Saturday, March 19, 2011

Epic Caches: Groundspeak HQ

The last few days have been epic geocaching days for me.  On Thursday I flew to Portland Oregon for a work trip.    The Pacific Northwest is where geocaching started, and has an insanely large amount of caches, and an awesome caching community. Since I was in the area, I took Friday off and spent it  exploring some of the caching richness the area has to offer with my new caching buddy, caching name idajo2.

One of the highlights of the area is a series of three caches called The Triad.  The Triad includes Groundspeak HQ, the Original Stash Tribute Plaque, and  and "Mission 9: Tunnel of Light" AKA "the APE cache, as it was part of the promotion for the newest Planet Of The Apes movie. Our primary goal on Friday was to snag the HQ cache.

The Experience Music Project:
aka: Seattles Vagina
We started our day at 6am and drove 2.5 hours from nothern(ish) Portland to Seattle Washington.  We ate breakfast on the way to the cache, and we did some caching. I found my first nano cache.  When we finally hit Seattle, we first did some touristy things. idajo2 used to live in Seattle so she was able to show me some of the more awesome highlights of the city, a handy thing since we only had a few short hours to spend there.

The Fremont Troll - under a bridge.
The VW Bug is real.
Seattle is an interesting town.  Unlike most cities it doesn't seem to have a single style. Rather its a crazy mix of several architectural styles ranging from the amazingly mundane to the surprisingly artistic.  There are entire neighbourhoods filled with square mundane buildings that are mixed with architectural wonders, interesting sculptures, and artistic oddities, like the Space Needle and the Fremont Troll. One of the weirdest buildings is The Experience Music Project, a funky building built by Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft).  Naturally we did some more caching as we explored the city (for example: there is a micro cache under the bridge behind the trolls right elbow, just up the hill).

The Groundspeak HQ cache.
Since the Groundspeak HQ is at a working office, and the cache is in their lobby, one can only get access via appointment.  So at 2pm we headed over to the Groundspeak offices and found the cache.  While there we were able to meet some of the Groundspeak employees, who call themselves lackeys, and talk geocaching shop talk with them.   It was an interesting experience, and a good feeling to check one of the triad caches off my list, but the experience was short lived... we had one more major caching adventure in store for us this day.

After we finished with HQ, we drove 4 hours back to southern Portland through some of the finest rain and traffic the Seattle area has to offer to attend a large meet and greet caching event with the local caching organization GEOregon.  There were over 150 cachers there, which is 10x more cachers than I have ever seen in one place at one time.

After the event we went out and found a few night caches, before finally calling it quits.  I returned to the hotel at 11:30pm exhausted after experienced an epic caching day.