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Cacher of the Month - May 2010
One of the rewarding things about looking after the Cacher of the Month page is the ability to learn new things about cachers that you think you know. This month we go to the NorMan area of the province to find our Cachers of the Month, RW/RW. I was surprised to read that they do not live in the province full time, spending their winters on Vancouver Island. I have it from a reputable source (me), that the best kind of people are from Vancouver Island. Having recently found their 3,000th geocache, it appropriate that they are recognized this month for their efforts. If you get an opportunity, visit their profile page to see a beautiful oil painting by RW(he).
- When did you start Geocaching?
- How did you find out about Geocaching?
- What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
- Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
- Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
- How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
- What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
- What are some things you don't like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
- 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 is your most interesting item found in a cache?
- What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
- What kind of GPSr do you use?
- What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
- What is the meaning of your username?
- What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
- Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
- With whom do you normally go geocaching?
- If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
- Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
- Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
- What kind of books do you prefer to read? What was the last book you read?
- Can you play a musical instrument?
- How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
- Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
- Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
- What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
We found our 1st cache on Feb 18, 2007 in the Heritage Park not far from our winter residence in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.
Our good friends amfm came to Qualicum for a visit and they were quite keen on introducing us to geocaching. We were a little skeptical at first - but what the heck - we agreed to go along and visit a cache site. What harm could there be in that - it will only take a few minutes ... right! Not long after we were with them when they found "Misti's Perch" and then when they had a DNF at "Summer 2004 cache". We were so impressed with the park that they took us to that we returned by ourselves 5 days later, without a GPS, and be darned if we didn't find "Summer Cache 2004" - which officially became our 1st find. We were hooked - it wasn't long after that that we bought a new GPS.
The scenic beauty of all the places it has taken us to that we, and we suspect a lot of locals, were not aware of. For us geocaching is the ultimate tourist guide. It often takes you off the beaten path to smell the roses. RW(he) believes it just might even be the secret ingredient for low blood pressure.
So far we have cached in 5 provinces from Ontario to British Columbia and officially 15 Amercian states, and unofficially 16 states. We actually approached a cache from New Mexico, and found it without leaving New Mexico, but it is registered as an Arizona cache! You might want to check it out - its called the "Four Corners Monument" or GC6A98. Apparently it's the only spot in the U.S.A. that 4 states meet at the same spot.
We've talked to a lot of people about geocaching, but the only two that are active that we know about are our good friends TB/RB - who have now found over 1000 caches, and our son and his family - "Whatfor?". RW(he) has also taught an introduction to geocaching at a local elementary school as part of their enrichment program - he's not sure if any of them took up geocaching - but he sure does have a new appreciation for teachers!
Usually we tell them how local people hide a container, or cache, in a spot that is quite often, but not always, in a scenic or historic spot, and then they go on line, write up a short story about it, and publish the longs and lats. Then people, such as us, retrieve this information, download it into a GPS, go out and try to find it, and then go back on line and share their experience. Depending on the interest shown the conversation can get quite detailed. On the other hand, some people, such as RW(he's) golf buddies just think we're nuts - so we don't dwell on it.
RW(she) is an avid quilter and belongs to quilting groups in our home town of Flin Flon and also a winter group on Vancouver Island. RW(he) took up oil painting shortly before we started geocaching in Feb 2007 and stills enjoys it today. We also enjoy boating, hot tubbing and spending time with family and friends. We still continue to golf, albiet a lot less since we got into this geocaching business - see also answer to question 2 - "it will only take a few minutes".
What don't we like - tough question! If we have to pick something it would probably have to be some of the questionable cache locations we have seen - such as back alleys and sites with no redeeming value. Even then we hesitate to complain as we do appreciate the effort that goes into creating a cache. Perhaps it is true that one man's garbage is another man's treasure.
This is probably the most difficult question. So far we have attended 42 earthcaches and they were all quite interesting and, in some cases, spectacular, We gave up some time ago trying to create a short list of favorites. Instead we keep lists of our favorites for each province and state we visit - and also lists of milestones, unique caches and those in sight of community markers. Heck, we even have a list of DNF's we enjoyed looking for. Back home, here in Manitoba, we may be a bit biased, but we think a number of caches in our home area of Flin Flon are among the most scenic in the province.
Another tough question, but if we have to pick something there are some that come to mind. Just west of Cumberland on Vancouver Island there is a cache called "Big Rocks Two" -GC15H3E, that although we had a DNF on our 1st visit we thought it was special, so we went back to find it for our 1000th milestone. We also found the "Graveyard" -GCH8R8 which is as much an experience as it is a cache. There a number of reasons why the locals call it "Wacky Woods"! Another memorable cache is the "Original Stash Tribute Plaque" -GCGV0P- just outside of Portland Oregon which is the site of the 1st cache ever placed. It was interesting to read that "Junglehair" of Manitaba caching fame played an important role that made this plaque possible. Closer to home we think the "Sentinel" - GCRA19 is located at one of the most scenic spots in the province.
We were unable to open one of those fake bolt type caches, without some help, so we drove to the local hardware store to purchase two crescent wrenches. Apparently it is unusual to purchase more than one of these wrenches at a time so the clerk asked RW(he) if he really meant to purchase two. When he held them up, one in each hand, and explained that he needed both a right handed AND a left handed wrench she was a little more understanding - until she realized that she had been had - and then in a good natured manner tried to hit him on the head with one! p.s. The crescent wrenches continue to travel with us and have come in handy on several occasions.
You will have to ask our grandchidren for an answer for this one - for us its all about the scenery and the history. We do enjoy moving along the trackables we find but normally we TNLN.
Most of the usual things such as some swag, trackables to move along, a camera and cell phone, an extra pen, and perhaps a bear whistle in certain areas but MOST importantly our "magic geosticks". Shortly after we started caching our friends and fellow cachers RMBL made, and gave us, diamond willow walking sticks which have been invaluable for our geocaching adventures. Not only are they helpful for rooting around for caches, but they give us the stability of a three legged stool for climbing - both up and down! We both cherish our magic geosticks and always have them with us - well - at least until a month ago until RW(she) lost hers! If you are reading this Randy, and still don't know about it, it's only because she is still trying to work up her nerve to ask for a replacement.
Our favorite for off road use has been, and continues to be, our Garmin GPSmap60Cx. We also have a Nuvi 550 for navigating urban areas and downloading cache information. We find they compliment each other very well and in an emergency, which has happened, one or the other can be used on a stand alone basis.
Since most of our caching is outside urban areas it is not often a problem - but when there are muggles about we feel its best you act as though you belong there so as to not attract attention. We have also resorted, on occasion, to using our GPS as a cellphone or camera or to the old tying the shoelace trick. One diversion, that didn't work, was telling a young couple that we were looking for a contact lens. They must have helped us look for over 15 minutes and were quite insistent that we shouldn't give up! On another occasion, even though it was out of season, one muggle we came across was quite content with our explanation that we were looking for mushrooms (on reflection perhaps he just thought we were crazy and it was best he just move along).
We did a lot of research and thought hard and long (probably about 9 or 10 seconds) and came up with RW/RW. If you have guessed that these are our initials you can give yourself a pat on the back and either an attaboy or an attagirl. Actually, at the time, it seemed quite appropriate given that it was amfm who introduced us to this great sport.
We have now moved over 350 trackables and a lot of them are quite impressive. One that we particularily like is "Portlandia" TB. It was originally released in Perth, Australia with the objective or returning to the owner's home in Portland, Oregan. We found it on Vancouver Island and went out of our way to ensure that it got over to the mainland and in a postion to get home - which it did!. It was retired for a period of time and then re - released in Miyajima, Japan and is trying to get home again. It has now travelled over 78,000 km and is currently in Hungary. Another is a unique TB - "Crossroads III", that we won at an event cache in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, that features an enclosed front AND back group picture of all those in attendance.
This question is easy - that would have to be all the volunteers that serve on provincial or state geocaching organizations, the cache reviewers, and all those who place caches for everyone to enjoy, If you are one of these people - thanks - we do appreciate it.
We go caching a lot with TB/RB - they have been our friends for many years - they live nearby in Flin Flon and are our neighbors when we both journey to Vancouver Island to escape the cold of winter.
If we were to pick one place, other than the great places we have already visited, it would probably be the Maritimes, although the North Eastern states in the fall would also be interesting.
There is a cache about 40 kms from our home in some limestone crevices that we would love to get, however, RW(he) is just too big and RW(she) is concerned about snakes! Perhaps we will have to recruit our grandson to help on this one. Any volunteers?
That would have to be our "North Country" ("North Country I" and "North Country II") caches. Both are located in places we consider to be very scenic - and the people who find them seem to agree. We were quite pleased when "North Country I" was recently selected to be a featured cache on this site.
Read! Who has time to read? Actually we both enjoy reading but do not do it as much as we would like to. RW(she) is currently reading the Stieg Larsson series including the "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo." RW(he) recently enjoyed Mendell's "From Promise to Power" and "The Book of Negroes" by Lawrence Hill.
RW(she) plays the piano. RW(he) just wishes he could play - anything!
On the far edge of a lake about 12 km's from home - we should have got it last December when the lake was frozen. The bad news is that we have to wait for a swamp to dry up before we can access it. The good news is that by the time that happens we will not have to walk too far, as there will probably be a zillion mosquitoes to carry us to the cache site. On second thought late November is looking good.
Does this include a high tech digital camera? Certainly all the great photo ops is one of the great attractions of geocaching.
The Nuvi has come in quite handy in urban areas for locating accomodations, gas stations and local attractions. The garmin 60Cx can be quite useful when snowmobiling off trail in remote areas - which is what we used to do before escaping our Manitoba winters.We have not had time for much fishing lately but some fishing buddies claim a GPS is also great for marking the sweet spots.
We've had an Ipod for a year or two now and still haven't fiqured out how to use it. Having said that RW(he) is partial to Leonard Cohen and RW(she) enjoys her new Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle CD's. Actually when we travel we mostly listen to XM radio, mostly 50's, 60's, and country or easy listening (or elevator music which our son likes to call it) - which we quite enjoy.