Geocacher Spotlight: Britton of the KALEB Crew

Today we head north into Canada where geocaching is alive and well. A lady named Britton offers a blog on book reviews and writes articles about geocaching for the examiner. She claims to be green in the geocaching sport, with only 100 finds, but that doesn’t stop her from producing great stories about caching in the north.

Paurian: What got you interested in geocaching?

Britton: My husband. He’s a huge tekkie. He convinced me that geocaching was the perfect marriage of his love for technology and my love for hiking. My Magellan Explorist was an anniversary present, complete with one puzzle cache pre-loaded, GC53C2 – Calgary History Tour: Olympics. Since we were pretty new to Calgary at the time, as well, it fueled my need to learn more about my new town.

Britton with her daughter, Emma, standing on a large geocache which is a glacier erratic

Paurian: In your examiner profile, you admit that your geocaching handle is derived such that each initial represents a family member. Do you always geoecache as a family?

Britton: In my perfect geocaching utopia, I would geocache with my entire family all the time. In my geocaching reality, I usually go alone because I’m really horrible at finding even the simplest ones and my children are not patient at all. My husband tries to attend with me at least one a weekend…if I bribe him with slushy drinks.

Paurian: What is the most unusual geocache container you’ve ever found?

Britton: I was extremely fortunate to have an artist of cache-makers living in my neighbourhood, KinderKen. For some, geocaching is a game of quantity, for him it is a game of quality. My favourite find of his was an electrical switchplate that was held by a strong magnet on the side of a lamp post. It blended so well that it stumped my in-laws for almost 10 minutes (we introduced them to geocaching in 2010). I am constantly tickled by the “secret society” of geocaching I belong to – where muggles are oblivious to caches right in front of their noses.

A wild rose, the symbol of Alberta

Paurian: What, if anything, do you find different in your experiences of geocaching between the United States and Canada?

Britton: Geocaching in the USA, for me, is usually more of an urban experience, so I tend to look up the puzzle caches that are represented by a landmark or statue of some sort. It’s always a good way to see the city and discover what the locals think is important. In Calgary, there was enough green space to hide bodies, never mind caches, in heavily wooded areas. In Regina, where I’ve just moved to, geocaching is more difficult because of the lack of greenery. Many times, the hide will depend on knowing your headings.

Paurian: What is the most helpful non GPSr geocaching tool that you take into the field?

Britton: My son. I think that geocaching is a sport where there are people that are naturally gifted at finding the cache. He seems to be one of them. Also, my camera. I love capturing the hidden beauty of the cache site because they are usually placed at very unique or scenic locations.

Paurian: What does geocaching mean to you – what would be its purpose for you (and your family if it applies)?

Britton: For my family, I think it means Mom is out of the house, thank goodness. For me, it is discovering peace with a destination. Even if the cache is a DNF (and I’ve had a LOT of those), the experience isn’t wasted. I find that there isn’t any internal conflict that an hour tooling about outdoors won’t cure.

A skull found while geocaching at Saskatoon berry farm

Paurian: You’ve written some vary interesting stories on the examiner. For example, you’ve published news on a geocacher finding World War II Bombs and on city grants that promote geocaching. You’ve also written some nice commentaries on geocaching in general, such as knowing when to quit, and what to do when the cache is missing. Where and how do you get information to these great stories?

Britton: Thanks for the compliment! I was fortunate to be part of a group of extraordinary geocachers in Calgary, some of which include people like KinderKen, Sleepy Hollow, Peanutbutterbreadandjam and Kophy Kupp. Every month or so, they would hold informal gatherings at a local restaurant where everyone would get together and chat about their passion: geocaching. For some, like Sleepy Hollow with over 10,000 cache finds, geocaching is what defines them. Also, most mid-to-large sized cities will have their own cacher’s website or online bulletin board where a person can keep up on the latest news. It’s a great way to take your solitary hunts to a more social and interactive setting. There is never a shortage to talk about. So, to answer your question, I wrote about what seemed to be relevant and happening at the moment. As I did that, I was alerted to new stories by other cachers “in the know.”

Paurian: What type of cache is your current favorite to find?

Britton: My favourite type of cache to find has sadly been retired. I was a huge fan of Virtual Caches because I have a propensity toward historical places. Now, my favourite cache to find is an easy one with a good view.

Paurian: What excellent feature / element / idea … thing would you like added to the geocaching experience?

Britton: I think anything that makes geocaching more of a social game is a good idea. I highly encourage geocachers to make a deal with themselves or their group to attend at least one gathering or function per year just to get to know the people behind the nicknames. I’ve met some incredibly smart and kind people along the way.

Paurian: You do a ton of reading, as the bio on your site explains. You’ve also done a good deal of blogging on the topic of Geocaching, as shown in The Examiner. Have you ever thought of merging the two passions and writing a book on geocaching?

Britton: I was asked to put together a book for an event upcoming in the Alberta Badlands this spring (sorry, I can’t find the event information). Unfortunately, I moved to Saskatchewan during the time I would need to be researching so I had to excuse myself from the project. So, like many a writer before me, I answer, “Maybe someday. When I have the time.”

Thanks again, Britty! This has been great.

A side note to readers, the image of the flower is that of a wild rose, the symbol of Alberta while the image of the skull was at Saskatoon berry farm where Britton spent a wonderful day with Kophy Kupp and Prairie Swan while collecting caches and berries.

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