Geocachers are ambitious people, fighting norms, and always striving towards something bigger. Many geocachers love to set goals and achieve big milestones. One geocacher, Max Storms (Capraibex96), had a desire to achieve new heights with a little help from some friends. There’s an attribute that you see on most T1 urban caches, ‘wheelchair accessible’, that no longer applies to Max.
His story starts in a small village in the Netherlands, in the province of Limburg. A few years ago, as Max was commuting to school, his bus driver invited the students to learn about geocaching hands-on after the school day.
“First my mum had an account (Teamstorms) and while she had an account I didn’t know if I would get excited for geocaching. But it was so fun for me! I decided to have an account by myself and began geocaching on my own. Because I can’t search for most of the geocaches on my own I started caching together with my mum and my sister. Now I cache with friends, buddies, and sometimes alone (with a helping arm/grabber).”
Since December 2013 Max has become an avid geocacher and this past summer he was encroaching on his 1,000th find. Looking for inspiration for his 1,000th cache, Max reached out to his Facebook friends for help.
Rob Stevelmans (Team DeRoLuCa) caught wind of Max’s 1,000th find and wanted to do something special for him. Max and Team DeRoLuCa first met at a geocaching event and over time they continued to bump into each other. Max became increasingly interested in the T5 tree caches Rob was finding and enjoyed hearing the stories about them.
A light-bulb went off in Rob’s head — “We need to get Max into a tree!” He called his friend Tom Kusters (thetris) to discuss the idea. After hours of strategizing, the two came up with a plan.
First things first: Max’s mom needed to approve of the daring plan.
Team DeRoLuCa invited Max’s mom and sister to the T5 cache they had in mind so the two could try it themselves.
Max’s family loved the experience. As Team DeRoLuCa recalls, “After we talked about the plan and came up with the idea to use [Max’s] elevator mat he uses at home to get transferred for his wheelchair into bed, the plan was a go.”
With mom’s approval Rob made an event to turn the plan into reality.
On September 1st, 2017, 56 people attended the event to watch Max achieve his first D5/T5 geocache.
We checked in with Max to see what he thought about the experience.
Team DeRoLuCa says you were interested in their tree climbing cache adventures. How did it feel to be invited by them on an adventure? What thoughts did you have?
I liked the idea that I’m going into a tree and finally could do an official T5. On the moment DeRoLuCa said that it is possible and they would do everything for me to make it happen I was very happy and I will enjoy that idea. My mum was also happy for me but she thought about my muscles (because my muscles can’t hold anything because I have a disability with my muscles in my arms and legs).
What is your biggest motivation or what inspires you?
Let people know what I can do from out a wheelchair. Most people did not know what I can, so if I do geocaching in a forest, people look at me and thinks, “How did he do that?” and my answer is, “You need something to do.”
What did you think about when you signed the log book and everyone cheered for you?
I was very surprised that so many people will see the moment that I ‘was able’ to get in a tree. I was also happy that much people came, that give me the feeling that this was seriously a big historic moment. By signing the logbook my only thought was, “YES I DID IT!’” And when everyone cheered it was more like, “Super fun and everyone is happy for me so I’m happy too!”
What advice would you give to anyone who might be nervous about finding a T5 for the first time? Was this your first T5?
When you will finding a T5 you can speak with others about their experiences. And then if you’re interested then go for it! But for the first time, ask to somebody (with climbing experiences) to help you just in case.
What’s your next geocaching goal?
At the tree climbing event some people asked me what I would do for my next achievement (2000th). I said “SCUBA cache” and then that idea is also only a maybe.
It’s always best to set the bar high with goals even when they seem out of reach. With a little help from his friends Max was able to enter the tree and log the cache. What are you geocaching goals?