Elales is an experienced geocacher from Kraków, Poland. If you’ve spent time in the Kraków area, you may have found one of the 75 caches she’s hidden or attended one of the Events she’s hosted. She’s known for her unique hiding style and intriguing hiding locations, like Massolit and MNK – Kamienica Szołayskich [PL/EN].
Learn about this prolific cacher, including her geocaching origin story, some of her favorite caches, cache maintenance tips, and more:
Geocaching HQ: What’s your background outside of geocaching?
I’m a market researcher. Together with two partners, I run a small company. My main field is designing surveys and data analysis. I also contribute some time to work in NGOs. I live in Kraków, one of the most beautiful cities in Poland.
Geocaching HQ: How and when did you hear about geocaching?
It was 16 years ago. My younger brother came across information about the game on some internet forum and told me about it. I was about to go on my vacation in the mountains, so he lent me his GPS and showed me the basics. And then the game completely absorbed me.
Geocaching HQ: Which cache got you hooked?
I cannot tell if it was a single cache. I was excited about the game since I learned about it. Today it’s difficult to imagine, but 16 years ago in Poland, every cache was special as there were only a few of them.
Geocaching HQ: What is the story behind your username?
Actually, I wanted something else, but my favorite nickname was not available. Finally, I just combined some letters from my name and surname. At that time, I didn’t think that the nickname may be something more than only a key to log in to the service. I was sorely mistaken. But it took several years before the nickname appeared to be a name that people recognized in the community.
Geocaching HQ: What is your favorite cache(s) you’ve found?
I think that I like all or almost all about geocaching, so I like various types of caches and the various experiences they provide. I like Mystery Caches, gadget caches, but also clever hides or just hides in beautiful or unique places. I like caches with high terrain ratings, although many of them are unavailable to me. I don’t omit EarthCaches; that means it’s rather difficult to choose favorite caches. Solving and finding “MoM” (Master of Mystery) was always something special. I remember a nano that I found on an abandoned car in the woods in the USA (at that time, I thought it would be impossible to find a magnetic, nano-sized cache in the huge pile of scrap metal). But also, the Letterbox Hybrid in Vienna (GC4C936) that I found six years ago made a great impression on me. I attended dozens of Events and found hundreds of awesome geocaches. Moreover, I’m lucky to live in a region with many elaborate geocaches, like this one: Geobox (GC8029R).
Geocaching HQ: What keeps you engaged with the game?
I like exploring new places and new cities; geocaches often serve as wonderful guides. Geocaching is an unbelievable source of information about the world and even about the universe. I also like creating caches, sometimes to show something, some places or objects, sometimes just for the fun of solving mysteries. I also value meeting people through geocaching Events. In my area, there is an excellent geocaching community, which is a huge advantage.
Geocaching HQ: Do you have a favorite hide of your own active caches?
I like all of them :-). Each has its story. Even this ordinary film canister: Most Piłsudskiego (GC22ZP9). The cache survived a massive flood in 2010. The water covered the area so that the container was 1 meter below the surface. I didn’t believe it, but the canister was preserved, and the logbook was only slightly damp.
Geocaching HQ: What’s the best approach to creating a geocache?
First, give yourself enough time to think about your idea. In my case, it usually takes several days or weeks. I think about the theme, listing, container, and hiding place. Sometimes I visit potential hiding places several times to find the best one. It happens that in the second or third turn, I find something I haven’t seen before. The final effect is always far-flung from my initial ideas. Second, think a little bit about the finders. Not all of them are like you. Some are shorter, some taller, younger, older, etc. Of course, not every cache is for everyone, but if there is no loss in design and quality, why not make it accessible to as many people as possible?
Geocaching HQ: If someone reading this was looking for inspiration, what words of advice would you give them?
A good source of inspiration is other geocaches and geocachers, so look for caches and attend Events.
Geocaching HQ: You have a number of complicated and intricate caches. Do you find it difficult to provide maintenance on them?
In most cases, I only have to replace logbooks because some of my hides are quite frequently visited. When I create a cache, I’m trying to secure “spare parts” so it helps in future maintenance. In general, maintenance is not very difficult.
Geocaching HQ: For you, what makes a quality cache?
Of course, there are geocaches with unique containers or very ingenious solutions, and this is a separate category. But the caches differ. The container is not necessarily the most important, although it should meet the basic requirements. Accurate coordinates are very important. I usually search with my Garmin, so I prefer caches that can be found without photo spoilers. I pay attention to the descriptions. It should be concise, written in your own words, and illustrated with photos or pictures. But to express it in a more general way, a quality cache makes you smile or gives you a sense of achievement. You feel that it was worth searching for. On the other hand, you feel that the owner made some effort to create the cache.
Geocaching would not be the same without cache hiders and their passion and creativity for the game. Year of the Hide is the perfect time to share your favorite cache hider with us. Let us know who in your community goes above and beyond on their cache hides and why they are so incredible.