Growing up in Georgia, and right down the road from Pine Mountain, I know the beauty and history this small town holds. In fact, FDR State Park was my regular getaway growing up. So when we heard that the Going Caching 2013 Mega Event was going to be held there, we knew we couldn’t miss out on it!
We arrived at the Going Caching 2013 Event Thursday night, so that we would be ready to participate in the the ACE Challenge Event that was scheduled for all day Friday. Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive soon enough to participate some of the smaller events that were held on Wednesday in Warm Springs, GA; which is the location of the “Little White House” where FDR often stayed during his presidency. Once we got our tent up and our campsite settled, we were off to one of many breakout events held over the weekend. These breakout events are great way to meet other geocachers. The first meet and greet we attended was a Fireside Chat with FDR.
FDR State Park is part of one of the first Geo-Tours in the world; Georgia State Parks and Historic Site Geo-Tour. And for this Going Caching 2013 event, FDR State Park allowed over 130 geocaches to be placed around the park! This is awesome considering the hundreds of miles of trails all around this particular park. Even early in the morning, there were already geocachers walking around trails leading to and from the campsites discovering caches. We knew that this was going to be a great weekend for geocaching.
Read Also Geocaching in Pine Mountain, Georgia
On Friday morning, we woke up to the sun shining and the birds singing. After having breakfast and packing up our lunches for the day, we headed out to the main event area to have some coffee and mingle with some of our caching friends. Then we picked up our welcome packets and directions for the ACE Challenge, downloaded all the caches in the park, and made our way to the first of six stages of the ACE Challenge. With six stages in all and a bonus stage, the ACE Challenge was a full day full of mystery, puzzles, caching, and fun! Once we completed each stage, we received a stamp. After collecting all the stamps, we deciphered the final coordinates to the bonus cache, which ended up being one of the coolest caches we have seen.
Read more about the Geocaching ACE Challenge at Going Caching 2013
Once we completed the Friday ACE Challenge and received our Geo-Coin, it was time for Friday Night Radio Revelry. This was a great skit put on by the Going Caching Crew. We also had a chance to visit some of the vendor booths to browse geocaching merchandise, and participate in a night cache on a nearby trail. It was funny to see all the people with flashlights going in and out of the woods all night, holding their GPS units close. After a full day of challenges and geocaching, it was time to get back and rest up for the next day.
One great aspect of traveling and participating in Mega Event is the chance to meet other cachers from all over the world. The Going Caching Crew realizes how important this is, and you can tell that they take this aspect of the mega event seriously. For example, there were pins attached to everyone’s name badge, with so many unique designs, there were only 4 of each type. If you could find your matching pin among the other cachers, then you could claim a prize.
So all weekend people were looking at everyone’s name tags searching for their match, and introducing themselves to other cachers. For this Going Caching 2013 event, the theme of the weekend was history and mystery. So even your name was written in a code that you needed to decipher as a part of a larger code that you needed to complete some of the geocaches around the park. Very creative, and impressive!
Another activity they have at the mega event are the trading cards. Cachers were trading with others to gather a complete set, from over 300 cards. The cards were made by the cachers themselves with their stats on the back, and including their favorite caches or favorite caching motto. There were also 12 bonus cards that were needed to enter the “Map Room” and complete the final event geocache. The Map Room was the hit for the weekend. There were so many codes that were needed to complete this final cache; it was so clever!
Saturday was a fun filled day of geocaching on the trails, meeting new friends, and catching up with old friends. There were also a number of breakout events held by the GGA (Georgia Geocachers Association), one of the first and oldest geocaching organization in the world, and many fantastic prize giveaways. We played a creative game of “Deal or No Deal” and was a fun way to giveaway prizes and include the audience into the fun.
Later that night there was a Casino Night that was held for all the geocacher attendees. This was one of the only events held inside, but after a full weekend of caching in the outdoors, it was nice to get inside a little and play some cards and win some more prizes. Sunday was the last day, with a send off brunch, it is a great way to see everyone off until next year.
This was by far one of the coolest and most unique mega events we have attended. The Going Caching Crew put together such an amazing weekend for all the cachers. Cachers from all over the Southeast, as well as far as Alaska and Toronto, traveled to Pine Mountain, Georgia for this awesome event. We walked away with new friends and a great big smile just thinking of all the fun memories, and counting down until the event next year.