So as I mentioned on Facebook a while back, the Queen and I have been planning something new for the site. We thought it would be interesting if we reached out to some fellow shellers and blogger friends and do some interviews.
So this month, we sit down with fellow blogger friend Kim Scornavacco. She operates a great blog over at Snug Harbor Bay (which you should go visit and follow after reading this interview). Kim is a multi-talented, multi-faceted lady. She’s a hiker, sheller and geocacher – and a very interesting blogger.
So we decided to sit down and talk to Kim about one of her passions and focal points of her blog – geocaching.
SK: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
KS: I’m from Chicago, and my husband and I plow snow for a living. We have a summer house at Kentucky Lake, so we fish, hike, kayak and hunt as often as we can. Oh, and we go geocaching every chance we get.
SK: Please explain what geocaching is.
KS: Geocaching is a game. You get co-ordinates from the geocaching site and they will narrow down where something is hidden, and you have to go out and find it. Sounds easy, right? But some caches are hidden so well that you can literally be looking at them and not see them. They can be hidden at the beach, in a park, near a restaurant, in a parking lot, in the woods, in the middle of the city or on a mountain top. They are also hidden on every continent. Geocaches are everywhere. There are over a million hidden worldwide. They are as small as a pencil eraser and as large as a car.
SK: So what attracted you to geocaching and how did you get started?
KS: I read about it someplace and thought it sounded like fun. I signed up, looked up a geocache and went and searched for it. I surprised myself and found it and after that, I was hooked.
SK: Can you name a favorite cache hunt that you’ve done?
KS: It’s hard to pick one favorite but some of the best ones were:
- One that we had to do at night, in the woods, using flashlights
- The oldest cache in Illinois
- A 10 stage multi-step geocache that took us 6 hours to do. We went with a group of friends and it was such a fun day. Here’s a link to the cache page called OUT OF SIGHT. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC232EV_out-of-sight
- Any geocache that requires me to climb a tree. I love climbing trees and have gone 40 ft. up to get a geocache.
- One that took us to a crystal field in Iowa where we found real crystals.
SK: What is the coolest thing you found?
KS: Let me say first that the geocache itself stays where you found it for other people to also find. But you are free to take and trade for the items left inside the geocache . The items for trade are called swag. Swag is usually trinkets geared more towards kids, but I’d gotten bandanas, coins, keychains, magnets, pens – stuff like that.
I’ve found several cool things as far as swag goes. Once I found a nice mens sports watch in the middle of the woods while searching for a geocache. Its value brand new was about $ 150.00. Another time someone left what they thought was a junk bracelet in a cache, and it turned out to be sterling silver.
SK: What is your most prized swag find and where did you find it?
KS: My favorite swag find was when I was the second person to find a new geocache and the guy who found it first left a twenty dollar bill in the cache with a note on it that said it was for the 2nd to find. I thought that was classy and fun!
SK: Tell us about your scariest experience.
KS: I’ve never been afraid while geocaching, but we did do a multi stage cache called Scary Roads that we did at night. Here’s a link to the cache page: http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC278JY_scary-roads-night-cache?guid=0c0b3c9e-3915-4203-8d35-db2af621fcae
SK: What is your favorite part of geocaching? Least favorite?
KS: For me, the best part about geocaching is the adventure. Geocaching is like playing an adult version of hide and go seek. It’s the thrill of the hunt. It gets us out of the house, we visit places and see things we would never have heard of otherwise. I like visiting historical places the best and anything that had to do with the Civil War. We’ve also met a lot of really nice people through playing this game. It’s a good sport to share with your family – young and old alike can get out and do it.
My least favorite part is doing puzzle caches, so I rarely do those. I’m not good at puzzles and my brain doesn’t work that way, so puzzle caches are out. I keep myself busy doing regular caches, multi caches and attending events.
SK: Are there geocaching competitions/clubs? Do you take part in them?
KS: One nice aspect of geocaching is that you can do it solo or with other people. There are always events going on, like ice cream socials, picnics and barbeques, annual events like Geowoodstock or Mega events where people from around the world will gather. They usually have food and geocaches are placed for people to find, and prizes are given out. In our area there is an annual Cabin Fever event in the winter that I like to attend and also a Milestone event that is fun to go to. So you can be as involved as you want in this sport. But if events aren’t your thing, then you don’t go.
SK: Why do you do it? For the thrill of the hunt?
KS: The thrill of the hunt is it exactly. You never know what the geocache is going to look like or how hard it’s going to be to find. You might walk right up and find it immediately, or you may have to climb a tree, go out in a boat (I found a geocache on Cayo Costa), visit an historical location, or hike in the woods. It’s an adventure.
SK: Is that why you enjoy shelling as well?
KS: I never know what I’m going to find when I’m walking the beach. Will it be a Junonia, or a Lion’s Paw? Will I find a Horse Conch today? I’m always searching and delighted with whatever I find. The best part is that there are geocaches hidden on Sanibel Island and Captiva, so when I visit I go shelling and geocaching. It’s the best of both worlds for me.
This is a cache found on Captiva:
SK: What tips/equipment needs would you give the beginner if they wanted to start geocaching?
KS: Sign up (it’s free) on the geocaching.com website. Pick a user name. Then put in your zip code and it will bring up geocaches in your area. Try to look for a larger one first, because they’re easier to find. Each geocache has its own unique cache page, with a description of the cache size, maybe a clue, and the on-line log ins of other people who have already found it. Read those because sometimes you may find a clue. Having a GPS helps, because the cache page will also give you the co-ordinates of approximately where the cache is hidden, but you’ll still have to find it once you get there. Some geocaches are so cleverly hidden that they are literally hidden in plain sight.
SK: Thanks so much for your time, Kim!
KS: Thank you for asking me to share my interest in geocaching. It’s a fun pastime that fulfills my love of adventure and the outdoors. Give it a try. And please visit my blog for more information and lots of posts about geocaching. I also write over at CacheCrazy.com, which is one of the best geocaching blogs in the US. Stop by and say hi.