2021 was the best year I’ve had since I started geocaching. I finished the year with 1,728 total finds, blowing away my old personal record of 1,090 finds in 2015. I also managed to fill in my Fizzy Grid and find the oldest geocache in the world.
A mild winter allowed me to start making regular finds beginning in January of 2021. I have been finding caches on consecutive days since January 22, 2021 and I’m in the homestretch for finding a geocache every day for a year. Once I set about this goal, I needed to keep my excitement going. Initially, I wasn’t doing much traveling pre-vaccine, but that changed and I planned a big road trip in April to travel to the oldest geocache in the world, Mingo, in Kansas. I started looking at the counties along the way, inspired by atreides78723 who writes the blog Geocaching While Black. I tried to plan at least a cache or two in every county I crossed through on my way west. I did pretty good, You can see the map below all of the counties I’ve found a geocache in across the country. My trip to Mingo began with finds around Albany, NY and stretched all the way to western Kansas and home. Time constraints meant I missed a few counties, but overall I did well.
I also stopped at some fascinating places.
In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a road trip for seeing the country!
In 2019, I convinced my spouse to buy me a used kayak. For the first time, I used it to find geocaches. I only did a few in our area so my journeys consisted of easy caches in familiar areas. I’d been geocaching for 10 years at this point and hadn’t filled in my Fizzy Grid. I wanted to fix that this year, and the higher terrain geocaches meant either climbing around on the mountains or paddling to them. I also searched for what are called Challenge Caches, where you have to accomplish something before you can find the geocache. Many of them have higher difficulty or terrain ratings, not because finding them is difficult, but because the accomplishment is. By the end of September, I was down to just one box on my Fizzy Grid that I hadn’t found a cache for. There were a couple of geocaches I could paddle to an hour south of me, but I couldn’t get to them before the water being cold was an issue. I looked at the Challenges and lo and behold there was one near Raleigh, North Carolina that I qualified for and would fill in that particular box. I planned to get it on my annual trip to Florida, and it worked out perfectly.
In 2015 I completed a challenge where you had to find a geocache in each of New Hampshire’s 234 towns. There was a similar challenge for Massachusetts, but I’d never paid attention to it, feeling that was a bit too far for me to travel on a regular basis. In 2019, I became aware of a challenge to find geocaches in each of Vermont’s 251 towns. I can drive about an hour and be in Vermont, so I started working on that here and there once the snow was gone. In August of 2021, I found out that there was a page following people who were trying to find a geocache in all of the towns of New England. I spent a lot of this year going to Maine, trying to find a geocache in each county in Maine and then work on the DeLorme grid for Maine. I had found geocaches in a lot of Maine towns, so I had found geocaches in more than 500 towns in New England, of the 1,497 total towns in New England. Challenge accepted!
I spent the majority of the fall and early winter concentrating on logging geocaches in New England towns and managed to add a significant number to my total. According to the website, for the year I added 149 towns to my total.
Unfortunately, most of the towns left area 2+ hour ride from home, so it will be slow going. In the winter I have to study the snow cover maps to decide where I want to go. I tend to get frustrated in the snow, and geocaching isn’t really fun for me then.
Geocaching has brought me to many great places. One of the best surprises was when I went to Las Vegas with two other geocachers and we went to Bryce Canyon. We originally intended to go to Zion National Park, but saw a few geocaches that hadn’t been found yet that were closer to Bryce Canyon. Being the first to find, or “FTF” are something people enjoy logging, so we used that as our guide and ended up in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. There’s also something in geocaching called a “power trail” which is when a geocacher hides geocaches along a road that’s generally pretty easy to find caches on every 500-1000 feet. In the Nevada desert, north of Las Vegas, there is an infamous power train on the ET Superhighway and surrounding area. We had fun with me driving and the other two geocachers hopping out and signing the logs and found 119 geocaches that day. If we had been really into it, we could have done a lot more, but we skipped around and had fin and still had our best day ever geocaching in terms of numbers.
I don’t think I can top 2021 for geocaching, in terms of both numbers and the great places I visited. I look forward to where geocaching brings me in 2022.