Hello, Mrs Hg137 here.
We have finally finished our answers to Washknight’s interrogation – see http://washknight.wordpress.com/tag/washknight-interrogates. Here are the answers: they are an amalgam of both our views; where we couldn’t agree, both our answers are given.
GeoBlogger 20 Questions
1. When and how did you first get into geocaching?
Mrs Hg137: about 2 years ago, a landmark birthday was approaching for Mr Hg137 ; I bought him a GPS as a present. I’d heard of geocaching, and, as we both like puzzles and both like walking, it seemed like it might be a good idea.
2. Do you remember your first find?
Mrs Hg137: Yes – it was on the Ridgeway, the long-distance path we were walking at the time. It was in woodland, hidden in a camo bag in yew tree roots. I was really, really chuffed that we’d managed to find something!
Mr Hg137 : …. and later that same day we found England’s Oldest Surviving Geocache (“View from Coombe Hill”, placed January 2001) so we were very, very fortunate to find a historic cache so early on in our caching career. Incidentally we also lucky our first few caches were ammo-size containers so a really great start for us (I’m not sure we’d have been so hooked if our first few caches had been magnetic nanos!)
3. What device(s) do you use for locating caches?
It’s a Garmin Etrex 10 – the cheapest possible GPS available. We chose it together (Mrs Hg137: no, I wasn’t being cheapskate with the birthday money!) as we thought that if we didn’t like geocaching, or dropped/broke/lost the GPS it wouldn’t be too great a loss. And it turned out to be great fun.
4. Where do you live and what is your local area like for geocaching? (density / quality / setting etc)
We live in Sandhurst; there are LOADS of caches around and about.
Many of the immediate caches are puzzle caches, which are very slowly working our way around. Within a short-ish drive we’ve been able to find several routes in local footpaths with about 15-20 caches. There is a lot of Army land near us, which prevents certain access, indeed the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst is almost visible from our doorstep!
5. What has been your most memorable geocache to date, and why?
The cache was called “Basingstoke Canal Swing Bridge”, a terrain 3, difficulty 4.5 cache. We knew it existed but never had a canoe to go under the bridge. …. but let’s rewind the clock 2 hours earlier..
We attended a cacher’s meet to celebrate ‘Cacher’s Maker Day’ in Fleet/Church Crookham. After the meet, we then undertook a few caches placed for the occasion. We arrived at the canal bridge with the intent of crossing it and returning to our car. Mrs HG137 then realised she had a key which unlocked the swing bridge! (Don’t ask why !). While we were discussing whether to unlock the bridge along came a few other cachers. As a team we unlocked the bridge, manhandled the bridge open so it was over a bank and clambered underneath. Very muddy, very smelly, and after a few minutes the skinny under-bridge crawlers (including Mr Hg137) were triumphant. Teamwork.. but probably not how the cache was to be found!
6. List 3 essential things you take on a geocaching adventure excluding GPS, pen and swaps.
Camera (to take pictures for the blog), a Swiss Army knife (well, you never know), and a map/screen print of where all the caches are, so we know their relative positions to each other (and we can make notes on the back). (We zigzagged around far too often early on!) (One of our cameras has identical batteries to the GPS so we’ve tended not to take spare batteries).
7. Other than geocaches and their contents, What is the weirdest thing you have discovered whilst out caching?
A jar of frankfurters (one of our Nemesis caches is ‘Wisley Trailblazer’, and close to its GZ is an opened jar of frankfurters with 2 frankfurters still inside !)
but for something more scary… we discovered a fire in a Farnborough park during a caching trip. We needed to call the fire brigade to attend; but it was also one of the few occasions when we didn’t have a mobile phone with us, and it took 20 minutes to find someone to lend us a phone…
Fire, Fire! Fire! Fire!
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?
Mrs Hg137 : 3 (its what a Maths Degree does for you)
Mr Hg137 : 5 (as I’ve found many footpaths I never knew existed)
9. Describe one incident that best demonstrates the level of your geocaching obsession.
Mrs Hg137: it’s got to be Mr Hg137 driving, fruitlessly, repeatedly, around Hampshire and Surrey on missions to bag ‘Jacob’s Moving Cache’.
10. Have you picked up any caching injuries along the way?
Only the usual cuts, bruises, wet feet and muddiness, and (once) mild hypothermia.
11. What annoys you most about other geocachers?
A minor one: the way some cachers use up large amounts of a small cache log with large signatures, stamps, stickers …
12. What is the dumbest thing you have done whilst out caching?
See Canal Bridge earlier… (Mrs Hg137’s car is still filthy 6 months on!)
13. What do your non caching family and friends think of your hobby?
Some get it, some don’t. We also play a certain amount of competitive Scrabble (that’s how we met) so we are accustomed to having an unusual hobby!
14. What is your default excuse you give to muggles who ask what you are up to or if you need help?
Because we cache as a pair, invariably we can ‘cover’ for each other. Taking a camera helps, as we can always be posing to take a photo for a “Wildlife” competition ?
15. What is your current geocaching goal, if you have one?
We set a goal for 2013 to complete an average of a cache a day for the year, which we achieved by September 2013. That’s why we started the blog, as an online diary of this goal.
16. Do you have a nemesis cache that despite multiple attempts you have been unable to find?
There are two current ones: ‘Wisley Trailblazer’ and ‘Off your trolley’ (Sandhurst). We’ve had several goes at both of these and we just cannot find them. ‘Wisley Trailblazer’ was originally published with no hint, and is the RHS Wisley Car Park. It took almost a month for the FTF, and we’ve tried to find it on at least three occasions all to no avail.
The ‘Off your trolley’ is one of our closest caches just off a muggle-rich supermarket car park. We’ve tried on numerous occasions including the muggle-less day of Christmas Day!
17. What 3 words or phrases best sum up what geocaching means to you.
Treasure hunt; walking; unexpected interesting places
We did find this on our travels in Wiltshire and I think it says it better than we can !
This sculpture says it all…
“The Greatest Secrets are Always Hidden in the Most Unlikely Places”
18. What prompted you to start blogging about geocaching?
19. Which of your own blog entries are you most proud of.
Mr Hg137: Reading back over some of our early blogs, our writing style has changed, and has possibly become more light-hearted. We also blog about the trackables we find, this draws many readers in (mainly from Germany!) who try to use our blog to log trackables virtually.
Mrs Hg137: The best blog posts, and the easiest to write, are those where something unexpected has happened when out on our caching trip … calling the fire brigade … forgetting the GPS … having to ford a river … The ones where everything goes to plan are much harder to write about.
Let’s go Bananas !
The One that Got Away
20. Which other geocaching blogs do you enjoy reading?
Geocass – http://geocass.wordpress.com
Geo Mumma Kel – http://geomumma.wordpress.com
The bitchy cacher – http://thebitchycacher.wordpress.com
The Coastal Path: One family’s walk around the coast of Britain http://thecoastalpath.wordpress.com – not strictly a geocaching blog, but the writer is a cacher and geocaching gets a mention now and then