Geocache

Geocacher Spotlight : College Cacher

Geocachers come from all walks of life from babies stuffed in backpack carriers to people older than your grandma. I think it’s safe to say that of all stages of life, few of our single-years are as active as those in college.

Lia with an ammobox cache

Lia Steinberg is a remarkable student at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication (you practically need a degree to put that entire phrase in a conversation). She’s a consistent Dean’s list achiever and is a Barack Obama Scholar, so she’s so busy you wouldn’t think she has time for any extra-extracurricular activities… but she happens to be a geocacher. She even maintains the blog College Cacher where the college-aged geocacher can garner tips and ideas.

Paurian: As a repeating Dean’s list broadcast journalism major, a Barack Obama Scholar, and a very active participant in extracurricular activities, do you consider your experiences with geocaching an augment to your overall life or as more of a relaxing hobby?

Lia: As a busy college student, I rarely have a moment to relax and do the things I truly enjoy. That’s why geocaching is the perfect hobby for me. I can take ten minutes out of my usual routine and do something exciting and adventurous. If I have an hour before my next class, I can whip out my GPS and find the nearest cache without taking too much time out of my day to have fun. It’s a great way for me to unwind and enjoy my surroundings even on the busiest of days.

Lia going geobikeching

Paurian: Your blog is really great for young and first-time cachers, with videos, helpful tips and interesting polls. What prompted you to build it?

Lia: Last semester, I took a class called Online Media that focuses on building an online identity and visual communication. For an assignment, we were required to start a blog about a hobby or interest that we felt we could be an “expert” in. I thought geocaching was the perfect subject to blog about because not many people are familiar with the hobby and thought it would spark some interest. Even though the blog was required for a grade, I did not view it as such. I thoroughly enjoyed blogging and sharing my adventures with people who share the same interest. Now, even though the class is over, I still continue to blog as much as possible.

Paurian: What was your first geocaching experience?

Lia: My first geocaching experience was about a year ago with my boyfriend. I heard about geocaching on another blog I read and it really amazed me how there were so many caches in my area that I never knew existed. I immediately tracked down the nearest one and found it about 15 minutes later. The rest is history.

Paurian: What types of swag do you consider cool … what about lame?

Lia: I really enjoy finding travel bugs because I like to see where they have traveled to. I don’t really find the toys or coins very thrilling, although I still don’t mind if I find them because it gives me an idea of what kind of people have found it before me.

Lia geocaching with friends

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

Lia: The most useful non GPSr geocaching tool would definitely have to be tweezers. They have saved my butt a few times when I simply cannot retrieve the log book if it’s squished inside a micro. Otherwise, just having someone else to help find geocaches is great because they sometimes give you a different perspective that you might not have thought of.

Note: Lia has a helpful list of extras on one of her blogposts titled “Geocaching Essentials” .

Paurian: Do you or your friends have any experiences or thoughts on caching with the non-groundspeak services, such as terracaching.com, navicache.com or Garmin’s opencaching.com?

Lia: I have never heard of those websites before, although now you’ve sparked my interest to check them out!

Paurian: What is the collest geocache hide you’ve ever gone after or heard of?

Lia: The coolest geocache I discovered was just a couple weeks ago when I was visiting family in Tampa, FL. The GPS took me to an old shed located next to a baseball field. The size of the container was not specified the hint was “not a glue.” As I was searching near an electrical box, I noticed a pipe coming from the ground with a gardening hose attached. I pulled the pipe right up from the ground and found the cache inside. So clever!

Paurian: As mentioned before, you’ve got great advice all over your blog for newbies. To date, what one post do you feel has been the most helpful.

Lia: I try to keep my posts interesting for new geocachers as well as for the well-experienced. I think my post labeled “The Thrill of the Hunt” pretty much sums up my entire view on geocaching. It gives my opinion about why geocaching is rewarding and fun, as well as gives special tips on how to have a pleasant experience.

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

Lia: If I plan on geocaching all day, my preferable mode of transportation is a bike. A bike with a geocaching GPS on the handle bars would be amazing because I always get annoyed at having to stop all the time to see where the GPS wants me to go.

Lia signing a log

Paurian: You mention on your blog how you introduced a good friend to geocaching. How many others have you personally introduced to the world of geocaching and which was the most memorable experience?

Lia: I have introduced many of my family and friends to geocaching and it has been such a fulfilling experience for me to enjoy my surroundings with the people I love. Caching (in my opinion) is way more fun with a friend than doing it alone. I have always loved to hike with my family, and now we can have something to hike to besides a beautiful view. Also, through my blog, my fellow classmates and professor were very interested in learning more about geocaching. They couldn’t believe a hobby like this existed and I feel passionate about sharing my new favorite hobby with people who are eager to discover it as well.

You can read more about her geocaching adventures and pick up tips and advice that appeal to any age (you don’t have to be in college) at her College Cacher blog.

Geocache

Geocacher Spotlight : My Geek Odyssey

Looking at all the wonderful people out there who geocache, something has to be done. Some are celebrities. Some are only celebrities in their own mind.

Regardless of fame or infamy I’d like to introduce them to you… or if you’ve already met them then perhaps you’ll learn a little something new. If they have a blog, it’s obviously encouraged that you go visit. Without further adieu, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to …

Cecil-EGCM

Meet Cecil, the Evil GeoCaching Monkey and alter-ego of a talented comic artist, teacher and humorist, Bruce Nelson.

Bruce maintains the blog My Geek Odyssey, covering the “continuing adventures of a man, a monkey and a mini”. And no adventure is complete without geocaching. Bruce draws delightful comics that record some of his geocaching experiences, and that’s what first caught my eye. It didn’t take long before I discovered he even used his art as a puzzle cache clue!

Paurian: You mentioned that the proudest moment in your geek life was finding “Get a Life” (GCZJZ5) all by yourself. That’s about as nerdy as they come. However, your log on Geocaching.com shows a sad “ook.” Is that your way of saying the cache at the final coordinates was highly illogical?

Cecil: ook… Actually this cache was originally found by Bruce when he shared the caching name “ProfessorZoom” with his wife, Sue, so it was considered a B.C. (Before Cecil) find. Cecil believes in transparency in caching so, while assisted by Bruce, he only logs caches that he has actually visited and signed the log… don’t you wish every cacher was that noble? Cecil went out to find “Get a Life” and discovered the cache was missing, hence the sad “ook.” He has spoken with CyBret and will return when the weather is better and hopefully return the cache to its former glory. Qapla’

Paurian: What was your first geocaching experience?

Cecil: Cecil’s first caching experience was GC44F2 “Rest in Peace” while plaguing Indiana cachers for a few years he finally decided to log a cache upon ProfessorZoom’s 1000th find. Cecil’s first actual appearance was at GC100CE “Indy’s Lamest Cache” this was where Cecil’s legend began.

Paurian: What are your experiences or thoughts on caching with the smaller services, such as Garmin’s new opencaching.com, terracaching.com or navicache.com?

Cecil: With world domination, being the inspiration for a webcomic, and controlling a network of minions, Cecil has not had time to explore the smaller services, but as the weather turns (being a fair weather cacher) he is bound to branch out a bit… anything to gain a better foothold in his constant struggle to make the world a better place with more bananas.

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

Cecil: Lots of Minions so Cecil doesn’t have to walk to caches… he believes it’s better to be carried, especially when ProfessorZoom just had to get GC776E “Ten Mile Cache” when the road was closed he thought it was nice to be along for the hike.

Paurian: What is the coolest swag you’ve retrieved from a cache?

Cecil: ook… The silly thing is when minions find monkey related swag they tend to drop it off to Cecil… like paying tribute. Some of the really cool pathtags Cecil has found in the wild (shiny things) are great. He actually likes finding them better than trading, it really does show what a small world it is and how we cross paths all the time. Then again bananas aren’t allowed in caches.

Paurian: What geocache do you consider the coolest hide?

Cecil: So many people have put effort into some wonderful hides (& so many archived), the ones requiring monkey skills (climbing) are fun, but View Carre (GCE02C) in New Orleans is one of Cecil’s favorites.

Paurian: I noticed your blog has several comic strips based on geocaching. Are these generally based on your personal experiences, or mostly imagined?

Cecil: ook… I’ll let Bruce answer this one.
Bruce: While My Geek Odyssey is a comic, a great deal is based on my experiences. The ones dealing with “the Caching Curmudgeon” actually stem from things I have experienced while caching, either logs, or emails, or just varied caching personalities. As always cartoons tend to exaggerate, although some are pretty close to reality.

Paurian: What general advice would you like to give to newbie geocachers?

Cecil: Have fun! explore, be patient, send Cecil-EGCM any shiny things you find… If you want to hide a cache find a wide variety first (hit that 100 found milestone) so you have some idea of what makes a great hide.

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

Cecil: ook… Cecil likes some of the changes going on to GC.com buy really would like to see more information in the statistics page. milestones, state county map (at least for your home state)… there were a number of things available at mygeocachingprofile.com that haven’t been brought over yet. Since Cecil uses a Mac (he’s that kind of monkey) GSAK hasn’t been a option. Then again he’s been playing around with a Chirp and is curious how that is going to work out once he removes it from his sock.

Paurian: I noticed that you showed some interest in creating a Dr. Who series. The tardis idea is awesome. Have you seen the Dr. Who. geocache (GCW6EM: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19hCTky6S8w)?

Cecil: ook… Don’t remind me, due to social obligations while getting the triad last summer Cecil did not get a chance to visit Dr. Who or Voodoo Donuts. He will return and ring up goblindust along with few minions he has in the area. The cache containers for that series are in development and should be ready to release in the Spring.

A big “ook!” thanks to the ubercool Cecil and Bruce for taking time out for this interview!

You can reach Cecil and Bruce at their website: My Geek Odyssey and at Cecil’s Geocaching.com profile. You can support Cecil’s insatiable hunger for bananas through the modest purchase of exceptionally cool stuff! Oop!