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Cacher of the Month - July 2009
It's improvising time again. A new CoTM and new intro is required. Off to the profile page I go.
I can see that Wagonmaker does not make wagons. He doesn't even own a little red wagon. From his picture we do see that he loves riding on trains. Although trains get you to many distant lands, like Grosse Isle, Manitoba, the "cache along route" feature at GC.com seems to go to waste. We can see that he has been caching for some time now.
Recently he topped the 1200 finds with 200 in one month. Not bad for a guy that finds caches by train. He did get the train the stop once by pulling that handle, but people kept yelling at him in a strange language. With all the muggles yelling at him he could not focus on finding the cache. So he went back to the train and started reading the consumer reports book for a new car.
Well, we hope he gets a car soon so he can use all the features at GC.com
And that is my truth for this month.
- When did you start Geocaching?
In the dead of winter, and that's still how I like it best! First search was GPS-less and was on January 19th, 2006, with our first find on the next day, the 20th.
- How did you find out about Geocaching?
Through my cousin, dani_carriere. Actually she told me about it in the fall of 2005, but only when I saw the newspaper article in January 2006 did I actually start looking into it.
- What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
The thrill of the hunt. I remember that first time, thinking, "It's a hidden treasure and it's here somewhere and we have to find it!" I also like the feeling of knowing that there's hundreds of hidden containers sitting all over the city and only a select few of us even know they're there.
- Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
I have cached in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec, as well as in North Dakota and Minnesota. I did find some caches in the UK when I was there, but sadly, I didn't find any during my three-month Europe trip.
- Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
I think I can technically say that I introduced MB Country Girl to it, even though she ended up beating me to it and finding her first cache before I did. Many of my friends enjoy coming along once in a while, the most frequent being captainparkie and his wife, good friends of mine.
- How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
A world-wide treasure hunt that never ends. What could be better than that?
- What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
I am very interested in history, especially Manitoban history. I also enjoy music quite a bit; I've sung in countless choirs, quartets, ensembles, and duets. I also very much enjoy traveling and seeing the world! My latest Europe trip left me thirsty for more, so I can't wait to get out there!
- What are some things you don't like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
There are always the standard responses: unmaintained caches, micros or nanos in a forest setting, shabby coordinates. But I think my biggest pet peeve is calling cards left in caches. It's the most annoying thing for future finders to deal with: half a dozen extra little pieces of paper that nobody will ever collect and which will just end up becoming destroyed in the cache! Maddening!
- What is the most interesting/unusual place that geocaching has taken you?
It's difficult to pick just one place or one cache. I really enjoyed GCK7HH, "Royal Observatory Greenwich Cache", which is located right on the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, in Britain. Certainly a place worthy of a geocache (though it is a virtual)! It's bizarre to see the coordinates flicker between W and E!
- What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find?)?
One recent one is GC18ACP, "SNOW Bunny". dani_carriere, captain cheater and I were on a day trip to Portage La Prairie and came upon this one. Cheater and I ran from the car in the gloomy rain, across a long field, so that Dani couldn't see us. Then we had to jump down a ridge and down to a ravine. I won't give away the secrets of the cache, but the discoveries were just gruesome! Hahaha! It was really well done, and the way that we encountered each of the hidden - er - items one-by-one was very dramatic and funny! Very well-put together. (This whole thing took about 25 minutes and meanwhile Dani was waiting in the car far away at the end of a dirt road, not knowing what was going on! Hahaha!)
- What is your favorite Caching Story?
I really enjoyed writing a caching story in my log for GC12631, "Thats my story...and I'm sticking to it! - SPLASH!". The cache asks you to spin a yarn about the origins of the structure near the cache. I'm not usually one to write overly lengthy logs, but I really went all out here! Great idea, Lizardo!
- What is your most interesting item found in a cache?
Best item ever (which I traded for) was one of those little foam airplanes. You know, with the clear plastic nose on them? Classic. Probably not the most interesting or bizarre, but I usually don't even pay attention to the trade items in a cache, since I almost never trade anything.
- What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
I am actually usually shockingly under-prepared for a cache-hunt. I never have water with me, I can never find a Kleenex box when I need it, and often I forget my flashlight in the car. BUT, I have been improving. I usually have my caching bag ready to go with a flashlight, extra rechargeable batteries, my old GPSr just in case, a tuque and gloves (even in the summer - you never know!) a pair of work gloves, and lots of green pens! My car has also become the permanent home of my rubber boots. Until recently, it also included all the printed cache pages and info that I needed. I have only recently graduated to paperless caching!
- What kind of GPSr do you use?
As of the beginning of June 2009, I now use a Garmin Oregon 200. I have quite possibly never been so excited with a purchase as when I walked out of the store with that GPS. Before that, I used a Lowrance iFinder H20 and a Garmin eTrex Legend.
- What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
I often just walk away and come back in a couple minutes if there are muggles around. I have used my GPS as a cellphone, pretended to tie my shoe, even stood motionless against a tree for awhile, until people go away. My philosophy is, most people will probably just think I'm a bit loopy, and then they'll turn away and five minutes later, they'll have forgotten all about me anyways.
- What is the meaning of your username?
It was my nickname throughout university, especially in the chemistry lab. It's actually the "meaning" of my first name, if you look it up in a baby-name book. Once my friends figured that out, it stuck! I actually still have a nametag that we custom ordered, and it's still attached to my labcoat, that says Wagonmaker on it.
- What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
Probably Kabuthunk's Trabnagian Travelling Tradeable Travelbug, from which you can trade an item inside the bug. Neat idea!
- Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
I have a strong respect for those great cache hiders we have here. Ztirnats, Trove Chasers, and 1Queenand4Jokers are just some of the examples. It's those cachers that put a lot of time and effort into making high quality caches and maintaining them to ensure their quality is never compromised. Big kudos to everyone!
- With whom do you normally go geocaching?
My good ol' caching buddy, captain cheater. Nothing like a race from the car to the cache, with a well-timed bodycheck put in from time to time for good measure! Hehe!
I've also enjoyed caching with many other people, including dani_carriere, glacier_ice, grey4runner, Kabuthunk, and many others!
- If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
Anywhere and everywhere! I kind of regret spending three months in eleven European countries and not finding a single cache, so maybe... somewhere in Europe? Haha!
- Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
I really would like to tackle GC12TPF, "Manitoba Tyndall Stone" soon.
- Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
My favourite cache is GC11CY6, "Musical Mystery Tour". It is a great little puzzle, not too hard, with four stages. The best part (for me) is that any of the stages have yet to be muggled, after two and a half years out there! (knock on wood!)
- What kind of books do you prefer to read? What was the last book you read?
I like a variety of books. Mostly fiction books, but within that, I'm not too picky. The last book I read was "A Painted House" by John Grisham, which I was really skeptical about at first, but then I couldn't put it down!
- Can you play a musical instrument?
Not really, no... I can certainly play a melody on the piano, but I can't actually play several parts at once.
- How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
It's one that I've searched for many times in vain. I think the problem is shabby coordinates, but other people keep finding it, and yet I can't! It's 1.2 km from my house and it's GC15J90, "Bergen's Graveyard". The last time I went, I vowed never to return without a hint! Haha!
- Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
Nothing really. I climb when I have to, I reach into dark places when I have to, I walk far when I have to. Back at home, I use MS Excel and keep a huge database with all my finds and some stats on them. Nothing major or fancy.
- Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
- What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
Always and perpetually Great Big Sea. Sometimes I'm starting up my iPod and thinking that I should diversify and listen to something else, but that never happens.
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