Success! After three hours and a lot of laughs, I was given my Adventure Time medal.
Geocaching is one of the nerdiest, most family-friendly outdoor activities anyone could do in their free time and that's no diss. According to the Geocache website, "Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that's happening right now, all around you. There are 2,472,705 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide." Anyone can create a geocache, all it takes is a weatherproof box, a small piece of paper to act as a log for geocachers to sign as they find the hidden container and, if the cacher so chooses, a trinket to be taken and left at other caches with a trackable code registered on the Geocache website. It's all in good fun and a great way to get outside when you have no plans.
This weekend locally-based Geocache HQ (a part of Groundspeak) threw their sixth annual Geocache Block Party in the heart of Fremont. The big event gathers together hundreds of people with the simple goal of geocaching their butts off, with visitors coming into town from all over the world. I ran into people from Alaska, France, and Germany, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. A Geocache employee mentioned that the activity is as big in Germany as it is in the States and with the addictingly fun past time spreading like wild-fire each year, it'll only get bigger and better.
A lot of Block Party participants take their geocaching very seriously with personalized "path tags", little charms with their geocaching name and special design along with a trackable code, of course, so they can see where their tags end up. What's the draw of such invested participation? Connection, that's the name of the game and the real excitement of geocaching.
Full disclosure, I used to be an avid cacher. I loved finding all the puzzles, following the instructions, and after a few minutes... or much longer, finding that cache. All the frustration was worth it when you find that dirt-covered, container. Vindication! I was excited to participate in this year's Adventure Time challenge co-sponsored by Cartoon Network. It was fun being involved in cache finding with so many other people, and admittedly they were pretty easy to find, if not a little messy. The photos below are my "Adventure Time" geocache travels, but make sure you check out the rest of the slideshow as well. It was the best way I could have spent a sunny Saturday in Seattle and recommend you take a stab at some geocaching yourself.
Signing up for the block party was a snap, but the earlier you arrived, the faster you could get started
The first clue was just a longitude/latitude location with the key words immediately available. First cache down, five to go.
Other participants were looking for the more difficult caches around town. Several new caches had bee created around the event.
Next up, we had to cross the Fremont bridge and walk onto Nickerson to find a woodpile.
Sneaky sneaky, they hid the code in a hollowed log.
Taking on the challenge was pretty exciting and this young cacher wasn't the only one running to the next stop.
Next up was a stop by the Lenin statue, it was a bit crowded when I got there.
Turns out this clue was a little more difficult to decipher. There's a gold pin stuck in the map on Brazil. The secret to the code? Type it exactly as it was on the map "Brasil".
Next we were led to a dance studio on 34th, this little guy would rather watch the "Adventure Time" video than figure out the clue.
The real fun was in the increasing difficulty in finding the clues, this one required locks to be opened and buttons pushed.
Eventually everyone worked together to figure out how to find the clue, "ILLUMINATE"!
The fifth clue was difficult too, but not in a way I expected...
You had to find a key in a big pool of slime!
The real difficulty? THere were about a hundred keys in the pool, so getting down in the slime was a must.
The key says it all.
Finally we were at the last cache and it was more fun than the slime, you didn't come away with sticky hands.
Found it! I could have gone up a climbing wall to discover the clue as well, but decided staying on the ground was a better idea.