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20 Mart 2014 Perşembe

A Special GeoCache - Apple Tree METU

I am a geocacher from Istanbul and am part of a group of geocachers who gather once a month. This month we decided to visit the capital city of Turkey, Ankara. We thought it would be a nice opportunity for us to meet new geocachers from Ankara, while also finding some geocaches there.
We announced the Ankara Event and bought our bus tickets.

The event was at 6pm, however we arrived at 9am! The aim was to meet some university students, explain the game to them, and find some caches during the daytime. Everything was perfect. The University Trekking group members heard about geocaching but hadn't tried it before. We met with this group in METU (the Middle East Technical University of Ankara). We were lucky because the weather was sunny and clear. We gave them a brief presentation about geocaching (explaining how they can use geocaching applications, a short history of geocaching, cache types, etc.).

After the presentation we decided to find some caches on the University campus. GokhanGoKartErhan, a geocacher from Ankara, hid most of the caches there. What we didn't know was that he is a lecturer in the university. So, our aim was to show the new geocache members how to find caches and how to log them.

When we reached the first cache, however, we found a special note for us in the box. Ankara was expecting us and they wanted to welcome us by preparing a little surprise. They made a little puzzle with the solution bringing us to a special cache.

New geocaching members were already excited just to understand geocaching, find caches etc, but we were more than excited to have a surprise puzzle cache from Ankara. We rapidly found the five different caches necessary for the surprise. We gathered the clues and solved the mystery. Eventually we learned the coordinates.

However, everyone was getting tried and the group wanted to have lunch before finding our way to the location. Because of the sunny weather we were able to have our lunch outside. Everyone was happy. The new members decided to leave and our group from Istanbul was ready to explore our surprise cache. Some of us guessed that there might be drinks in the box, some thought it would only be a note. But the truth was really simply amazing.

We walked to the GZ. When we were near the coordinates we couldn't believe our eyes, because no one expected what we saw! The Ankara geocachers made a wonderful surprise for us. They bought a potted apple tree and had already dug a hole and left us a pick axe. We found a note next to the plant which said,
''We wanted you to have a tree in our campus to remember this day and help us  in our fight.'' We knew that METU university had problems with the municipality, as the government wanted to pass a new highway through the university's forest and  in one night, without permission, they cut hundreds of trees for this new highway. The university members were so angry they protested this action. This apple tree was for us and at the same time, they wanted us to be aware of the problem.

All of us were aware of this issue before but to have this tree as a surprise made us very happy and we were touched.

We wanted to do something in response to this emotional surprise but we had come unprepared. We decided to leave a new cache near our apple tree. We will always remember this event and every geocacher that comes to Middle East Technical University can learn about this day.

- Geocaching Istanbul


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