Geocaching 101, Alexandria, June 17th

Geocaching 101, Alexandria, June 17th

If you are just getting started with geocaching and want to learn more, please join us at the Martha Washington Library two weeks from today on June 17th. This Geocaching 101 class is perfect for beginners but open for all. It is also a geocache event, so you may log it as ‘attended’ when you come.

The library’s page: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/11900028

The geocache event page: https://coord.info/GCAR0C7

2024 Spring Picnic Recap

NoVAGO Celebrates ‘Best of 2023’ with Spring Picnic

NoVAGO announced winners of 2023 geocaching awards in Berryville, May 19, 2024

Members of the Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization gathered on Sunday, May 19th, 2024 at Chet Hobert Park in Berryville. As is our tradition, we announced winners of our geocaching awards, handed out some prizes, enjoyed a pot luck meal, did a little geocaching, and enjoyed the geocaching community we share. NoVAGO 2024 Spring Picnic and Awards Event.

Any apprehensions that the late season date would lead to uncomfortable heat, were completely unfounded. In fact, the early reports of rain gave way to a warning of morning sprinkles that never materialized. Pop-up tents had been brought along for good measure, but remained untouched in our cars. The day started cloudy and mild, but warmed up with the sun just in time for some geocaching.

Chet Hobert Park was a perfect host. The officers were visited twice by two young men who introduced themselves as our event assistants. They came around as we were just setting up and once more during clean up. Several members were overheard complimenting the choice of location. Appreciation goes out to TeAm G Winchester, one of NoVAGO’s directors, for doing the footwork for this one making the reservation.

Pot luck included the usuals of burgers and hot dogs furnished by the board. Among some of the items brought were broccoli salad, homemade guacamole, and a pot of spaghetti so fresh it was made right at the picnic. Don’t forget the donuts for the early birds, lunch desserts and drinks!

We ate, people chatted, worked on their icebreaker worksheets, and indulged VP rufnredy by buying some tickets for the 50/50 raffle. At some point our two unabashed awards committee members snuck off to change into their geocaching formal attire. Wearing tuxedo shirts, all eyes were on them. Like an evening at the oscars, each category was announced along with the nominees. There were envelopes opened…. “and the winner is…” to much applause from those in attendance. Those present to receive their awards came up for a photo. The highlight was the final presentation for “Geocacher of the Year,” which is the person most celebrated by their peers for being a great finder, hider, event host, log writer, and friend. The winner this year was mcgmauraders who said a few lovely, heartfelt words for his fellow geocachers and humbly accepted his award.

To find a list of all the winners of the 2023 cache awards, CLICK HERE.

Serrabou arrived to the picnic in his souvenir kilt, hand crafted by his good friend Zippy Finn. The dynamic duo used the the picnic as an opportunity to kick off the 2024 annual series, NoVACon, with scratch-off trading cards. They got some of the younger members of the group very excited to play.

A photo album from the event has been uploaded in the members forum > Events section

NOVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Award Winners

Winners of NOVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Awards

Thanks to all those who took the time to send in nominations and also to those who voted. MrPsyduck and Schwandt graciously formed an awards committee and together did the bulk of the work to get the nominations narrowed down and run a ballot. Thank you fellas! One of our talented members, HyperactiveGirl, whipped up some extra gifts for our winner to go along with the traditional trackable tags. We gathered in Chet Hobert Park in Berryville on May 19th, 2024 to find out who would bring home the prizes as well as get to display the special winner’s SWAG on their cache pages.

Drum roll, please . . . .

And the winners are

Best Traditional Cache

Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache

Best Multi-Cache

NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Godzilla (1954) (GCAEKH8) by CWillyPngn

Best Letterbox

Letterbox – NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Forrest Gump (GCACVD5) by GoshdarnGeniuses

Best Other (Earthcache, Wherigo, or Virtual)

Earthcache – Welcome to THE GAP  (GCA3ZB9) by Awesnap

wherigo icon

Wherigo – Sleepy Hollow (GCADXX9) by CWillyPngn

Best Adventure Lab Series

Best Theme/Series

Rebus Puzzle (#1 – #25) by mcgmarauders

Best Container

NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Godzilla (1954) (GCAEKH8) by CWillyPngn

Most Creative Cache Page

geoCAPTCHA (GCAFC0F) by rlobecker

Most Outstanding Location/Scenery

NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Caddyshack (GCAE69K) by supertodd88

Best Historical/Educational Cache

The Fake Boundary Stone (GCA9KZ6) by sedor18

Most Physically Challenging to Find

Gym Class “Rope” Climb (GCAECZ9) by supertodd88

Best Kids Cache

NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Toy Story (GCAF3E0) by CherokeeThree

Cache of the Year


Best Event Host (for an Event or CITO)

Rookie/Newcomer of the Year

Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year


Volunteer of the Year

2023 Special Volunteer Recognition

In appreciation of leading out 2023 cache series: NoVAGO Moviepalooza.

Cacher of the Year

Youth Cacher of the Year

sedor18 (Little Sedor)

Hider of the Year


Winners of the NoVAGO annual cache awards final voting ballot may add this special SWAG to their cache page and to their geocaching.com profile as desired:

<center><img src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/gs-geo-images/e0f05c84-c42b-4af9-9431-e558c55450f5_l.png" width="300" height="200" /></center>

Do you qualify for the NoVAGO’s Best of 2023 Challenge Cache? This year we are celebrating all great caches published in 2023. Find 25 or more within the NoVAGO territories which have 5+ favorite points to qualify. Thank you vpdj for placing and maintaining this cache. (GCAMB00)


Virtual Rewards 4.0

Virtual Rewards 4.0 

Virtual caches do not have a physical container and are designated on the Geocaching.com maps as ghosts. 

mcgmarauders

NoVAGO feature article writer

Trevor has over 12,000 geocache finds from all around the globe. He also owns more than 140 hides, mostly in the Northern Virginia area. His favorite virtual find is the Lion Gate in Mycenae, Greece (pictured) “There was very little shade and it was 107 deg F, but the Lion Gate, erected in 1250 BC, was most definitely my favorite.”

Coordinates are given for an interesting or unique location, typically with a described object such as an art sculpture, historical landmark or a scenic lookout. Validation for finding a virtual cache generally requires emailing information to the cache owner, and/or to post a picture of yourself with your log. 

From 2005 to 2017, the geocaching website no longer permitted the placement of new caches without a physical container, including virtual and webcam caches (but still allowed new earthcaches and events); however, older caches of these types were grandfathered and will remain available unless they have been archived. In 2017 it was announced that new Reward Virtual caches would randomly be awarded for placement the following year. This has now happened 4 times. 

Currently there are only about 13,000 Virtual caches active throughout the world, but up to 4,000 new ones may be published this year. 

During 2023, Groundspeak announced that they would randomly selected geocachers to receive a Rewards Virtual provided they met the following conditions: 

  • They must have had a non-Event geocache published in 2023 that has earned at least 4 Favorite points by December 31, 2023. 
  • They must have created their geocaching account before June 13, 2023. 

Here is a link to a list of nearby new Virtual caches: Geocaching.com – My Lists – Virtual Rewards 4.0 – 2024-2025 

We understand that some of the NoVAGO members have received these prestigious rewards and we look forward to adding these new Virtuals to this list as they are published! 


Other articles by this author…

Status

SAVE THE DATE! 2024 NoVAGO Spring Picnic & Awards

Heather

Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization invites you to join our spring picnic. In addition to eating burgers, hot dogs, and potluck sides, there will lots of opportunities to meet nice folks and trade geocaching stories. The award winners for the 2023 Best of NoVAGO will be announced at the picnic as well. 


Where: Chet Hobert Park, 225 Al Smith Circle, Berryville – Rotary Shelter


When: Sunday, May 19, 2022, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm


Please RSVP on the Event Page.

 

Spotlighting DC Boundary Stones in Virginia

Spotlighting DC Boundary Stones in Virginia

International Day For Monuments and Sites (April 18, 2024) #spotlightcache

Today we are spotlighting geocaches placed along the DC Boundary Stones in Virginia. They are listed in this article from north to south.

The country’s first federal monuments were stone markers placed in 1791 on the original boundary of the new capital city. These boundary stones were the brainchild of George Washington to mark out the border. There were originally 40 markers, one for each mile of the 10 x 10-mile diamond plat of land. As you go through these geocache pages, you’ll learn a little more about the unique history of these federal markers, as many of these cache owners have really done their homework.


DC Cornerstone (GC6781)

The most northern of Virginia’s boundary stones that is accessible to the public, “DC Cornerstone” is one of the four cornerstones. When you are in this little pocket park in Falls Church, you will be in what was once the westernmost point of the DC. This geocache by pkpaul is a Virtual cache, which means there is nothing to find, but I still encourage you to get out of your car and check out the marker. This cache has over 100 favorite points.

This is the West Corner stage of the Four Corners and a Center Adventure Lab also.


SW 9 Boundary (GC4AJV0)

Another pocket park in Falls Church is where you’ll find boundary stone SW9. Here you can solve the simple puzzle cache, “SW 9 Boundary” by seadog129. Check out the monument, make the nearby find, and maybe have a little picnic at the park’s tables.


Southwest 8 Boundary Stone (GC8WQJZ)

Switching gears from the history of our nation’s capital to a lesson in geology, “Southwest 8 Boundary Stone” is an Earth cache by TheWanderesss. Again, you won’t be looking for a container to log this find, but you will learn where these federal marker stones were quarried. This cache was nominated for NOVAGO’s 2020 Best EarthCache Award.


Bailey’s Crossroads History Adventure Lab

Take a tour of Bailey’s Crossroads to find the next boundary stone.


BOUNDARY STONE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (GC7D3JA) – ARCHIVED CACHE

Although it is now archived, I’ve included this cache in the article for anyone who would like to visit it. SW5 boundary stone has been broken for at least a century and probably isn’t in its original spot, but like the others, it remains a curiosity and something to check out the next time you’re in Bailey’s Crossroads. Maybe this article will inspire someone to put out a new one.


A Corner of DC (GC1J1HT)

A multi-stage geocache from 2008, A Corner of DC will take you to boundary marker SW3. Just off King Street and in the parking lot of a church, you will be asked to gather some information that can easily be turned into final coordinates. A short walk to the final will get you the geocache container. There are a couple of geocaches in the park just uphill from the church that you might want to get while you are there, too.


SW2 Boundary Stone Letterbox: Retrocession (GCA9N87)

One of the newest geocaches on this list, SW2 Boundary Stone Letterbox: Retrocession by sedor18, was nominated for NoVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Award in the category of Best Historical/Educational Cache. It is easy to tell why it made it to the finals. This letterbox hybrid-style geocache will make the finder hit the books and learn a little history before they can get the final coordinates. Congratulations on being nominated!

By the way, while you’re here, take a look at the next cache on the list.


The Fake Boundary Stone (GCA9KZ6)

Another new cache by sedor18, The Fake Boundary Stone is also a nominee for NoVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Award in the category of Best Historical/Educational Cache. You’ll get another history lesson about this fake marker. They really did their research and left lots of rabbit holes for you to fall down. The reward for making your waypoint projections is a steep climb up King St. (or drive like I did).


The Boundary Stone (GC7XXA2)

The Boundary Stone is a multi-stage geocache by flyingmoose. It is also the southernmost corner of the original DC boundary. This stone is unique from the others in that it is the “beginning of the Territory of Columbia” meaning that it was the first one laid down by Benjamin Banneker. Banneker was an astronomer and surveyor. He supposedly looked up at the stars from this point and used astronomical observations and calculations to start marking out the rest of DC’s new boundary markers. This is the oldest federal monument.

To complete this multi-stage cache, you’ll be exploring Jones Point Park a bit. You may want to do the Jones Point Park Adventure Lab at the same time. This is the South Corner stage of the Four Corners and a Center Adventure Lab also.


Fun fact! The Washington Wizards 23-24 season jersey’s were inspired by the city’s boundary stones. Read more here.


Nominees for NOVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Awards

Nominees for NOVAGO’s 2023 Geocache Awards

Thanks to all those who took the time to send in nominations. While not all nominations were able to make the final cut, we were impressed with every suggestion. The hardworking awards committee have compiled the caches on this list from the very best of 2023. We invite all geocachers to go out and find as many of these wonderful caches as possible. For a geocaching friendly list, CLICK HERE.

Click Here to Vote

(link will be active April 1-15)

Voting is scheduled to be open for ALL categories April 1-15, 2024. Winners will be announced at our NoVAGO 2024 Spring Picnic and Awards Event on May 19th in Berryville. [Details of the event will be in a future post.]

Without further ado, here are the nominees:

Best Traditional Cache

(GCA7TTZ) April Showers by treasures4us

(GCAAYK9) Choose Your Own Adventure – Trekking By The Creek by supertodd88

(GCAD4G2)  NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Miracle by VAPirate

(GCAEQB7) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: The Sound of Music by rlobecker

(GCAF7C3) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Rescue Rangers by TheWanderesss

Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache

(GCA77CY) Honey Hole: Oyster by Serrabou

(GCAB6QJ) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: The Final Cut by SP4FUN

(GCADBHQ) LEGO my cache by kiisikwa

(GCAEPVZ) NoVAGO Moviepalooza:Nat’l Treasure:Book of Secrets by sedor18

(GCAFC0F) geoCAPTCHA by rlobecker

Best Multi-Cache

(GCA86C2) Honey Hole: Chicken of the Woods by Serrabou

(GCAA4CH) Fairy Tales and Fables: The Fisherman and His Wife by GriffinTamer88

(GCAD9N6) Golf Coast by Navigator_79

(GCAE69K) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Caddyshack by supertodd88

(GCAEKH8) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Godzilla (1954) by CWillyPngn

Best Letterbox Hybrid

(GCA5E1E) Ground Control | Kings Park | Mission A by rlobecker

(GCA7DVW) Bonzi O’Leary by flyingmoose

(GCABENM) Doggo Walking:  Wave at The Barns by frumiousb

(GCACVD5) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Forrest Gump by GoshdarnGeniuses

(GCAFDYF) Letterbox at Laurel Hill by SP4FUN

Best Other (Earthcache, Wherigo, or Virtual)

(GCA3ZB9) EarthcacheWelcome to THE GAP by Awesnap

(GCADRKV) EarthcacheBric(k) a brac by kiisikwa

(GCADXX9) WherigoSleepy Hollow by CWillyPngn

Best Theme/Series

BRWT (Bull Run Water Trail) by jemcjb

CHP CFT (Chet Hobert Park) by schwandt

Honey Hole by Serrabou

Rebus Puzzle (#1 – #27) by mcgmarauders

2nd Annual Turkey Drop by various owners


Best Container

(GCA4GHW) WWll Mystery Cache by henryvooys

(GCA7X7G) A Little House in the Big Woods #1 by treasures4us

(GCAD4G2)  NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Miracle by VAPirate

(GCAD8MH) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: The Raven by hrothroc

(GCAEKH8) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Godzilla (1954) by CWillyPngn

Most Creative Cache Page

(GCAAYK9) Choose Your Own Adventure – Trekking By The Creek by supertodd88

(GCAFC0F) geoCAPTCHA by rlobecker

Most Outstanding Location/Scenery

(GCA60FR) Capitol View by Mr Smeee

(GCA6A9M) Honey Hole: Morel by Serrabou

(GCA77CY) Honey Hole: Oyster by Serrabou

(GCAA1AH) BRWT#8: Bald Eagle (Bonus) by jemcjb

(GCAE69K) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Caddyshack by supertodd88

Best Historical/Educational Cache

(GCA4V7B) Soldiers and S*P*Y*S by Navigator_79

(GCA9KZ6) The Fake Boundary Stone by sedor18

(GCA9N87) SW2 Boundary Stone Letterbox: Retrocession by sedor18

(GCAGAJ8) Jennie Dean Memorial Adventure Lab Bonus by Awesnap

Most Physically Challenging to Find

(GCABV34) W & OD Greenway Air Mail by T_N_C

(GCAE69K) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Caddyshack by supertodd88

(GCAECZ9) Gym Class “Rope” Climb by supertodd88

(GCAEV0A) Beach Park Climbing Mission by sedor18

(GCAF4RN) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Them by freddiecrs

Best Kids Cache

(GCACVD5) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Forrest Gump by GoshdarnGeniuses

(GCADXX9) Sleepy Hollow by CWillyPngn

(GCAEKH8) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Godzilla (1954) by CWillyPngn

(GCAF3E0) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Toy Story by CherokeeThree

(GCAF7C3) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Rescue Rangers by TheWanderesss


Best Event Host (for an Event or CITO)

Rookie/Newcomer of the Year

Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year

Youth Cacher of the Year

Volunteer of the Year

Nominees in this category will be selected by the 2023 board and winner will be presented at the spring picnic.


Best Adventure Lab Series

Alice in Wonderland by ThompsonKickers

BURNINATING Grumpy Daddy’s Favorite Manassas Spots by Sneaky_Molly

Moviepalooza Mouse House Part One and Part Two created by Awesnap

NoVAGO Moviepaloosa Family Movie Night by SP4FUN

Cache of the Year

(GCA4JPD) Fairy Tales and Fables: The Three Little Pigs by GriffinTamer88

(GCACVD5) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: Forrest Gump by GoshdarnGeniuses

(GCAEPVZ) NoVAGO Moviepalooza:Nat’l Treasure:Book of Secrets by sedor18

(GCAEQB7) NoVAGO Moviepalooza: The Sound of Music by rlobecker

(GCAFC0F) geoCAPTCHA by rlobecker


Nominees who make it to the NoVAGO annual cache awards final voting ballot may add this special SWAG to their cache page and to their geocaching.com profile as desired:

<center><img src="https://img.geocaching.com/6393b880-0fa9-4091-8ca1-c2a4e5a4ffdc.png?z=1713264106897" width="300" height="200" /></center>

Do you qualify for the NoVAGO’s Best of 2023 Challenge? This year we are celebrating all great caches published in 2023. Find 25 or more within the NoVAGO territories which have 5+ favorite points to qualify. Thank you vpdj for placing and maintaining this cache. (GCAMB00)


2023 Cache Award Nominations are now OPEN

Each year NoVAGO honors some of the best caches that were placed in Northern Virginia. Cache nominations and awards are a chance for you to recognize the efforts of fellow NoVAGO cachers who have placed hides that you have enjoyed.  Help recognize the great caches and the people who placed them by nominating your favorites for the 2023 NoVAGO Cache Awards!

Categories have changed since last year. It is strongly recommended that you review the award categories BEFORE heading to the nomination form.  Full description of award categories can be found at Award Categories – Updates for 2024

The link below will take you to the nomination form. As you will see on the form, you will be finding your favorite caches in a drop down list selected by the awards committee, with the option to search with key words. The format of this form works best on a computer. [PERIOD FOR NOMINATIONS IS CLOSED]

Nominations will be accepted until February 29th.

Any questions about the 2023 awards should be sent to awards@novago.org.

Categories are subject to change and are as follows:
  • [NEW] Hider of the Year
  • Best Traditional 
  • Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache
  • Best Multicache 
  • Best Letterbox Hybrid Cache
  • Best Other Cache (Earthcache or Wherigo)
  • Best Event/CITO Host
  • Best Adventure Lab Series
  • Best Theme/Series
  • Cache of the Year 
  • [NEW]Best Container
  • [NEW]Most Creative Cache Page
  • Most Outstanding Location/Scenery
  • Best Historical/Educational Cache
  • Most Physically Challenging
  • Best Kids Cache
  • Rookie/Newcomer of the Year*
  • [NEW]Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year*
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Cacher of the Year
  • [NEW] Youth Cacher of the Year

Full description of award categories can be found at Award Categories – Updates for 2024

Printable worksheet to plan your nominations before heading to the nomination form: MyCacheNominations.pdf


Cache Eligibility:

1. Cache must have been published between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, and still active as of early 2024.
2. You may make up to three (3) nominations in each category. You do not need to make nominations in all categories.
3. Caches must be within Northern Virginia, (NoVa will be defined as Alexandria (city), Arlington (county), Clarke (county), Fairfax (county), Fairfax (city), Falls Church (city), Fauquier (county), Frederick (county), Loudoun (county), Manassas (city), Manassas Park (city), Prince William (county), Stafford (county), Warren (county), Winchester (city))
4. We will compile the nomination submissions and you will be voting on the top nominees in each category. So the more nominations we get, the easier it will be to discern the best of the best. You do not need to have found a cache to nominate it.

*Both Rookie/Newcomer of the Year and Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year must have found their first cache no earlier than July 1, 2022, with a majority of their finds/hides during 2023.


Thank you to the volunteers on the NoVAGO Cache Awards Committee for their time and effort in organizing this annual event.

Award Categories – Updates for 2024

Each year NoVAGO honors some of the best caches that were placed in Northern Virginia. Nominations are an opportunity for you to recognize the efforts of your fellow NoVAGO cachers who have placed hides that you have enjoyed. This list is meant to help you think of some of the best geocaches you found last year.

For the 2023 NoVAGO Awards, nominations will be solicited for the following categories. Three new categories have been proposed: Hider of the Year, Youth Cacher of the Year, and Youth Newcomer of the Year. In addition, some changes have been introduced for some other categories. Make sure that you refresh your understanding of the categories before submitting your nominations. Also, please note that none of these categories are required to be awarded each year. Cache type awards can be combined after the nomination period.

-Printable worksheet to plan your nominations before heading to the nomination form: MyCacheNominations.pdf


[NEW] Hider of the Year – This new category for 2023 is intended to recognize a hider for his or her “body of work” when it comes to hiding caches during the year. Nominations should take into account the number of hides, the number of cachers who found those hides, and how often favorite points were awarded to those caches.

Best Traditional – The familiar green box on the map, which one made an impression on you?

Best Mystery/Puzzle Cache – Whether the puzzle or the mystery was remarkably creative, innovative, obscure, devious, difficult, head-banging hard, unbelievably easy in hindsight – or all of those, which mystery or puzzle cache are you still talking about? Typically bonus or challenge caches are not nominated in this category, even though those caches share an icon with mysteries and puzzles.

Best Multicache – Step by step, stage by stage – you had a great time figuring out how to go from the cache page and the journey along the way to getting your name on the final. Which of the year’s multicaches contributed to a great time for you this past year. Pick one or more to honor!

Best Letterbox Hybrid Cache – These non-traditional cache types do not see as many placements each year. Pick one or more to honor!

Best Other Cache (Earthcache or Wherigo) – These non-traditional cache types do not see as many placements each year. Note: This year, there were only three and all three have the finds and favorite points to get them on the ballot.)

Best Event/CITO Host – Whether you were gathering just for fun or were also giving back to the community, event offer opportunities for cachers to enjoy each other’s company. Which caching events gave the best experiences for the attendees and participants? This year you have an opportunity to nominate the hosts who arrange locations, materials, event pages, and activities to allow you to have social fun.

Best Adventure Lab Series – This segment of the caching world has resulted in some creative series and some that have taken cachers to great locations, offered fun journeys, taught some outstanding history, or were completed in an innovated manner. Which new series was the most fun, most inspiring, most educational, most devious, or otherwise most noteworthy?

Best Theme/Series (five or more caches in a series or that share a common theme) – The whole of the series was even greater than the sum of the parts. Which series – that started in 2023 and has at least five caches – did you absolutely have to finish and kept you waiting for the next cache to be published? (Note: Because NoVAGO sponsors the annual series, it is not eligible for this category – although the individual caches are eligible for the other categories.)

Cache of the Year – From the moment you read the cache listing through making the find – and then telling all of your caching friends about how great the cache is, this is the cache that made the year the most memorable for you. Note that your vote and nominations should align with the caches you honored in the cache type categories.


[NEW] Best Container – Whether an evil micro, an “in-plain-sight” regular or a stunning creation, which cache made you do a double-take or made you say wow? The focus in this category is on what was placed in the field.

[NEW] Most Creative Cache Page – Your first exposure to every cache is the cache page. Which cache pages really jumped out at you and encourage you to really want to get out of the house and check out the hide? Perhaps it was an eloquent description, great artwork or photos. Maybe it was a page that was complete – description, hints, attribute, waypoints, backgrounds – and was greater than the sum of its parts.

Most Outstanding Location/Scenery – Everybody has different criteria for a great location, although the amazing smoothness of the parking lot paving is probably not it. Which cache took you on an outstanding journey or brought you to your best location?

Best Historical/Educational Cache – Many caches offer more than the satisfaction of the find by sharing some history of the area in the cache description, along the journey, or at ground zero. Some caches can teach you something you didn’t know. Which cache provided the best history or educational lesson last year?

Most Physically Challenging– Which cache made you push your limits to complete it? The game suggests that terrain ratings are the indicator of physical challenges. So look at those caches with Terrain ratings in the 4+ range.

Best Kids Cache – Perhaps it was the story on the cache page, or the location, or the hide, or the container, or the trade items. Ask the mini-cachers which cache they would most like to visit again.


Rookie/Newcomer of the Year – Every year thousands of people start geocaching and many of them are in NoVAGO’s area. What new name caught your attention in their logs or with their caches? Who did you see at events and welcome to the community? Check that person’s profile to see if the caching career started during 2023 (or within the last six months of 2022) and was still going strong at the end of the year.

[NEW] Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year – Young people start geocaching all of the time and many of them are in NoVAGO’s area. What new name caught your attention in their logs or with their caches? Who did you see at events and welcome to the community? Check that person’s profile to see if the caching career started during 2023 (or within the last six months of 2022) and was still going strong at the end of the year.

Volunteer of the Year – Which NoVAGO volunteer (beyond the elected officers) contributed the best efforts in furthering the cause of our game? (Note: This year the NoVAGO Board of Directors and Officers will nominate the candidates for this category and then the NoVAGO members will select the honoree.)

Cacher of the Year – Great finder, great hider, great host, great log-writer…the mix of these could be the foundation for Cacher of the Year. Who stood out to you as the epitome of “all-around cacher” this year?

[NEW] Youth Cacher of the Year – Great finder, great hider, great host, great log-writer…the mix of these could be the foundation for Youth Cacher of the Year. Who stood out to you as the epitome of “all-around cacher” this year – and had not turned 18 before the end of 2023?


Cache Eligibility:

1. Cache must have been published between January 1, 2023 and December 31, 2023, and still active as of early 2024.

2. You may make up to three (3) nominations in each category. You do not need to make nominations in all categories.

3. Caches must be within Northern Virginia, (NoVa will be defined as Alexandria (city), Arlington (county), Clarke (county), Fairfax (county), Fairfax (city), Falls Church (city), Fauquier (county), Frederick (county), Loudoun (county), Manassas (city), Manassas Park (city), Prince William (county), Stafford (county), Warren (county), Winchester (city))

4. We will compile the nomination submissions and you will be voting on the top nominees in each category. So the more nominations we get, the easier it will be to discern the best of the best. You do not need to have found a cache to nominate it.

*Both Rookie/Newcomer of the Year and Youth Rookie/Newcomer of the Year must have found their first cache no earlier than July 1, 2022, with a majority of their finds/hides during 2023.


Presidents Favorite Points ❤️

A new year..

Read below or WATCH here –> Video of Presidents Favorite Points Jan 2024

January is the time of year where many people make new year’s resolutions for their health, family, finances, and social gatherings.  For those of us who enjoy geocaching, we probably come up with a few extra resolutions or goals.  Could be to attend more events, host events, find or even publish more geocaches.  There are those who like to keep up with streaks or stats, filling the calendar or their grids.  If you don’t have a resolution yet, or are just starting with geocaching and are unsure what goals you should make, stick around and I’ll give you some hints.

Events are Social:

If you have never been to an event, I definitely suggest you attend one.  They are the red dots on your groundspeak geocaching app and there’s got to be one relatively close to you soon!  NoVAGO also posts local events on our page to make it easy to find, just go to our site and visit any page, scroll to the bottom and there’s the calendar!  (reminder.. If you are not a member JOIN today)  Once you’ve picked an event use the app to log your “will attend” and you can “save it to your calendar” right from the cache page.  *New this year groundspeak added the actual time of the even, so you don’t need to change anything, it will just add it right to your chosen calendar.  Then show up on the date and time.  You will meet many other geocachers who are excited to talk about all things geocaching!

Are you filling your calendar with events, bring it on!  We want to see you and can’t wait to grow our friendships and help you reach that goal.  Never know, maybe someone will host an event on a day you need, so let us know how to help you reach your goal.

Hosting your own events is just as fun.  You may not know this, but you can LOG YOUR OWN EVENT!  So if you have event goals, your own published events count!  Yaye Double Prize…  Plus you get to pick the place and the time, so if you have ever thought of a place that would make a good event, here’s your chance to do it.  Would you be interested in co-hosting an event with a NoVAGO Board member?  Reach out to us and someone who lives near you will help you with your first event and show you the ropes.  Plus you’ll get to know one of NoVAGO’s finest and make a new geobud!

CITO’s are for lovers:

Love the land you geocache on?  This is the 2024 goal for you!  Plan a CITO, Cache In Trash Out, event.  Find an area that needs a clean up, contact the park or property owner and set up a CITO event!  Post on the cache page what you will be providing, like trash bags, picker-uppers, gloves, coffee or whatever else.  Make sure you have a plan where all the bags of trash will go at the end of the event.  Having a CITO is another great way to socialize with fellow cachers and make a difference as well.  Would you like to partner with NoVAGO with a CITO?  Again.. Contact us and if you have a place in mind, let us know and we will help guide you through the process.  You can also check out the geocaching page for more info HERE.

Lets go Streaking:

Say what…  Yep streaking, like in finding caches in a row streak.. What else did you think I meant? So many of you have heard about this said streaking and some go crazy with this, I heard this one guy has almost like a 7 year streak, I’ve heard of the 7 year itch but a cache every day for 7 years – that’s dedication.  So take it as crazy or low-key as you wish, a streak can be difficult but rewarding if you are on a mission.  Plus it will help with the calendar grid that we will cover next.

Gettn’ GRIDDY:

Fizzy Grids, Jasmer and Calendar Fill – OH MY:

No idea what I’m talking about?  Here’s the tea.  Inside your geocaching profile groundspeak tracks all the cache types, difficulty and terrain levels and dates you have found those geocaches.  You can see stats on all of that in a chart/grid and a lot of cachers have goals to fill these grids.  

Which one should you try for?  That’s up to you since one might be more difficult than another depending on your caching style.  For instance, if you are pretty new and stick with the caches who have a lower terrain and difficulty level, filling your Fizzy might be a more extreme goal since it requires you to have found a cache falling within every single D/T available from a 1/1, 3/2, 2,4 all the way up to 5/5.  So if you don’t plan on finding any caches that have a 4 or 4 terrain or difficulty, this wouldn’t be the goal for you.  However, if you have been caching a while, you may already have a lot of caches filling these holes and you can dedicate 2024 to the year of those missing D/T holes.

If you Jaz for the Jasmer plan, this takes a little research and a few road trips.  The Jasmer requires you to find one cache hidden each month since geocaching began in May 2000.  If you want to start this one, make this your year since there are only less than 120 caches still active that were placed in 2000! 

The calendar fill officially called the 365 Challenge requires you to find a cache every day of the year even if it’s over time, you don’t have to streak to fill this calendar.  You can take your time, or do the streak and reach two goals at once! (FIND OUT MORE HERE)

Cache Publications:

Want to hide a geocache or two or three?  If you are a seasoned cacher, get out there and place some new caches.  You know how to hide them and I’m sure you have some good places in mind.  If you are new to caching, make sure you have done your research on placing a new cache and have found a considerable amount of caches and types so you know what makes a good cache that will stick around for years to come.

Personal Faves

There are many other types of obsessions, I mean goals that you could have.  Some of these aren’t tracked specifically through groundspeak but you can track them on the side.  Some examples are:

  • More FTF’s (First to Find) 
  • Birthday Caches (finding a cache on their “birthday”).  
  • Increasing finds on specific container types, terrain, difficulty or attributes.  
  • Finding more caches with high favorite points.

Fun with Friends:

If you are social, finding more time to cache with friends might be a goal for this year.  Find some others with the same goal and set a plan in action.

NoVAGO Support:

Did you say yes you are social?  Becoming more involved with NoVAGO could be a new goal of yours.  Volunteer your time on a special committee, do a small project, write an article for the web page, adopt a NoVAGO cache, post more on social media, give NoVAGO shout outs and spread the word.  Current members may also add the NoVAGO logo and “proud to be a member” on the bottom of their personal caching profile.  Take it one step further if you are a CO and add it to your cache pages.  The logos can be found on the NoVAGO webpage.

Never Stop Learning

What I have realized is that being a geocacher isn’t just one thing, there are so many different types of events, caches, programs, apps and items to collect.  If you want to fill your head with more geocaching goodness, attend a learning event.  There are many posted throughout the year and provide a lot of great information about geocaching from a newbie geocaching 101 event to other programs that can help you track those geocaching goals you have made.  

Do you have a wealth of knowledge you wish to share?  Maybe YOU could be the host of one of these events.  Reach out to a NoVAGO board member and let them know you are interested.

Have another goal?

I know I went over a lot of ideas, but there’s so much more out there that can be accomplished by geocachers in 2024.  If YOU have a good goal you’d like to share, pop it in the chat and share with others.

Cache ONWARD