Geocaching HQ is home to a geocaching legend. His title is Community Liaison to Engineering. His name is Jon Stanley. He’s better known as Moun10Bike in the geocaching world. As one of the world’s first-ever geocachers, Moun10Bike earned his geocaching fame by creating the first of what we now know as geocoins.
Moun10Bike agreed to share his coolest geocaching tips as we head into the winter season here in the Northern hemisphere.
Q: You are working on a geocaching streak. How many days of geocaching in a row are you up to? What inspired you to take on this challenge?
A: On Christmas Eve, my streak will hit 700 days. I want to keep going for as long as it’s fun. The initial motivator was to have a streak that was longer than my longest slump (141 days between my first and second cache finds, back when there were very few caches around). After that, there seemed to be continued incentives that kept me going (e.g. qualifying for particular challenges, etc.).
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in maintaining your streak?
A: We head back to Spokane and North Idaho during the holidays to be with family, where snow is a much more frequent sight than it is in Seattle. Keeping up the geocaching when everything is under a blanket of white and you’re sipping eggnog by a warm fire becomes a challenge then.
Q: What tips do you have for other geocachers who are trying to keep a streak going in the winter weather?
A: I start off by looking for geocaches that have the “Available in Winter” attribute, although this is rather hit-or-miss as some geocache owners do not use attributes. It does help identify some better ones that were intended specifically for winter, though. What helps the most is looking for geocaches that were found in the last day or two, especially if it recently snowed. This tells you that people are having success at these geocaches despite whatever the conditions on the ground may be.
Q: So what makes for a good winter geocache?
A: Basically any geocache that is off the ground or otherwise protected from snow coverage. Some great winter geocaches that I’ve found were attached to branches in a tree. During the summer, they are many feet up in the air, but are within easy reach with snow on the ground. If a geocache meets these criteria, the geocache owner should be sure to add the “Available in Winter” attribute.
Q: Do you have any safety tips for geocachers who – streaking or not – might find themselves outside geocaching in frightful weather?
A: Dress warmly, be ready and willing to turn back if conditions turn against you, and watch out for ice! I encountered a frozen patch on a trail during an geocaching outing last winter and made a point to stomp across carefully. Despite my caution, my hiking boots slipped out from under me and I broke my arm in the process of catching myself.
Q: But you continued winter geocaching after that?
A: I absolutely did! The break came when I was only a month away from a year straight, so I had to keep going.
Keep tuned in to learn more great geocaching tips from the desk – or trail – of Moun10Bike. What inspires you to leave the warm eggnog and crackling fire behind, and head out geocaching in the winter weather? Tell us in the comments below.