This year’s trip over to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean started early in August. We flew from our hometown Haugesund to the very hot Phoenix, through Oslo and Newark. It took about 24 hours from we left home until we arrived in Phoenix, but due to the time difference, we arrived the same date we left. This allowed us to set a new record in distance between caches in a day: 8158 km (5069 miles).
We did not spend much time in Phoenix, just enough to pick up the rental car, so we could drive up to Prescott. Where is Prescott? We did not know either until we started looking into caches placed by The Raven. We had heard about his caches, particularly GC35BKD “The Raven’s Labyrinth”, on several occasions. We got curious enough to do some digging, and shortly after, we included Prescott in our itinerary.
It is amazing how the caches placed by one single geocacher got us to travel all the way from Norway, to a, for us, totally unknown place. Geocachers call this unknown place Ravenland, an adventure park for geocachers.
Our visit to Ravenland started with a short walk around the city, to find GC2CH65 “The Origami Raven”, GC35BKD “The Raven’s Labyrinth”, and a few other caches. The Raven himself met us at the labyrinth and took us on an unforgettable tour around Ravenland. We found many of his awesome caches, and my favorites are (in random order): GC35BKD The Raven’s Labyrinth, GC2P5PD Indiana Jones and the Flame of Chantico – Part One, GC2P5PR Indiana Jones and the Flame of Chantico – Part Two, GC2ED5V Best Friends, GC2CH65 The Origami Raven and GC26ZZF Ctenizoidea.
We cannot thank The Raven enough for all he did for us; it felt like we got VIP treatment in a geocaching theme park! A day in Ravenland is so much better than a day in any theme park!
After our adventures in Ravenland was over, at least until next year, we continued north towards Grand Canyon. My knowledge of English is not good enough to describe Grand Canyon properly. It is Grand! With a capital G!
After Grand Canyon, we continued towards Utah. We got to see a wildlife fire, and met a nice ranger who explained everything to us. Our first stop (if we do not count the countless stops to find a cache) in Utah was Zion National Park. Zion is probably one of the most colorful places we have ever been, we’ll definitely come back!
From one park to another, next stop was Bryce Canyon. First, we spent the night at a ranch, another new experience for us. Bryce might be the smallest of the parks we have visited on this trip, but the memories we brought back is just as big as from the other parks! From the top of GCHQMX Inspiration Point, to the bottom of Navajo Loop, this is an awesome place!
On our way from Bryce to West Valley City we visited GC9938 Cove Fort, found the caches in the trail leading to and from Cove Fort, met a State Trooper and almost completed the 44FRFC-series ( GC2JG5C ). Why didn’t we complete? Because the geocaches along a route function did not include all the caches in the GPX-file…
We are dedicated geocachers, something you will understand when I tell you what we did the next day. Starting in West Valley City, we drove all the way to West Wendover, Nevada – just to find a cache in Nevada! Well, almost. On the way, we visited Bonneville Salt Flats, another awesome place in Utah! However, here is the part that shows we are dedicated. From West Wendover we drove all the way back from where we came, and then continued all the way to Evanston, Wyoming. You guessed it, only to log a cache in Wyoming! We did not stop there; the final stop of the day was Logan, Utah. Why Logan? Because it is the seat of Cache County!
After visiting Logan, it was time to leave Utah. There is no doubt, we will return to experience more of Utah – truly a place where you feel elevated! We left Utah, drove through Idaho and into Oregon. We did a couple of trails, because we had to increase our find count in preparation of a major milestone, which we had planned for a very special cache. We found a lot of good caches, and some not so good. One of the trails was so close to heavy traffic that we just decided to skip most of the caches.
After a lot of hard work, and some driving around close to the goal, we finally arrived at the site of the very first geocache in the world. On August 15th we logged GCGV0P Original Stash Tribute Plaque as find number 4000! Only one more cache to go before we have completed the Triad!
After finding number 4000, it was finally time to drive up to Seattle. It has been a long way, but we have enjoyed every second of it! (If you do not count the last hour before finding the tribute plaque).
The primary goal in Seattle was to attend the GC3X684 2013 Geocaching Block Party and GC46Z3E Going APE 2013 Mega event. During the Block Party, we tried out the new Lab Caches, and found all the caches in the HQ GeoTour. Both the Lab Caches and the GeoTour was awesome, and if you ever are in Seattle, you have to find at least some of the HQ GeoTour caches!
We met many people, and got to know a few cachers from around the world. During the first Geocaching International Film Festival, I sent updates of the viewing and voting to cachers back home in Norway. They had their own film festival in Norway, at 5am local time!
During the Going APE Mega event, we walked through the tunnel, which turned out to be about twice as long as I thought it was. No wonder it felt like a long walk in the dark! At the end of the tunnel, we found GC300N0 Mission 9: Tunnel of Light Reclaimed. It may not be as good as the original APE cache, but at least I can say I have completed the Triad!
During our stay in Seattle, we also took time for a short visit to Victoria, BC. We even had our own event up there, GC4HDGB Meet the Norwegians – thomfre in Victoria. Many friendly local cachers showed up, we even got to play a trick on one of them. We spent the rest of the day walking around finding caches.
We also got time to dine in the Space Needle, visit the Boeing Factory, find many awesome geocaches and attend another event.
The last part of our trip was on the other side of the country, in Miami. We took a late flight from Seattle, and landed in Miami early morning, around 6:30. We picked up the rental car, and drove straight down to Key West. The plan was to attend an event at 12pm. We made it, barely. We only stopped once for food and a cache, and once for a much needed power nap. The event is the shortest I have ever attended, just long enough to take a group picture.
Key West was hot, really hot! But we still had lots of fun! Now we can add the southernmost continental cache to our list of found caches.
We spent the last days in Miami, where we had another event. GC4GKVM Meet the Norwegians – thomfre in Miami was a success, many local cachers came by to meet us!
We have driven 5 000 km / 3 100 miles and visited 8 US states and 1 Canadian state during this trip, and we have logged a smiley on over 500 geocaches (if we include the Lab Caches).
We have seen so many new places, experienced so many new things, learn so much we did not know, met so many people and had so much fun on this trip that I would do it all over if I could!
It is simply amazing how much geocaching can give you, and how much other geocachers give back.