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A geocache adventure in the offing. Photo by Bruce Burwell.

Go and Get ‘Em geocaching festival is making forests even more fun

By Bruce Burwell on October 31, 2018

I check my phone once more. It’s 17:55 so now it’s just two minutes till we move out. The time comes and we exit the car and walk through the field of long grass and reach the intended target without incident. We are alone in the early evening mist near the edge of a sluggish creek. Two minutes later I pop open the top, sign the log and it’s started once more.

If you enjoy the outdoors, hiking, and camping and are at least a little bit geeky, then likely you are already a geocacher. Are you a scout leader? A geologist? Then you’re probably already a geocacher.

There is another festival in Ottawa-Gatineau that you may not have heard of. Each year between Thanksgiving and Halloween there is a major gathering of geocachers in the nation’s capital. For local geocachers it’s the biggest event of the year and they have been planning and placing their geocaches since the summer.

Don’t remember what geocaching is exactly? It’s like a cross between Pokémon and orienteering. The demographic leans heavily towards older adults—older than Pokémonners anyway. If you enjoy the outdoors, hiking, and camping and are at least a little bit geeky, then likely you are already a geocacher. Are you a scout leader? A geologist? Then you’re probably already a geocacher. Does your wardrobe feature Cabelas, MEC, or SAIL? You may just have strong geocaching tendencies.

It’s like a cross between Pokémon and orienteering.

The festival is called Go and Get ‘Em (GAG) and starts at 6 pm sharp on a Friday. At that time the geocaches are ‘released’ and around the city ‘cachers are busy searching out the bits of Tupperware that contain the paper logs that they must sign in order to make a find official. If you find a geocache before anyone else after 6pm then you can rightfully claim an ‘FTF’ (First to Find) on it.

Not all geocaches are Tupperware. This one is the “hideout of 007,” Laboratory of Q, Offices of M, Moneypenny.

Each GAG event has a theme and this year’s was James Bond. The caches featured lots of bad puns, Bond trivia and references to gadgets. Well over a hundred new themed caches were released. Hundreds of geocachers were invited to find them and they criss-crossed the region from Wakefield to Buckingham on the Quebec side and Kanata to Embrun in Ontario.

In line with the Bond theme there were cool gadgets used. NFC tags, QR code readers and collapsible ladders were all part of the outdoors fun.

Geocaching combines the best parts of being outside and being on your phone.

After 24 hours of geocaching madness there is always a group dinner in a large hall where tired cache finders gather. They congratulate each other on their finding achievements, compliment the creators on their creativity and plot their next geocaching adventures. And of course there are door prizes. This year generous gift certificates for Cabelas, MEC and SAIL were distributed for some fall wardrobe tune-ups.


Bruce Burwell is a MEC-clad geocacher. Go and Get ‘Em (GAG) events are organized by Canada’s Capital Cachers and happen each year between Thanksgiving and Halloween. You can find out more about geocaching at the official website.