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20 Geocaching Questions

Submitted by on Wednesday, 22 October 2014No Comment
20 Geocaching Questions

A few days ago I got an email from a geocacher called ‘Washknight’

“Hi Phil,
I love reading geocaching blogs and have recently discovered yours. I think I recognize your name from some of the geocaching facebook groups too. Anyway, I am doing a “thing” on my blog at the moment where I am inviting geocaching bloggers to answer some questions and share their experiences and I was wondering if you would consider taking part. All you need to do is put a post on your own blog answering the questions below and then let me know. I will then link to your post from my blog and this might help with a bit of cross promotion of our blogs”

“If you would like to see how some other bloggers have risen to the challenge then you can use this link.
If you do participate then could you also include that link somewhere in your post.

I do hope you will be able to take part as I, for one, would be interested to read your responses.

All the best
Paul – Washknight”

So I decided to take him up on this, and here are the questions and answers

    GeoBlogger 20 Questions

1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?
I first heard of Geocaching in the summer of 2008, when a friend linked to a newspaper article about it on Facebook. I didn’t have the technology to try it at the time but my friend Adam, better known to the caching community as UKCacheMag got into it that Autumn and seemed to like it, so Spring Bank Holiday Weekend 2009 – Saturday 30th May – I cobbled together the kit to find caches and off I went

2. Do you remember your first find?
Yes, because the first time I went caching I only had the coordinates for the nearest 2 caches from my house and the first one I looked for I DNF’d so I went on to the next and eventually spotted a pile of twigs that were not where a pile of twigs would be unless some very strange bird was attempting to build a very strange nest… under the twigs was my first cache. Unfortunately the area where the cache was is now a new housing estate

3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?
The first cache I found was with a bluetooth GPS receiver linked to a PDA running a Public Domain programme that showed the compass bearing and distance to coordinates – definitely follow the arrow…
By the end of the first week I had found 6 caches and bought a yellow Etrex off ebay…
A couple of weeks later I was out with Adam and saw his Oregon GPS, liked the idea of a colour screen and mapping so by the beginning of July I had swapped the Etrex for a Vista HCX (the Etrex was sold back on ebay for more than I paid for it !)
The Vista lasted until March 2010 when I heard about Memory Map, and switched to a Dell Axim X50v PDA running memory map from a compact flash GPS receiver which is a brilliant set up for caching a 640 x 480 pixel screen with 1:25K OS maps is difficult to beat, but it’s awkward to set up you have to run a different program for the cache details and load the cache data in twice, once into memory map and once as HTML into the cache description reader
So in December 2012 I bought a Garmin Montana, which is what I mainly use – but it is big, so I have a smaller backup GPS for when I don’t want to carry the Montana around, I did have a Dakota 20, but found that too small for my fingers and now have an Oregon instead.
Although I have had a brief go at Munzee and play Ingress, both of which are phone based GPS games I’ve never really tried caching with a smartphone.

4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)
I live 10 miles North West of Leeds, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales so my local area has quite a split caching character, to the South East there is a high density of urban / park caches and to the North West it’s out into the Dales and up onto the moors where caches are fewer, but much preferable to me.

5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?
The most memorable geocache to me would be one that I found that wasn’t even published… One Saturday evening Yorkshire Taff put a posting on that he had been up on Ilkley Moor, hidden a new cache and had it turned down by the reviewers as being too close to the final co-ordinates of a Puzzle Cache, the Facebook conversation that followed narrowed it down to a particular 5 star puzzle cache and an area of about 2 sq miles of moorland, so next morning I went out to see if I could find it without having and coordinates or hints (though on the moor all the hints are “under a rock” !), just knowing that it was up on the moor somewhere… and I found the unpublished cache, the 5 star puzzle cache and another cache from a different listing site. (check out my cache #2225 in November 2012 for the full story)

6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.
I can’t give you 3, I don’t really take anything other than a GPS and a pen, I ignore swaps and mainly ignore trackables unless I find one in a cache that hasn’t been visited for a couple of months… but I do have a personal TB that I use to record mileage, so that would be my only other ‘essential’ even though it doesn’t always physically go caching with me (the Tag is on my car keys)

7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?
I’ve never discovered much, I know people who have discovered large amounts of money, drugs, a sawn off shotgun, a video camera with a home made ‘naughty video’ on it and various other cameras – but the only thing I have found that I can think of is a camera SD card which was really sad as it had about a hundred pictures on it that were 2 kids opening their christmas and birthday presents – about 5 years of christmas and birthdays.

8. On a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is I am obsessed by numbers and 10 is I am all about the experience and the quality of each individual cache. Where do you put yourself?
Call it a 5 right down the middle… When I go somewhere caching I am not really bothered wheteher there are 5 caches or 25, but neither do I pick specific caches to go to based on their reputation, D/T rating or favourite points

9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.
I go away for the weekend about once a month, half to caching events and half to see other friends etc… but for me, planning the route to get to wherever I am going is as important a part of the weekend as anything I do when I am there… so like today I spent three hours planning my route to and from the Halloween Mega, to take in 5 locations for cache GC45CC – Ye Ole Survey Monumnets, and as many Church Micro’s as I can reasonably get in on the routes – probably 12-15 on each of the journeys…. I rarely bother stopping for other caches these days.

10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?
No, can’t say I’ve ever had anything more than nettle stings and thorn scratches

11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?
What annoys me is the use of the word ‘muggles’ by the geocaching community. In Harry Potter the muggles were people who were outside the community because they didn’t have the ability to join, whereas anyone can be a geocacher if they wanted to, so it annoys me that it is used to make geocachers ‘elitist’ and somehow better than the ppor muggles, when really we just have different hobbies

12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?
Tried to walk across a swollen stream, slipped and fell in, not particularly dumb but cost £150 for a replacement phone cos it didn’t like the dunking

13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?
Family all do it (even my octagenarian Mother has been out caching with her Granddaughters), friends either do it or know so many people who do that it is just as accepted as other friends going to watch a football match

14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?
I don’t have one – I rarely do caching where there are other people about

15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?
I am not particularly goal oriented, I’ve been caching five and a half years and still haven’t finished the D/T grid, and as I am definitely a fair weather cacher I am not bothered in filling in my Calendar grid either… I have only been caching on 3 dates in January and I can’t see that I’m likely to fill the month any year soon !

16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?
There is one called Tutenkhamun’s trinkets that is a puzzle offset multi cache… and although I solved the puzzle and got the co-ordinates for the clue to the offset for the final stage it took me 3 or 4 trips to find the clue – mainly because the coords bring you to a little copse and there were so many places where the clue could be hidden that I couldn’t find it… Eventually I made a very rare PAF (or rather Text-A-Friend) – one of only two I have ever done and got the location of the clue – which there was no wonder I couldn’t see as it was a clue written on a bit of wood in permanent marker which was obscured by lichen growing over it… never would have found it without the PAF…
Even then though, when I had the co-ordinates I couldn’t find the cache due to a solid wall of brambles growing up inside the fence where it is hidden… I will have to go back and find it one day but I’ve had at least 4 trips to find it so far

17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.
At the minute I would have to say “Church Micro”, “Events” and “caches without a log book (YOSM’s, other virtuals & earthcaches)” because those are the things that have been uppermost in my mind this year when I have thought about caching

18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?
The blog was actually started as a repository for my Family History/Genealogy and sort of expanded to include a record of my geocaching experiences… it wasn’t until I’d found about 450 that I started taking pictures of every cache to go into the blog, previously there had just been a couple of pictures per entry, but for the last 3,000 caches every one has a photograph of the cache or the cache setting

19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of.
My blog is basically just a small expansion of my cache logs, and quite often my logs are written deliberately to be copied and pasted as blog posts – and further than that some of the blog posts are written to be articles in the UK Cache Mag !
It does allow me to put things about caches that the CO’s would object to if they were put in the logs though… None of the posts are particularly better than any of the others

20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?
I’m not a follower of any blogs, though I have a few bookmarked and dip into to now and again. I have to pick Geocass’s UK Geocaching blog as the most interesting of these.

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