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Featured Cacher For September 2011 - no muggle

no muggle of Friendswood, TX.
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What got you interested in caching?
no muggle: My sister, bittybit, and I were headed to a weekend long training for Texas Master Naturalists. I don’t know where she heard about it, but she handed me a stack of papers and said she had found something that sounded interesting. Anyway, I read the whole stack of papers out loud to her while she was driving, the whole time thinking it was the craziest, stupidest thing I had ever heard. Why would anyone want to do this? Neither of us had a GPS except the cars navigation system, which will only get you so close. I plugged in the coordinates to one just down the street from my mothers house which turned out to be in the park we played in as kids. I could only get within a few hundred feet with the car. I looked but couldn’t find anything, still convinced this was a crazy, stupid thing. Then, Bittybit bought one of those yellow Garmins and we went back. Well, we found a film canister in a tree stump with a log that was so moldy it was basically unsignable and that was it.
How did you decide on your caching name?
no muggle: Being new to the sport and having to log that first cache, and having no mentors to tell me what to do at the time, I just used my name. That account is still out there with that one logged cache. After looking at some caches and logs online I decided that no one uses their real name, they have cool code names. So I sat down with the computer and started trying to open a new account with the cool code names I came up with. Taken. Taken. Taken. Taken…. After what seemed like 100 tries, all taken, the first name I hit on that wasn’t taken became my new caching name. I think it’s a dorky name, but I’m not changing it now.

When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)
no muggle: I had a Garmin 60csx that I loved, that was stolen, and that I want back. But, since it was gone I had to get a new one. I replaced it with a Garmin 62s. I much prefer the 60 because it works better with the way I cache as far a loading and deleting caches. On the fly I use my droid phone with c:geo, but it sucks the life out of my phone very quickly. I never have figured out that GSAK stuff, so I probably do everything the old school way.

What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?
no muggle: Here we go.
Favorite Virtual – GCB5F0 Ghost Children
Favorite Multi – GCKVC8 Plundering the Treasure of Captain Drew
Favorite Earthcache - GC23EVA Got Gator?
Favorite Puzzle GCNKYJ Stop! In the Name of Love (archived)
Favorite Traditional - GCRF6F Texas County Challenge

Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?
no muggle: Just the usual adventures—snake encounters (many), alligator encounters (2-both very up close and personal), failed water crossings, encounters with the law. Which brings to mind our favorite quote from one particularly back-woods north-west Texas patrolman who was fascinated that someone from the Houston area would drive all the way across the state to look at “his” tree -- “In west Texas, if it looks stupid, it probably is.”

Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!
no muggle: I stopped along a dirt road going to a park parking lot because there was a cache about 125 feet straight in. I figured I could run in, sign the log, and be back before anyone else came down the road. I had just gotten my new phone and wanted to check it out for caching and figured this would be a good test cache. The cache hadn’t been found in quite some time so there was no geo-trail. Well, I got in there, found the cache and got turned around. I usually have a very good sense of direction, I got LOST. How could I possibly get lost with a road only 125 feet away? Normally I would have my GPS with tracks on so I could find my way back. But, since I was testing the phone I left the GPS in the car. I was only going 125 feet, afterall. I started in the wrong direction and didn’t come to the road so went back. Went off in another direction and didn’t find the road. After about 4 attempts to find the road I was starting to panic. I tried to call bittybit to come and rescue me, but no answer. By this time I could hear people talking so I started yelling for help. No response. Plan B: go to the voices. But what if it’s bad guys? I am alone in the woods in an unseemly part of town. Plan C: sneak up on the voices. Well, as it turned out, the voices were a parks department guy sitting in his truck and a sheriff going through my car. He was standing beside the open drivers side door of my car, going through my wallet, with my old dead phone in his hand. He had tried to call “mom” but for some reason the phone wasn’t working. Thank God. My mother thinks I am a little nuts for doing this in the first place and doesn’t like me going off by myself like I do many times. I can’t imagine what she would have done if she had answered the phone.

What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?
no muggle: I like challenges –not the new things they just started, those are silly. Challenges like the Texas County Challenge, Earthcache Challenge, Texas State Parks challenges. I like earthcaches because they usually take you to some pretty cool places. I usually leave the reading and learning part to bittybit—some of those writeups are just too long to keep my interest and attention. I like traditionals. I like virtuals. It is probably easier to answers what is my least favorite type of cache—puzzles. I usually have to get a hint from the queen of puzzles to find out how to even begin.

What is your favorite local cache?
no muggle: I don’t even want to go there. I have done too many that I thought were awesome, and too many that I thought weren’t. Way too many to single out just one. As long as it doesn’t take me to a really scary, or crappy place it is my favorite until I find the next one.

How about your favorite out of state cache?
no muggle: Nothing springs to mind instantly. I have done a lot of out of state Earthcaches. Those usually take you to some pretty awesome places, so those would be my favorites. Unless I just need a fix, then anything will do.

Summer or Winter caching? Why?
no muggle: I like caching every day. Why? Because I’m addicted. Because it gets me outside.

When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?
no muggle: Tempted-always. But do I go? It depends. Do I have my PJ’s on already? Sometimes even that doesn’t matter. How close is it? Is anybody likely to get there before me? Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Sometimes I do.

Tell us about your cache mobile.
no muggle: 2010 Prius. It has gone “off-road” on more than one occasion. It has also had several flat tires replaced already. I can’t say for sure that the flats were the result of caching, but I suspect so.

What other hobbies do you have?
no muggle: Who has time for other hobbies? I do love a good road trip and now most of them involve caching. I guess that’s why the Texas County Challenge appealed to me—just a good excuse for a lot of road trips and a great way to see this exceptional state of ours. Same for the Texas State Park challenges. And, of course, all trips require finding at least one cache, especially if it is a new state or country.

Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?
no muggle: Bittybit and I have completed 4 of the seven 2011 Texas State Park area challenges and part of a 5th. I would like to complete all 7, but the Big Sky area is a little daunting. More road trips. I need 2 earthcache types to complete the Earthcache challenge—and they will both require road trips. My goal prior to my geocaching life was to go to all 50 states, which took me a long time, but I finally did it. Now I need to go back to all 50 and get caches. At least I already have the two hard states out of the way. Another goal is to keep my “home area” cleared out. My closest to home unfound is about 15 miles until someone puts out a new one. Then I must go get it. I need only February 29th to complete the Finds for Each Day of the Year. There hasn’t been a Feb 29th since I started caching, so in my mind I have completed that one. I need some 4.5’s and 5’s to complete the difficulty/terrain grid, but can’t get cachestacker to put out the right combinations.

Is it all about the numbers?no muggle: In the beginning, Absolutely. Now, probably. It’s just plain fun, and it gets me to the place I love the most—outdoors. Throw in a little exercise and what could be better? And, there’s always “just one more”.

Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
no muggle: Thanks to everyone who has put out the caches for me to find. Someday I will get the bug to put some out. I have a stock pile of containers that probably numbers in the hundreds—ammo cans, pill bottles, bison tubes, nanos, specially crafted—and someday I will put them out. Right now I am just too busy trying to find the ones that are already out there.
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