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Featured Cacher For January 2010 - ggmorton

GGMorton of Houston, TX.
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What got you interested in caching?
ggmorton: A co-worker / friend of mine (jfox100) got me into geocaching in April 2006. I went to a NASCAR race with him in Fort Worth. We had arrived a bit early, and we were looking for something to kill some time. He didn’t have any information on local caches, so he called his buddy back in Houston to look up where we were and relay the cache information to us. We found 4 caches that day (3 traditionals and 1 puzzle). I was in scouts growing up (earned eagle BTW), so I knew right away that this was for me. As soon as I got back home, I ordered a GPSr from Amazon. I was solo caching by the next weekend.

How did you decide on your caching name?
ggmorton: I have used ggmorton as a login / username on many systems over the years, so this is the first thing I thought about using. It’s made up of my first and middle initial followed by my last name.
When you cache, what equipment do you use? (PDA, Garmin, Magellan, software)
ggmorton: I started out with a Garmin eTrex Legend. It was a good first choice. Later, I learned a better way to cache: paperless. It is definitely a different way to cache with just coordinates only and no hint. In December 2008, I purchased a Garmin Oregon 400t. I cannot envision caching the way I originally started out. I got an iPhone in July 2009. This also helps fuel the caching fever since now I can find the nearest cache at the touch of a few buttons even when I hadn’t planned to go caching. I recently purchased a Garmin Nuvi 205W for my cachemobile. I haven’t done much with it yet, but plan to use it more for out of the way areas. GSAK is also a must for facilitating awesome stats.

What are your all-time favorite cache(s)?
ggmorton: I was looking over my finds in GSAK to help figure out an answer to this question. Here are some of my favorites with some comments on each one.
Lover's Leap an EarthCache (GC1JN3Q) – This is one of several caches inside and near Natural Tunnel State Park in Virginia. This one has some awesome views.
Cumberland Gap's Balanced Rock (GC1GV95) – There are several earth-caches here at this national park. The overlook is incredible. You can see into several states, and it feels like you are standing in the clouds.
Machine Falls (GCHKNM) – A nice hike into the woods with a great payoff to see the pre-mentioned falls.
Mountain Fork Park (GC17BVJ) – A cache near the dam at Beavers Bend SP in Oklahoma. A neat view even though the dam is not very high.
Memories of Valley View (GC1A8J0) - A traditional in Papago Park near Phoenix, AZ. The climb was a bit brutal for an out of shape guy like me, but well worth it.

Do you have any special caching adventures you want to tell us about?
ggmorton: My long road trip earlier this year to attend Geo-Woodstock VII is probably my biggest adventure to date. I cached all around the SE after Geo-Woodstock VII. Items of interest on my trip:
11 days
3300 miles
2 new icons (Mega event, GPS adventure maze)
23 earth-caches
cached in 8 new states (drove through 15 states total)
156 total finds
crossed a river named Cache 4 times (apparently 2 different Cache Rivers, 1 Arkansas, 1 Illinois)
3 national parks (Cumberland Gap NP, Andrew Johnson NHP, Lincoln Boyhood NM)
2 state parks (Cloudland Canyon - Georgia, Natural Tunnel - Virginia)
added several new Texas and Tennessee counties

Have any "Most embarrassing Geo-moment" you would like to share? Details please!
ggmorton: I think for me like someone else may have mentioned, striking out finding a cache when others seem to be able to find it and proclaim “super simple” or similar. I try to post my DNFs, since I use it as a way to track which caches I need to hunt again. I do seem to have lots of DNFs because apparently I’m not very good at seeing the “easy” ones.
Although I’m not sure I would consider these stories embarrassing per se, run ins with the police while caching are definitely good stories. I’ve had several over the few years. I bet when they run my plates, they see the word “geocacher” next to my name. I must have a few incident reports on there. Several didn’t know what geocaching was, but seemed open to it when it was explained to them. Several already knew what it was or had heard of it, and seemed content at the explanation for “what in tarnation” I was doing looking in the bushes / trees.

What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle) and why?
ggmorton: I guess my favorite type is probably the traditional. Just go to the location and look for the container. Traditional caches are also my most found type since they are obviously the most prevalent. Earth-caches come in as second favorite. You always learn something, and there is normally something awesome to see / do at the location.
I like puzzles from time to time as well, but most of the time I just get stumped or even have no idea how to start.

What is your favorite local cache?
ggmorton: I have done so many local caches over the years, so it is hard to remember them all, but the first one that comes to my mind is the Four Cache Loop (GCD100). I grouped up with several cachers from the area as well one non-cacher on October 24, 2009. The length of it was awesome and reminded me of several backpacking trips when I was in boy scouts. I had intended to find one more cache on my way up there in order to make it my 1800th find, but that was not meant to be, so it was my 1799th find. It was kind of a funny occurrence, and definitely adds to the memory of the day.

How about your favorite out of state cache?
ggmorton: I believe that I have to say that the earth caches at the overlook for Cumberland Gap National Park to be my favorites outside of Texas. What an incredible view.

Summer or Winter caching? Why?
ggmorton: While November is not technically winter, it is typically a colder month by Houston weather standards; it happens to be when I find time to enjoy caching the most. Summer can be too humid around here to cache especially if a hike of any length is required. Winter is much more accommodating in that regard as long as it’s not too rainy. I don’t think I have cached in snow yet, but will want to try that some day if the situation arises.

When a new cache is listed, are you tempted to go for FTF?
ggmorton: I had very few FTFs before I got my iPhone in July 2009. Before that I would have to be at the computer when the cache published email showed up. And this was difficult since I had the email notifications sent to my work email. Now, I have the emails sent to my phone which enables a MUCH quicker turn around.
It depends on how late the emails come, but if it’s within about 10 miles of my house or current location, then yes I am very tempted to try for the FTF. There are several new FTF hounds down on the SE side of town, so I have to decide quickly if I am going to go for it.

Tell us about your cache mobile.
ggmorton: I drive a Toyota 4Runner SR5. It has plenty of room to throw stuff in the back, and enough clearance to hop the curb and park on the grass / median for a quick one with not much nearby parking. It is NOT four-wheel drive, however. I’ve only gotten stuck once while caching. It was on the OOPS series near Satin, TX. (Check out GC1X1KC - OOPS034 for a picture). Four-wheel drive will definitely be something I consider strongly on my next vehicle purchase.

What other hobbies do you have?
ggmorton: I’ve dabbled in many hobbies over the years. Stamp collecting, coin collecting, geo-coin collecting, creating / maintaining web sites, dabbling with Linux, playing the MMO game World of Warcraft, and waymarking to name just a few.

Do you currently have any caching goals that you are working towards?
ggmorton: Yes, indeed I do. I currently have 400+ consecutive days with finding a cache. I plan to try and keep this record going at least until the end of 2009. If I stop then, I would have 14+ months with consecutive days of finds. My goal was to make it a year, and also to make it one calendar year. I reached the first goal in late October, and I plan to reach the second goal on December 31st.
Some smaller goals of mine are to reach at least 2000 finds for the year of 2009, work on finding more earthcaches that I need for the Earthcache challenge, and find caches in new Texas counties for the Texas county challenge.

Is it all about the numbers?
ggmorton: No, it’s not all about the numbers, but I can get in that frame of mind from time to time. I really like driving around, seeing new places, and especially learning about small town Americana / history. Number runs can be fun, but also they can feel like work. So it is good to mix it up from time to time.

Thanks for this interview. Is there anything you would like to add?
ggmorton: Geocaching will definitely take you places you never would normally find on your own. I have met many people from all over while out and about, and they were always friendly. Geocachers are a different breed of people, and I am proud to consider myself of member of this community.