Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Geocaching at Groundspeak HQ

This month, I had the opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise that left out of Seattle, WA. Needless to say, when a geocacher is in Seattle, there is at least one place that you simply MUST go - Groundspeak Headquarters.  I made an appointment several months in advance with Lackey Sara via email and was given the not-terribly-secret coordinates (and the street address just in case).

Upon arriving at the third-floor office, the first thing you notice is the gigantic treasure chest staring at your from across the room.  I've found some very large caches before, but this was by far the largest one yet.  I wanted to look around first, but my two girls were so mesmerized that they just made a bee-line straight for the treasure chest.  To my surprise, it was amazingly well organized - a box for U.S. destined travel bugs, a box for foreign country destined travel bugs, and a box for tradable geocoins.  The rest of the treasure chest was full of other unusual items like a full-size, trackable Darth Vader mask and a giant wooden Groundspeak Signal HQ Geocoin.  I had expected to find numerous pathtags in the treasure chest too, but sadly this was not the case.  In fact, I brought around 30 pathtags (most donated by the lovely caching couple DE_Cryptoman and Entwined55) and left about half of them in the cache anyway.

Another perk of visiting Groundspeak HQ is the chance to meet and visit with some Groundspeak Lackeys.  On this visit, I had the pleasure to meet a geocaching legend and Groundspeak Lackey, Moun10Bike.  In the rare event that you haven't heard of him, Moun10Bike is a not only a charter member of, he is also the father of geocoins and designed the very first trackable geocoin.  If you want to follow him, he is very active on Twitter, @moun10bike.  To help commemorate my visit, I was given one of the nice Lackey X-ing travel tags and a Moun10Bike travel tag.

The office area itself was off-limits since most of the Groundspeak Lackeys were still hard at work.  However, the lobby/foyer area is still pretty cool.  They have two large, flat-panel displays showing geocaching photos and logs in real-time on an interactive world map.  They also have a small store display where they sell hats, t-shirts, travel bugs, travel tags, water bottles, etc.  Recently, they added a photo booth too, but I didn't have time to get my picture made during this short visit.  Finally, the entire lobby area looked like an elegant cross between a high-tech computer firm and an outdoor adventure center - probably exactly the look they were going for!

Thanks, Groundspeak, for a nice afternoon visit!


P.J. said...

Sounds like a heap of fun. I hope to eventually, one day, get out there and have a visit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your visit! Meeting the geocachers who visit HQ is one of the bast parts of the job. Come back anytime!
- Eric Schudiske

Robyn Broyles said...

This is very cool. I don't get to travel much but I'd sure love to be able to visit HQ. My kids, of course, would only care about the swag. (My oldest is 7 and I'm hoping as he gets older he'll discover the thrill of the chase.)

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