Visiting Geocaching HQ, & The Fremont Geocaches

We were able to visit Geocaching Headquarters, and complete the HQ geotour, while in Washington this year. Each of these geocaches is well thought out, and well done.  This is all urban caching, but geocaching is so common and familiar in this area that muggles are not really a problem.  The first cache we did was so obvious, it was near impossible to show any true stealth.  But like the WVTim caches in West Virginia, it just wasn't really necessary to hide what we were doing.

The passport for the caches can be found here:
We did not have the passport with us, and we didn't have access to a printer.  Neither did another group we ran into several times that day.  That was no problem, we both used paper we had with us and groundspeak had no trouble accepting that from us.
The caches are all pretty close together.  But the hills are pretty steep in this area - and it's a pretty good hike from Under Aurora to Troll Droppings.  The biggest issue in Fremont is parking.  We found a parking garage right down the road from headquarters.  It is not what we think of as a parking garage - it's just one floor, and only had about 20 spots.  The really awesome thing was that it was not only cheap, but we could monitor the time left, and add time, from our phones.
"In 1991, Fremont Scientists, after a careful, considered study of these affect, while at a local alehouse, with barely a slur or stumble, determined the Center of the Universe to be at the intersection of N Fremont Ave and 35th St N – with the reasoning that this local can neither be proven, nor disproven!" -

This is a REALLY well done, variety of caches.  Nothing as fancy as the WVTim caches in West Virginia, but there's a puzzle cache, a gadget cache, a multi stage, creative containers, and they take you to some interesting sights.  You'll see the fremont troll, the statue of lenin (I REALLY recommend the gyros at the shop behind the statue!  They were fabulous!) the rocket, the sign stating that Fremont is the center of the universe, a nice view of the waterfront, hedges trimmed into dinosaur shapes, 

I've uploaded all of our photos from the Fremont area of Seattle here.  There may be some cache spoilers.



Many of the caches are multi staged, and there's a LOT to see.  Add in the heat, and the hills, and it took us over 3 hours to log them all.  We attempted the wherigo while finding them, but it was too confusing to do both at the same time.  We ended up feeling a bit rushed as it was.

Originally we had a tour scheduled, but our travel plans changed, so we did the drop in hours at headquarters instead.  We arrived at 4:20, giving us 40 minutes to explore headquarters.  Again, I felt rushed.  I'd recommend arriving right at 4 and giving yourself the full hour there.   Everything you need to know about visiting HQ can be found here:

There's a travel but you can pose in, a photo booth with props, the geocache which is full of containers of travel bugs.  There's a project ape cache box, and all sorts of other memorabilia, in addition to the shopping area.  There's a LOT packed into that little lobby.

The "Been there, logged that" t-shirt can only be purchased at headquarters.  We also purchased the trackable coin for completing the HQ tour.

After visiting headquarters, we went back to the lenin statue to have gyros  - they were amazing!  Spicier than any I've had here in PA.  Our hotel was in the Southern part of Seattle, and Fremont is northern seattle.  I wanted to see the sunset and Kerry park was recommended as a good place to do so, so we wanted to stay in the area.

After dinner we headed over to the lake (where there is plenty of parking) and did the Seattle You Sank My Battleship Wherigo.  This took us a couple of hours.  It's the most unique wherigo I've ever done, and I've written about it separately here:

Before going to Kerry Park for the sunset, we made a quick stop to do one of the totally tubular caches,  

Then on to Kerry Park, where there is an easy virtual.  This is really not a great place to see the sunset, but it's a terrific view of the skyline, and the sunset reflects off of the buildings, which is what makes it so popular.

This was my facebook status at days end:
Yesterday we were in the Fremont area of Seattle. Artsy, dogs in every store, more bike racks than parking spaces, home to Google & geocaching headquarters. It's really a fun area. The statues are all decorated. If its your friends birthday, its perfectly acceptable, even expected, to dress up a staue & add a happy birthday sign. (Google "fremont interurban") Driving is interesting though... parking on both sides of the street (rarely a space to be found open) leaves ONE narrow lane for driving. But the streets are not one way. Intersections, and there are MANY, do not have stop signs. Many narrow streets have huge circular flower beds in the center of the intersection, sort of like an artsy traffic circle that no one appears to know how to navigate around. The parking "garage" (one level - about 20 spaces total) was awesome - you pay with your phone, & get a countdown on your phone of how much time is left with the option to add more. There's a huge lake on the outskirts where I think every person living here goes after work to run, Rollerblade, kayak.... and almost everyone had a dog along. Even with that many people, there was no trash. Everything was in good shape, and I never felt crowded or uncomfortable along the path. There was even a blue heron within feet of me - also unbothered by the crowds running, walking, biking, and rollerblading past. (Bikes & pedestrians have designated lanes, and people appeared to really follow the rules). It was a really fun day, and completely not what I expected from Seattle. I suspect today will be slightly more typical big city, we're down in the "heart" of the city today.

Totals for the day:
4 geocaches on our way to Seattle (2 regulars, 1 earth cache, 1 puzzle cache)
9 HQ Geotour Caches (1 letterbox, 2 multis, 2 puzzles, 4 regulars)
1 HQ geocache - the HQ geocache is a special icon, it's own type of cache
1 wherigo (battleship)
1 gadget (regular) near the zoo

17 really diverse and awesome geocaches.  Amazing views, fun puzzles, fun games, great sights.  It was an amazing day!