Cacher of the Month - January 2008

dani_carriere

dani_carriere
dani_carriere

  1. When did you start Geocaching?
  2. My first cache find was in Saskatoon on May 28, 2002 at S’Toon Raider 1. Although it was my first find, it wasn’t my first attempt. That was about an hour earlier at CacheU…Gesundheit where I had a DNF. It drove me so nuts that I didn’t find it, when I headed to the Edmonton Fringe with some friends the next year, I forced them to stop in Saskatoon and help me find it. That was when I introduced ava_ad0re to geocaching. She ended up with a splinter in her arm that’s still there today. Each time she wants me to feel a little guilty, she’ll get a big smile on her face, rubs her arm and goes “ouch, this twig is hurting me again”.

  3. How did you find out about Geocaching?
  4. Uhm. Well. It’s like this. At Christmas 2000, my younger brother gave me the movie “Trekkies”. I watched it a few times and by January 2001, I decided to go to a Star Trek convention to see what all the noise was about. Luckily, it was also the 35th anniversary of the series, and there was a large convention slated for September. While I was there I was able to chat a little with some of the actors while waiting in the autograph line, and found out that Wil “Wesley Crusher” Wheaton had a blog. When I got home, I read it on occasion and he started talking about this new sport he was doing with his stepsons. I was intrigued enough that I started looking for a reasonably priced GPS unit. I picked up a MagellanGPS 310 (yes, it *was* that long ago). It didn’t have any mapping capabilities, and I had to manually enter the co-ordinates, but it got me started in the game.

  5. What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
  6. It took me quite a while to get hooked. It took a full year to find my first 10 caches. In fact, my second find was 10 months after my first! Just when I was starting to accelerate, my GPS 310 died. So from August 2003 to August 2004, I didn’t have any finds. A co-worker sold me my next GPS unit, with mapping capabilities and my interest was piqued again. Sometimes I think I’m the world’s slowest cacher, because I didn’t find my 100th cache until 4 years after I’d started.

  7. Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
  8. Yes, I’ve cached in both Canada and the United States covering Alberta thru PEI (8 provinces) and North Dakota thru Illinois (4 states).

  9. Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
  10. I talk geocaching a lot at the office and with my friends, so I’ve “introduced” a lot of people to it. However, only 3 of them took the chance and tried it out. Ava_ad0re was my first victim … er… inductee, followed by immoe who joined me on the 2007 WOW adventure to Minneapolis, and most recently the Treasure Wizards who was not only introduced to the sport, but accompanied Team Stubby on his first caching evening and found his first FTF to boot.

  11. How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
  12. I sometimes quote people with “I use multi-billion dollar military satellite systems to find Tupperware in the woods”, however more often than not, I equate it to orienteering with technology and to treasure hunting.

  13. What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
  14. I have to think about this. I have a deep interest in theatre and have volunteered for the Winnipeg Fringe Festival for almost 20 years. I’m a Venue Team Leader at the MTC Warehouse theatre, so if you’re at the Fringe come by and visit. I also volunteer for the CBC Comedy Festival and am on the party crew. I’ve got to sit around with a bunch of comedians and make sure they have enough to eat and drink. It’s a rough job, but someone’s got to do it! I’ve also volunteered quite a few other places, but these are the 2 most recent ventures. I also collect Star Trek Hallmark ornaments and tiaras. Not the expensive kind, more the kind you’d get in card stores or for birthdays … and even once in a while, in geocaches.

  15. What are some things you don’t like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
  16. Hmmm … cemetery caches and caches on private property without notification of permission on the cache page are two of my pet peeves. Also, I don’t like the lack of comfortable caching weather in Winnipeg. We have sub-zero caching in winter, the tick season, followed by the mosquito season, followed by the wasp season. I think the only comfortable time for me to cache is September and October.

  17. What is the most interesting/unusual place that geocaching has taken you?
  18. In August of this year, my 500th cache find was at Canada’s1st Geocache. I was in Nova Scotia with ava_ad0re as she was starting as a grad student at Dalhousie. My goal was to hit 500 at that cache and we had to find 6 caches in Nova Scotia before getting to that one. We tried our best, but had a lot of DNF’s that day. Luckily, we found cache 499 only a few kilometers from the First Cache, and it was also enroute to my Aunt’s cottage where she was waiting for us with dinner. The terrain rating for the cache was a 1, so I expected to stroll through a wooded area to make the find. Unfortunately, a 1 terrain in Nova Scotia seems to equate to a 2.5 terrain in Manitoba. We had to ford a small water filled ditch and climb a steepish hill (thankfully, I could pull myself up with the use of the trees). Once we hit the top of the hill, the path was quite easy, and the cache very easy to see. It was a beautiful area and a beautiful day. I’m glad we did this for a significant milestone.

  19. What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find?)?
  20. I have many caching memories. My first attempted cache find, my 500th find, finding Dani, this cache is for you, and many more. I think my first tough find was The Ultimate Challenge puzzle cache by Peter & Gloria. I particularly like solving puzzle caches. I may not go find them right away, but chances are I’m working on a solution as soon as it’s published. Two years ago, Peter & Gloria published The Ultimate Challenge. I started working on the puzzle right away. It was a multi-level encrypted puzzle that taxed my brain, and used up far more time at my office than my employer would probably like. It took a week to solve, with some confirmations with Peter and the help of TK421- who was also working on the puzzle. I found the solution late one night and immediately headed to Bird’s Hill Park to find it. I was alone, and it was dark. After search for about 20 minutes, I started to spook myself into thinking that a bear was going to charge out of the bush at any minute, or maybe something even scarier. I gave up for the evening, and was determined to be First to Find. I headed out the next day at lunch time, but my GPS couldn’t zero in on the cache location. Dang! I was determined to find the cache. When I returned back to the office I got an email from TK421-. He had solved the cache! But, being the gentleman he is, he said he’d give me a head start. He was going to head to the cache around 7PM. I had until then to find it. I picked up ava_ad0re after work and we headed out. I got out of the car, walked over to a big white birch tree, bent over and picked up the cache. I opened it up to find that I was FTF on the cache! I immediately phone Peter who had my prize waiting for me. It was a handmade wooden golf cart! Thank you to Peter & Gloria for the great challenging puzzle, and to TK421- for giving the head start!

  21. What is your favorite Caching Story?
  22. I have so many favourite caching stories. But I think I’ll tell the story of the birth of “Team Stubby”. It all started at the MBGA Pub Nite: Karaoke Style in April of 2007. There was a travel bug there called “Stubby” that OHMIC had picked up and was going to move along. The next night, he, Mhz, and I set off to get the D Quest 1 cache. It was flood season in Winnipeg, and the Red River was quite high. As is usual, we were caching in the dark. I had scoped out the cache location during the daylight hours and knew that access the cache was going to be tenuous. When we arrived at night, Mhz and I stayed on the safety of the levy while OHMIC scouted the cache location. He insisted that we join him so he found a path we could take. Mhz made it down the levy easily, but gravity is not my friend and a little bit of vertigo set in. OHMIC helped me down the hill, and we made our way slowly to the cache, avoiding the many puddles, and many slippery sections and arrived at the cache location. OHMIC climbed up a tree that was hanging over the flooded river in the dark and was hanging on for dear life when he extracted the cache and tossed it to Mhz to open and sign the log. I was taking pictures of the event, as it was also my 200th find. As Mhz and I were taking our time with the cache I kept noticing that OHMIC was making a lot of faces and adjusting his position while still firmly clamped to the tree. After many photo ops and sifting through the cache, we finally gave the cache back to him for placement. Once in place, he slowly slid down the tree and sat for a while on the cold earth. Unbeknownst to us, he was in a very uncomfortable position the whole time we were playing around. We slowly made our way back to the levy. Mhz and OHMIC made it up OK. However I only made it about half way before I started to slide backward. OHMIC reached down and pulled me up the hill. My hero! At the next cache, OHMIC needed to use the Stubby TB to extract the cache at Witches Brew, which was still frozen in place. He placed Stubby in the cache it helped to extract. Over the next few weeks, we tackled many more caches and had many more adventures. As we kept signing logs, eventually the battle cry “Team Stubby” started. There are too many stories to tell here. You’re going to have to ask one of us at an event cache if you want to hear more.

  23. What is your most interesting item found in a cache?
  24. While I was in Ottawa for the Parks Canada Geocaching Conference in May 2006, the local geocachers invited us to an event cache in our honour. I was the first of the group to arrive. I was greeted by one of the local cachers who thrust a doll at me. It was a 2ft rubber witch named “Tag-Eerie”. It was a tag Travel Bug that had to be handed from cacher to cacher at events. I had to figure out how to get her back to Winnipeg in my carry on luggage, but luckily she squished down and fit nicely into my bag.

  25. What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
  26. I find that the longer I geocache, the less I take with me to the cache. However, I always have with me in my car: my GPS, Mr. Reachy (a 2ft long stick with a grabbing claw), Mr. Sun (a 2.5 million candle power flashlight), and a pencil. Often, I also find it handy to have a monkey boy or monkey girl with me to help with the more height-challenging caches.

  27. What kind of GPSr do you use?
  28. I have a Garmin Etrex Vista that I call “Ethel”. My Magellan GPS 310 is called “Lucy” and is in the hands of ava_ad0re.

  29. What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
  30. Like most people, I’ve done the “my GPS is a cell phone”. I also cache a lot in the dark, so that helps too. I think one of the suspicious gambits was pretending to be bird watching with Junglehair while we’re only a few feet from some muggles.

  31. What is the meaning of your username?
  32. Wow, that’s a tough question. OK, to paraphrase Charles Dickens: My father's family name being Carriere, and my Christian name Danielle, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Dani. So, I called myself Dani, and came to be called Dani_Carriere.

  33. What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
  34. I have found several memorable ones including “Tag-Eerie” and “Stubby” mentioned above. However, I think my first TB find was my most memorable. It was “The Travelmobile”. I found it in the Mall of America Cache III and brought it back to Winnipeg. I had so much fun playing with the Lego pieces, I didn’t want to give it up.

  35. Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
  36. I respect all geocachers, whether they have 10 or 10,000 finds. Everyone has their own challenges and strengths when they geocache. To face both of those and keep going is due some respect. There are so many people I have met over the years, and I remember you all. My first in person sighting of another cacher was Old Billygoat. Meeting Master Instigator for coffee and finding out he was also Gumpy. Adding skaven to our coffee meetings and working on creating the association. Seeing all the people at our inaugural meeting in 2005 was amazing. Cachers who I’ve had an opportunity to cache with that stand out are, of course, Team Stubby: OHMIC, Mhz, and Junglehair. (TEAM STUBBY!!). As well as Tobey from 3T’s&aG, ertyu, Foodninja, milesmac, ava_ad0re, immoe, Treasure Wizards, Peter & Gloria, grnbrg, and all the women of WOW 2007. There are many people I haven’t had the opportunity to cache with, but hope to in the years to come. On the other side, there are a lot of cachers that I’ve enjoyed working with that I haven’t seen in some time. These include MB Country Girl, Wagonmaker, cdnWpgr, TK421-, polarbeardiggers, and the list goes on. There are also all the hardworking people on the MBGA committees, and those who have hosted geocaching events. Without you, our geocaching community wouldn’t be as strong.

  37. With whom do you normally go geocaching?
  38. I’ve cached with many people, but more often or not, I cache with OHMIC and Junglehair. I’ve often cached with Mhz, and ava_ad0re.

  39. If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
  40. I’ve always wanted to go caching in Europe. Also, since I’ve found Canada’s First Geocache, I’ve been interested in trying for it’s counterpart in the states, the Original Stash Tribute Plaque.

  41. Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
  42. No challenging one, just the ones in my Dani Radius. I finally vanquished the Dani Radius in October, but since then 3 new caches have popped up. The challenge is keeping up with the cache placements. Eventually, I think, hiders will run out of places and then I will have won!

  43. Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
  44. I’ve only placed 4 caches. I’d have to say that my favourite is “A Splash Cache for OHMIC”. It’s disabled at the moment because it was muggled, but I will be replacing it soon.

  45. What kind of books do you prefer to read? What was the last book you read?
  46. I like Stephen King books, and classic novels by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and plays by Shakespeare. The most recent novel I read was “The Da Vinci Code”.

  47. Can you play a musical instrument?
  48. Yes! In high school, I played Trumpet and French Horn (not at the same time). I was more proficient at the trumpet and was selected to be part of an international mass band in 1980. Unfortunately, I haven’t touched my trumpet since high school. Until a few years ago, I’ve lived in apartments and they’re not conducive to practicing.

  49. How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
  50. The nearest cache is The Good Shepherd’s Pie puzzle cache. I have it solved, I just haven’t picked it up. The posted coordinates are 3.8kms from my house

  51. Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
  52. There’s the tools I mention above. I also use GSAK and Map Source to load the caches into my GPS. Also, since I don’t have a Pocket PC or Palm Pilot, I still paper cache. However, I’ve found a way to cache “paper reduced”. I write XSL scripts and combine it with my GPX files from my pocket queries and select specific information I want to print out. I guess if I can’t go paperless, this is a little better. I also use Google Earth and the “Find Caches Along a Route” tool at Geocaching.com.

  53. Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
  54. I’ve sometimes used it for navigating in strange cities, but not very often.

  55. What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
  56. I have about 4Gb of songs loaded into my mp3 player. Most of it is Arrogant Worms, Pop, R&B, Show Tunes, and Dance music.

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