Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why You Should Consider Attending GeoWoodstock

GeoWoodstock is billed as the largest and oldest geocaching Mega event in North America.  It is also one of my favourite events, and I look forward to attending it every year since my first one in 2009.

If you are not familiar, a geocaching event is where geocachers get together and hang out in real life.  A Mega event is where 500 more more geocachers get together, all at the same time and place, and socialize.

GeoWoodstock attracts several thousand geocachers every year.   I have personally attended four of these events, and I am looking forward to making this years my fifth 'stock.

The following are just some of the reasons why I thing GeoWoodstock is a must-do event for any geocacher, and why its worth going back year after year.

-  It is a laid back event.  GeoWoodstock is designed to be low key  The whole idea is to have time to hang out and socialize with your geocaching friends, old and new.  Don't worry if you don't have many geocaching friends that will be going tho as you will make plenty of new ones at the event.  Also...

- There are a lot of activities for geoacachers of all ages to keep you occupied.  This year looks to be no exception.  Some of this years planned activities include seminars on benchmarks, creative cache construction, and GSAK, as well as a chance to meet some of the reviewers.  There will also be a Civil War Encampment to explore, a Colonia Village tour, a poker tournament, and special activities for the children.

You may think that there is a too much stuff to do, and you won't have time to go geocaching.  Don't worry! Unlike many Mega events, the event does not revolve around the activities.  They are all optional, which gives you lots of free time to explore the local area and go geocaching. Which is useful because...

- GeoWoodstock is in a different place every year so there is always some place new to explore.  Previous GeoWoodstocks have taken me to Pennsylvania, Indiana, Florida, and Missouri.  This year GeoWoodstock is going to be held in Boonsboro, Maryland, which means that within a few hours drive you can be deep in Amish country, in the heart of Washington DC, or exploring the mountains of West Virginia.  That is a huge amount of geocaching potential right there.

Not to mention that you are close to WVTim country.  WVTim is one of the premiere gadget cache hiders, and is responsible for many amazing geocaches.  He is not the only one in the area that is an avid cache hider tho, which makes me super excited about...

- Lab Caches.  These are a special type of cache that are only available at Mega events. Lab caches are intended to be a way for geocachers to explore new and interesting ways to create and hide geocaches that may not normally be allowed under the publishing guidelines.  Think of them as a geocache hiders playground.  Many Lab caches in the past have been excellent and unique experiences, and with the reputation of some cachers in the area, I have high hopes for the Lab caches at this years event.

Lab caches are often used to give tours of the local area, which in this case should prove interesting because...

- There is a lot of history in Maryland.  The event itself is hosted near the Antietam National Battlefield, which was the site of the bloodiest single day in US Military history.  The area is also rich in colonial history, Revolutionary War, Civil War, and everything up to the present day.  The possibilities are endless around that area.  It would definitely take more than one day to explore all the history that the area has to offer.  Luckily...

- There are many side events happening all weekend.  GeoWoodstock itself is held on the Saturday, but there are other events held that weekend, often starting as early as Wednesday.  So the party lasts for several days.

- Like all geocaching events, GeoWoodstock is free to attend.  There are registration packages that get you swag and souvenirs that cost money, but they are reasonable for the things you get. They also have a catered meal that you can get meal tickets for.  However if you just want to show up and enjoy the day you are more than welcome to do so. Parking is also free.

I am super excited about this years GeoWoodstock.  With all of the history, countryside, and geocaching to do, it promises to be one of the more interesting events I will have attended.  I also expect that with GeoWoodstock being so close to Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and a half days drive of New York City, this is going to be one of the highest attended GeoWoodstocks to date.

If you would like to learn a bit more about what previous GeoWoodstocks have been like, check out my blog posts from the past four years:
 - GeoWoodstock XI in Warren, Pennsylvania (posts)
 - GeoWoodstock X in  Sellersburg, Indiana (posts)
 - GeoWoodstock XI in Lakeland, Florida (posts)
 - GeoWoodstock XII in St. Charles, Missouri (posts) (I also made a week long trip out of this called Long Way Round)

Personally  I plan on bringing the family and making a week long road trip out of it.  I hope to see all of you folks there!

You can get more information at geowoodstock.com, and post your Will Attend log on the event page (GC54840).

Are you going?  Let me know in the comments below.