Cacher of the Month - May 2005

1Queenand4Jokers

1Queenand4Jokers
Back row: Joker 1, Queen
Front row: Joker 3, Joker 2, Joker 4
  1. How did you find out about Geocaching?
  2. One day, in May 2004, I (the Queen) did an Internet search on GPS and games for my beloved hubby, Joker 1. He wanted to teach a course on high tech geography (G.I.S. etc) and needed some background information. Lo and behold I stumbled onto the geocaching.com website.

  3. When did you start Geocaching?
  4. We started geocaching in July 2004 a day after our oldest son bought a Gpsr with his 10th birthday money from friends. Our first cache was in Steinbach called "Stony Brook Cache" by riyehn . The GPS signals were wacky and our crew of five looked in all the wrong places and found it within ½ an hour by luck.

  5. What was it about Geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
  6. The hook that sunk us was the "hide and seek" treasure concept. We have long played our own family version of "hide and seek in the dark " with FRS radio’s. One of us hides and gives clues every 5-10 minutes to direct the rest of the finders (and their flashlights) to our hiding spot. It is so much fun! We were looking for a sport/hobby to call our own as a tech-oriented family and after the first triumph of the find in Steinbach we were pleased to call ourselves cachers.

  7. At the time of this survey, how many finds/hides to your name do you have?
  8. Have Found: 177
    Have Hidden: 24 Manitoba, 1 in Saskatchewan.

  9. How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
  10. A worldwide scavenger hunt using GPS!

  11. What is your favorite caching story?
  12. Our Brandon Hills adventure. We (mistakenly) thought we were experienced geocachers after finding many of the caches in Winnipeg and so embarked on an outing to Brandon. Thinking we could easily do three caches in a morning outing we set out from parking in a lot near the first cache location at about 9 a.m.. (Which we found relatively easily!) We just followed the "Nearest cache" location on our GPSr. We had no trail maps and it showed .4, which we thought wasn't too bad. Well the trail looped and looped again and we started bushwhacking and found ourselves somehow still .5 from one cache after a long walk and .1 from another so we tried for the closest one.

    Then the signals started going loopy in the dense forested area and we couldn't get it to settle down. Our batteries were starting to get low so we scrambled to find one cache. We spread out over a 200 foot area and found it accidentally. Then we tried to find another .1 away. Now it was a 11 a.m. and we'd hiked for 2 hours but we wrongly assumed the trail looped back. We found cache 3 with luck but.had to decide which way to go -

    1. away from our car location (which we'd saved) continuing along the unknown trail
    2. straight toward the car which showed only 1.5 through bush, or
    3. heading back the way we'd come which would take perhaps 1-2 hours. We had arranged to meet family members at 1:00.

    We (unwisely) chose option 1 and improvised along the way with option 2. We ran out of water, the temperatures climbed to a very hot 27 degrees and we were bushwhacking. We found a snake or two, stumbled on a nest of bright blue newborn baby birds, and began to get a bit discouraged. We knew where the car was but it was hazelnut scrub straight ahead and no sign of another trail anywhere and the batteries were basically dead.

    After an hour of scratching ourselves in the bush making only 400 feet of progress, we finally found a fire road which we followed to a clearing. It was now 1:00 p.m. We could not see the car but it still showed .5 away . Littlest Joker was being carried by a sweaty Joker 1, while I encouraged and cajoled the other 2 and dragged them along to give them momentum. We were barely able to lift our legs and were almost certain we'd not cache again -ever.

    Following the field we finally found our car - at 2:00 - five hours after we'd begun - very thirst and hungry and tired. Incidentally our family members, knowing we are ALWAYS on time, had called my mother, who had already called the insurance company for our license number in case we were missing!

    The end result of the memorable caching adventure was 3 caches found, several great photos, and much hiking and caching wisdom. We keep to the trail as long as possible. We always check cache ratings and get trail maps. We make certain we have enough water, 4 sets of batteries, a lighter, and a flashlight along and we let people know where we are going. And yes when we're tempted to do something foolish we say, "Remember Brandon" and burst out laughing.

  13. What are some things you don't like about Geocaching/pet peeves?
  14. Poor communication. Sometimes cachers openly criticizing cache owners in logs. Private e-mails are so much more respectful and productive. We aim to please and we may meet you face to face on the trail. It is difficult to infer laughter or humor in a log or e-mail. What one e-mails while laughing at home may look rude or insensitive to others in writing. (We've observed this more than experienced it so nobody needs to get paranoid.) We have made that mistake and if we have seemed critical to other Manitoba cache owners we apologize. And we caution others to remember that we are all contributing to and play this game VOLUNTARILY.

  15. Do you prefer finding or hiding? Why?
  16. The Jokers 3 (the boys) prefer finding, while the Queen and Joker 1 are still deciding. Clever hiding is great fun and we rejoice when someone has made good memories or delighted in a find of ours. Finding a variety of caches is a superb way to be educated. We have discovered much history, geography, numerous parks and with reverse locationless caches – learned to spot the unusual in hick towns – the barbershop find was fun.

  17. Who do you normally cache with?
  18. Our team of 5 but have also cached with Code Blue, Xplorer and Ramblin’ Rose, Curiouser and Curiouser, FreeS, and HoneyBeeQ.

  19. Have you ever introduced someone to Geocaching? If so, who?
  20. We have introduced all of the above and also Free Pirates and several others who don’t own GPS units yet. This next year Joker 1 hopes to introduce his grade 10 Geography Tech class to the sport.

  21. What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
  22. Often/not always: 4 extra sets of batteries, a swag bag with a variety of goodies, our PDA or cache sheets, a digital camera, water, flashlights, a telescopic mirror and magnet, calling cards, a compass, pocketknife, coins, duct or hockey tape for emergency cache repair, an extra Ziploc bag and a pencil.

  23. What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
    1. Hide behind bushes
    2. Let the kids play while we look about nonchalantly – they are the best cover
    3. Joker 1 or Queen distracts interested party by chatting about weather/ park/local tourism etc. (this while we hide caches)
    4. Once we said we were on a community scavenger hunt with the kids looking for clues. The people nodded as if they understood and moved on. We did not say it was a cache/treasure. Just clues.

  24. What type/size/difficulty/terrain do you prefer?
  25. Large regular caches with a 2/2 or 3/2 rating for kids, we like intelligent hides big or small – the kinds that make you say "I wish I’d thought of this place, puzzle or container first".

  26. What type/size/difficulty/terrain do you dislike?
  27. None – we just show wisdom: "Remember Brandon" with which caches we choose. We’d love to take on M.I. s ATV one or a canoeing cache or the Mantario Trail but with caution so we don’t overtax our 6 year old. If we choose to do a difficult one it is after all our own choice - nobody makes us!

  28. As a member of the MBGA what do you expect from our committee members?
  29. Intelligence, helpfulness, creativity, humor and strong communication skills. And all the members have demonstrated this well. All have given wise advice, been quick to help out with cache emergencies, and have encouraged us personally. Thank you and keep it up. We know you volunteer your time and we are truly grateful.

  30. As a Geocaching family, what benefits do you see coming from Geocaching as compared to before starting this sport?
  31. Memories, unity, interdependence, more shared laughter, wisdom, a fabulous secret society of cachers, and increased knowledge of Manitoba’s beauty and history.

  32. What would you like to see in the summer for as events go, type, styles, bbq's, car rallies?
  33. MMM we love BARBEQUES! A reward for a cache hiding blitz day where we challenge all who attend to hide one cache earlier in the day or weekend. Door Prizes from Geocaching.com? Supplied by them to help kick start interest? Or a chance to buy TB’s under a bulk price? Maybe starting a Manitoba TB race?

  34. If you have learned one thing from Geocaching what would it be?
  35. Look at the maps carefully -what looks like the shortest route to the cache is often just across the river from it!

  36. What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find)?
  37. Our own – QUEST for the KINGDOM when it was under several feet of water this spring. We are pleased to say we recovered it!!! I did go to my Doctor’s appointment with pants wet up to my mid-thigh after accidentally wading into the empty container. LOL. Those who found that cache will understand the humor in that. Apparently our mid-life crisis and geocaching go hand in hand. Though the Hulda Ostman/Sandy Pine trip was memorable for the extreme rash of poison ivy I contracted and the amount of driving around sections we did to reach those caches.

  38. Master Instigator's Question - What is your secret to being able to find and hide so many caches when you have 3 kids to take care of?
  39. Our boys are obedient, easy-going and hate giving up and, amazingly, what we can’t see our boys can spot. We say things like – "okay boys think like Peter and Gloria" or "Aha this is a Polarbeardiggers cache?" Have to admit the most stumping one for us was "Yellow Park 1" and one of our sons figured that one out with us. The hiding cache secret is that my hubby bought me a rare book on how to hide "illegal" items, which our oldest son and I read. The time spent hiding is always fun because we try to pick spots the boys will enjoy for one reason or another. We pick the spot in advance and take co-ords, then return another day to hide and redo the co-ords if needed. It does take effort and we still screw up once in a while.

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