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Cacher of the Month - April 2013



happymole (with Arkay950)

I remember meeting Happymole and Gabalo back at GeoVenture in 2010. At first they were a little shy, but soon they were playing cards with Mhz and I, caching with groups and conversing with lots of people. Over the years, happymole has become more and more involved with the Manitoba Geocaching Association and is currently serving on the Board of Directors as Secretary. I always love talking to her as she loves to travel and has been to many interesting places. I've offered to carry her suitcase to New York City for toy conventions that she attends for work, but she now has a live in suitcase carrier. I'm still hopeful, though. Please continue reading to learn about the MBGA's Geocacher of the Month for April, happymole.

  1. When did you start Geocaching?
  2. I started geocaching in January 2010.

  3. How did you find out about Geocaching?
  4. I had stumbled across an article on geocaching and was looking for a unique Christmas gift for my youngest son, Wyatt aka Gabalo. I considered purchasing a GPS for him and introducing him to the sport. Thinking a little more about this option, I thought I should learn about it first. So what to do? I bought myself a GPS for Christmas and gave it a go.

  5. What was it about geocaching that got you hooked into the game?
  6. The first find was such a rush. I probably looked like an idiot as I did a little happy dance. I quickly discovered that DNF was a three letter word. The closest caches to my house were elusive and had me wandering around in circles, in the middle of a busy road, or in the middle of a field wondering: "Really? Where in the world could someone hide something here?" I even contacted a couple of hiders for direction. They were encouraging but still left me to hunt.

  7. Have you cached in any other provinces, countries?
  8. I have so far cached only in Canada and the U.S. but am ticking off states as fast as I can. Hope to tick off other countries soon too.

  9. Have you ever introduced someone to geocaching? If so, who?
  10. I have introduced many people to geocaching, some successfully and others not so much. Basically anyone who is with me when I have my GPS or phone is fair game to take along to find a close cache. Mom and Dad have had to make numerous detours, my sons have had various adventures and friends have humoured me. Most recently though would be my life partner Russ aka ARKAY950.

  11. How do you describe the sport of Geocaching to your family and friends who haven't tried it yet?
  12. I tell people it is a giant treasure hunt that takes place all over the world. I extol the virtues of its adaptability to time, age group, time, and space and that one can play solo or join others and find new friends. Most notable for me though is that one gets to see parts of their world (even the world right outside their front door) they never knew was there.

  13. What are other interests or hobbies that you have (please go into detail / accomplishments)?
  14. I have many interests which include but are not limited to travel, good food (cooking and eating), games (planning and playing), movies, great conversation, books, wandering through great galleries and museums, comedy, new experiences……..

  15. What are some things you don't like about geocaching? What are your pet peeves?
  16. I am not a fan of caches that are not maintained when the owner has been informed several times. Not sure I really have a pet peeve.

  17. What is the most interesting/unusual place that geocaching has taken you?
  18. While I have been in many places I didn't expect to be, one of the most interesting was a multi stage cache in Toronto examining many gravestones. I think it was 11 stages and the final a giant upward hike all in 30+ weather. That said, the E.T. Highway was a blast and an unexpected opportunity.

  19. What is the most memorable cache that you have found (or tried to find?)?
  20. I suppose that depends on the reason it was so memorable. Since question 13 deals with part of this answer, I will say a cache I found at the Electrical Museum (Scrabble-D)(GCTNBJ) on Taylor. I was still a very new cacher and had not experienced many finds. The hide surprised me, thrilled me and made me say "yes I love this game".

  21. What, currently, is your favourite, unarchived Manitoba geocache?
  22. Blue's MOE #2 (GC36ARD) is my favourite and for a different reason than the find although that was great after three failed attempts.

  23. What is your favorite Caching Story?
  24. Already an avid cacher, I was chatting with this new fellow online. We had never met but had exchanged many long letters, spoken by phone and messaged each other until our fingers nearly fell off. One evening we were messaging and I could see my email coming in. I noticed that a new MOE cache had been published half way between where this new fellow and I live. I told him so and asked if he wanted to go caching. He said yes with a smile. It was 11:00 p.m. on a Wednesday night and I dashed out the door to meet this said fellow in the parking lot of Tim Horton's on Waverly. He pulled up in his convertible mustang and emerged with one giant smile. I hopped in the car and we headed off in the wrong direction. Oops. I quickly regrouped and we found ourselves in the Waverly Industrial Park with our hand all over an old farm implement, chatting and laughing. The security guard soon arrived and I went to explain what we were doing. He brought over a flashlight to help us. I found the quarry and we were first to find. The original log reads happymole, ARKAY950 and Dennis (security guard).

  25. What is your most interesting item found in a cache?
  26. I was caching with Gabalo and his friends and we found a yellow golf ball. No big whoop but there was a cut around the ball. I pulled it apart and discovered that someone had carved an amazing face out of the interior material. Awesome. Wish I knew who made that beautiful piece of work. I gave it to Gabalo's friend as he thought it was pretty amazing too. Great souvenir.

  27. What items if any do you carry with you when you go on a hunt?
  28. I seem to be an unorganized cacher. Sometimes I have a pen or pencil. Sometimes travel bugs that I need to move along. Often times I cache on the fly. When I am planning a day of caching I am geared with GPS, writing utensils, and a smile because I am going caching.

  29. What kind of GPSr do you use?
  30. A Garmin 62s that ertyu helped me pick out.

  31. What methods do you use to avoid muggle detection?
  32. While this depends on the situation, I often resort to the shoe tying or phone conversation bits.

  33. What is the meaning of your username?
  34. The story is twofold. My parents started Toad Hall Toys which I have been running for nearly 20 years now. The store is named for the home of Toad (my father uses this name when we cache) who is the epitome of a child. He lived in Toad Hall. His friends are Badger (my mom caches under this name), Ratty, and Mole. When growing up, I was woken up by a friend and she said that I looked like a mole. Combine that with a drawing someone did for the store (in silhouette) of a dancing happy mole and here we are. I have always looked at my glass as more than half full and this silhouette spoke to me. I thought of myself as a happy mole before I started caching and when I had to come up with a game name……voila!

  35. What was the most memorable travel bug that you have found?
  36. A North South geocoin that had images that reminded me of those in the books "The Creamation of Sam McGee". It was so beautiful I wanted to keep it. Instead I went looking for my own copies and found some for purchase. Also discovered there was an East West that I purchased as well.

  37. Which geocachers do you respect or standout to you the most?
  38. Wow….I must say that the first cachers I really met were Dani (dani_carriere) and Paula (Mhz). I had decided to take Gabalo (Wyatt) to geoventure and see what it was all about. We arrived fairly early on the Friday afternoon. We set up our tent and found ourselves wandering around. Both Paula and Dani were most welcoming and asked us to come closer and chat. I soon spent many evenings and weekends caching with MHz and later ertyu. Both MHz and ertyu were instrumental in teaching me how to use my GPS correctly, how to access and load GSAK pocket queries so I didn't load caches one at a time (what I had done for my first 650 or so caches), and so much more. There have been and will be others who have made an impression on me in this game but they are the standouts.

  39. With whom do you normally go geocaching?
  40. ARKAY950 and I cache together now. It is a wonderful partnership and we enjoy each other's company so much, we usually cache alone.

  41. If you could cache anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
  42. I have heard that there is a power trail in Budapest that if one were to complete it, would be able to fill out their difficulty/terrain grid. This appeals to me. I'm thinking three weeks there might do it

  43. Is there a challenging local cache you have in your sights right now? Which one?
  44. ARKAY950 and I just bought bicycles. His first new one in 30 years, mine in 20. We want to try and clear out our Dani radius by bike. Lisa Simpson's Mensa Challenge (GC415NA) by Roddandtoddflanders is one I would like to knock off my list but think this will be tricky. It may be the one big sticking point to finishing our radius.

  45. Of your placed caches, which is your favorite? Why?
  46. There is a tie here. While I only have 4 caches, Cornered (GC2TVMA) has allowed me to meet and watch many fellow cachers from my front window while Home is Where the Heart Is MOE (GC35V0H), has allowed me to be tricky and delete logs for non-completion.

  47. What kind of books do you prefer to read? What was the last book you read?
  48. As much as I would love to say that I read huge intellectual tomes, reality dictates that I real eye candy as a way to put myself to sleep. Last book read was Will Ferguson's 419. I am now reading three books simultaneously "Consider the Fork" by Bee Wilson, "Nemesis" by Jo Nesbo, and "The Onion Book of Known Knowledge", the last of which is bathroom reading and not for anyone easily offended by anything but belly laugh inducing to those who can laugh at themselves and the absurdity of our world.

  49. Can you play a musical instrument?
  50. I can whistle. Does that count? I used to play the violin and piano and look back at the score or what I used to be able to play and am amazed and a little sad that I have no clue what note is what.

  51. How far from your house is the nearest unfound cache?
  52. 432 feet from my front door.

  53. Besides your GPSr, what other tools (electronic or otherwise), or software do you make use of?
  54. I use GSAK and ARKAY's Galaxy, and my iphone 3 (which according to my children who have iphone 5s is now obsolete).

  55. Do you use your GPSr for other reasons other than Geocaching?
  56. Nope

  57. What is in your iPod/CD player right now?
  58. We actually listen to Slacker radio and are tuned to the Indie Chill station. Love Mazzy Star.

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