geocaching, travel

18 Memorable Moments in 2018 | The Geocaching Junkie

What a year it’s been! In geocaching terms, this has been my most cache-light year, with a find rate of 0.5 per day. The first 4 months of the year were dominated by morning sickness (which isn’t just for mornings, as I found out the hard way!). Trying to muster up the enthusiasm to go geocaching when you have a constant feeling of nausea is quite difficult. Once my bump started to grow, I couldn’t manage to walk for long without having backache, so the rest of my pregnancy wasn’t exactly conducive to copious amounts of caching either.

There was time for some memorable geocaching moments, but of course, I’ll most remember 2018 as the year I became a mom to an amazing little girl. Here are my 18 memorable moments of 2018.

1. New Year’s Resolution event

In 2018, the annual New Year’s Resolution event hosted by Donnacha was held in the beautiful Glengarra Wood in County Tipperary. The Mother and I attended before we headed to Kilkenny for a quick city break. The walk was relatively easy-going and I still managed to make it the whole way around despite battling morning sickness throughout! It was a lovely way to kick off the New Year.

2. Exploring Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a city I had only visited once (pre-geocaching) so it was nice to return and explore more of what it has to offer. It’s a fabulous medieval city, and the highlight was undoubtedly a guided tour of the castle, with its elegant interiors and rich history.

3. Baby’s First Photo 

In late February, we had our 12 week scan at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and got a glimpse of our perfect little baby. It was a very emotional experience and one I will never forget!

4. Snowy Scenes in March

In early March, we had an unseasonable blanket of snow and I have never been more grateful to be able to work from home! Lunchtime walkies took Olly the geohound and I to the Botanic Gardens, nearby our house in Belfast, where the snowy scenes had my camera working overtime!

5. An unforgettable DNF in Sweden

A weekend in Sweden was supposed to be a celebration of finishing my Jasmer Grid but instead, it became the location of my most memorable DNF! We still had a great time in snowy Sweden, enjoying the Ice Bar and the ABBA Museum in particular.

6. Mount Stewart geocaching

One of my favourite geocaching days of the year, cep99, peacockealot and the swerve headed to Mount Stewart just outside Newtownards, County Down. The site is run by the National Trust and is home to a plethora of different geocaches in beautiful surroundings. We had a great day picking up many of the caches and exploring the site.

7. Climbing up Chesterfield Spire

In April, we visited Chesterfield in North Derbyshire and climbed to the top of the famous Crooked Spire. Thanks to a new Virtual Reward cache, we found out there were guided tours of the spire and it was a great experience hearing about the church’s history from a local guide and climbing all the way to the top.

8. A Trip to Washington DC

Our big trip of 2018 was to Washington D.C., where we battled unseasonable heat to visit many of the tourist hotspots and pick up a small portion of the many virtual caches to be found there. We enjoyed taking the guided tour inside the Capitol building and visiting some of the famous museums along the National Mall. The highlight of our three days in D.C. was undoubtedly seeing the giant Pandas at the Smithsonian Zoo!

9. Geocaching in New Jersey

Our visit to family in New Jersey came with a side of geocaching (of course!). One of the caches we found was a different take on a ‘bison in a tree’ and it was one of my favourite finds of 2018 – who says micros can’t be fun?!

10. Discovering Derry

In June, we spent a weekend in the City of Derry for the muggle’s birthday. I had never visited before and really enjoyed walking the city walls and seeing some of the famous murals. By late June, it was becoming more difficult for me to spend the day walking as my bump was growing fast!

11. Geocaching in the heatwave with cep99

In July, cep99 kindly offered to take me on a tour of drive-by caches so I could earn a few more points for the Hidden Creatures souvenir promotion. Summer 2018 was one of the hottest ever in the UK and combined with being almost 8 months pregnant, doing any caching involving walking was simply not an option. Also, we met a pony near one of the geocaches we found, which is always memorable and worthy of a mention!!

12. Air show event in Bray

Also in July, we spent our last weekend in my hometown of Bray before the baby was due to arrive and attended the annual Bray Air Display. I figured it would be a great opportunity to host one last geocaching event before becoming a mom, so held The Last Event before the Big Event just before the Air Display started on the beach.

13. Becoming a Mom

The most memorable moment of 2018 was, of course, meeting my beautiful daughter Emer (pronounced ‘ee-mur’). She entered this world on 30th August and our lives instantly changed forever. We have already had some geocaching adventures together (including her first encounter with some ‘moo-gles’, pictured below) but I am looking forward to many more, especially when she can find the caches herself!

14. Bronze at the Blog Awards

For the third year in a row, my blog was a finalist at the Irish Blog Awards and this year, I was stunned to find out I had nabbed the bronze award in the Best Photography Blog category! Both geocaching and this blog have nurtured my love of photography and it was amazing to get this recognition.

15. Dippy the Dinosaur

In October, we visited the Ulster Museum to see Dippy, the famous Diplodocus cast from the Natural History Museum in London, who is currently on a tour of the UK. Dippy is a plaster cast replica of the fossilised bones of  Diplodocus carnegii and it was great to be able to see Dippy in all his glory right on our doorstep!

16. First flight with baby

I’m sure many of you have seen a baby being carried on to a plane and groaned to yourselves. I’m guilty of it myself! So when we flew to England in mid December to visit family, I was nervous that she wouldn’t be the angelic baby she usually is. I needn’t have worried: she slept through both flights in her usual chilled out fashion. It bodes well for future travel plans, although it will probably be a different story when she starts crawling!

17. Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo

Two days before Christmas, we visited Dublin Zoo to see the Wild Lights that I had heard so much about in 2017. The giant illuminated silk lanterns are scattered all around the zoo and make a spectacular sight to experience. We will definitely return next year.

18. First family celebration

Just after Christmas, we celebrated Emer’s christening with our extended family and friends. It was our first special occasion as a family of three and a magical way to end the year.

2018 was perhaps my most memorable year to date and I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds, watching Emer grow and hopefully having more time to go geocaching and travel too.

What are your most memorable moments of 2018? Happy New Year!

Happy Caching!


© 2018 | Sarah McLarkey | All Rights Reserved

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