The UK geocacher Washknight has sent out a questionaire to geocaching bloggers so I thought I would share the questions and my answers in my blog.
He has been collecting the responses of everyone who has responded and keeping a record on his blog, Washknight – Geocaching Blind. You can view all of the responses here: Washnight Interrogates.
1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?
I had been reading about GPS receivers in early 2003 and concluded that I needed one. The deciding factor for parting with so much cash was the aspect of geocaching. At that time there were just but a handful of caches in my area, but it sounded interesting.
2. Do you remember your first find?
This I remember well. It is still active and was a typical cache for the cacher Piggen – a large spice container. The cache is Gavle-bro just off the E4 motorway as it passes by Gävle, and I found it on 2003-04-13 the day after I received my GPS’r in the mail.
3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?
My primary device is a Garmin Oregon 450. It’s my fourth Garmin GPS and the original blue eTrex Legend is still operating and is used together with my Kenwood TH-D7 handy for APRS tracking. I also use my iPhone 4S and Nexus 7 depending on the type of caching I am doing.
4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)
I live in Gävle which is a town of just under 100,000 people on the east coast of Sweden about 200 km north of Stockholm. For geographical reasons there are very few caches in the area to the east :-) and the cache density is reflected by the population density which means it is quite sparse in most directions. However, an hours drive to the south-west brings me to the small town of Hedemora where there are over a thousand caches in the borough. They are keen geocachers! Gävle, which is perhaps three times the size has around 750 caches.
My geocaching home base
5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?
This is a difficult question to answer. I have been fortunate to be able to cache on all the continents of the world so there are those caches that are associated with unusual and breathtaking scenery that get a high rating. Then there are the creative caches that I have found from time to time that have been memorable.
Just less than 50% of my finds are in Sweden where I live.
I think it has to be The 2 Towers. This was located just north of Luton, UK and although it was archived in 2007 it was the first “Field puzzle” I did and involved ammo cans, electronics, a palm pilot at an exciting location.
In second place I would put Digital Fortress, a puzzle cache that involved crunching a HUGE binary series then hiking up the Port Hills outside Christchurch, New Zealand to find a large safe housing the cache.
6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.
I never go caching without a torch (flashlight for the American readers). From experience I have learnt to always carry spare batteries for the GPS and finally a sense of adventure.
7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?
Weird is probably not the word to use but an underground ammunition factory in the forested wilderness of central Sweden was highly unusual. Bomber & Granater 2. Apparently we only saw half of what there is down there. Both spooky and fascinating at the same time.
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?
After eleven years of caching I am approaching 5000 finds but have travelled to nearly forty countries to find caches. I like stats and set myself targets all the time. I have completed the dates of the year and the Jasmer challenge so I would probably give myself a four on the scale.
9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.
To find the final month’s cache for the Jasmer Challenge I made a trip from Sweden to Western USA Oakdale – “Firestone” – San Francisco that also included visting the ET Highway and Route 66 even if I didn’t complete the power trails.
10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?
Luckily all I have sustained are minor injuries, usually in the nature of encounters with brambles or nettles. I have tripped over a few times in the forest and got minor cuts and bruises but that is the extent of the damage.
11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?
Not a lot actually. I can’t think of any geocachers that I have met that haven’t been fun to talk to. I did have a cache where I had nearly abusive complaints about safety from one person but my answer was that if that person felt insecure in the situation they should just walk away. It’s just a game. I used to get frustrated by the smartphone kiddies that just logged a cache with a :-). TFTC as a log is hardly any better but I know that there are many reasons for not spending time writing a well formulated log to thank a cache owner for taking the time to place a cache.
12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?
I’m thinking hard but I can’t find anything dumb but I will edit this post when I do.
13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?
Many years ago when the hobby/sport wasn’t too well known my family and friends thought it was great fun – an adventure. Now it is commonplace and there are caches in every nook and cranny, many of which don’t have an interesting or attractive site then it is frequently suggested that I go caching without them. What I do to encourage the grandchildren to participate is promise a picnic and a hunt for treasure, which these days, I often have to bring with me.
14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?
I’m geocaching! Most people seem to have heard of it even if they don’t know the details. Also, here in Sweden we are in a pretty open and safe society where terrorists are uncommon and it’s still OK to poke around in bushes or drainpipes in town.
15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?
For 2014, I listed my goals in this posting. Geocaching-targets-2014. I have already achieved most of them and just need to focus on the puzzle cache owner challenge.
16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?
There is a multi-cache in Lincoln, New Zealand that I have visited three times between 2006 and 2013. On the third visit I found the first waypoint but the second one eluded me. I will try again in January 2015 on my next visit. The Cacher in the Rye (Canterbury)
17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.
Adventure, outdoors and technology.
18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?
Before I started the blog I created a web site in about 2005 www.ds8300.com, which is still running but completely static. I needed a better way to easily update content and the blog at WordPress was my chosen path, with the first post coming in December 2009.
19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of.
One adventure that I remember well was an alpine trek across a volcanic area of New Zealand, passing close to the famous Mount Doom of The Lord of the Rings film on the way, the main goal being getting safely across the area. Tongariro Alpine Crossing
20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?
I read many geocaching blogs but there are two that stand out (I don’t count the professional marketing blog from Groundspeak in my list). The first is in Swedish and is Halléns Geocachingäventyr which I have read for many years and the second is a newcomer, Only Googlebot Reads This Blog
Other than that I follow a couple of Podcasts that I find to be valuable. Podcacher and GeoGearHeads