Winter Geocaching

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQiAAAAJDcxMGM0NjkzLTVlYTAtNGIzOC05NmQ5LTI3OTNkOTcwM2UxZQ.jpg[This blog post was originally posted on the Geocaching.com blog on December 4, 2015]

With winter weather comes new challenges for geocachers. Days are shorter and colder while snow and ice change the landscape, making special equipment necessary.

Clockwise from top left: Earthcache at GC1575A Big Four Ice Caves in Washington, Heli ski to GCV3AH “Georgia on my mind” in Georgia, Eurasia, GC141MY The Northern Lights (Traditional Cache) in Newfoundland and Labrador, unknown night cache, unknown doggie cache, unknown tree cache.

Despite the winter challenges, you can still remain active in the game! Winter geocaching activities include:

  • Build skills for new geocaching experiences at a rock climbing gym.
  • Visit a library cache.
  • Host or attend a geocaching event.
  • Work on Puzzle caches.
  • Take a trip to low altitude places to find more accessible geocaches.
  • Channel your inner Maker Madness and create wow-worthy caches, trackables, and SWAG for placement in the Spring.
  • Scout potential hide locations to see how they look in the winter.
  • Venture into the snow. Bring a poking stick and poke that snow till you hear a clang or thud. Before heading out, make sure you’ve reviewed our cold weather caching tips.

Clockwise from top left: GC4WEJH Franz Josef Glacier (Waikato) in North Island, New Zealand, GC115ZX Deception Island EarthCache in Antarctica, unknown mountain cache, GC115ZX Deception Island EarthCache in Antarctica.

Depending on where you’re located, you can be in for any type of weather. With these seasonal geocache finding tips and seasonal geocache owner tips, you can make geocaching a year-round activity!

Winter can be an incredible and inspiring time.

What wintertime geocaching activities do you enjoy?


A Special Geocaching Mission to a Ghost Town


[This blog post was originally posted on the Geocaching.com blog on April 19, 2015]

Any excuse to find a geocache in a ghost town, right? Geocaching HQ received notification that public access to the ghost town of Monte Cristo in the mountains outside of Seattle was about to be closed. Hazardous mining-related waste has to be removed. It’s the same location where Geocaching founder, Jeremy Irish and his wife Samsy placed one of the oldest caches in the state, on November 19, 2000. We decided to use the last weekend before the closing date of April 15th, 2015 to retrieve the historic geocache.

An unexpected snowfall upped the terrain rating of the caching trip but gave us a chance to explore a winter wonderland. The 10 mile hike (including side excursions to cache) led us across rivers, through woods, and to crumbling miners’ homes.

We look forward to repeating the hike and replacing the cache when the mining town opens up to visitors again. Now to fill in the next hole for the Jasmer Challenge!

Check out the pictures of the adventure below. Tell us your favorite geocaching adventure below, and we just may feature it in our next blog post!

Bri crossing the only “bridge” to Monte Cristo

The snowy trail to the geocache site

Ghost town building

Jeremy and Samsy recovering the geocache hidden in 2000

Jeremy Irish and Bryan Roth, Co-Founders of Geocaching

Outdoors · Tips and Tricks · Uncategorized

Alligators vs. Crocodiles: Tips and Tricks

Why Learn the Difference:

According to alligator wrestlers, there is no such thing as a bad wrestler because if you’re bad, you’re dead. The normal gait of alligators and crocodiles on land is the “belly crawl,” but they are the only reptiles who can bring their legs directly under themselves in a “high walk.” In this position, the front and back legs move as synchronous pairs to launch the alligator at prey at speeds of 30 mph for short distances. There are some differences in how to handle an attack. Growing up in Florida, the only place in the world home to both alligators and crocodiles, I have an interest in distinguishing between them.

Alligator and Crocodile Comparison:

American Alligator

  • Black, Broad snout.
  • Teeth of the upper jaw visible when jaws closed.
  • Powerful jaws closing, yet are so weak in opening that that even a child can hold an alligator’s mouth closed.

American Crocodile

  • Olive brown, Narrow snout.
  • Teeth of both jaws visible when jaws closed.
  • Powerful jaws both opening and closing, even a grown man can’t hold shut.

Safety Tips:

  • Never feed alligators or they will associate you with food.
  • Leave babies and eggs alone, because any adult alligator will respond to a distress call from any youngster.
  • Don’t run in zig-zag patterns to avoid a charging alligator. This is based on the myth that alligators can’t turn. In reality an alligator is very agile and faster in short distances than a human. Run in a straight line away from the alligator, since an alligator has low endurance on land.

Fighting an Alligator:

  • Try to get on the alligator’s back and put downward pressure on its neck.
  • Cover the alligator’s eyes to make it more sedate.
  • If the alligator gets you in its jaws, try to avoid it shaking you or rolling over, as this will cause severe tissue damage.
  • Punch it on the snout. It may let go and back off.
  • Try flipping the alligator over. When you flip over an alligator, a disconnect occurs between the vestibula aparatus of the inner ear and the brain and the pressure put on the brain puts the alligator in a coma-like state.
  • Another technique was used by the Seminole Indians for solo alligator hunting. They would have a rope around their waist and once they were on top of an alligator, they would place their chin under the alligator’s lower jaw so they could free their hands to tie the alligator’s mouth shut. Be very certain that you are wrestling an alligator. If you try this on a crocodile, there is no way you can keep its mouth shut, so this would be a fatal mistake.
  • Afterwards, seek medical attention immediately, even for a small cut. Alligators have a huge number of pathogens in their mouths

Outdoors · Uncategorized

Seattle’s Geocaching Scene

Today I interviewed with a really neat Seattle-based geocaching company called Groundspeak. For those of you who don’t know, geocaching is a treasure hunting game using GPS. There are over 1 million caches in the world to find. You can also locate benchmarks, which are hidden survey markers that are a part of American history.

I first heard about geocaching several years ago, but never tried it. Part of the reason was that there was no local group to learn the ropes with, part of the reason was that I didn’t own a GPS device at the time. I took a look online today and Seattle surprisingly has only one hiking meetup group that mentions an interest in geocaching.

However, a search on meetup.com yields 85 Seattleites who would be interested in a local group. I wish I could start one up myself, but with my lack of personal experience it would be a little like the blind leading the blind. For now, you can join the Washington State Geocaching Association. They don’t list any group geocaching events, so the sport, at least locally, remains one for individualists.