Fairy tales, myths, and legends add a little bit of magic to our lives—and so does the real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game that is geocaching. So what happens when you combine the search for a cache with a fantastic story of forest-dwelling wood sprites? That’s right, this week’s Geocache of the Week—Herr der Waldgeister, GC4HWJ2.
Strategically built in between the hills towering above the Moselle River in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, sits the medieval Eltz Castle. This former stronghold and residence was built over 850 years ago, and is now a popular attraction for history enthusiasts from all over the world. Geocachers, however, have a few more reasons to visit this castle and the marvelous area surrounding it. It is not only home to Germany’s oldest active geocache (Medieval View, GC26C) but also to a series of caches telling the story of magical beings that are said to live in the forest surrounding Eltz Castle.
Seven wood sprites, hidden from nosy muggle eyes, each guard their own Traditional geocache and tell you of their ruler, the Lord of the Wood Sprites. To find him and his treasure, you have to master a relatively steep hike worthy of a 3.5 terrain rating. Once you arrive at ground zero, you are rewarded with a breathtaking view, as the Lord of the Wood Sprites chose a spectacular vantage point to oversee his enchanted kingdom.
The view is not the only reason for the over 1500 Favorite points this cache has accumulated since it was hidden in August 2013, it is also a masterpiece of geocache craftsmanship. At the cache, you are greeted by a furrowed, wooden face, glaring down at you with piercing red eyes. But don’t be scared! As long as you do not try to harm him, he will be kind to you as well.
Listen closely to what the Lord of the Wood Sprites has to say; he has been protecting the forest’s spirits, animals and plants for a long time and will share some words of wisdom with you to reward you for your visit. Make sure to return the favor by signing the logbook and maybe even leaving some SWAG or trackables behind. And don’t forget to close the cache’s doors when you are ready to leave so that this ancient guardian of nature can ‘conserve his energy’ until the next geocacher awakens him from his slumber.
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.