I was pretty happy when they announced the 7 Souvenirs of August. This year’s month-long branding initiative requires geocachers to find only six geocaches to earn the first six souvenirs. Once that’s accomplished, your geocaching profile is automatically awarded the seventh and final souvenir.
Depending on how you landed on this blog post, you may have a couple of questions right about now. If you’re wondering “what is geocaching?” the short version is that it’s basically a game of hide and seek – someone hides a container and others try to find it, using a smartphone or GPS receiver to navigate to the specific latitude/longitude posted for each geocache. If you a more complete explanation, please read our geocaching overview page.
If you have a basic understanding of geocaching and you’re wondering “what’s a geocaching souvenir?” think of them as virtual achievement badges that appear on your geocaching user profile once you accomplish something badgeworthy. During last year’s “31 Days of Geocaching Challenge” Groundspeak awarded a souvenir each day you found a geocache in August. There are also souvenirs for finding a geocache in particular countries, in each U.S. state, in each Canadian province, on particular dates, for attending particularly high-profile geocaching events, etc.
Here’s how we earned our first six souvenirs for August 2014:
The Sightseer souvenir is awarded upon finding the end location of a multi-cache, which is basically a multi-staged hunt where you find clues or solve puzzles at each stop along the way until you finally find the geocache container with the logsheet. We lucked out – a new two-part multi-cache was hidden in Canmore near the end of July. We hopped on our bikes and rode about 2.5 km to the posted location for part one, where we quickly solved the puzzle and worked out the final location.
The Explorer souvenir is awarded upon finding a traditional geocache. We found a few of these on the same day we completed the Banff National Park intermediate geocaching challenge. So not only did we earn our souvenir, we also earned the right to purchase a Banff National Park non-trackable geocoin for a nominal fee of $4.
The Collector souvenir is awarded for finding either a virtual geocache or a letterbox hybrid geocache. While in Banff, we opted to find a recently published location for our one our all-time favourite geocaches – GC43F3 Brass Cap Cache. We had an alternate Brass Cap location in mind should we fail to locate the Banff survey marker. And our ultimate fail safe would have been to ride the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain to log a virtual cache that was created back in July 2001.
The Nature Lover souvenir is awarded upon logging an earthcache or helping at a Cache-In-Trash-Out (CITO) community clean-up event. We are big fans of earthcaches, so during the same trip to Banff for the intermediate geocaching challenge, we stopped at the Mount Rundle earthcache, set up about a year ago by a German geocacher. We had a bit of difficulty meeting the logging requirements because of so much glare, but managed to find a location a bit north of the posted coordinates where we had better conditions to make the required observations.
The Puzzler souvenir is awarded upon finding a mystery/puzzle geocache. This could be a puzzle you solve at home to work out the coordinates of the hidden container. Or it could be a puzzle you have to solve in the field in order to access the container. Or maybe even some combination of the two. Fortunately, we have a few of the first type of puzzle caches in inventory – in other words, we solved them a while ago but have never made it out to find the containers. Fortunately, one of those “solved but not found” puzzle caches is in Canmore, where we are spending much of the summer. So we combined a geocaching stop with a couple of errands on the north side of the TransCanada highway and came away with the a “found it” log for GC3J6F2 – Math Nerd and thereby earned “The Puzzler” souvenir.
Our final challenge was to earn The Socializer souvenir by attending some sort of geocaching event. A quick look at the most recently placed Alberta geocaches showed one published event for Calgary in August (there may be more published since), and it happened to be on a day we’d be back in the city to look after a few work-related things. That’s how we came to attend our first geocaching event in almost a year. After signing the event logbook and chatting for a bit, we headed home, with our sixth souvenir in hand.
What about you? Have you earned at least one of the 7 Souvenirs of August? If not, there’s still plenty of time before August 31 rolls around.