Project APE Cache – a geocaching type of cache

Altogether there are still 2 out of 13 APE caches around the world, none of them in Europe. They have their own icon and souvenir, so a blog article makes sense for only two caches.

Explanation of terms

Project APE Caches are a tin/container cache containing a prop from the Planet of the Apes film series. It is a sponsored cache series for this film in cooperation with Fox Studios.

APE is not just the English word for monkey, but is an abbreviation for "Alternative Primate Evolution".

Of the original 13 caches laid by Project APE in 2001, only two are still active today: Mission 4: Southern Bowl in Brazil and Mission 9: Tunnel of Light in the USA. At the time when the caches were laid out for geocaching, mega events were not yet known - and certainly not giga - otherwise the design of these caches would certainly have been a reason for mega events.

The history

In 2001, geocaching was still in its infancy, even in baby socks. In the cinemas "The Planet of the Apes" came to the screen. 20th Century Fox as a film producer had noticed that there was geocaching and some of their customers were active here.

Groundspeak was very interested in popularizing geocaching. And so the two companies started to work together. According to the tale, 20th Century Fox invented another story alongside "Planet of the Apes," which is about humans dumping the film's artifacts in secret locations around the world. These were props from the movie that were placed in the geocaching tins.

A large ammo box was used for each of the 13 Project APE caches, which can still be found at the two remaining APE caches today.

The arrangement between Groundspeak and 20th Century Fox was that once the caches were smuggled, they would not be replaced. 13 unique geocaches, so to speak.

Groundspeak gave these 13 caches their own icon and souvenir.

In addition, each cache name was prefixed with a mission number. Number 10 was divided into 10a and 10b. Publishing the caches didn't just happen. A different cache with its coordinates was published every week. Before that, however, there were tips on the location of the cache. The tips became more and more precise until the coordinates were published.


The film

What is meant here is the film "Planet of the Apes" from 2001. This is based on a novel by Pierre Boulle from the year 1963. Before After the film from 2001 there was already a 5-part film series in the 70s.

The "Planet of the Apes" is about the fact that apes could have evolved better than humans. It is a science fiction film that was released in German cinemas on August 30, 2001. You can find more about the content online:

Some of the APE caches were also placed at the original location.

The A.P.E. caches

The cooperation between 20th Century Fox and Groundspeak began as a promotional campaign in late May 2001, just one year after the world's first geocache was hidden.

Each A.P.E. cache contained an original prop from the film.

Anyone who has found the Project APE Cache will receive the following souvenir from Groundspeak in addition to its - rare- icon.

The following APE caches have been released:

Mission 1: Devil's Spoon, California, USA
Mission 2: Club Suave, Oregon, USA
Mission 3: Grahm's Link, New York, USA
Mission 4: Southern Bowl, Intervales Park, Brazil
Mission 5: Fork in the Canyon, California, USA
Mission 6: Asian Arms, Japan
Mission 7: Crab Creek, Maryland, USA
Mission 8: Wattle´s Edge, Australia< br>Mission 9: Tunnel of Light, Washington, USA
Mission 10a: River Bearer, Georgia, USA
Mission 10b: Meridian Snake, United Kingdom
Mission 11: Tallow´s Sand, New South Wales, Australia
Mission 12: Blind Canal, Illinois, USA

There was also the cache Special Mission: Planet of the Apes Pemiere, New York, USA

Two special tickets were hidden here for the premiere of the film. This cache was found only a few times and quickly went to the archive when its job was complete.

Eight of the project APE caches were thus hidden in the USA, two in Australia and one APE cache each in Brazil, Japan and Great Britain. One of them was in Europe. Many of the Project APE caches had a short lifespan and were only found a few times.

Only caches #4 and #9 are active today. In a few other places, Tradis were placed in the appropriate place as a replacement for the APE cache.

A different prop from the film was hidden in each of the ammo boxes, often the name of the cache gives information about the prop.

 APE Souvenir

A.P.E. cache in Brazil, GCC67

Mission 4: Southern Bowl was set in Brazil, about 200km southwest of Sao Paulo in Intervales State Park. GCC67 is his geocaching number.

The monkey mask is hidden here as a prop. Certainly no longer the original, these were originally supposed to be for the first finder. The mask was also swapped between our visits in 2016 and 2019. This also seems to make a lot of sense given the temperatures and weather conditions to which the hiding place is exposed. Wearing the mask when visiting the APE in Brazil is iconic. It's not really a pleasure for the nose and skin... But if the cacher from Europe takes the long way, then of course that only plays a subordinate role.

In addition to the icon and the souvenir, the appeal of this cache is certainly also due to its location. In the middle of Intervales Park, in the rainforest, not accessible by car…. If you are already there, it is better to treat yourself to a few days in the national park, in the meantime a large number of other geocaches can also be found here. The way to the APE is not difficult, but not a Sunday stroll either. It has no notable vertical meters, but it gets narrower and narrower, the vegetation on the right and left of the small path increases, before you discover the coveted ammunition box at the end of the path a few meters to the right up the slope behind a tree.

When we arrive at Intervales Park with a group, we distribute our visit to the APE so that each small group has sufficient time to photograph, log and TB storage. The way to the APE is approx. 1.6 km far and after about an hour you can be back at the restaurant of the Intervales Park in good weather.

APE cache in US, GC1169

Mission 9: Tunnel of Light was laid in the USA, about 60 miles southeast of Seattle in Iron Horse State Park.

It was designed by Jeremy, a former boss of Geocaching HQ, and by Moun10Bike, who is known as the inventor of the Geocaching Geocoin. For almost 10 years it could be searched and found by the cacher community without any notable disturbances.

This APE has a special feature: the ammunition can was lost in mid-2011, which, as agreed, led to the cache being archived. This is what was agreed for the series of Project APE caches: if an original container is lost, it is no longer an APE cache and must be archived or at least loses its APE status.

Of course, the loss of the second still existing APE cache (next to Brazil) was greatly regretted by the geocaching community and a Tribute Tradi cache was placed in the same place. The Mega "Going APE", which had been an integral part of the geocaching calendar up to this point, continued. And so every year in August a mega “Going APE” takes place.

However, more than five years after it disappeared, this geocache reappeared.

A large-scale rescue operation had been initiated by geocachers from Seattle. And the unlikely happened: the cache container was found.

Big discussions ensued. On the one hand, an archived cache cannot be retrieved from the archive after such a long time, on the other hand, the original cache container was still there. In 2016, HQ launched a community poll on what to do with the APE Mission 9. The turnout in the vote is rated as low, but at least 61% were in favor of reactivating the APE Cache Mission 9, which also took place in August of the following year.

Today you can reach this APE cache through the tunnel of light, the former railway tunnel. It's a popular local recreation area, and geocachers aren't the only walkers here. From the large parking lot, it goes through the tunnel for a long time (you can also find caches in it!), before you see the light at the end. And then it takes some time before you step out into the light. After the tunnel it is only a few hundred meters before you are in front of the APE cache. You can walk back through a beautiful forest down to a hiking car park if someone parks the car or you have arrived with 2 vehicles. Not only the APE, but also the way is the goal here.


The two remaining APE caches have cult status in the caching community. With the Project APE caches, Groundspeak publicly disseminated geocaching for the first time. Many cachers travel a long way, e.g. from Germany, to get the corresponding icon and the corresponding souvenir. Many events take place on the fringes of these trips. Again and again a geocoin is launched on this topic. Perhaps for the 20th anniversary of geocaching there will be a gig near an APE cache. Of course, you don't just visit the APE cache, but also find other interesting caches in the area. Cacher-Reisen offers trips to the two remaining APE caches again and again. If you are interested, have a look at:

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