GoLI Member Spotlight
February 2021: basecamp02
1. What does your cacher name mean? Before I had access to million dollar satellites, I used my orienteering skills to navigate the trails with a compass and map. Groups of hikers met early in the morning at our basecamp before setting out on the day's expedition, and we returned there at the end of our trek to exchange stories of the day's adventures. After discovering Geocaching, my son Rob and I tossed around a few names before agreeing on this one, adding 02 since we were teaming up.
2. When did you start caching and how did you find out about it? I've been an outdoor enthusiast since childhood and Rob enjoyed hiking and climbing with me as he grew up. Hoyt Farm in Commack was one of his favorite places and he knew the trails and woodland paths by heart. While leading us on a winter hike through the farm in 2012, he discovered the container for GC307N8. The cache directed us to Geocaching.com and after a quick look, we decided to sign up. A year later, we were back at the farm running through the clues needed to solve mja108's Hoyt Farm Park Walkabout and we were blown away when the solution brought us back to that same container. It was great fun to log our geoname in this now familiar cache.
3. Describe your first find. We were in a park in Maryland and the coords brought us to an outdoor drinking fountain. After searching the area unsuccessfully for a few minutes, I knelt down and lifted the heavy steel ring at the bottom of the fountain - kind of a LPC setup. Rob turned, saw what I was doing and asked if I had lost my mind! Then he looked underneath and pulled out the cache. We signed the log, waited while some muggles showed up for a drink, then quickly returned the cache when the area was clear. As a complete newbie, I'm not sure what made me try that, but poking around at ordinary-looking objects has served us well on our geo-adventures.
4. How many finds do you have? 1,032. My working hours leave little time for caching so most of my finds have been made while we're on vacation and I'm far away from work. My 2020 numbers were dismal, but I was thankful for the brief windows of sanity when I was able to get outside and do some isolated caching.
a. Find count by type 835 Traditional, 63 Mystery, 40 Event, 23 Virtual, 14 Multi, 13 Earthcache, 5 Wherigo, 5 Lab Caches, 3 Letterbox, and 1 Lost+Found.
b. Favorite find type? Hard to pick just one. I like solving mystery/puzzle caches and gadget caches, but I also enjoy hunting for well-disguised traditionals that are hidden in plain sight and those that bring me to out-of-the-way locations. I appreciate the time and planning that goes into creating a good puzzle and the workmanship that people put into their gadget caches.
c. Pick one favorite find? We were working through a series of covered bridge caches in New Hampshire. Most were easy finds; bison tubes and hide-a-keys tucked into nooks on some really old but still active bridges. Then we encountered one with a 4.0 difficulty and after an hour of checking every possible space between the beams and twisting every bolt that held them together we were considering a DNF. Rob even climbed into the spider-infested roof to search there with no luck. Then we spotted a short piece of monofiliment between two floor boards. We pulled, and after hauling up 30 feet of fishing line, we retrieved the bison tube at the end. We put this one on our 'Pure Evil' list.
5. How many caches have you hidden? 6 - not very impressive, but I've finally started moving from discovering other people's work to creating my own. I have several half-baked ideas and projects that are working their way to completion and I've been scouting out good spots for hides. (MoDaRiMa Note: Bruce is too modest to mention it so I’ll put in here: Bruce created the Arduino code for GoLI’s Cache Machine (GC929RV) so that counts as one of his hides too!)
a. Hide count by type 1 Lab Cache and 1 Mystery (bonus for the lab).
b. Favorite hide type? I enjoyed putting the Adventure Lab together and I've starting working on a second one.
c. Pick one favorite cache that you’ve hidden? The Remembrance lab cache is unusual because the locations are 5 miles apart from each other, making a car or bicycle necessary. There are over eighty 9/11 memorials on Long Island and I visited a majority of them while putting this AL together. The monuments and commemorative displays at these sites are all unique and amazing which made it hard to choose among them. Eventually, I used a route planning tool to pick five that were closest together.
6. Stats review We didn't pay much attention to our stats at first, but we found this is another fun aspect of caching. We even created our own challenge, making sure our total finds at the end of each month is greater than that month's total from the previous year.
a. How many state and country souvenirs? 12 States, 2 Countries
b. Jasmer challenge? 196 out of 250
c. Fizzy challenge? 44 down, 37 to go
d. Calendar days? 252 of 365
e. Streak? 6 days
f. Slump? 132 days
g. FTFs? 4
h. Best caching week? 41 Weekend? 19
7. Do you trade SWAG? I have a growing collection of pathtags that I've picked up from caches and people. Any signature SWAG items? I leave tiny compasses and I have loads of those miniature TOOB animals that I leave for younger kids to grab when they're out caching with Mom or Dad.
8. Like to move trackables? Yes, I've picked up and moved 30 or so. I add them to my watchlist after they're dropped so I can watch their progress, but it's disappointing to see how many have gone missing. Some have already traveled 50,000 miles and one is closing on 100,000 miles. How many do you own? 5
9. Cache with GPS or Phone? I use both, but my iPhone is rarely accurate so I rely more on my Garmin.
10. Do you have any geocaching goals? Lots of goals- complete a first pass through the big 3 challenges, find more of the early 2000-2003 caches, explore south of the Mason-Dixon and west of the Mississippi, go caching in other countries, ...
11. Do you cache with anyone? Now that my son Rob (GeoBandit007) has moved to Maryland and is off building his own stats, I'm out on my own a lot, but I enjoy caching with others whenever the opportunity comes up.
12. Tell a memorable caching story A few years back, I spent an afternoon hiking through Cordwood Landing on the North shore. I had just logged a find, checked the time, and decided there was enough daylight for one more cache. As I rounded a sharp bend in the trail I was suddenly face-to-face with a 300 lb. whitetail buck standing about 25 feet away. I stood still, marveling at its size and the spread of his antlers, tying to decide if I could pull out my phone for a picture without startling him. After staring at each other for a few seconds, he suddenly dropped his head and charged at me! I ran off the trail, straight into the thickest brambles and trees where I thought his antlers would prevent him from following. After a few steps in, I was completely tangled and when I turned to check, he was gone. Arms and legs scratched and bleeding, I extracted myself and continued on to the second cache, but my hands were still shaking when I signed the log.
13. Bucket list cache? I'd love to get out to GC HQ some day. Sight Unseen has been on my list for a while now. I'm psyched to find the trackable TB5EFXK riding on the Mars Perseverance rover once it lands later this month. I look for caches that take you off the beaten path, educate you about the history of a site or region, or help you explore a new city.
14. Besides geocaching, what else should we know about you? I enjoy creating Arduino-based projects and I'm learning firsthand about the difficulties in moving from concept to working model. I've picked up a lot from our own GoLI makers as well as others in the community with more experience. I'm also an amateur astronomer, so I balance my time between looking up at the sky and looking down for caches.
15. What do you want GoLI to work on? The group events are great fun and I know more will be scheduled once things settle down. Other ideas- group outings/day trips to nearby destinations, 'mixer' events with other area geocaching organizations, maybe a bring-a-muggle event to engage newcomers and increase membership. A big thank you to Jamie, Ben, the Board and Advisors for all your great work in support of geocaching.