Jaspa's Journey

My Top 10 Geocaches

With almost 6000 geocaches under my belt, you can imagine it’s pretty difficult to pick a Top 10. Here’s my best attempt, off the top of my head. Although if you ask me again tomorrow the list would probably end up looking a bit different. So it goes without saying that the following are in no particular order.

Well Rounded Cacher (The Fizzy Challenge) - GC11E8N

Location: California, USA

As I explain in my quick overview of how geocaching works, every cache is given a star rating for both difficulty and terrain. These ratings range from one to five stars, in half star intervals, giving a total of 81 possible difficulty/terrain combinations. Before you are eligible to find the Califizzy, as this cache is often known, you are required to complete ‘the grid’, by logging a find for at least one cache from each of these combos.

The Califizzy makes it into my Top 10 for two reasons. Firstly, there’s the sheer challenge of completely the grid. And secondly, because it’s such a beautiful hike up to the cache’s actual hiding spot in California’s Big Basin State Park.

Liberty Trail Cache - GC13V27

Location: Alaska, USA

This is another cache that underlines how geocaching can show you things you’d otherwise miss. In this case it’s an astonishing view, invisible from the road.

When you’re looking to stretch you legs while driving through Alaska, it can be difficult to know which of the numerous roadside trails to chose. I find that the promise of a geocache at the end of the hike helps narrow things down!

Liberty Trail and the lake in this photo feature in Jaspa's Journey 4: The Hermit of Kennecott (although the actual cache does not).

Waterloo 1815 - GCAC68 (Archived)

Location: Waterloo, Belgium

This Multi-cache is located on the famous battlefield where the Duke of Wellington defeated the French Emperor Napoleon. We enjoyed it so much, and had so many adventures and mishaps along the way,  it became the basis for the third book in the Jaspa’s Journey series, Jaspa's Journey 3: Jaspa’s Waterloo.

Sadly, the cache was archived in 2013, which means the final is no longer there to find. However, if you want to explore the Waterloo battlefield, and fancy a challenge, you can still follow the path set out in this cache by clicking on it's name.

[BT] I*T*A*L*Y – Veneto - GC2488Y (Archived)

Location: Venice, Italy

Sometimes, overcoming an initial failure can play a big part in geocaching satisfaction. We solved the puzzle to this cache during a visit to Venice in 2010, but simply couldn’t find the container. We later discovered that although we’d been looking in the correct the location, the cache itself had been temporarily missing at the time.  Grrr!

It goes without saying, that putting things to right by finding the cache during a return visit to Venice (which just happens to be my favourite city in the World, so far) in 2014 was extremely satisfying. And none too soon either, since the cache was archived just eight months later.

Venice is where the action takes place in Jaspa's Journey 5: The Ses Collector of Venice.

The Talented Mr. Bean - GCHM4W

Location: Ontario, Canada

For me, this cache highlights one of the best things about geocaching... discovering things you’d otherwise be completely unaware of, even in your own backyard. The headstone in the photo is real, and is located in a small rural cemetery in Southwest Ontario, Canada. To find the cemetery’s location (and therefore, the cache), you must first decipher the gibberish on the headstone, a task which took 80 years the first time around!

Note: In the photo, I’ve obscured any information from the gravestone that would act as a spoiler to its location!

Rock/Scissors/Paper/Lizard/Spock - GC2BYDY

Location: Iceland

Any cache that leads you into a cave has to be worth a look. This one is hidden in a lava cave in southwest Iceland.  Fun!

Necropolis of Britannia Manor III - GC2B034

Location: Texas, USA

Turns out, the old saying is true... things really are bigger in Texas!

Most caches are pretty inexpensive to place. A Tupperware container and a logbook are all that’s needed in most instances. And in the case of Virtual or Earthcaches, not even that.

Hidden by a billionaire videogames designer, Necropolis of Britannia Manor III is the exception to this rule. A Multi-cache that begins by leading you around Austin, this one-of-a-kind adventure concludes in a purpose-built Halloween-like graveyard on a hill outside the city. Wicked!

The Na Pali Coast from the Ocean - GC2KV3V

Location: Hawaii, USA

Oh, come on! How could an Earthcache done from the cockpit of a biplane over the Hawaiian island of Kauai not make it into my Top 10?!

Suomenlinna - GC14N2V

Location: Helsinki, Finland

To be honest, I could have included any of the caches we found within the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress UNESCO World Heritage Site. The group of fortified islands, just 15 minutes boat ride from the Market Square in Helsinki, are simply that cool!

Cheops V - GCJG9J

Location: Giza, Egypt

You may have guessed by now, but location is often a big part of what makes a cache memorable for me. And there are few places more memorable than the Pyramids on the Giza Plateau outside Cairo, Egypt.

To walk around the massive Pyramid of Khufu is simply awe-inspiring. And to earn a geocache while you’re doing it is a nice bonus!

The Old City Hall Message - GC6069

Location: Toronto, Canada

I love quirky caches, especially those that teach you something you'd never learn otherwise, and this is one that sticks in my mind.

When the architect of (what is now) the Old City Hall in Toronto asked for more recognition than his name on the building’s cornerstone, he was denied. This cache reveals how he got his revenge!

Spooky Canyon - GC1WHNV  &  Peek-A-Boo Canyon - GC1X3B8

Location: Utah, USA

I’m lucky enough to have done many caches that have taken me to incredible natural wonders, yet these two at the slot canyons of Grand Escalante National Park in Utah stand out as particularly special. I’ve simply never seen anything quite like them.

Souvenir-VI - GC5MZ7X

Location: Aconcagua Valley, Chile

Sometime geocaching can be frustrating. But sometimes all the stars can align. Which is what happened with this cache.

Not only was Souvenir-VI the first cache we found in the Andes mountains and Chile, it was also our first cache in South America and in Southern Hemisphere.

On top of that, we were the first geocachers ever to find it.

And the views from the cache location were nothing short of spectacular!

The Cache I’d Most Like To Do

International Space Station - GC1BE91

Location: Earth Orbit!

Picking my favourite geocaches from those I’ve done so far was tricky. In fact, I think there may be 13 caches in my Top 10 above! And it could have easily been a lot more.

But choosing the one cache I’ve yet to do, but would most like to attempt, is easy. Although getting there might be a little harder.

It’s aboard the International Space Station... Yes, the real one, orbiting 250 miles above our heads!

Note: The photo was taken during a live feed from the ISS at the 2015 Indy 500, which is probably the closest I’ll ever get to this cache!