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Cacher of the Month - April 2007
- What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
- What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
- What is the most interesting/unusual place that GeoCaching has taken you?
- What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find)?
- What is your favorite Caching Story?
- What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
- What do you think the role of GeoCaching is in environmental education?
- What undiscovered part of Manitoba would you like to see a cache placed in?
- What do you think caching should teach a young family?
- Your were the Public Relations contact for the MBGA for a year. What's your perception of the role GeoCaching to a visitor? What was a common question about GeoCaching?
- You're known for your witty logs. Who are your comedic influences? Please answer with a knock-knock joke.
- You've totally embraced caching, not just through the physical sport itself, but also by socializing with other cachers, your contributions to forum games, volunteering on the MBGA committee and creating CITO events. What is it that keeps you coming back?
- Non-cachers sometimes wonder what kind of person a GeoCacher is. How would you sum up a Manitoba GeoCacher in a few words?
- Do you have a frequent flyer pass at the local hospitals? How does your injury-proneness affect your your caching?
- What are you currently reading?
- What is your record for the longest time period between placing a cache and getting it published?
- What is the nature of your long term reptilian rivalry with TurdleEggs and when do you expect to be able to utilize one of your famous turtle recipes?
- Is it easier to cache solo or as a team with Tannasaurus and the little lizards?
- What does your Caching Toolkit consist of?
- What is the most unusual item you've found in a cache?
I learned about Geocaching by reading an Air Canada inflight magazine article. It sounded really cool. I mentioned it to a friend a little while later and he mentioned he had a GPS. I borrowed and eventually bought it from him (a Magellan Meridian). I played with that thing for months before finding my first cache. When I finally ventured out to find one, it was Everything Cats, by Damgiz. I couldn’t go and get one that was a few hundred metres from my house. No. I had to travel to Nopiming Provincial Park. I’m glad I did. Finding something like an ammo can in a natural setting like that was probably a catalyst in grabbing my interest. If I had simply found a altoids tin on a picnic table with a drippy logbook, I may not have been as interested. Being out there in the forest, part of that secret, was intoxicating. I knew I was hooked. Duracell stock has risen dramatically since that day.
The temptation to be untruthful here is far too great. I looked back at some of the other hobby responses, Djembe drumming, Flying planes, building clocks, all sound much more interesting than anything I like to do. I really enjoy cooking. Experimenting with different flavors and textures is a great source of enjoyment to me. It started by coming up with ways to hide healthy food like spinach and asparagus in a final product my kids would eat, and evolved to creating food for the sheer pleasure of it. And as it turns out, the kids eat spinach and broccoli and asaparagus right out of the fridge anyhow. I also make my own wine and beer. Once I made a batch of wine from the concord grapes growing in my back yard. I thought it would be fun. And it was. Although the finished product had somewhat of a laxative like quality. Without going into too much detail, let me just say that if your elephant ever eats a bag of portland cement, I have the cure.
TurdleEggs Ranch. Seriously though, where to begin? Here are some highlights: An urban desert in Las Vegas, knee deep in the muck of Assiniboine forest for Wacko Willy, the world’s largest coke can, the world’s muddiest bridge (hello, Gnarly), sticking my hand in places I had no business sticking it (Whoa! Horsey!). Tannasaurus and I went to a cache in Las Vegas that was in a drive through Chapel. In we walk with our shorts and T-shirts right through a wedding party. “Yeah, hi, I’m a…er…g e o c a c h e r”, I say all slow like it’s a foreign language. “OH! RIGHT THIS WAY!...HERE YOU GO!” too weird.
I have a few in that list: The Ultimate Challenge, Something’s Fishy, Out of Gas Blitz, Lizardo’s Pillow Cache, Geez Louise, racing Jaypeg for Conquista caches. But I have to say, the cache that still sticks out in my mind and one that brought me to the coolest locations was Blitz:Raiders of the Cache Stash. Every stage was excellent. The locations were well planned and very cool.
I don’t know if this really counts as a caching story, but it involves cachers, so I guess it qualifies. A year ago today I was exceptionally ill with mononucleosis. I had been planning a CITO event for some time and was looking forward to it in a big way. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything as I was sleeping for 20 hours a day. I was unable to do anything to get the event planned or have the caches placed. Thanks to the efforts of Tannasaurus, 3T’s&aG, TurdleEggs, and Cache&Cary, the event still went forward using much of my original concept. I can’t tell you how appreciative I was that the event was still able to happen at all, let alone be the success I hear it was. Add to that the efforts of TurdleEggs creating a series of micro caches that he had Tannis release throughout the house. I start getting these notifications on my handheld: Lizardo’s Toilet Cache, Lizardo’s Alarm Clock Cache, Lizardo’s Fridge Cache…I think there was 16 in all. All with a First to Find certificate and a puzzle piece. Odd that the month of my caching career where I was unable to cache is the time that breeds my best caching story. But that’s what this game has become for me, an extension of my social network. And tons of laughs.
As I have been caching more and more, I realize that muggles are very tolerant of people who look like they know what they are doing. At first I would kind of saunter around like I was waiting for someone. I tried ‘using the GPSr as a cell phone’ trick. But that only worked on the elderly and the vision impaired because my first GPSr was approximately the size of a hiking boot. “I wonder what that guys shoe is saying?” Now I just get the lay of the land from a couple dozen metres away, and walk like I know what I am doing. There are always exceptions. But for the most part it works.
I hope that other people see the importance of doing something to help clean up as much as I do while they are out geocaching. Personally, I use my hikes with my kids as educational sessions where they can learn the right thing to do for the planet. So much has changed in the short time I have been alive. I remember it being largely acceptable behaviour, while out fishing or canoeing, to fill your Coke can or bottle with water and letting it sink in the lake. There was no concern, no education. On long trips down the highway, it was fine with the parents of the family I was travelling with for us kids in the back seat to toss kleenex out the window to watch it fly. These are the same people who might take a load of old shingles or motor oil and dump them in the bushes. Geocaching is a way for us to get outside and see the effects of poor environmental stewardship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Al Gore. But I know that the last couple years I have spent wandering in the parks and forest has changed the way I think about environmental responsibility.
Hmmm. I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind more excuses to get to the South East. The Northwest Angle is an interesting area that I plan on visitng this year. Perhaps there will be some Lizard caches placed out there before too long. I think the Brandon Hills is a nice area. I enjoyed the caches I found there. And I liked the added dimension of height. Manitoba is often so flat. Nice to make height a factor without having to use a parkade or a bridge. Another area I really enjoyed is the road back from Brandon on highway 3. There is some awesome country there. I would love more excuses to go back.
There is much about this hobby that can benefit young families. It requires you are outside walking around and doing something together. It makes the journey fun. Kids absolutely love treasure hunts. They also love secrets. It is fun for kids to find a secret treasure, get a treat, and run around. Being away from other influences like television, computers and vehicles makes it much easier to be a parent. There are less rules, less distractions. You can just relax and have fun walking around.
My time as PR rep for the MBGA was a lot of fun. It enabled me to meet a lot of new people and help those who were having trouble. From the contact I received, those who do carry opinions about geocachers are all positive. Much of the information requested had to do with finding things on the website, or GPS usage. I would have liked to have done more media contact to help increase the awareness of the activity, but that is not really my area. Now that OHMIC is on the case, I think that will be addressed a bit better. I have continued to offer my time as a Member-at-Large and plan on attending as many meetings as I can. I enjoyed working with The-Stuntman, the training coordinator. He is an excellent trainer and a pretty good guitar player, to boot!
What, in any of my logs, would lead you to believe I can actually tell a knock-knock joke? Whenever I think of knock-knock jokes, I think of the “orange you glad I didn’t say banana again” one. Probably because my son tells is to me 3 times a week. I laugh like crazy each time. I am the worst joke teller. Logs make satire easy. All the elements are there: Unknown situations, self doubt…suffering, etc. That stuff writes itself. What surprises me is people that never have creative logs. I’m in no way judging, it’s obvious that they have different caching experiences than I do, and are motivated differently. I get that. I just see so much opportunity to ridicule myself and sometimes my caching partners, that I can’t help it.
As part of the Public Relations role, I took some time to check out a few other association websites. I got the geopic idea from Edmonton, and the Cache Bingo idea from somewhere in Oregon. I was happy to see it catch on as much as it did. I hope to offer more games in the future that have minimal administration requirements. I have met many interesting people since I started in Sept 2005. People I would not normally have the opportunity to associate with. My efforts on the committee and passion for caching have given me and my family new friends and experiences that we will treasure for a long time.
I don’t think any MBGA member reading this will be surprised to hear me say that the Manitoba caching community is a very diverse group. Everyone is a bit different, but all seem to share a passion for the outdoors. Whether this passion preexisted, or if geocaching was the catalyst that developed it is unimportant. It is great that we are supporting each other by hiding and finding each others caches, and sharing experiences with one another at the many caching events.
I’m sure I don’t know what you are talking about. Thus far my injuries have not been serious enough to necessitate a visit to the emergency room. I have made numerous visits to the local walk-in clinic for various salves and pills. One of the doctors there is aware of my hobby and was pleased to see me last week to treat me for poison ivy. It seems I forgot to wash my rubber boots well enough last fall and managed to get my springtime dose of the itchy hell weed a little early. Although, my record is February 13th. I’m sure I will be written up in some medical journal somewhere for this, I just hope they spell my name right. I sprained my ankle last summer. For the record, it didn’t happen while caching. I was running away from a wasp nest in the dark in my back yard. But it sure kept me off the trail for a while. And it didn’t help that I kept reinjuring it. I’m healthy now, though. All ready for what trajedies await.
Cacher of the Month questions. Hehe. I really enjoy Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt series. I have read most of them. I am currently re-reading one of the Vinyl Café collections by Stuart McLean. That stuff is so funny it makes me cry. I also recommend checking out Jake MacDonald’s non-fiction work, The Houseboat Chronicles, or For the Boys. Both are excellent works by a Winnipeg author.
This is still ongoing. I placed a cache in February of last year. It is the final stage of a mystery cache. I have even done cache maintenance on it. Tannasaurus and I have not made the time to polish up the details of the puzzle/first stage. Stay tuned. I also have 2 other unpublished caches placed. One is my Bingo Prize cache. To make prize distribution easier for my Bingo Cache game, I placed the prizes in a large container in the Assiniboine forest, then e-mailed the coordinates to the winners. I have promised those winners that I would publish the cache once the game was over…well guess what? They’re still waiting. The other cache is the follow up to my Winnipeg Rocks cache. I’m just not happy with it yet. It is a puzzle and I am struggling with the first stage. As I said earlier…stay tuned.
What do you mean when? Turdle Friccassee is a staple in the lizard house! The ‘rivalry’ officially started when in a moment of creativity, I drew a dagger through the Turdle stamp at Conquista del Mundo-Australian Continent. You see, I had been following TurdleEggs around that entire morning second-to-finding every cache in the series. Looking at the turdle signature for the 6th time that morning was more than I could take. Perhaps it was the heat of the battle, but it just seemed natural to add the dagger to the TurdleEggs stamp. I thought he would never see it! I mean, seriously! Who goes back to find a cache again? Apparently TurdleEggs does. From there things escalated rather quickly. Vlad the Impaler, Lizard recipes, Turdle recipes. It is all great fun. I enjoy sparring with the Turdle. Much like the mighty crocodile allows the Egyptian Plover bird in his powerful jaws unscathed in order to pick out bits of meat, I keep the Turdle close…until I need a meal.
Easier? Solo, hands down. More fun? Definitely caching with the family offers more fun. It doesn’t happen as much as I would like, but we do get out once and a while. Tannasaurus or I will find the cache, and then set it so that one of the kids can reach it. They get a real thrill when they open the container and trade toys. Too many times I have found a cache and regretted having done so as I know the kids would love it. I replaced Scooby’s Lunch without opeining it for just that reason. I can’t wait to find that with the kids.
I use a Magellan eXplorist 500. I load my Pocket Queries into GSAK and then transfer them to the SD card. I also export the cache pages from GSAK to HTML and then load that on my HP Pocket PC. I have notifications sent to my Blackberry which allows me to look up and log caches in the field. On longer trips, I take my caching backpack with me. It contains a few hand tools, knife, water, Duck Tape in various colours, baggies, pencils, logbooks, and a bunch of swag.
The leg of a small animal with fur still on it. Who does this? I can’t imagine why someone would choose this over, well, anything else. Or nothing. I mean at least leave some meat on the thing for me. Geez.