Gia Rassier, sometimes referred to as Giacaches, first learned about geocaching back in 2008. But the concept of hidden items marked with a specific GPS tracker didn’t pick up steam for Rassier until the dawn of the smartphone.
“I didn’t really get hooked until 2014 when I got a smartphone,” she says.
Fast forward to the last fall, and Rassier was fully immersed in the hobby, even creating entire tours of geocaches throughout the community.
“Each new find, regardless of how ordinary, has given me a new appreciation for the way I see the world,” she says.
She partnered with the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as the Minnesota and North Dakota Geocaching Associations to place the first official GeoTour in both states last year.
“In a way, the GeoTour is my love letter to Fargo-Moorhead,” Rassier says about her experience, explaining, “Since launching last September, we’ve had hundreds of people from across the country travel here just to geocache.”
Geocaching HQ, based in Seattle, recently released a new app called Adventure Lab. Unlike traditional geocaching, these adventures don’t require a physical container and participants only need a smartphone to get involved.
The adventures are a fun, free and a safe way to get outside and experience the creativity that exists in the community, she says, and can be accessed by downloading the Geocaching Adventure Lab app.
“The adventures are a great way to get outside, explore an area and learn something new. In addition to public art, my other adventures were created to teach people more about the importance of the Red River, historic Moorhead buildings and unique places on the (Minnesota State University Moorhead) campus,” Rassier says.
She worked with local groups to develop the downtown adventures, including Folkways, Fargo Walking Tours, The Arts Partnership and the Downtown Neighborhood Association. Each adventure includes more than 10 unique locations that feature public art.
The Adventure Lab takes the treasure hunting mindset of geocaching to a relatable level, offering a fun detour from normal life.
A Popular YouTube personality, The Geocaching Vlogger, visited Fargo-Moorhead this summer to hunt for caches and experience the public art, sharing his experience with his 50,000 followers.
Some of these stops were put together by Rassier in her 2019 GeoTour, offering a unique look at how art and adventure intersect with brands, buildings and breweries.
“One of the awesome things about Fargo is all the street art,” Joshua Johnson says in his Geocaching Vlogger video from this summer.
During his many stops while experiencing the community as a newcomer, Johnson jumps around to stops around town, including visits to breweries like Drekker’s Brewhalla to the public art wall in the alley by The Forum’s downtown building.
With public art even finding its way onto the old ammunition boxes of the geocaching tours, the Adventure Lab is a perfect platform to continue guiding people to creative pockets throughout the community.
Rassier also worked on creating a virtual tour of the Minnesota State University Moorhead campus during the school’s homecoming week last month.
Still available through the Adventure Lab app, the tour highlights MSUM’s history, traditions and stories that have sparked transformation among generations.
“I also wanted to remind people that artistic expression doesn’t have to be relegated to a museum or gallery,” Rassier says. “Art is all around us — sometimes we just need to open our eyes and search a little to find it.”
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and first appeared online on Monday, October 5, 2020.