On our big, adult trip to the gaming convention, Penny Arcade Expo, also referred to as PAX, I realized something. We were going to Seattle. Seattle! The home of Geocaching Headquarters! Not knowing much about Seattle or where we’d be staying or where HQ even was, I waited until we booked our hotel, then I started looking up directions. Elated, I found out it was a few miles away. A little too far to walk, but we could take a bus. Totally doable.
Then came convincing my husband. He’s not a geocacher. I wouldn’t call him a Muggle, but he doesn’t enjoy it like I do. But we were going all the way to Seattle! How can a geocacher go to Seattle and not visit HQ? After much bothering and poking at the map and saying, “See? It’s not that far! See? See? We can take a bus!” He finally agreed. So I made an appointment and looked up bus routes. We had a plan!
I’ve never depended on public transportation to get me where I’m going before, but I have to say that Google Maps does a great job. It tells you what bus to take and where to get off. The little signs at the bus stops tell you what time to expect the bus, it’s pretty neat. No one could even tell I was a tourist. I swear. I only took a few pictures out the window. I only got excited about things like seeing all the landmarks I recognized from watching Strip Search and getting to pull the cord that signals when you want to stop.
Once we got off the bus, we still had a little walk to get to headquarters, but at least it wasn’t raining anymore. We stumbled across the Fremont Troll, something I recognized from pictures shown to me by a fellow geocacher. I knew we were on the right track, so we followed the sloping street under the Aurora Bridge. We found the right building, and after walking around in circles for a little bit (the signage was confusing), we found the right place to go inside!
Geocaching Headquarters isn’t huge. We went on a Thursday, due to our schedule, but I hear if you go on a Friday, you can meet more people (and maybe get a tour? Don’t cite me on this). There was one other couple there, and they were from Houston too! What you get to see is pretty much a lobby and a giant cache that looks like a treasure chest. They have some other decorations and a few caching “artifacts” that were fun to see. They have video screen showing different cache types and a view of caches being found in real time!
The cache has a log, like all good caches do, and tons of trackables to take and trade. I dropped off a geocoin and picked up a travelbug to bring back to Texas, signed the log, and took a picture. Also, for visiting, you get a really neat HQ travel tag. They had Geocoins that I couldn’t resist purchasing and a shirt as well. Because I’m a tourist. The lady in the lobby was nice and loved hearing our caching stories. After our visit, we did part of the GeoTrail before it began to rain again, so we waved goodbye to the Fremont Troll and found our bus stop to go back to the hotel.
Worth the trip? Absolutely. If you’re a geocacher and you’re in or near Seattle, make sure you plan a visit. The GeoTrail itself has some worthy caches. I can’t wait to go back!