View Full Version : September 2017 Geocacher Profile

09-02-2017, 07:51 AM
The Membership Relations Committee is happy to showcase some ArkGeo Geocachers through the "Geocacher Profile". The committee thought Chris Knox aka Captain Cooder should be the next cacher to be in the spotlight.

01. What is your geocaching name?
Captain Cooder

02. How did you choose your handle?
It was a silly nickname given to me by my brothers when I was a teenager.

03. How long have you been geocaching?
Since February 2003

04. How did you find your first Geocache, and which one was it?
My first geocache was "Lake Harrison Trail Cache" GCBC60. I DNF'd it the first two times I looked for it. I e-mailed the owner for help and he gave me hints. When I found it, I was embarrassed because it was so obvious and rather large.

05. Who usually goes with you when you go caching?
I usually go alone, but hot-rod and I have cached together a lot.

06. How long will you work on puzzle caches before you give up?
I have never given up on a puzzle cache... at least one that is local. I have failed to solve some puzzle caches in distant areas, and I have some solved that I may never hunt. Captain Atom’s “Sudoku” haunts me because the icon remains on my radar. I solved the puzzle, but DNF’d the ammo can. Arrgh.

07. What town/areas have you most enjoyed caching in?
I especially enjoy anything involving a hike in the woods, night caches and watercaches. I will seek them out. Cardinal's Lake Wilson Series was my all time favorite, and I have especially fond memories of hunting AR-Hick's caches in Conway County; they were clever, well-hidden and humorous, and I hunted a lot of them at night in the wee hours of the morning.

08. Do you do paperless caching?
Of course. I fully recall the days of paper caching and the first primitive paperless systems. We've still got a way to go with digital transfer of information, but it's come a long way.

09. What kind of geocaching rig do you use?
I have pretty much always used DeLorme GPSrs. I visited their HQ in Maine in 1999 and I was very impressed. They have the best tech support of any company I know. They were first to introduce a geocaching-specific GPSr and the only company that manufactures a personal locator beacon (PLB) with SMS capability, the InReach. I currently have dual DeLorme PN-60Ws and two Magellan GCs in reserve. I use my iPhone now for getting close to GZ, then the real GPSrs for the fine tuning. Amazingly, out of a dozen or so GPSrs that I have owned, none of them have been a Garmin. Garmin now owns DeLorme.

10. Why would you recommend anyone else to take up geocaching?
It's cerebral and fun. If you are into geography, maps, exploration, treasure hunting, puzzle solving, it is quite fun. The "secret society" aspect with code names is also a blast.

11. Where are you originally from?
Born and raised in “L.A.” That's Lower Arkansas—Union County, El Dorado.

12. In what states have you geocached?
I've cached in 19 states, mostly in the central area, as well as Mexico and the Cayman Islands. I visited 9 more states before geocaching was possible, as well as Canada and Honduras.

13. What was your first event ever attended?
GC1N6QR "A Half-Century Celebration." It was hosted by bluesybreeze and was edieo's 50th birthday. I felt right at home, and Edie and I became quick friends.

14. How many caches have you found?
4,660. I was coasting on my way to 5K before my divorce 5 years ago, then hit a severe slump. I got busy with other time-consuming activities and remarried, and my geocaching activity has picked up but is slow. Since my divorce, I’ve only averaged about 13 caches per month. Not shabby, but before I was cruising at about 100 per month.

15. Which type of cache container do you prefer over the rest?
The most memorable ones are the small or micros that are incredibly clever or humorous. I would vote to ban nanos.

16. What was the most famous cache that you have found?
Probably Mingo. Next would be Kittiewake, off the coast of Grand Cayman, my only SCUBA cache.

17. Do you use disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries?
Both. I use rechargeables when they are recharged, but always keep regular alkaline available. Lithium lasts longer, but is prohibitively expensive.

18. Do you enjoy hiding or finding more as your part of the hobby?
They are both equally enjoyable to me.

19. Do you have a personal goal in mind when you make a hide?
Unless it's just a routine cache to pad your numbers, the caches I'm most proud of are the ones that make you smile or laugh at something creative or an inside joke, or as a reward for solving a puzzle. I never want anyone to leave GZ frustrated or angry with a DNF.

20. What is your favorite type of cache hide?
The most memorable ones are the clever mechanical ones where you have to operate some mysterious contraption or put clues together to solve a puzzle to crack it. As everyone probably knows, I have an obsession with projection caches. I also love getting all suited up for a nice hike in the woods on a fall day and climbing a hill, visiting a waterfall, etc... especially with hot-rod; any outdoor adventure, woods or water.

21. Out of all your hides, what are your personal favorites that you take pride in?
The one that amuses me the most is GC2TNEP "Ho-hum Hydrant." It's a cruel pleasure, but has more favorite points than any of my others. I suffered more than anyone who has hunted the cache in hiding it, so I feel justified. I like GC2GK83 "Russellville Geocacher's Bemusement" because it's a clever container combined with a clever puzzle that I stole from Nicodemus3 and improved upon, and GC3M359 "Transmission Intercepted" because of the original puzzle. My "It's All About the Numbers" series that Kevin Cackler helped guide me with has a cool punchline. My Starlight 365 nightcache series is archived now, but that was unique. A couple from Springfield, MO came down the day the cache was published, just to hunt the series. Talk about an ego boost.

22. What do you think the proper hide to find ratio should be to keep the sport fresh?
I’m not concerned about the ratio, really. Currently, mine is about 17:1. I think what is more important is that one should not be allowed to hide a cache until one has about 100 finds under his belt. I don’t think at this point there should be a cap on how many caches one can hide, but now that I have 275 hides, it’s quite a chore keeping up on maintenance.

23. How did you end up getting into this wacky hobby?
I invented it, independently, of course! Ha! I got a Lowrance Eagle GPSr for my 25th birthday in 1996, four years before Geocaching was possible. At that time, navigating to within 200 yards was great. When Selective Activation (SA) was turned off in May, 2000, I thought it was dubious. I went home and pulled out a topo quad map and determined exact coords to the middle of a bridge over a creek in the woods. I plugged in the coords and let my GPSr guide me to the spot to test the new accuracy. I ended up 8 feet from my target. You should have seen the joy on my face; I was absolutely giddy! I thought, “What if I hid a secret code at certain locations in the woods? One could navigate to the location, retrieve the code and I could verify it. Or maybe the information at one location could lead to another location, like going from flag to flag in orienteering. We’ll call it “GPS Orienteering.” However, I had no friends with GPS receivers, and the internet was non-existent at the time. I didn’t hear of “Geocaching” for another three years. Shucks, I could have been an Ulmer or an Irish.

24. What's your favorite geocache?
I have to say, the very last one I found, Night Hiker’s “Head’s Up” GC30NTJ, is one I would love to show someone to introduce them to the game. The single best day I ever had caching was chasing Cardinal’s Lake Wilson Series in NWA. It was a perfect day, I put miles on my boots and took in some great autumn scenery. It took a lot of thinking and calculations and was just the perfect level of difficulty. I felt like a boss for smashing the previous time record for finding all the caches, especially intuiting one cache deep in the woods where a major landmark that was needed to find the cache was missing.

25. If money was no object, where would you like to go geocaching?
I would seek out every SCUBA cache and become a diving bum. A close second would be the Pacific Northwest, for the scenery and history.

26. Do you like geocaching by yourself or in a group?
Groups/teams are always more fun in general. But I have had many memorable solo caching adventures.

27. How many First to Finds do you have?
401. I just went over the 400 mark with Hot-Rod this week.

28. Are you a First to Find person who is always set on go and if so, how many miles out do you have your settings on to get notifications?
Yes, no doubt I am a Hound. FTFs were as elusive as unicorns early on, but when I mastered the new technology, I had a slight edge over those who hadn’t quite figured it out, and I was exceedingly good at getting there first. I have also found several before they were published. Hot-Rod is a hound as well, and we both have many hides. We had to be careful not to give each other secret inside information on our hides, to allow others to have a chance. My first FTF was found around 1 am, and from then on, I was hooked. I have found many, many, many FTFs in the wee morning hours traipsing around in the dark, enough to be called “crazy.” Nowadays I usually wait for a more reasonable hour to hunt. My radius is 50 miles, but I won’t take off at any time for a cache more than about 20 miles away.

29. Do you have any other hobbies besides geocaching?
I love most outdoor activities: camping, hiking/backpacking, ATV riding, hunting, fishing, cycling, photography. Fitness activities have become a way of life more than a hobby. I’m always up for a party, and I dig live music. I love craft beer and seek out microbreweries wherever I travel.

09-03-2017, 05:09 AM
Way to represent L.A. Capt!

09-27-2017, 06:16 AM
Awesome interview!