413 Geocaches in 24 Hours?? YES! We did it…

3 09 2009

50 years ago (or as the card my sister gave me expressed it “A Long, Long, Long Time Ago”), on August 29, I breathed my first taste of Terran air. What better way to celebrate than with a crazy, exhausting, record-setting day of geocaching??

For those of you who have never attempted real power caching like this and wonder how on earth it can be done, here are the most essential things for achieving light speed:

1) density – there must be a LOT of caches in a concentrated area

2) ease of transition – no traffic lights or muggles, but an open country grid of roads

3) complete pre-planning – all puzzles solves and the entire route is mapped out for maximum efficiency

***I have to give Steve of the Ventura Kids great credit for handling this part!***

4) ease of finding and logging – not too many nanos, no tricky hides, no vegetation hides, no multis

5) high level of maintenance – lots of folks finding them recently, no DNFs in the history

6) excessive good humor – it’s a LONG time to be driving around… if it ain’t going to be fun, don’t bother!

7) tenacity – especially as the sun is going down again and your hourly cache count with it, you need to know you and your team will stick with it to the end

There’s your basic recipe for a wild and woolly ride through a cosmos’ worth of logbooks.

Here’s a peek into how our day went. Well, first of all, I was picked up at the airport the day before:

We found 15 caches that afternoon, then we all ate dinner and rested up for the coming marathon. At 11:15pm, we regrouped in the hotel lobby. Steve fortified himself with coffee:

We loaded up the trunk with food for the day:

and we were off! We did 5 “warmup” caches before midnight, at which time the other three sang “Happy Birthday” to me!

Here’s our first official find of the 24-hour period of August 29:
’34 Gold Wing

Cache find 100 was around 5:30am! It was still dark.
Mondo’s Silver Bullet LV

Here’s Jim signing a log on the other side of a ditch while Steve sets his GPSr for the next one. Efficiency is the name of the game, for sure.

Many of the caches were in the late summer’s overgrowth of weeds:

and we got to experience the truly vicious variety of stickers that grow all over this place:

Speaking of stickers – we used a single group one:

I tried to reserve my energy whenever possible:

There were some interesting views at cache #200
Colorado Eastern Railroad

We could see the airport from there and pretty much everywhere all day:

and these wildflowers were all over:

They’re a smaller version of these guys:

Cache find #300 was around 4:30pm
Shadow and Sandy

Sandy of the VKs wants to call Jim “Shadow” now:

Steve observes the log signing ritual behind me. Why did he park so far from the cache??

Somewhere along the way, we stopped for gas, and f0t0m0m presented me with cupcakes! They did not light the candles since we were at a gas station – whew!

The sunset looked similar to the sunrise, just in a different part of the big, broad sky:

Find #400, at just before 11pm.
Cachonomic Stimulus Plan #2

We were a little worried earlier in the evening that we might not pull this off, but now we knew we were in the clear! We found the record-breaking #407 at 11:30pm and continued to midnight to nab 413!
Douglas #12 Hungate

Oh, and here’s a short video that shows you basically what driving up to each and every cache was like:

Here are our per hour stats (listed from the beginning of each hour):
midnight = 15 
1 am = 11 
2 am = 23 
3 am = 20 
4 am = 24 
5 am = 21 
6 am = 19 
7 am = 17 
8 am = 17 
9 am = 15 
10 am = 20 
11 am = 27 
noon = 18 
1 pm = 17 
2 pm = 13 
3 pm = 14 
4 pm = 16 
5 pm = 20 
6 pm = 14 
7 pm = 16 
8 pm = 12 
9 pm = 15 
10 pm = 17 
11 pm = 11 

We also had 24 DNFs!

We don’t know how long we’ll hold this record, but we hope it will stand through the winter. Come the longer days next year, though… who will go for it??


P.S. The Daily Reviewer has me on the list of top geocaching blogs! Here’s the *LINK*. I’m honored!

p.p.s. here’s a jpg of our route! (Steve lost his track, darn it…)
World Record Speed run Aug 29th 2009 2




39 responses

3 09 2009

you are CRAZY! but I love it!!! I bet you took a good long nap after all that caching!


3 09 2009


It would be fun to see your track log with caches. Unless that is classified. 😛

4 09 2009
Ventura Kids

What the heck?
Is that really possible?
You must have cheated…..lol

4 09 2009
Elin Carlson

I’ve posted a jpg of the caches. We essentially started at the top and worked our way south… ending up as far away from the hotel as possible. LOL

4 09 2009
Ventura Kids

If I may add…. The caches were NOT set up for a powercaching or speedcaching run. They were spread all over the plains and around the edge of the urban areas, and hidden by a dozen different cachers. The average distance was a mile apart.

7 09 2009

“The caches were NOT set up for a powercaching or speedcaching run.”

Sorry VK but yes they are set up as power trails. It is a co-op of cachers who proliferate the caches and produce the results. It is done by setting a cache, moving further away than the 528 ft, usually 4 to 6 times the distance and dropping another cache. Here come another cache hider in co-op with the 1st and fills in one of the spaces in between. Next comes the third cacher… rinse and repeat. It is indeed planned out for a speedcache runs.
I am not taking away from your cache finding experience and I do appreciate Elin asking me to attend. I was preparing for my own caching run of 4 wheeling in the San Juan mountains to find a couple of caches (if) per day. Which I did, thank you.

7 09 2009
Elin Carlson

Hey, Zoltig! “Not set up” means not organized in any route, but scattered around in clusters. The caches intended for lots of easy finds and mega runs, yes, but the average distance between them is over a mile! We were trying to calculate how many more one could do if they were really close together… close to 700? EEEESh!!!

15 09 2009

Again, I do believe that you accomplished this feat. Finding all of the caches. I have no reason to not believe it.
But by chance, do you think that maybe the mileage that you stated could be wrong?

Agreed that you would not be taking a straight line to speak of when going to the caches. To get to 471 miles, a person would have to drive (straight line) from Platteville to Elbert 7 times.
Another way to look at it is the state of Colorado on its longest axis (E-W) is 377 miles. You beat that with your statement of 471 mi by almost 100 mi.
I would believe 271 miles for the caching run which places a cache at an average of 0.65 miles. Knowing the cache density out there, I find this more plausible. That also falls in line with my above statement that I posted on 7 Sept. for cache density.
Not that it matters, you did what you did in 24 hrs and had fun doing it. That is what counts.

4 09 2009

Congratulations!! Your achievement is mind boggling. On mega attempts like this is it standard practice to pre-notify local law enforcement or do groups take their chances with being stopped and delayed/detained?

4 09 2009
Ventura Kids

We were stopped by one Law Enforcement Officer.
Sandy had her feet hanging out into the roadway pulling stickers out of her shoes and socks. He probably wouldn’t have noticed, except we were facing the wrong way for that side of the street. He just laughed and said “You folks must be from California”.

We also were stopped 5 or 6 times as Midnight approached. These were local farming folks who asked if we needed help. I guess we looked strange jumping out of the jeep and running out into the weeds with lights on our foreheads.

4 09 2009

Congratulations!! An amazing feat 🙂

4 09 2009

A-MAZ-ING… I will not be challenging this record anytime soon. Congratulations!

4 09 2009

blog link incorrect… fixed it

4 09 2009

Congratulations! With your birthday (same as mine) and the 413 finds.
We have done 419, and that took us 3 years.

5 09 2009

Holy crap!

5 09 2009

From one group of powercachers to another, we offer congratulations on this achievement! We are Neko&Hiiri, and bish0p, commonly known as CJ Squared. Our record attempt for this took place in Nashville, TN, but we only got 139. We learned a great deal from the attempt (most of the points that you’ve made), and have done a few 100+ days since.

How did you come to pick the Denver area? We’ve never really tried to do a record run in a rural area…


5 09 2009

Congrats. My best is 150 in 10 hours with TeamSnook in Bangor, Maine.
Denver looks very good for next year.

5 09 2009

How long did it take to log all the caches? And shouldn’t logging them be part of the record????


5 09 2009

First of all congratulations. I think I am going to try to hide 400 caches in a 24 hour period. I better start collecting the containers now and reserve the UHAUL to carry them. My goal this year is 413. You guys are the Jedi’s of caching. I am not worthy. May the cache be with you.

5 09 2009

Congo-rats from The OC! While you were out in your Insane Caching Run I was busy with my quest to the Kilo Club all this week. With the help of Redbaroness, Shellfish, and Team Wonderstuff from New Zealand we grabbed 72 in 9 hours out in Huntington Beach which is CRAMMED with quality hides from the likes of Team GeoRangers, Bajatym, and IWillFindit! OK so that’s nothing compared to your average of 17.2 CPH or Caches Per Hour for the whole day. We managed to squeak out 7 CPH and that was with a 5 Minute Rule!

On Wednesday we attacked Covina/Glendora and nabbed 49 or 6 CPH due to a high number of DNFs. I didn’t have a specific Milestone Cache….1,000 kind of came and went.

See ya again sometime real soon I’m sure.


5 09 2009

I’m not sure I could enjoy a power-caching day like that, but congrats!

6 09 2009

Amazing.. 🙂

6 09 2009

You. Are. Totally. Out. Of. Your. Minds!

7 09 2009

Congratulations! 🙂 We had a minivan with 9 of us do similar in Australia, and found 195 caches in 24 hours – we did this in 2007 and I believe it is still the Australasian record. 413 is insane, I don’t think New Zealand or Australia has the density yet to hit those sort of numbers in 24 hours. Our biggest mistake was not preparing enough, as we didn’t think we’d got through the 250 or so we had planned (previous record was 128). Turns out we needed to plan another 50-100 caches as we were literally going ‘find nearest’ for the last 6 hours!

7 09 2009
Ventura Kids

A little cross-credit here.
The Podcacher show gave a nice report on the World Record and this blog.


7 09 2009
EMC of Northridge, CA

Thanks to The Podcacher show! They did a nice story on our KRAZEE day. 🙂 Show #233 – check it out!

8 09 2009

Congratulations to you all! That is an amazing feat. I loved the pictures and reading about your journey. It sounds like you had a great time. Some of the the most memorable caching experiences are the times when you’re out with friends doing something like this. Well done!

9 09 2009

Congrats. Last year we did 315 in a day! This is totally wild.. Hope you had fun. We did.

Best Regards, Elmbaek

11 09 2009

Ho.ley Crap! I am impressed when I hear about 100 finds a day! Huge kudos to the planning and execution of the top geocachers I know. I really really hope one of the MAtM cache will be honored with your 20,000!!!!


11 09 2009

OK, and did you do unique logs for every find and DNF? LOL

Numbers runs are fun. I’ve only done a couple. I can still remember some of the caches I did on a 100+ find day.

23 09 2009

OMG, you guys are incredible. And nuts. Paul and I (PnD) joined The Outlaw and TreyB for a powercaching day in Austin last November and we nabbed 102 in 17 hours. We were completely shot. Couldn’t move for a day. THAT exhausted. You idiots went out for 24 hours and were at Mach 4 the whole time… Unreal! Is it talent? Skill? Complete insanity? Whatever it is, we’re impressed!

Just one question… How did you slow down enough to shoot any pictures? The sunflower field pic is esp. awesome.

Very impressive, all of you. Our hats are off to you!


24 10 2009

Is this record set by a team driving multiple cars to multiple locations at the same time? If my math is correct including DNF’s that a cache visit every 3 1/2 minutes…how does anyone do that? It takes me about 12 hours to do 30 and I’m pretty worn out after that. Even if the caches are 528 feet apart that would be a string 43 miles long. I did 15 the other day and drove 70 miles. Just getting in and out of the car and the drive time between each cache makes this hard for me to believe, sorry…I’d love to hear the fine details. I left out taking photos, video, eating, drinking, and bathroom breaks. Hey just caching twenty fours hours straight is very very impressive. Great Job!

24 10 2009
Elin Carlson

All of us were in one car and we stayed together for the whole run. The details and criteria are what I stated above: density, ease of find, no traffic… and the caches WERE about a mile apart on average! Our best hour was 27 caches, and each of the four of us have done runs of 30 in a hour, so we know that with REAL density of .1 miles in an area such as around Denver, a 600 or 700 cache day IS possible.
Now that’s crazy.

30 10 2009
A Record-Setting Power-Cache | The Joy of Geocaching

[…] Power cachers are always pushing the limits of the game, and as we were in the final stages of writing this book, we received word of a new record claim by a team that included two people we quote extensively elsewhere: Steve O’Gara (ventura_kids) and Elin Carlson (EMC of Northridge, CA). They joined with f0t0m0m on August 29, 2009 in a midnight-to-midnight run that netted 413 caches in one day. […]

29 12 2009

Good job. When I started caching we did a record run of 13 in one day and we had people challenging our quest saying it couldn’t be done. Times have changed and so has caching.

10 01 2010

You will find that a bunch of cachers over the years have power cached with high numbers. I have cached with Team Jedi in Cincinnati, Ohio, Who back in 2004 did
1300+ with a day of 217 caches on an 11day trip only to come home and get
stoned by a few naysayer cachers who said that was not possible to do because they did the math and showed it was not possible.

(Easy Math)

-If you do 1cache every 15 mins that is 4 caches per hour
4 X 24(hr) = 96 found in 24 hours.

-If you do just one extra cache per hour that is 24 more caches.
96 from the above 4 caches per hour +24=120

-That’s only 5 caches per hour for 24 hours to get 120 finds.

The mistake in math comes next. If you take 1440 minutes which is how many
minutes in 24 hours and divide it by the 413 caches found that EMC found, that
comes up to 1 cache every 3.5 minutes. This is where the naysayer starts to

The math is correct. You would have to find a cache every 3.5 Minutes. But caching
is not about perfect time or perfect distance. You have to do the math per
placement guidelines: The tenth of a mile rule

if you walk 3 miles an hour. (5280ft X 3) You can walk 15840 feet per hour. You
can place a cache every 1/10th of a mile a part. A tenth of a mile is 528 feet (5280/10=528) So if you take the 15840 feet you could walk in an hour and divide
it by 528 feet (the amount that a cache has to be spaced by) you now have 30 possible caches in a row at a tenth of a mile a part. So you could in fact find 1cache
every 2 minutes. (60Mins divided by 30 = 2 Minutes)

HOLD THE PRESSES!! We did the math above and it show that you had to find
a cache every 3.5 minutes and now you are showing me that you can find one
every 2 minutes per the simple guidelines of GC.Com in placing a cache.

And to blow your mind even more……
-If you did that for 24 hours you would find 720 caches and have walked 72 miles.

Now if you take that math to the car and you drove just 30 miles an hour, 30 miles
X 24 hours = 720 miles. Who drives just 30 miles an hour when you are out all
day long? You grab and interstate and drive 70 MPH to get to the next group
of caches or a state route at 50 MPH. So 30 mph would be a good low average of speed on the day.

There are not to many teams that do the 24 hour power cache or want to find 200
plus caches, Just as you will not find that many who do a 600 foot free hand rock climb with no gear on a level 7 rock face to get a cache but you do :O)

Congrates on the 413 finds in a day. I really hope you enjoy and revel in it.


16 03 2010
Moose Mob

This looks like a BLAST!

16 03 2010
Elin Carlson

Totally a blast! Totally exhausting, too! Go for it somewhere! Hmmm…. seems there’s a mad cache run south of Vegas now…..

2 05 2012
Suffolk Papa

Just found your blog – great job – we just completed our 2nd power run over a 3 day weekend – 549 caches with 309 being done on one day (not 24 hours)! SNAP!!! (Suffolk Nana & Papa)

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