Mid-West Geo-Bash 2013 — One Geocaching HQ staffer’s journey into Area 51

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. Derek Hamilton, a.k.a. ScatterMyCaches, attended Mid-West GeoBash (GC3T8EH) in Wauseon, OH, USA in July. Derek has been with Geocaching HQ as the Copywriter since 2012. This is Derek’s account of his trip.

Me (left) with Irene from team geocite.

Me (left) with Irene from team geocite.

This past week I had to opportunity to attend one of the largest geocaching Mega-Events in the mid-west United States—Mid-West GeoBash. All in all, I had an amazing time, got to meet tons of great geocachers, found several geocaches and left needing a few day’s worth of sleep. Here’s a short recap of my trip:

The trip began with a 4 a.m. ride to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. From there, I made the journey to Detroit, Michigan, where I picked up my rental car and drove to Wauseon, Ohio. After checking in to my hotel and grabbing some dinner, I ventured out to the Fulton County Fairgrounds where “Area 51″ was already in full swing. For those of you not familiar with Area 51, this is one of the most popular parts of Mid-West GeoBash. Each night at 10 p.m., the bonfire area is closed off to people under the age of 21, coolers are wheeled out and adult beverages are enjoyed. I wasn’t quite ready for what this entailed. Let’s just say that since I was the only Geocaching HQ employee at the event, attendees were very generous.

The 9/11 memorial. Photo by geocacher Rross1973

Friday was my day of geocaching. I drove around the town of Wauseon, picking up geocaches and even attending a second event, Caching in Corsets. Despite the name of the event, I did not do my Dr. Frankenfurter impression and squeeze into a corset (which was probably better for everyone). One of the geocaches I found was Fulton County’s 9/11 Memorial multi-cache. This began at a memorial that featured a piece of the Twin Towers. The path to the final stage took me past a very patriotic wooden sculpture. In my log, I recounted where I was and what I was doing on that fateful day in 2001. Later that night, I again visited Area 51, where, again, the bonfires raged and everyone was very generous.

Saturday was when the geocaching community, volunteer reviewers who attended, and I got down to business. We held a Geocaching HQ/Reviewer panel to answer questions and discuss topics from geocachers who attended the event. The questions and discussion was awesome and I brought back quite a few suggestions for the team at Geocaching HQ. After the Q&A session, I roamed the event taking photos and handing out Geocaching swag. Later, we took the event photo and officially wrapped up the event. Of course, I had to attend the final night of Area 51. However, I had to cut my time short in order to be able to wake up and make my 8:30 a.m. flight out of Detroit.

This was my first Mega-Event and I had a blast. A huge shout-out to Pete and Sonja for putting on such an amazing event! And thanks to everyone else that I met, those that I hung out with, and everyone who attended. If you’re able to make it to the 2014 Mid-West GeoBash, I would highly recommend it.

Bonus: There was even a 30-minute TV segment filmed about the bash. Check it out below.