The Geocaching 20th Anniversary Celebration

As you can imagine, parking in downtown Seattle is a challenge of its own. Because of the early hour, however, we managed to get a decent spot that met our needs not too far away from ground zero. This was especially impressive since we were in the shadow of …

… the world-famous Space Needle. I would have liked to have gone to the top, not just because I’d never been to the top of the Space Needle before, but also because there’s an Unknown Cache there that requires going up to the top, and when was I going to be in Seattle again? I would just have to be content …

… with claiming the Virtual at the foot. Slightly unrelated sidenote: I totally would have gotten some smashed pennies while I was there, but the machines were the most expensive ones I had ever seen! Two bucks and change for a smashed penny? Are you kidding me? Of course, that didn’t really matter anyway because I have long ago fallen out of the habit of carrying cash around. It’s not that I never do it. I just don’t do it consistently. But that wasn’t important. After a few minutes of lollygagging, we made our way past the needle to the Fisher Pavilion and our destination.

Welcome to the big show! Look at all the people milling about, phones and GPSs in hand, paraphernalia on display! I milled about with the rest of the crowd as the sound checks were being done on stage. I took the opportunity to sign the log while I was at it. You see that big 2022 balloon? That was it!

Atreides was, in fact, here! I ran into Lackeys, some of whom I had already met at HQ or before, others I was meeting for the first time. I ran into Mr. Robert William of Redneck Geocaching fame, and we chatted for a bit. I spoke with some readers who recognized me. That’s always a strange feeling that I will never get over, when someone approaches me because they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written. The introvert in me is always taken aback, but the rest of me is happy that I can bring something good into the lives of others, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day. And after a bit, the festivities kicked off!

They began with group photos: an official one taken with a drone and an unofficial one with the Texas contingent, some of whom were at GeoWoodstock and others who came up for this Event. I’m somewhere in that shot there!

I caught the first presentation by Trycacheus and Bouncebounce on building gadget caches, but I have to admit that my attention was only partial. I was going over my own presentation in my head somewhat obsessively. I’d been working on it for quite a while and making tweaks to it over the course of the week. It wouldn’t be my first time on a stage, but it would be the biggest stage I’d been on, and I didn’t want to disappoint a crowd of my peers. But eventually the time came, so I got up and did the thing.

A few things about the experience were kind of weird from a speaking perspective. The front tables were a ways back from the front of the stage, making the audience feel more remote than I’m used to. Combine that with the size of the stage, and it all felt oddly isolating. That wasn’t a big deal, though, because I experienced a phenomenon that I get pretty much any time I talk from a stage. I tend to dissociate a little bit because I’m focusing on the content and the audience and my movement, and because of that, I tend to remove myself from the moment while at the same time being hyperfocused on it.

Consequently, I know everything I said, but I barely remember saying any of it at the same time. I talked about community building, which I noted was ironic because I tend to be a bit of a lone wolf when I cache. To sum up, community building is easy. On the small scale, cache with your buddies. Everyone has people they like caching with, so everyone is doing that already! On a bigger scale, host and attend Events. The Mothership has given us an entire series of cache types to foster community! On the macro scale, serve your fellow cachers. There are geocaching organizations of one type or another all over the world, and bigger Events don’t just put themselves on! And, most importantly, be open to things. I never expected to be bringing a trackable to GeoWoodstock for the organizers. I never expected to meet the guy in Portland with the Webcam problem. In the front row, I saw the same guy I was on the ferry back from Friday Harbor with. To sum up: buddies, Events, service, openness. You got the entire thing in a paragraph! And I talked about some things I’d seen and told a story. I was witty, interesting, and clever, I think. All in all, I’m honored to have been given a chance to talk to everyone and doubly honored to be asked in the first place. And once I had strutted and fretted my hour upon the stage, my perception and power of recollection finally returned.

I ran into Bryan Roth again. If I had had some mental clarity after my heady moment in the spotlight, I would have gotten a photo with him, but I’ll take what I can get. I ran into The Travel Bugs, but he was busy. It’s not like he’d be playing a show later or anything… I hit the food trucks and the vendors. I ate something, but I don’t remember what it was, and I tried to hunt down a 5000 find coin, but, alas, there were none to be had. That was only a minor disappointment, though.

Overall, in my humble opinion, the Twentieth (+2) was a ringing success. I’ve seen some of what it takes to pull off a large Event, and this is a couple steps beyond anything I’ve ever been involved with. Of course, I wasn’t surprised. I’d already seen the passion and work ethic behind the scenes. I had no doubt that it would come out well. But there was something missing. I had forgotten about the essence of the game: the caches. I was over a thousand miles from home in arguably one of the caching capitals of the world. Buckandi had already hooked up with his buddy (and local Austin cacher/pilot), SoaringEagle. They were interested in getting a bunch of types in a day, and I was interested in finishing the HQ GeoTour. Luckily, our interests overlapped. We headed toward the car to set off into…

8 thoughts on “The Geocaching 20th Anniversary Celebration

  1. Two dollars for a smashed penny would have given me pause also, but I probably would have decided that compared with t-shirts or other tchotchkes (which I don’t need) it was a cheap and portable souvenir.

    Thanks for the nice description of the big day. I know several people who were there and none of them have shared much detail of the event. (“It was great!” really doesn’t convey much.)


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