I am so excited to write about my adventures in Seattle, Washington in August 2015, were I traveled to attend the Geocaching Headquarters Block Party 2015. I attended the previous years party virtually in 2013 and 2014, but this year I was able to attend in person - my first block party, and the last. Geocaching HQ declared this to be the last block party at Geocaching HQ. They did however hint that it will not be the last block party every, there might be a break of a year, but there will definitely be more block parties -- just in different locations!
I spent all day socializing, running around grabbing Geocaches from the Seattle GCHQ GeoTour and lab caches in the area. Completed one lab cache challenge and earned a car window flag that I can have waving around when I am on a cache hunt! ;-) Some of the caches were really cool, from a rigged payphone that had a message when you picked up the receiver, had to solve a puzzle and enter the right code on the keypad to have the change drawer open to present you with the cache. Another cache was found near the water front where you had to find a drawer that was embedded in the staircase. Caches all around the area were tons of fun. We had to work as a team to form a barricade to trap a chest full of little plastic balls to find ONE out of thousands.
I was honored to have the pleasure of meeting people I have heard about, read about, and listened too in Podcasts in person for the first time:
The following day I was up before the sun and driving out to my first Mega-event, Going Ape 2015 (GC5F58Q)! I arrived really early to venture into the tunnel before the crowds. I had met up with another couple from Hawaii (Louis and Clark, that was the humor they presented, his name is actually Richard). My friend was running late, so we ventured toward the tunnel. We grabbed the cache before entering, and then walked into the Tunnel. We thought the real tunnel was a bit further away, so we did not know we were already in the Tunnel of light. So we went about two-thirds into the tunnel, found the cache "Bloody Fingers, Dirty Diapers" (GCJMDK). We thought we were heading toward a light at the middle of the tunnel, but after getting closer, we realized that it was the end of the tunnel, not a lamp attached to the wall. Had us going. We turned around - because my friend was arriving soon. After I met up with my friend John, we found out that we had already entered and almost finished the tunnel and the Ape cache was on the other side. Arrgghh.. We met up with more people and were able to venture into the tunnel, make it to the other end. So John, my new friends, and his wife, all ventured back into the tunnel and emerged on the other side. We found the caches there and walked to the Ape Cache — "Mission 9: Tunnel of Light Reclaimed" (GC300N0) — signed the logbook and took pictures. We finished just in time, as the tunnel was becoming very crowded with hundreds of people on bikes and walking through the tunnel.
We soon departed and went our separate ways, and I began my journey to the Original Stash Tribute Plaque (GCGV0P) just outside Oregon City in Oregon. On May 3, 2000, a five-gallon bucket was placed right at this very spot by Dave Ulmer containing a Delorme Topo USA, 2 CD Roms, a cassette recorder, a "George of the Jungle" VHS tape, a Ross Perot book, 4 $1 bills, a slingshot handle and a pretty notorious can of beans (now the O.C.B. trackable). The coordinates were then listed on the internet and modern-day geocaching was born.
This trip would allow me to complete the Geocaching Triad (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YwPHWb6az-Y), an adventure and accomplishment that is sought after by many serious Geocachers! I took the 3 hour tour of 220 miles from Snoqualmie Pass (location of the Ape Event) to Redland, Oregon. I met up with fellow geocachers paying their respects and taking pictures. Of course I put my batteries and GPS on the plaque -- from the cache page: "While visiting, remember to place your GPS unit on top of the plaque for a moment or two in order to receive extended battery life and super-accurate satellite reception! "
What a great sense of accomplishment!