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Cacher of the Month - June 2014




I've known this month's caching team for quite some time. Mr. Okeeffek seems quiet and thoughtful, and has put out some challenging puzzle caches (which I love!). Mrs. Okeeffek is very exhuberant and lively. She now sits on the MBGA board. Together, with their daughter, inga101, they've accumulated over 5,250 finds in a seemingly short time period. They'd also started a caching streak in July of 2013, and I think they're still going and should soon hit the milestone 366 consecutive days! Good luck guys! I wish I had the stamina to do that ... but after last winter? Brrrrrr ... At least the worst is over! Read on to learn more about this month's Cacher of the Month, Okeeffek!

  1. When did you start Geocaching?
  2. August of 2010.

  3. How did you find out about Geocaching?
  4. It actually goes back to falling victim to some idiot's prank while on what had been a really nice hike in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They had taken from somewhere else a huge "Restricted Area - No Trespassing" sign that threatened 24 hour electronic surveillance, immediate arrest and criminal charges by the state, and put it right on the main route. We didn't know any better, so we assumed that some deer path off to the side was the real trail. By the time we figured out what had happened, we had already come a few hundred feet down the mountain, and didn't feel like climbing all the way back up. That led to the decision to get a handheld GPS so we would always know where to go if faced with doubts like that again. Once we had it bought and delivered, the instruction manual said you could use it to find things called "geocaches". We tried it out that August, and haven't stopped since.

  5. What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
  6. It makes a good thing even better: walking and hiking in the great outdoors also becomes a limitless jigsaw puzzle.

  7. Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
  8. We have cached in Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, and 12 U.S. states.

  9. Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
  10. Members of the improv group that Loida used to be a part of.

  11. How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
  12. "Geocaching is an internet-based, GPS-guided scavenger hunt".

  13. What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
  14. The main one for both of us right now is running and working out at the gym. We've done the half marathon on Father's Day for the last several years too. Loida loves her some cats, and Kieran spends a lot of time following the NFL's Bengals, and of course the Winnipeg Jets.

  15. What are some things you don't like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
  16. Tick infestations have to be the least appealing aspect. That and the threat of wasp stings.

  17. What is the most interesting/unusual place that geocaching has taken you?
  18. There are lots, but recently it would be the virtual Drove it Into the Ground (GCC41A) in Clarksville, Indiana. It takes you to an auto body shop that has half a car embedded in its parking lot, like it was diving in. And on the way there, we found a bakery a couple of blocks away that makes massive, delicious cookies.

  19. What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find?)?
  20. For Loida it is Holmes #1 (GC27B57) right here in Winnipeg. We went there in our very early days of caching, even though it is a tough one that has stumped many. She correctly guessed the configuration of the hide from the outset, and found it on her first attempt. For Kieran it is Delightful Views of Rainbows and Kingdoms (GC2GYCM) near Flagstaff, Arizona. Before our trip there, we had e-mailed local cacher and prolific puzzle creator mitmatr to verify solutions to a couple of his hides. That led to a discussion of this unfound puzzle, which had been stumping him and had completely baffled us. We exchanged ideas back and forth, and eventually each party contributed a key piece that clinched the solution. While we were there, we met up with him for the long hike to GZ, and a shared FTF. Both are lasting favourite memories.

  21. What, currently, is your favourite, unarchived Manitoba geocache?
  22. Holmes #1 as above and Photo Edited (GC21RDH). That one soaked up a lot of time, effort and patience just getting close; joining forces with AngelFreak, KCWpg, and missionMode was what it took to get it solved and found.

  23. What is your favorite Caching Story?
  24. That would probably come again from our earliest days of caching. We were on vacation, staying for the evening in Covington, Kentucky, a suburb of Cincinnati. One of the caches near our hotel was in a set of bushes at the edge of a park, with a dead end street not much longer than a driveway right beside it. We parked the rental car in the dead end and started to search. The sight of the parked car in such an unusual spot attracted the immediate attention of a local police officer, who stopped by to check on us. He seemed relieved to find out we were geocaching, but noted in a puzzled manner, "I thought those were over at the malls." I guess he'd learned about the game through calls from mall security over the years, complaining about people skulking around the parking lot looking under lamp post aprons. He wished us luck, and then added just as he was getting back into the cruiser, "You might want to be careful further back in the bushes. There's a homeless guy who's been living there the last couple of years. He seems pretty harmless, but you never know for sure." Fortunately, we found the cache right at our feet a few seconds later, and then we quietly slipped out of there.

  25. What is your most interesting item found in a cache?
  26. Loida was impressed enough with a very nice-looking monogrammed letter "L" that she found in a cache in Saskatoon that she traded for it and used it to have a set of personalized notepads made.

  27. What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
  28. We have generally travelled pretty light most of the time. Usually, we have had in the car (or back pack if we're hiking) just a needle-nose pliers, and a collapsible digging trowel that we got at the MBGA Secret Santa exchange a couple of years ago.

  29. What kind of GPSr do you use?
  30. Delorme PN40.

  31. What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
  32. Going out late at night helps a lot. If not, we can sometimes count on inga101 to create a distraction.

  33. What is the meaning of your username?
  34. Ugh. It's just the first part of the e-mail address we used to create the account. We didn't realize at the time that the website was asking us to think of a screen name, or we would have come up with something better. By the time we figured out that this could be changed without affecting anything, we had already met a bunch of people who knew us as that, so we just decided to leave it the way it is.

  35. What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
  36. OSC's Lulu the Ladybug Travel Tag. We found it in a TB Hotel near the Grand Canyon in 2011, and dropped it off back home in the Wolseley area. A few months later, we're caching in St. Vital, open up a regular, and there's the Ladybug again. It had been all the way to the U.S. in the meantime, but somehow had made its way back here. Apparently it's still circulating, in Minnesota now.

  37. Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
  38. Respect? Wow. We have met enough talented and enthusiastic cachers that we'd feel bad naming just a few, and then leaving out everybody else. But this shouldn't turn into some 5 minute long Oscar acceptance speech either.

    How's this. We should acknowledge here some (mostly) CO's who have treated us generously in the field when they didn't really have to. Off the top of our head, we can think of bob8bear in New Mexico, sasktravelbugs in Saskatchewan, Dan96Z28 in Kentucky, and dani_carriere and crackerjackie here at home.

  39. With whom do you normally go geocaching?
  40. Most of the time, we just go out on our own on the spur of the moment, whenever we can spare the time. Of course, our daughter inga101 has been part of things a fair bit, though less now than she used to be. I think missionMode would be the non-family cacher we've spent the most time with.

  41. If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
  42. New Zealand! We've heard good things, and then there's all that Lord of the Rings scenery. That will be a very long term goal, though.

  43. Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
  44. The Zombie Streak challenge. It was a real endurance test getting through this winter with the streak intact. We're really glad that Headingley power trail came out when it did. We've got the logbook signed, now we just need to finish the streak off. 342 days down, 23 to go....

  45. Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
  46. We have two repurposed EyeOfSauron containers that were salvaged and turned into appropriately-themed puzzles, Lugburz (formerly ICU - 20 60 km/h) and the staIrs of Cirith Ungol. They stand out as our favourites.

  47. What kind of books do you prefer to read? What was the last book you read?
  48. We read a lot of true crime stuff because it's interesting but light enough to make it through when time is at a premium. Loida also has a bit of an interest in the paranormal, so there's a bunch of books around the house on that. Kieran was given the novel "The Prague Cemetery" as a Christmas gift a while back. It's really good, but a dense read, so it's only partly done.

  49. Can you play a musical instrument?
  50. Loida can sing by ear, which is a nice ability to have. Kieran used to play the piano and saxophone in high school, if not particularly well.

  51. How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
  52. Apparently, it's "What Did That Angry Birdie Say?", about 1.5 miles away.

  53. Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
  54. The smartphones see a lot of use. Mostly for games.

  55. Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
  56. We've used it for straight-up hiking, though we use it way more for geocaching. It also came in handy when we needed to measure our back yard for landscaping.

  57. What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
  58. Loida has a lot of 80's bands on there right now. Thompson Twins has been playing the last couple of times we've arrived at a GZ with the iPod on the car's sound system.

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