Sunday, March 18, 2012

Missing APE Cache Found in Seattle


Easily one of the greatest and most compelling mysteries in the geocaching world has to be the location and fate of the fabled APE caches. Sought after by millions of Geocachers around the world, many of these caches have been reported missing (most likely ‘muggled’) or simply located in hard-to-find spots, like the one in Brazil.

However, it looks like one of the original APE caches was recently found in Washington, thanks to a dedicated team of geocachers. The missing cache, Mission 9: Tunnel of Light, was found more than 3,000 times before being muggled and eventually archived in 2011. But, now that it has been found, the debate has begun about what to do with the cache.

The APE Legacy

The Project APE caches were actually a publicity stunt organized by 20th Century Fox as a promotion for the 2001 remake film, Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg. Prior to the release of the film, the company created 14 caches as part of an unrelated “sub-plot” to the film. According to the story, the caches were created by Renegade humans who were trying to reveal an “Alternate Primate Evolution” theory by placing artifacts around the world. They called it Project A.P.E., and all of the caches were labeled thusly.

The release of the caches was extremely secretive, with clues leaked over time. The Geocaching community absolutely loved it, and the caches became extremely popular as they were hidden all across the world, and only by finding all of them would a geocacher be able to piece together the whole story (and pick up some cool movie swag in the process). However, the crates quickly began disappearing as they were muggled (or found by non-geocachers). Fox abandoned the project in 2003, and there are only a handful of APE caches left out in the wild—a number that is steadily dwindling.

Mission 9 Found at Last

Groundspeak has announced that a group of 10 dedicated geocachers gathered together and, working under the assumption that the heavy crate would likely not have been hauled two miles back into the parking area, set out to find the original container and hopefully the logbook.

After several hours of searching, the original container, logbook, and some swag were found and brought back to the Groundspeak HQ. You can read the full account of the search here.

But, now that this APE container and its logbook has been found, a heated debate has broken out in the community: What happens now?

For anyone interested, Groundspeak has released a survey where you can submit a vote on what should happen to the crate. The survey will close November 27, 2016 so make sure you go fill it out quick!

Update: the survey seems to still be live even though the date has passed, so be sure to check it out quick; I’m not sure how long that will be the case.

Some of the possible options include:

  • Returning the crate to its original location and reactivating it as an APE cache
  • Display the non-loggable container at Geocaching HQ as it’s a part of the hobby’s history
  • Tour the container to other original APE locations

Check out the survey here.

With this APE cache now found, there is now only one active APE cache in the world: Mission 4: Southern Bowl, located in Brazil. The hunt is officially on!

So tell me, have you logged an APE cache yet? What should happen to Mission 9? Leave a note in the comments below!


  1. Southern Bowl is in a beautiful state park. The cache was assumed missing and a rescue team of two joined forces to seek it. JoGPS and AB4N hired translators and bushmen, got visas, and made the trip to prove it was still there in 2005. A few friends visited it a few years later and raved of the park.

    I made the trip to visit it in 2015, the year JoGPS passed away. Those several days and nights in that park, largely off the grid, but with Junior’s name in hand if I _needed_ an English speaker, I’ll cherish forever. Taking away that cache’s status of The Last Ape, reversing site policy about “un-deading” caches that have been lost for five years, and making it into a tour bus/traveling cache really cheapens it. Intervales is an amazing trip and I highly recommend it. It’s as far off the grid as I’m ever likely to be comfortable.

    Tunnel Of Light was a nice walk, but for most people, Southern Bowl will be a much more epic adventure. I hope it retains its place as a unique visit for seekers that want an adventure more than an icon.

    BTW, this site’s sense of time in “news” has really fallen since Rich left. You announced this two days after the survey closed and you announced the 64sc today, when the official press release was 28 days ago.

    • Hi Robert! Thanks for the comment. It sounds like it was beautiful.

      As to the timeliness, I ended up having to move some articles around due to the holidays, but the survey is actually still live so you can vote on it. I do the best that I can, but I appreciate the feedback.

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