Challenge Geocaches

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about geocaching, but I’ve got something exciting to report on! My first hand experience anyway.

This post is about challenge caches. A challenge cache does have an actual location, as well as a physical log to sign, but there is an added challenge! These caches require an additional task before they can be considered complete.

My example today is going to be about state county challenges. I was so excited to complete my first county challenge while in Rhode Island this month. For this particular style cache, you have to find a cache in each county of the state.

This was an easy challenge, as Rhode Island only has five counties, but it still takes more effort than your traditional cache. It is usually wise to plan ahead, this way you can be sure that each county is accounted for. It can be simple if you want, grabbing park and grab caches, or difficult, going after the interesting ones.

Luckily for me, Jenna was up for my caching challenge! This allowed us to see the many beautiful sides of the smallest state in our two day trip. We visited Fort Wetherill, home of an amazing quartz filled cliff in Newport County.


We saw the state capital of Providence, in the county with the same name. We visited a beautiful and peaceful cemetary with stones dating back to the revolutionary war in Bristol county.

The actual location of the challenge cache log was even in a tiny cemetary, tucked into the woods. You would think it could be forgotten, hidden as it is, but the flags on the graves show us that it is not.

Challenge caches can be anything from the county kind to requiring you to log a certain number or type of cache prior to logging it. They are a nice change from the traditional cache and worth trying out!

For more information on geocaching, check out:

Types of caching
Geocaching souvenirs

Geocaching lingo

Geocaching

Geocaching: Souvenirs

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This is another pointless, and yet freakishly satisfying, part of Geocaching. As I said before, there are a lot of types of caches, in a lot of different places. On your main profile page on geocaching.com there is a link to your “Souvenirs”. That is where you will find all of your badges.

These souvenirs, or badges, are earned for several different things. First, and easiest I think, is to get state souvenirs. All you have to do is get a cache in a state and you get that souvenir. So far I’ve grabbed OH, NJ, SC, IN AND WV. Tony and I are trying to grab at least one cache in each state we pass through.

There is an International Geocaching Day badge above. Also an easy souvenir to get, but only available once a year! August 15th is International Geocaching Day and the only requirement to this souvenir is that you find and log any type of cache on August 15th. Easy peasy!

The rest of my souvenirs were from the “Road Trip 2015”. This was a list of badges that they made available, during specific dates. For instance, they wanted you to get an Earth Cache, you needed to get a D5 or T5, hardest to find and/or get to, attend a geo-event, find a cache with ten or more favorite points and find a mystery/puzzle cache. There was a very reasonable amount of time to find these caches, so don’t think you would need a week to get it all done at once.

The added bonus to doing the “Road Trip” is that once you complete the caches they required, you get the Road Trip souvenir. I was a little over excited about getting this souvenir!

Yes, they are just little digital stickers on your page. If you feel like spending the money, you can purchase the actual pins from the geocaching store, but it is strangely satisfying seeing the souvenirs that you’ve gotten. Try it and see!

Happy caching!

Geocaching: Types of Caches

Another fun thing about geocaching is the variety of caches available to you. There are many types that I have no experience with, so obviously I’ll only be writing about the ones that I am familiar with. For a full list, be sure to check out the full cache type list at the official geocaching site.

The first, and most common type of cache is the traditional cache. This is also most basic and simple one. You select the cache on your app, it gives you the coordinates, you go where it tells you and you find the cache, sign the log and move on. Quick and easy smiley! There are different levels of difficulty and different terrain types within this category, but there is no figuring anything out with these, just point and go.

The next type of cache that I’ve completed is the mystery, or puzzle, cache. These are a little more complicated, or a lot, depending on the difficulty level, They do list a set of coordinates, but these are not correct. Usually, COs (Cache Owners) with a sense of humor will even put that in the description that the coordinates will put you in the middle of a lake or a highway. With caches like these, there is a clue or puzzle to solve to find the real coordinates. Once you have solved the puzzle or clue, you will go to those coordinates, find the cache and sign the log. My caching buddy loves these types of caches. He likes nothing better than sitting down and solving a lot of puzzles at once. Then he’ll call and we’ll go on a caching run to get them all!

My kids and I looking for an earth cache

Another type of cache I have found is an earth cache. These are different from the normal types of caches, in that there are no physical logs to sign. The earth cache that I found involved going to the set of coordinates listed, then answering the questions listed there. Then you can log the find. It is important to remember that you have to send a message to the CO with the answers. If the CO does not receive the answers within a reasonable amount of time, they can and will delete the log, making it disappear from your finds. These usually involve something interesting in nature, like a specific rock formation or historic site that the CO feels is worth seeing. This isn’t the best picture, but this was the one we sent to the CO, not a requirement, but appreciated, along with our answers.

Multi-caches

Multi-caches require you to go to at least two locations. The locations are close to each other, so don’t worry too much about travel time. The multi-caches I’ve done were actually walking distance between locations. These types of caches involve going to the first location and finding a clue. This particular cache’s clue was this awesome wind-chime, hanging in a graveyard. Yes, caches can be in graveyards. Don’t worry though, they are usually located on the outskirts or in the trees or shrubbery. This particular clue was a number that we had to add to the original coordinates. This led us to the actual cache, we signed the log and moved on to the next.

Event caches are another very unique type of cache. They are not a hidden cache at all. This is a geocacher event, this does include a log, but they tell you specifically where to go and at what time. The family and I had the opportunity to attend one of these earlier this month, and it was a lot of fun. These are hosted by a particular cacher, the log has to be signed while you are there, then you can log the “find”. It’s another smiley for your counts, but more importantly it’s a fun time to meet other cachers. You can discuss particular local hides, maybe talking to the people who placed them, or discuss the difficulties you have with certain caches. They also sometimes have different trackables for you to take and hide later on. I will talk about trackables later on, I promise.

Happy caching!

Geocaching: The Lingo

I need to start this post by saying that this is an incomplete list. There are many different sites available that have glossaries of geo-slang, but as for myself, I felt the need to keep reading these ridiculous words and abbreviations, that made no sense, until I found out what they meant.

The first one that started driving me crazy was found while browsing through digital logs: TFTC. It was showing up multiple times, in multiple cache logs. This is a short way to log a find, and it stands for “thanks for the cache”, a close companion to this is TFTH, meaning “thanks for the hide”.

Second weird thing I found in logs was “out collecting smileys”. What the heck could that mean?! I was thinking maybe little smiley face erasers? Nope! I should have figured this one out much sooner, but I was a little slow on this.

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When looking at the “live map”, an option on your apps main screen, the caches you have already found show up as smiley faces. It’s cute and quirky, but now you know!

SWAG is a common term in today’s culture. Some of the cache descriptions would have a line, such as “loaded with SWAG”. I figured out pretty quickly that SWAG meant that there were little trade items in the cache, my kids call it treasure. I was browsing through a geocaching website recently and discovered it stands for “Stuff We All Get”.

The most recent term to throw me came from a fellow geocacher. CO. Now, to me, an Army brat, that means Commanding Officer. Luckily, he was right there to ask, so this one was answered quickly. CO stands for Cache Owner. This is the person who placed the cache and is responsible for its upkeep.

This is in no way a comprehensive list of terms, only the ones that made me bonkers or struck me as weird. For the best list of these geo-words, be sure to check out the geocaching glossary. It will fill you in on all the important and not-so-important ones.

Happy caching!