Interrogating a truly global cacher

Just when you thought It was safe to go back to your blog feed… the interrogations have returned!

Martin lives in Sweden and caches under the name DS8300. He can lay claim to having cached in over 40 countries and enjoys travelling and adding to that list whenever he can. As of early 2014 he has found over 4000 caches and the split is almost 50 50 for those in Sweden and those abroad. His blog is informative and well written and his caching adventures, inspiring. . Read how Martin rose to the challenge

To quickly find all the posts listing the other bloggers that have taken my challenge use this tag search – Articles tagged with Washknight Interrogates.

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A fistful of Interrogations…

I must say the geocaching bloggers are wonderfully accomadating people and don’t mind being interrogated at all. For my double act today I present one from just a handful of miles down the road from me and one a considerably greater distance away across the pond.

Dave DeBaeremaeker is a name that you may be familiar with as he has featured on many podcasrs about geocaching. Originally from Canada and now living in North Carolina USA, he loves rock music, LEGO and caching. His blog has a good mix of all of those and is well written and peppered with excellent photographs and a great sense of humour. Slide on over to his site to see how Dave tackled Washknight’s Interrogation.

Kevin lives in Buckinghamshire UK and maintains a fantastically well written blog that is packed with stories about his family’s adventures. As well as geocaching, which he blames his wife for getting him into, his blog contains articles about travelling and he and his wife’s passion for running. A good writing style and a dry cheeky sense of humour will keep you coming back time and time again. Check out how Kevin answered the questions.

To quickly find all the posts listing the other bloggers that have taken my challenge use this tag search – Articles tagged with Washknight Interrogates.

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Climbing a Ladder and slipping past 800.

Sometimes a geocaching trip serves to satisfy but one simple desire – the urge to find caches. Conversely there are times when getting out in the woods functions as a means to two, or even more, distinct ends. And so it was this weekend that a foray into the pleasant environs of Aldenham offered us the chance to mortally wound a plethora of animals of the avian variety with no more than a singular masonry projectile.

In addition to wanting to pick up a few caches, we also needed to return to number 10 on our Wall Hall Series to do a little maintenance again and this would, of course, require us to take the ladder. As well as that, I was keen to give my newly acquired iPhone 4s another run for its money to assess its accuracy and battery performance. With my acquisition of this new phone, my old iPhone 4 is being handed down to Sam as his first smartphone and upon hearing this he was ever so slightly more excited than usual about going out for a few geocaches. With all this in mind and the publication, last week, of a 29 cache series called Moosey’s Trail that overlaps with our Wall Hall series in a number of places, a journey to Aldenham seemed like the perfect stone to kill all our birds.

We parked up near the last cache in our Wall Hall series and set off for the 10 minute walk into the woods so that we could perform the required maintenance. The first time I took the step ladder into the woods I felt extremely self-conscious and, well to put it bluntly, weird. This being the third time now, I was feeling fairly relaxed about it all despite the fact that it was a Sunday afternoon and the weather was good which meant that there was lots of walkers, cyclists and even horse riders that we passed on the short trek.

Paul strides out along a grass covered footpath shouldering a large metal step ladder

Just out for a stroll… with my ladder

On arriving at the GZ Shar set up the ladder and I was soon up with my head in the branches fiddling with the cache. The mechanism itself was still working fine and our visit today was purely to replace the lid of the enclosure and secure it properly as it had become dislodged by a well-meaning person trying to retract the cache. I could have left the box uncovered but my concern was that with winter on the way and the weather likely to take a turn for the worse soon, if I didn’t protect it, then the mechanism would become wet and this might hinder the operation of the workings. I replaced the lid and used a couple of cable ties to hold it in place and after a few experimental pulls on the mechanism, was happy that this was all that needed doing for the time being.

Not wanting to have to lug the ladder all the way to the car and then return back to the woods to do some caching, but equally not wanting to carry the ladder all the way round, we elected to backtrack towards the car a short way and secure the ladder to a fence in the undergrowth whilst we went in search of tupperware for an hour or so. We used Sam’s bike lock which I had suggested we bring just in case such a situation as this should arise. With that done we set off back into the woods to find some geocaches.

Rather strangely the first two that we were looking for were our own. Since our Wall Hall series went live back in June we have had around 30 visitors to each hide. With that in mind and winter approaching we wanted to get out and check on as many as we can to make sure that log sheets get replaced and that the integrity of the containers is still good. So far we have managed to check on numbers 12, 11, 10 and 2 which we happened to be passing while we were scouting out a new route for caches that we hope to place later in the year. Today I could see a convenient route that would take us past 9 and 8 on our way to the far end of the woods where we would cache our way back locating some of the new power trail that has been place by TR64 recently. Both caches were in good order and after replacing the old log sheets for new ones we headed off to find our first proper cache of the day, Moosey’s Trail 07 – Roland Hill (GC5DM0M).

Sam excitedly whipped out his new iPhone and brought up the caches that I had saved onto it for him. Not having a micro sim yet the phone is operating effectively as an iPod at the moment but seeing as we had saved the caches when on the Wi-Fi at home this was not a problem. Out came my 4s and Shar pulled up her Samsung Galaxy Ace, soon to be replaced by an S3 mini, and off we went. Even though we have placed caches in and around these woods our trip to the first cache was on a trail that we had never walked along before. The weather was still not cold and with the rains of the previous day now gone, it was a perfect day to be caching in the woods.

Sam stands at the side of the path with a hedge behind him. He stares into teh distance holding his iPhone out in front of him

Sam with his new iPhone

At the GZ, both Sam and I were focusing a bit too much on how accurate our phones were rather than using cache sense which is what ultimately led Shar to find the cache neatly tucked behind a fence post. As she signed the log she commented that so far, 5 people had already logged it today and it was still only just gone 3pm. It appears that we were not the only people to think that this was a good day to be out doing a little caching.

The next 4 caches on the power trail, Moosey’s Trail 08 – Resting Tree (GC5DM0P), Moosey’s Trail 9 – Stake Out (GC5DM0Q), Moosey’s Trail 10 – Chip off the old block (GC5DM0T) and Moosey’s Trail 11 – After Pre (GC5DM11) were all on the same footpath that led us alongside the M1 motorway that lay just on the other side of the trees. At times the path was no more than 30 metres from the carriageway and the noise was a little overwhelming but for most of the way it was just a dull drone. The hides were all good, straight forward and relatively easily found. In between number 10 and 11 we paused to search for MI5 Reservation (GC4C3C) which is a cache we have been to before back at the beginning of the year. Back then there had been no other caches in these woods at all and this one was quite a find as it was a very old cache, having been placed back in 2002.

We were searching for it again as even though Shar and I had logged it, Sam had not, so it would be a perfect time to try for it now. When we reached the point on the path when the arrow pointed us into the trees towards the motorway, Sam set off, phone in hand into the trees. It was quite hard going under foot with lots of loose logs and undergrowth. I followed a short time later and then I heard the familiar cry and thump of Sam falling over. I made my way to him as quick as I could and discovered him sprawled on his back in amongst the dense foliage on the floor. Thankfully no harm was done and he was soon back on his feet and off in search of the cache again. A short while later and after he and Shar had taken a far easier route to the cache than I had, we all converged next to the noisy road to inspect the contents of the container. It was interesting to see a proper log book with entries dating back to 2002 when people actually took the time to write a few lines in the physical book. Unfortunately the log book is very damp and the container really needs replacing but it is good to see that it is still here. If I manage to get hold of a suitably large container at some point I might go back and give the cache some much needed tlc as I don’t think the CO is active anymore and I definitely don’t want to see this cache disappear.

Another easy find along the path and then it was time to turn left along the edge of a field which would take us past another cache on the way to where we had locked up the ladder. Moosey’s Trail 12 – Quercu Foramen (GC5DM14) was hidden at the base of an impressively large oak tree. I love a really thick trunked oak tree, they always put me to thinking of what the area would have been like when the tree was a small sapling, close to a hundred years ago at a rough guess. I can tell you that back then there was no M1 motorway and barely a main road running near there at all. The estate encompassing the woods was very much in use though, enjoying one of its periods of opulence in the hands of the gentry of England. From the field where the tree stood I reckon you could have had a clear sight all the way to the Red Lion pub that is now a Toby Carvery and hidden by the motorway – shame.

I realised later as we were in the car on the way home that this cache had been our 800th find. It had completely slipped my mind that we were getting close and it just passed us by like any other cache. Even though we hadn’t realised that, we did stop to take some pictures at the GZ.

Shar and Paul Pose on the grassy footpath beside the woods

800 in Berrygrove Woods

From here it was a short walk to where the ladder was hidden and from there we carried on back to the car stopping only briefly to collect our last cache of the day, Moosey’s Trail 13 – Aircraft Shed (GC5DM14). All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon. Sam seemed to really enjoy having his own device to navigate to the caches with, I saw in him a level of engagement that we don’t often see when out caching. As for the 4s, well I am happy with the accuracy, being no more or less accurate than Shar’s Samsung. The battery performance is pretty shocking but I expected as much. I went through about 60% in just under 2 hours although I had forgotten to use the screen curtain function which would have improved that somewhat. Although this battery performance isn’t great it is manageable seeing as I carry my power pack charger whenever we are out caching these days.

On returning home and checking my emails I can tell you that at least 10 other geocachers were out in the woods during the course of the day as I received a shed load of logs on various caches in our series and even a few more favourite points on the cache we went to maintain, which now has 28 in total. At the end of the day, I think we well and truly killed a whole flock of birds with the proverbial stone. Happy days.

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Big in Japan

My latest interrogation takes us back to the other side of the world again to meet a blogger who might be unique in that he composes all his blog entries solely on his iPhone.

Cam has lived in Japan for over 25 years now and has been caching since 2009. He has cache not only in Japan but Canada and Italy where he says some of his most memorable caches are. “Tales From The Big Rice Bowl” details not only his interesting adventures finding caches but also his contributions as a cache owner. His blog is the first and only place that I have seen the word “geogasm” used. So click on through to see how Cam tackled Washknight’s Interrogation. You might need ROT13 :)

To quickly find all the posts listing the other bloggers that have taken my challenge use this tag search – Articles tagged with Washknight Interrogates.

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The Wizzard, The Baker and The Podcaster

Sounds like the weirdest bible story ever! and so it came to pass that three presented themselves before Washknight to suffer his mighty interrogations… or something like that. lol

Steve has the interesting caching name of WizzardPrang and loves tech, off roading and, of course, caching which he does in and around Hertfordshire where he lives. His site is the second ever geocaching blog that I found and I have been following it for over a year now, tuning back in to enjoy his wry sense of humour and follow his ongoing quest to one day finish the Chiltern 100. I have had the pleasure of meeting him in person a couple of times and I can say he is a bloody nice guy, so go check out how he stood up to interrogation at The Washknight Tapes.

Elanor started caching at the beginning of 2014 and has recently achieved her 100 cache find milestone. Her blog contains a cache by cache account of her adventures as she picks up the smileys, often accompanied by her caching buddy Terri. If the lure of interesting geocaching blog entries isn’t enough to get you to click through then you will also find some very yummy cake recipes on her blog too :) Go on, you know you want to, go read her Interrogation on her blog Sun and Cake.

Colin who caches as Cornell Finch signed up on in 2005 but it then took until 2009 before he actually found his first cache. Probably best known as being one of the hosts of the UK Geocaching Podcast and more recently the Chasing Smilies podcast, He lives in Hampshire in the UK and has an has a nasty habit of being inappropriately dressed whilst out caching. Be sure to check out how he tackled the challenge of Washknight’s Interrogation.

To quickly find all the posts listing the other bloggers that have taken my challenge use this tag search – Articles tagged with Washknight Interrogates.

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Five get found in the woods – breaking the 3 week slump

After over three weeks without finding a geocache I was starting to go slightly crazy. Now that Shar’s back seemed to be on the mend and Sam had finally returned to school following a rather nasty bout of sickness, it was time to get out there and scratch the itch. And besides, I was dying to try out the iPhone 4s that I had inherited off my lovely sister.

Not wanting to overdo it Shar and I decided to ease back into it with just a short series of 5 caches in a small piece of woodland situated roughly in between Harefield and Gerrad’s Cross. Called appropriately “A Walk in the wood”, the 5 traditionals, owned by MJS64, looked straightforward enough.

We parked the car on the side of the quiet road just a few metres from the GZ of the first cache. Stepping out of the car and grabbing the backpack the weather was warm and dry, uncharacteristically for the beginning of October. We hardly needed the phones for the first cache as it was literally on the other side of the stile where we had parked and with only one real likely candidate for the hint item it was just a few moments before Shar had the cache in hand and we were signing our first log. It all happened so quickly that I barely even felt like we were caching, more like we had just leapt out of the car to recover something we had dropped in the bushes.

Two paths led away from the stile in opposite directions and I reckoned we would be heading out on one and then back on the other as the 5 caches appeared to be arranged in a circle through the woods. We set off through the trees along the twisting path, the phones basically just ticking down the distance as the path was the only way to go. I spent the whole time on the way to the first cache fiddling with my phone and being confused about where it was telling me the cache was. The distance was reducing sure enough, but quite often the phone was telling me the cache lay in the opposite direction to that of which we were heading. The path wasn’t that twisty turny and so I was somewhat confused and concerned that something wasn’t quite right with my new 4s.

While I was mumbling and moaning about the phone, Shar found the second container in a nearby tree stump and we were two caches in without me even really paying attention. The new phone seemed to behave itself a bit better on the way to the next one, in most cases pointing me in the right direction. Once at GZ I was obsessed with the phone a bit too much and not really thinking about where the cache might be. As we stood at the GZ, Shar having found this one too, I was starting to realise that perhaps I should be enjoying the caching and being outdoors a bit more otherwise we would be back at the car before long and I would have spent the whole time moaning about my phone. The walk was, after all, very pleasant indeed taking us through quiet and pretty woodland. I could just start to smell the distinctive aroma of fallen leaves indicating that despite the mild weather, autumn was definitely elbowing its way into position.

Paul stands smiling in the woods. The Autumn colours can be seen on the trees and bushes all around

Back on the Trail of Tupperware in the Woods

The fourth cache of the day took us a lot longer to find. Not really having too much confidence in the new phone yet, I was zig zagging back and forward in a patch of woodland for sometime trying to locate a suitable hint item. Shar’s phone wasn’t being too reliable either and we agreed that it was probably the tree cover throughout the whole woods that was causing problems for the phones. This wasn’t really helping me decide if the iPhone 4s was better than the 4 at locating caches but at least it was a plausible reason as to why it might appear on the face of it to be worse. Shar and I split up and started picking our way from the path and into the trees trying to find the cache. I decided to take my time and let the phone get me as close as possible to GZ, or at least what it thought was GZ. This of course caused me to move via the least convenient route and brought me into contact with countless brambles, trees and other nasty woodland things. Eventually Shar and I found ourselves converging on the same spot, a place which was generally giving me readings of around 5 metres. There were lots of fallen trees and so searching them for signs of the hide took some time. After a while Shar paused and read a couple of logs, but all they revealed was that the cache was well hidden in a very tight fitting spot. She grumpily stated that this was no help at all and then promptly looked down at the fallen tree she was standing next to and found the cache.

We had only been in the woods for a little under an hour and we were already heading for the last cache in the series. Accompanied by nothing but the distant sounds of helicopters – there seemed to be a lot of them – we made our way along the path which would ultimately take us to GZ. The last three people who had tried to find this cache, had failed and it had been more than six weeks since it had been successfully located. In a few minutes we found ourselves pretty much at GZ, the new phone even agreed with us on this matter showing the cache to be less than 10 metres away. There was a suitable hint item, being a fallen tree and there was also a lot of “standy uppy” trees where the cache could be hidden. We started searching. Most of the trees were young and had very smooth bark and didn’t have protruding route systems that often create good hiding places. A couple nearby were different, a bit older and with trunks that showed thicker and grooved bark. These had potential hiding places at their bases and I stumbled my way around the nearest one poking my fingers in wherever I could in search of the container. When I found one particular hole that seemed quite small but more than deep enough to deposit a 35mm film pot in I wiggled my fingers in as deep as I could. At first I found nothing and then just as I was about to move on I felt what I thought was a snail shell protruding from the dirt and moss. A bit more wiggling and it soon became a much more uniform shape and my heart rate increased a little as I recognized the distinctive feel of plastic. A moment later and I had the container out of the hole and was calling to Shar.

I glanced down at my phone which told me I was 2 metres away from the cache and this was good enough for me. I still want to get out in the open and test the iPhone 4s a bit better but it at least seemed to be getting us in the vicinity of these last two caches. As Shar took the log from me to sign she hesitated for a while and then asked me when this had last been found. The last entry on the log sheet turned out to be April… 2013! We were confused and the only conclusion that we could come to was that the CO had replaced the container at some point and this was the old one. As Sharlene went off in search of the new one I looked through the old logs and eventually found the entry back in May 2013 where the container had been replaced. I joined Shar in looking for the new one but after 15 minutes we had to admit defeat. I wasn’t quite sure what to do, I mean technically we had found the cache. We decided to take a picture of me with the cache at the hide to send to the CO and claim the smiley.

In another few minutes we were back at the car and although it had only been 5 caches and just over an hour in the woods it felt so good to be back out there again. Happy days.

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Interrogating a newbie, and a reviewer

my interrogations this time have produced a very interesting combination. If you have spent any amount of time searching for or reading geocaching blogs then you will know that there are not so many active ones that stretch back more than a couple of years – All the ones older than that have dried up long ago. Well I have one for you here and to balance it out I also have one that is just a few months old.

Kelly who goes by the caching name kelly.lisa was introduced to geocaching in May 2014 and only started blogging about it even more recently. The stories she tells are fresh and humours, full of cheeky enthusiasm and I guarantee that you will smile and nod your head in recognition of some of the situations and experiences that we all go through when starting out. Take a click over to her site and check out how she answered the questions in her post Interrogations and Deliberations.

Dick is from America and goes by two different caching names – firennice and Bluerajah. His dual geocaching personality is explained by the fact that since 2009 he has been one of the Volunteer Reviewers for Utah where he lives. He likens his introduction to geocaching to be similar to that of taking the red pill or falling down the rabbit hole. His blog is packed with the details of his adventures along with useful guidance about geocaching from the point of view of both a cacher and a reviewer. If you need anymore of an incentive to head on over to his site then I can tellyou that whilst out geocaching he has saved at least one life and got one of the funniest / chilling spider stories I have ever read. You can read his answers at The Washknight Interrogation.

To quickly find all the posts listing the other bloggers that have taken my challenge use this tag search – Articles tagged with Washknight Interrogates.

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