Geocaching is unusual in that it can be a completely solo activity or a thoroughly social one. A geocacher can spend years at the game without meeting another geocacher in the field. However many geocachers meet to hunt caches together, take geocaching road trips and some participate in the most social activity of all, geocaching events. These events can draw anywhere from a handful of participants, to thousands. Groundspeak, the company that runs the world’s largest geocaching listing site, has designated events that draw over 500 people as “mega events”. These “megas” bring people from throughout the region and often, the world. This year’s Geowoodstock in Maryland, traditionally one of the largest events, drew over 3,000 geocaching enthusiasts from as far as Australia and Germany.
The first mega event in New Jersey, known as the MEtro GAthering, drew over 650 geocachers to Warinanco Park in Roselle on a brisk November afternoon last year. Based on the success of that event, the New Jersey geocaching community decided to hold another MEtro GAthering this year. Instead of the urban location of the first mega event, this year it will be held in historic Waterloo Village on September 12, 2015.
The Northern New Jersey Cachers and Central Jersey Geocaching organizations combined to plan this year’s event even before the last scrap was swept from Warinanco Park. The choice of Waterloo Village and its bucolic location in northwestern New Jersey is decidedly different from the first event’s location in Union County. The village is a fully restored complex of buildings that housed a small town along the old Morris Canal. It was situated near the halfway point of the 107 mile trek from Easton, PA to Jersey City. The canal, completed in 1831, was used to transport iron ore, coal and other goods for nearly a hundred years. Waterloo Village is now part of Allamuchy Mountain State Park and is managed by the NJDEP Division of Parks and Forestry.
This year’s event will feature food and activities, including a late Woodland era “archaeology dig” and geocaching related games and contests. The area is also dotted with many geocaches, which can keep geocaching enthusiasts busy all day. But most of all, it is an opportunity to meet fellow geocachers for a day of fun, games and camaraderie.
Official registration has closed, but there is no requirement to register to attend the event. So if you are a geocacher, or ever thought about geocaching, mark September 12 on your calendar.
For more information see the MEtro GAathering website or the Geocaching.com website.