INTERVIEW: Team 360 And The Worlds First Geocache

Photo cortesy of Team 360.

In the year 2000, Dave Ulmer placed the worlds first geocache in the state of Oregon, USA. Later, it was destroyed by a lawn mower. Through sponsoring by the geocaching community Team 360 had a memorial made, located at the place of that original hide. And upon placing it, he even found the worlds oldest SWAG, with which he’s now travelling the world.

Team 360 is in fact made up of only one geocacher: Jeff. “When I first started I picked the name ‘Team 360’ to be able to include friends who wanted to join me, but as it turns out, I cache alone,” he reveals.

Jeff was born in southern Michigan but has lived in Chicago, Fort Worth and Phoenix, Texas. In 1990-91 he was on the road together with the Moscow circus on their North American tour.

“For a while, I was married to a russian acrobat. I have travelled to Canada, Ireland, Germany and throughout the US. I’ve also been to Russia four times. As you can tell I love to travel. Life is an adventure!”

Where it all began

Team 360 discovered geocaching as early as November 2001, when the hobby was brand new. In 2003 he did some research of the original hide. That’s when he realized that someone should protect the area where the cache was first hidden.

“If no one ‘marked’ the position the location would be destroyed and disappear forever,” he says. “I started a thread and accepted donations from other geocachers. Their names are on the cache page of Original Stash Tribute Plaque.”

The money that Team 360 gathered went to a memorial, a plaque which today is placed at the first cache location in Portland, Oregon, where it all started.

“I flew the plaque to Portland myself to put it in place with concrete. It was lucky that we did this on time. When we arrived the original place was barely visible. I remember that day clearly, I was soaked in sweat from mixing the concrete.”

Present were also Dave Ulmer himself along with some other geocachers who came to watch.

“Dave had brought some champagne which we opened to celebrate,” says Team 360.

But what happened to the original hide? Dave Ulmer archived it only a few months after it was placed. The container, which was a half-buried bucket, had been damaged when someone mowed the grass and water had leaked in.

Visitors from all over the world

“Originally, the idea was for the memorial to be a virtual cache. But to maintain the tradition of the first cache it was decided that a physical container was to be located near the plaque,” says Team 360. “The first log book was actually ingraved in the concrete, but I quickly realized that such a small log book wouldn’t be able to handle the large number of visitors, and a larger container with a larger book was placed.”

The cache was for a priod the worlds most visited cache. as of July 2012, more than 7000 people have logged it.

“I once received an e-mail about that. A memorial wall in Germany had a few more finds.”

The plaque is visited by people from all across the globe, and Team 360 jokingly believes that many think of it as sacred ground or “the Mecca of geocaching”.

“People have kneeled in front of the memorial, kissed it for luck and such. The crazynes of geocaching, perhaps. As long as they had fun finding it, that’s all that matters,” he says.

The worlds most logged travel bug

When Team 360 set out to place the plaque that day in 2003, he found something on the ground: a can of beans. Dave Ulmer could confirm that yes, it was in fact the can he had placed in the bucket three years earlier. That makes the can, called OCB (Original Can of Beans), the worlds oldest SWAG. Team 360 has converted it into a travel bug and brings it to events around the world.

In the spring of 2010 Team 360 was at a mega event in Austria. He had the TB with him, which many of the attendants had been looking forward to see.

“Some bowed and prayed in front of it,” he tells. “We had a special presentation where I carried the OCB in on a silver platter, covered by a black cloth. Music was playing and when it stopped I made a dramatic uncovery. The crowd went wild!”

Do you want to get a look at the can? Keep an eye out for Team 360 at mega events throughout the world. And the cache? Just go to Oregon and log it!

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