache of the Week:

Clever containers and parks in your city that you never knew about are great, but sometimes you need that shot of adrenaline to really make your geocaching experience totally amazing. If you’re not 100% confident in your rock climbing or rappelling skills, a trip on a ‘via ferrata’ might be what you’re looking for. These route ascend mountain cliffs with the use of metal rungs and cables that have been bolted into the rock. Climbers use special gear to clip in to these in order to prevent serious falls. While somewhat uncommon in the United States, geocachers can find quite a few via ferrata routes throughout Europe.

What geocachers are saying:

“Thanks for placing the cache! Great place, fantastic view. The best part of the Klettersteig is the part C!” — AnnieSk

“We have been on a holiday for teen days in Zermatt. We have found a lot of caches over 2000 meters. We have been on a lot of nice hikes and seen a lot of nice places. This trip was my favorite on our holiday.” — TSH98

“Fantastic via ferrata climb i fine weather on our stay in Zermatt. Thanks for the new way of caching. Thanks for a fantastic cache.” — TeamHatlAnd

Photos:

On the way up! Photo by geocacher framesmasher

On the way up! Photo by geocacher framesmasher

Adrenaline = smiles. Photo by geocacher Die Berüchtigten

Adrenaline = smiles. Photo by geocacher Die Berüchtigten

Climb to the top! Photo by geocacher Kuertu

Climb to the top! Photo by geocacher Kuertu

What gets your adrenaline pumping while geocaching? Tell us and post photos in the comments.

 

Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog.

If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!

An Achiever’s Reflection on the 7 Souvenirs of August


Bri Suffety is one of the awesome Geocaching HQ lackeys who participated in this month’s 7 Souvenirs of August promotion. Here, she tells us how she became an Achiever. 

 

You can’t see me, but my head is held high as I admit that I have a competitive streak.

Not the every-man-for-himself kind; it’s more like I’m in a constant competition with myself. So from the announcement of the 7 Souvenirs of August (7SofA) promotion, I began loosely crafting a plan for which caches I should save for the month. The next thing I knew, Geocaching HQ was split into teams to compete in a 7SofA cache-a-thon.

7SofA partners for life!

7SofA partners for life!

The game had changed, and with it my strategy.

I was going to be out of town during the first part of August and I couldn’t accept lagging behind. With a cup of coffee in hand I sat down to scour the map for caches in Michigan and Ohio. By the end of my “research” session I had all of the caches picked out with the exception of an event cache. There were a few options but none that were logistically possible. [Insert groans of frustration here.]

In order to earn The Socializer souvenir, and with it The Achiever, I was left with two choices: waiting until my return to Seattle to attend an event, or creating my own in Ohio. I don’t know about you, but I always find my stomach a flutter when I arrive at an event where I don’t know anyone. So with much hesitation I found myself with the event cache form filled out and my mouse hovering over the submit button.

I bit the bullet and sent it off.

The event itself was small (unsurprisingly, since it was on an island) but I found myself chuckling not only at the conversations we had but at myself for being nervous.

You might not know who’s going to show up at an event, but they aren’t strangers. You all share a love of geocaching and once you get through the initial exchanging of names, the conversations start flowing.

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There’s no such thing as strangers at a geocaching event!

I knew the 7 Souvenirs of August was going to rock, but I didn’t know exactly where it would take me. The month is now winding down and I’ve attended six events including my own. Each one has been a different and stellar experience. There is something to be said about finding others who are as wildly excited about the game as you are. Not to mention, it’s nice to have a break from the blank stares your muggle friends give you when you geek out about a cache.

Tips for hosting the (geocaching) event of the season:

  1. Location location location! It can be as easy as meeting at a local park, a restaurant you love or a pub you’ve been wanting to try. Remember that entrance into and participation at the event needs to be free.

  2. Pick a time. What does your availability look like? Make sure to pick a time when you are unlikely to run late or miss your own event. And don’t forget the golden rule: the event form needs to be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event date!

  3. Recruit a friend. Reach out to your geocaching friends or acquaintances and let them know about the event. You could even bring that muggle friend who is always following you around the woods while you search for tupperware.

  4. Ask questions. Find out what everyone’s favorite cache is, their best geocaching day or if they’re working on any challenges.

  5. Relax. It’s going to be great!

So close to clearing out the whole island. Back next year!

So close to clearing out the whole island. Back next year!

 

Think you’ve got a compelling 7 Souvenirs of August story? Tell us what it took (or will take) for you to become an Achiever!

Parent Insider Tips: Getting Your Kids Outside with Geocaching

Muddy Boots and Geocaching

Muddy Boots, Kiddos and Geocaching

By Dani Navarre

As a parent, you learn to appreciate the little victories in life, whether that means celebrating a win after a soccer game or reveling in the triumph of getting your child to eat all their vegetables. However, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of watching your child grin from ear to ear as they win their own small victory by exploring and discovering the world around them through geocaching. With over 2.4 million geocaches waiting to be discovered worldwide, every location can be turned into an adventure and each family outing a victory.

Recently I sat down with real-life Geocaching dad Monte Michaelis to discuss his experiences geocaching with his children:

How do you explain to kids what Geocaching is?

“I tell kids that Geocaching is like a treasure hunt that’s happening all over the world, all the time, even in their own neighborhood. I have them imagine playing a videogame where they are the main character, only the game isn’t played on a screen. It’s real life, in real places, and there’s no telling what they might find.”

How do you keep kids motivated to start or stay Geocaching?

“I think the secret is to make Geocaching a family activity. The kids should feel involved in choosing the geocaches you look for, ones that cater to their interests. I would also encourage parents to use Geocaching as a reason to try things for the first time.”

Why should parents Geocache with their children?

“I’m the father of two daughters, and I want to spend time with them. I want to talk to them about what’s going on in their lives. I want to share experiences and have adventures. Geocaching is the perfect way to do these things, because the whole point of it is to be in the places you love with the people you love.”

Kid Swag

Kid SWAG

So are you ready to hit the trails? If you want to know what kind of geocache you should look for on your first kid-expedition, you came to the right place! Make your child’s first adventure a success by choosing geocaches that are age-appropriate. Geocaches are ranked by difficulty and terrain, so start easy by choosing ones with one or two stars. Try to select geocaches with multiple favorite points, as they sometimes prove to be the most intriguing. Before heading out, do a little research by checking the Recent Activity log of the geocache to see if it has been found in the past few weeks. Bonus points for combining a day of geocaching with other family activities, like a walk to the local library, a trip to the zoo, a short day hike, or even a stroll around the neighborhood.

Getting in Touch with Nature

Getting in Touch with Nature

Here are some insider tips from Monte and other geocaching parents to make your first time geocaching with your little tyke a success:

  1. Let the kids be your guide. Children are eager to participate, so let them take the lead through navigating or looking under each rock and bush for an elusive geocache.

  2. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are genuinely excited about geocaching, your kids will be, too. So start practicing your happy dance and be ready to break out those moves when you find one!

  3. Become a pirate. Choose regular to large-sized geocaches that will provide fun toys and trinkets that your kids can trade for. Remember to trade up or equal, so have your little ones bring along some knickknacks to leave behind.

  4. Make memories to last a lifetime. Bring a camera to capture all those memorable moments.

  5. Bring snacks. They can mean the difference between a fun day at the park and a before-dinner meltdown.

No matter where you go or what you find, geocaching can make every family adventure into your own little victory.

Victory

Sweet Geocaching Victory!

 

Celebrate Some of the World’s Best Geocaches

Click the video to watch 4 Geocaching HQ'ers find a Geocache of the Week.

Click the video to watch 4 Geocaching HQ’ers find a Geocache of the Week.

 

Some geocaches stand out above the rest. It could be the container, the location, or something else that makes earning these smileys memorable. These geocaches deserve recognition—which is why every Thursday, you can see the Geocache of the Week right here on the Geocaching Blog. This week, you can even tag along with 4 Geocaching HQ staffers as they find a Geocache of the Week in this new video.

Now it’s your turn. Have you found a geocache that totally blew your mind? A geocache that took you on a journey of epic proportions? Nominate it as a Geocache of the Week here.


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