Mitchel Zimmerman stumbled into geocaching, or rather, geocaching stumbled into Mitchel Zimmerman.
He says, “I learned about geocaching when a group of geocachers stumbled out of the woods and into our backyard. They explained what they were doing, and the idea of ‘treasure hunting’ captivated me.” And what a fateful encounter this happy accident would turn out to be for the Pennsylvanian geocaching community.
Mitchel, a.k.a. mzairboy is now the creator and owner of the world’s largest replica ammo-can geocache.
One freezing January morning in 2012, Mitchel attended a Trackable discovery flash mob event. He was there to unveil his giant-sized Travel Bug. Yes, a giant-sized Travel Bug. Mitchel recalls, “During the event, a geocacher told me that all I needed was a geocache big enough to hide my giant travel bug in. That’s when the wheels in my head started turning.”
Over the course of a year, Mitchel secretly designed and assembled his masterpiece. He says, “Deep in the cornfields of Lancaster County, a geocache of massive proportions was being built and no one knew about it.”
When it was finally completed, Mitchel invited geocachers to “The Grand Unveiling” (GC3WYY1). On October 6, 2013, geocachers arrived for the big event. While only a few guests knew what to expect, most were completely astonished by what they encountered.
A geocacher who attended the event writes, “This was certainly an event with a difference. Just the name ‘Grand Unveiling’ captured our curiosity. Happily, we were not disappointed. This ammo-can cache must be a candidate for the Guinness Book of Records. Thanks to mzairboy for thinking outside the box, organizing, and hosting this event.”
So, what’s next for this really big cache? Mitchel plans to eventually hide it as a geocache for everyone to find. For a sneak preview of Mitchel’s creation, check out this video.
FTF 10 Years in the Making
Eric Schudiske on July 22, 2013, 12:32 pm
Belterra, Brazil seeps back into the rainforest. It’s a small town on the wrong side of progress. It’s getting smaller. A few thousand people now call the community home. The population has fallen from more than 10,000 when Belterra was at its peak as a rubber production hub.
At the beginning of 2012, a cache placed in Belterra in 2002, “Belterra” (GC3DF7), had never been found. The FTF (First to Find) on the cache remained unclaimed. The cache was without a log, without a DNF. No one logged even an attempt to find the cache for a decade… until this year.
German geocacher Frank Dornberger FradoMedia made his intentions clear to find the cache at the end of 2011. He wrote a note on the cache page. “I will try to get to the cache in January, when I am in the area. I am really keen to find out if it is still there…” The jungle had crowded around the cache since it was placed. Frank still thought the cache was worth an attempt while traveling through the Amazon on vacation.
He wrote, “I found out that I was going to pass by close enough to try to get to this place. Some research about the area and even more proper preparation of the equipment was necessary to make sure that I could really get to this 1,5 star rated cache. Almost 13 hours on the plane and two days on the river Amazon, plus another hour in the car and a 15 minutes walk later, I was finally there.”
But the “there” Frank saw in person was much different than the “there” he saw on the cache page from ten years ago. He wrote, “I was completely astonished what the place looked like. But after the first shock I thought, what could I have expected after 10 years of that temperature and humidity.” The open air building where the cache had been placed had completely collapsed. His only clue was that the cache was hidden inside a drawer.
His log reads, “… the building was almost completely rotten. So I went closer and into the rest of what was formerly an old house. I had my concerns that some of the wood would fall down and crash on my head, but I couldn’t resist. I had to look for the drawer… after about 45 minutes of searching and dragging I found a box that probably once was the cache.”
Frank says, “As I figured out that the drawer was still in one piece and I saw the old glass bottles and then this black box I got pretty excited, of course. What was inside was a lump that looked more of coal than a logbook. So I cannot be 100% sure. But the location and everything makes it very probable that I had a find.”
Frank logged a smiley and decided to keep the adventure alive for someone else to potentially be the STF (Second to Find) for this cache, “The hut is almost gone completely, but archiving the cache would be a pity. So I decided to place a new [cache] box nearby.”
FTF’s for Frank will now have to occur closer to home. He’s currently geocaching on the German island of Rügen but says the trip to be FTF revealed a new piece of world, “Belterra is far away, that is true. But it is a little nice town nowadays, which is definitely worth a visit.”
A FENDA [Bombarral] GCW5EA – GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – June 18, 2013
Eric Schudiske on June 18, 2013, 12:54 pm
The Geocache of the Week inspires a rappelling adventure into caverns in Portugal and reveals a glimpse into the distant past. A FENDA [Bombarral] (GCW5EA) is rated a difficulty 3, terrain 5 cache. It lures geocachers with the promise to discover caves that were once home to Neanderthals.
Miguelrk + João + Inês placed the regular sized cache in the location in 2006. The cache page, written in Portuguese, warns geocachers that the trek to find this geocache can be dangerous. Safety precautions and the right equipment are mandatory.
The experience is unforgettable. The geocache has won local awards. A FENDA has received dozens of Favorite Points.
The location of this traditional cache offers a visual wonderland. Just over 100 geocachers have logged smileys, but there are more than 500 images in the photo gallery. The logs are rich with detail and emoticons. Some geocachers spend years planning their trip to A FENDA and organize large groups to find and log the cache.
A recent expedition to the A FENDA titled their adventure, “Operação ‘Viagem do fundo da terra’” or “Operation ‘Voyage to the Center of the Earth.’”
If you’d like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to email@example.com.
Mission to Log the Last of a Vanishing Geocache Series
Eric Schudiske on June 15, 2013, 3:42 pm
UPDATED July 5, 2013: Read the comment from Brad Simmons (MonkeyBrad) about his journey to the APE Cache in comments below.
You can track a geocaching team live as they attempt to log a smiley on one of the rarest and most sought after finds in all of geocaching. The team is attempting to find Mission 4: Southern Bowl (GCC67). It’s the last of the Project APE Caches.
For some geocachers, Mission 4: Southern Bowl is the most coveted geocache in the entire world. The cache was hidden deep in the Brazilian Jungle in 2001. Only about 50 geocachers have logged it in 11 years.
Four American geocachers accepted the challenge to find Mission 4: Southern Bowl to mark major personal geocaching milestones. The four geocachers combined have accumulated more than 50,000 cache finds. For Monkeybrad, the last APE Cache will mark his 20,000th smiley, Southpaw‘s geocache tally will reach 18,000 and 6Lindseys and MLRS1996 will each reach 7,000 finds.
The team left the United States on Thursday June 14. They landed in Lima, Peru the following morning. They’re planning to make their way to Sao Paulo, Brazil and to the Project APE Cache. You can track their progress by clicking on the map above.
The Mission 4: Southern Bowl Project APE Cache was part of a promotion for the 2001 film Planet of the Apes. Thirteen A.P.E. caches, each with props from the movie and a story that tied into the movie, were hidden all over the world. Those who found the caches received a unique icon. Mission 4: Southern Bowl is the final active cache in the Project A.P.E. series.
Two German geocachers, ZobelMex and TC-Rudi last found the Project APE Cache in early June. The team of American geocachers is expected to land in Sao Paulo on Friday, June 15. They’ll begin their 300 km drive into the jungles of Brazil over the weekend, where they hope to log a smiley, receive the rare Project APE Icon, and make a memories that will last a lifetime.