Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Kerb Lydick, aka KerbL , attended MOGA 2013 (GC3GN2E) in Shelbyville, Illinois, USA in April. Kerb has been a Volunteer Support Specialist and part of Groundspeak’s Volunteer Coordination and Support Team (VoCS) since 2011. This is Kerb’s account of her trip.
By Kerb Lydick -
When the theme of a Mega-Event is Cachelot-Quest for the Dragon’s Cache (see the official video). there are a wizard, knights and a sword in a stone involved, you know you’re going to have a good time. On April 5th Midwestern geocachers streamed into the small town of Lake Shelbyville. The population of just under 5,000 swell by more than 15% by our calculations. The bright orange lanyards round the necks of attendees could be spotted up and down main street, cross farm fields, and surrounding the 11,100 acres of Lake Shelbyville which this year celebrates it’s 50th anniversary.
In it’s 10th year, MOGA (Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure) was seamlessly organized Pam Rankin (Racer2814) and Tom Hankins (gossamer) and the team. I was thoroughly impressed with the level of attention their volunteer staff provided each and every geocacher from newbie to geocaching athletes and experts! From the satellite events surrounding the geocacher competition to the awards ceremony seemed to doubled as a MOGA family reunion and celebration of this legacy event, this team of organizers were simply amazing.
During one particularly feisty day of geocaching with local celebrity and volunteer Reviewer Jones, and we came across two of these friendly and resourceful folks. I can still hear Reviewer Jones exclaiming ‘You’re the man Phil’ after we managed to safely replace The X Bridge (GC2P5F3) with the help of BeaverC2407 and BeaverC2605 (Phil) of Oswego. That’s me in the middle in the picture at the top of the post, smiling because we were unscathed.
The Sword in the Stone was a handmade wonder (created by sixrows). It was later auctioned off at the tune of $330, proceeds donated to the local school and host of MOGA Central. The craftsmanship and detail in this piece was inspiring to viewers who took eagerly jumped at the chance for a photo ops.
As I shared with all my fellow attendees during the event, it was perfection to spend a weekend with my two favorite groups of people, geocachers and Midwesterners. It doesn’t get any better than that, unless Merlin shows up…which he did.
Check out this video of the MOGA Sword in the Stone Geocoin: http://vine.co/v/bt6TunMVjl3
See upcoming Mega-Events for one near you!
Special thanks to the MOGA Board of Directors – Mike Griffin (Brawny Bear), Bridget Griffin (BWAT), Tim + Pam Ueltzen (Tim, Pam + Molly), John Elfrank (L Frank), Laurie Elfrank(denmother), Steve Bromley (javapgmr).
Geocachers search parks, trails and forests to earn a smiley, but during a Cache In Trash Out (CITO) event they’re not looking for geocaches. They’re clearing litter and trash from geocaching-friendly areas around the world. Thousands of geocachers will walk away from their CITO events with bags of trash and a sense of pride. They’re preserving the natural beauty of our world. It’s often more than litter clean up. Some CITO events remove of invasive species, plant trees or build trails.
You can be a part of the movement. CITO events are held all year long, but you’ll have more than 140 to choose from on April 20, 21 and 22. It’s the 11th annual International CITO Weekend coinciding with Earth Day.
This year, more than a thousand geocachers from at least 30 countries are combining in the annual worldwide environmental effort. The locations range from Croatia to Hong Kong and include more than 40 U.S. States.
Share this new CITO video and log your “Will Attend” for a CITO event near you. For a limited time, Shop Geocaching will include a free CITO trash bag in each order (U.S. orders, while supplies last).
Technically, a geocache can’t be buried—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be underground. The Below Above series, hidden by geocacher BareClawz, takes daring geocachers on a subterranean adventure through abandoned quarries in southwest England, United Kingdom. This week’s Geocache of the Week is Below Above – The Fallen Monarch (GC2GAMT). This difficulty 5, terrain 5 geocache isn’t for the faint of heart—or the claustrophobic.
The adventure begins with your smartphone or computer—geocachers must figure out clues to find the correct entrance and the correct path to the geocache. From there, it’s time to build up your courage, don your hardhat, check the batteries in your headlamp, pack your geocaching toolkit, and venture into the abandoned (by all except cavers and geocachers, that is) quarries.
As much time and dedication as it takes from geocachers to find these geocaches, creating them is even more difficult. “I have been exploring the quarries for many years and have got to know them quite well, surveys (maps) are also available and using my knowledge combined with the maps I work out a route that I think novice explorers could follow without getting lost, injured or hurting themselves. I then check the route by walking it myself, altering and editing it and then walking it again. When I am finally happy with the route I get a friend, usually a geocacher, to walk the route just following the route I’ve written out. I accompany them and if necessary rewrite parts as needed. Finally it gets fully written up and submitted for publication. This process can take up to two months per cache! I have to consider that people of various levels of underground skills follow these routes to find the caches at the end,” said BareClawz, the geocache creator.
During the underground journey, geocachers come across all sorts of artifacts from when the quarries were active. One look at the geocache’s photo logs and you can see everything from boots to old tools to comments written on the walls from the miners that once worked in the caves. And sometimes you come across things you wouldn’t expect, when asked about his best stories while exploring the quarries, BareClawz recalls, “One classic is being in a quarry one evening and finding two lost cavers and guiding them out and to safety. In another quarry I thought I’d found the body of a caver, it turned out to be an old boiler suit on a dummy left years ago by previous cavers as a joke.”
Geocaching takes us on adventures to places we never knew existed. In this case, it’s abandoned quarries. What’s the greatest adventure that geocaching has ever taken you on?
This geocache was submitted by geocacher *geocass*. If you’d like to read more about the whole Below Above series (and see more photos), check out her blog. Also, the Below Above series is extremely popular and highly regarded by the geocachers that have found it. So much so that it has its own Facebook Group.
If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations on making it down this far! Your prize is a few more Q&As with BareClawz, the creator of the Below Above series:
What inspired you to place these geocaches?
I created the way to set the Below Aboves as a way of combining my two favourite hobbies,geocaching and exploring the old quarries locally with fellow geocachers who some had no idea that these places existed or that there was a way of seeing them. There were a couple of early attempts that led the way to the standard that the current have reached. These were aimed at local cachers and I had no idea that their fame would spread so far and to so many people.
How did you navigate the quarries for the first time?
Initially I got some caving friends to show me the quarries but that was before the first of the Below Aboves and several years ago. I always follow the safety guidelines and tell somebody where I am and how long I intend to be. Then set off with my experience and a map. Initially I did get lost a few times but I can soon work out where I am and don’t panic.
Most of the geocaches in the Below Above series are D5/T5, do you typically like to find similarly difficult geocaches?
I enjoy riddles, puzzles etc and have solved quite a few to find caches but so far no 5/5 caches but I do plan to remedy that soon and find some as soon as I get the chance.
What’s the most interesting artifact you’ve come across while down in the quarries?
There are so many artefacts underground that it’s hard to pick one. Each quarry is different and unique. BA – Mind The Trains I like the railway tracks, but also the water troughs, these appear in Fallen Monarch too, Multi 2 Cathedral is such an awesome sight but the things I like most and spot new ones of in almost every trip are the graffiti comments left by the old workers, some of these date back to the early 19th century. Names of the workers, comic drawings, comments and that sort.
Do you have any crazy stories from when you were placing the caches?
Yes, lots. One classic is being in a quarry one evening and finding two lost cavers and guiding them out and to safety. In another quarry I thought I’d found the body of a caver, it turned out to be an old boiler suit on a dummy left years ago by previous cavers as a joke.
The best memories though are guiding a team of geocachers one year on the day of my birthday and one of the team was a cacher called Ambrel and just after he signed the logbook he presented me with two coins and explained these were what is recognised as Ambrel Top Cache Awards. I now hold 5 of these, one for each of the Below Aboves. Soon I hope that will be 6 as a new Below Above has just been submitted and more are planned over the next few months.
My greatest reward though is the thanks I get mailed by geocachers and reading the logs finders write of their adventures. They say a lot more that TFTC TNLN lol.
[Editor's Note: Geocachers love to spread the word about the adventure of geocaching. Sonny and Sandy from the PodCachers have spent years sharing the joy of geocaching through their podcast the PodCacher podcast. Here's a rare look behind the scenes of their podcast.]
By Sonny & Sandy,
Gorillas, a wild-west jail, a Halloween prop and Dave Ulmer – sound like the start of a bad joke? No, just another typical day at the PodCacher studios, putting together an podcast full of geocaching goodness for a listener community that spans the globe.
We are Sonny and Sandy (from sunny San Diego, California) and we have hosted the PodCacher podcast (the weekly audio show all about geocaching) for almost eight years. From the very first show, where we shared about some geocaches we found in Kazakhstan and Amsterdam, to the latest interview with Dave Ulmer, hider of the first geocache, our 400+ shows have circled the world to offer geocaching content to inform, inspire and entertain.
The rich connections with people we have never met, the truly kindred spirits we have stumbled upon, the numerous poignant emails that share how deeply we have touched someone in a time of stress or grief – these are the amazing gifts we have received from this podcast.
The shows often begin with the latest in geocaching and GPS news. This is where gorillas come into the conversation. A fascinating study about a concept called inattentional blindness which has prevented 83% of radiologists from seeing a gorilla photo-shopped into a lung scan, led to a discussion of caches that are hidden in plain sight, and how easy it is to miss a simple cache, when you have a preconceived notion of what it is supposed to look like. Has this ever happened to you?
Many PodCacher shows include a mention of super cool geocaches. You might hear about several unique or unusual geocaches in one show. One of the greatest resources we have is our diverse, experienced and creative (not to mention good-looking) listener community, and it is amazing what they share with us. On Show 409, for example, a Halloween prop from the dollar store was easily turned into a fun hide called, Lend Me a Hand. Another cacher created a miniature adobe brick-style jail for travel bugs including jail cells and “most wanted” posters for the cache Deputies, bring in those travel bugs.
You may have heard that the famous, yet somewhat reclusive, Dave Ulmer was recently interviewed on PodCacher. He unexpectedly showed up at the recent Mega-Event in Yuma, Arizona, at the invitation of Team 360.
Dave hid the very first geocache (called “stash hunt” at the time) back on May 3, 2000, and he spent some time reminiscing with us about that exciting time, and the amazing world-wide phenomenon that his “little” idea set into motion. He shared about staying up all night when selective availability was to be taken off, watching the accuracy on his GPS change from 300 feet to 30 feet, and realizing that “something magic has to happen from this!” That magic has now passed 2 million active caches on Geocaching.com. Listen to show 409 for more of this fascinating interview.
We love to record from “out in the field”, at geocaching events or just along the trails, capturing that authentic audio that makes it feel like you’re right there with us, but most often we can be found recording in our “home studio”. This is actually a small corner of a home office, partitioned off with a bookcase and sound-dampening blankets hung on rope. To make it even cozier, Sonny built a wooden ceiling that sports more acoustic sound-proofing. We have a printed show outline to guide us, as well as any email, feedback or news items that we need to read, but our favorite times are the spontaneous moments of hilarity that often erupt out of nowhere. We’ve certainly gotten better at recording after all these years, but we still manage to create some great bloopers that often find their way into the end of the show.
We invite you to come and join the international geocaching community at podcacher.com!
[Click CC for Subtitles]
It’s a small step for geocaching and even a smaller step for geocaches. Field tested and geocacher approved, a new geocache size has entered the adventure of geocaching. Just be sure to pack your magnifying glass, tweezers and a metric ton of patience. The new geocache size is named “T.I.N.Y.” It stands for Teentsy Infinitesimal Nucleic Yocto Geocache. Just how small are they? Take a look at this: . Right here: . Yeah. The T.I.N.Y. geocaches are smaller than that punctuation mark. Or this one: .
Interested? Curious? Don’t know what Yocto means? There’s one way to find out. Check out the latest Geocaching Presents video: t.i.n.y. geocaches. Interested in purchasing a 100 count of t.i.n.y. geocaches? They’ve been sold out recently, but for a limited time you might find one in your Shop Geocaching order.
Go behind the scenes and watch the Dosenfischer T.I.N.Y. video.
Geocaching HQ has a history of releasing blockbusting geocaching ideas on April 1. Check out the Geocaching Workout Video you might need to practice before you search for your first t.i.n.y. geocache.
Geocaching Presents: Favorites
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