The Membership Relations Committee is happy to showcase some ArkGeo Geocachers through the "Geocacher Profile". The committee thought Kay Ekey aka Arkekey should be the next cacher to be in the spotlight.
What is your geocaching name?
How did you choose your handle?
My last name is Ekey. Until my brother moved here two years ago, I was the only Ekey in Arkansas so Arkekey is short of Arkansas Ekey
How long have you been geocaching?
How did you find your first Geocache, and which one was it?
I searched for a couple before I found my first cache which was Books, Books, Books at the Garland County Library. It was the day after my GPS arrived from Amazon in July 2009 (before the days of the cell phone app at least for the android phone I had at the time). The spot on coords by LikestoCanoe and great hint really helped a lot as a good deal of my caching, esp in the beginning, has been solo.
Who usually goes with you when you go caching?
My most frequent caching partners have been Trekkin' Arkie, Ironhorse, OR-NPL 191, or in the beginning, Gingerose.
How long will you work on puzzle caches before you give up?
I love different types of puzzles such as sudoku and cryptoquotes, but haven't been particularly successful with them in geocaching. However, caching puzzles have been a fun learning experience as far as learning about different apps to help with triangulating points or computer techniques to cause print to appear in a blank space. I'd estimate I usually give up after about 30 min.
What town/areas have you most enjoyed caching in?
I most enjoyed caching in Hawaii because it took me to places that a tourist guide never would and the descriptions taught me so much about the area. London was fun because it allowed me to take my niece, who had lived there for almost a year, to a charming, colorful hidden away shopping area not far from her flat. She had no idea this courtyard of shops was tucked in there. I also enjoyed North Carolina because I was introducing my preteen nephews to caching while we were on vacation and it was so fun to watch their excitement.
Do you do paperless caching?
I now do paperless caching, but in the beginning I had to print out many cache pages to have descriptions and hints with me since my first unit was a very basic, bright yellow eTrex.
What kind of geocaching rig do you use?
I use a Garmin map 60csx.
Why would you recommend anyone else to take up geocaching?
Caching can get otherwise sedentary folks outside and moving. It is a great way to see places you otherwise likely wouldn't. It produces a feeling of accomplishment when a cache is found or challenge completed. Geocachers are a fun, adventuresome, diverse, and very welcoming group of people.
Where are you originally from?
I lived in Topeka, Kansas, from age 5-18 and have been in Arkansas since then.
In what states have you geocached?
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. (Didn't realize until compiling this list that I didn't have one in Iowa yet... I just spent a couple days there this month. Darn!!)
What was your first event ever attended?
Rhone's 5000th find in 2009. It was just a couple months after I started caching. I had no idea what to expect when I walked into the restaurant, but got to meet other cachers for the first time. That has been the best part of caching.... the friendships it has provided me.
How many caches have you found?
1340 Obviously I'm not a numbers person.
Which type of cache container do you prefer over the rest?
Homemade cammoed containers are by favorite but event caches might be a close second.
What was the most famous cache that you have found?
As far as I know I've not found any "famous" caches, but I am now aware of the Mingo cache in Kansas and hope to get it within the next year.
Do you use disposable batteries or rechargeable batteries?
Disposable batteries, but that may change now that it was brought to my attention.
Do you enjoy hiding or finding more as your part of the hobby?
I enjoy finding caches more than hiding them. I'm not too crafty so my hides tend to be pretty simple and often geared toward beginner or young cachers.
Do you have a personal goal in mind when you make a hide?
Generally my objective when hiding a cache has been to fill a void I perceive such as when Lake Hamilton had only two caches on it.
What is your favorite type of cache hide?
I prefer to hide ground level caches of level one difficulty with swag inside at a location I know is frequented by children.
Out of all your hides, what are your personal favorites that you take pride in?
My second hide (2011) was my favorite. That cache, an artificial knee joint (which has now been archived since the bush it as in was removed), was a group effort. The holder was a gift from Big Carbon Footprint and Dreamcacher V of Texas at Foolin' Around SWAGville which marked my return to caching following a knee replacement. Quartzcacher named it, & Trekkin' Arkie assisted with reinforcing the assembly. It as placed outside the office of my orthopedic surgeon.
What do you think the proper hide to find ratio should be to keep the sport fresh?
I think 75-100:1 should be sufficient to keep new caches available for everyone.
How did you end up getting into this wacky hobby?
I was having dinner with Trekkin' Arkie and Leon the Peon when she mentioned learning the meaning of a "skirt lifter" to a cacher from Texas who was dining with us. That led her to further explain her hobby of geocaching to me. The Texas RVing and caching friend then helped me decide on a first GPS. I ordered it a couple days later and my love of caching soon began. It grew deeper when I moved up to a unit to which I could download coordinates instead of hand entering each one, then even more when I was able to do impromptu caching via the phone app.
What's your favorite geocache?
Choosing one favorite is almost impossible. I really enjoyed the now archived Tool Time series by CacheMates in Glenwood and Monkey See Monkey Deux by EJ1231 in Royal, AR.
If money was no object, where would you like to go geocaching?
Switzerland. I think taking a geocaching cruise with lots of foreign ports would be wonderful!
Do you like geocaching by yourself or in a group?
I prefer geocaching with 2 or 3 other cachers but really like introducing others to caching. One of those special experiences was taking my 85 year old aunt, who had cancer but decided to stop treatments, caching 4 months before she died. It was her last outting from home and I can still remember her excitement that day as we found three caches in her small Kansas town. Just this morning I got to introduce a friend with whom I was spending the weekend. She was the one who brought it up to me having read my previous Facebook posts about caching experiences.
How many First to Finds do you have?
I don't know how many FTF's I have and I'm not proficient enough with the on line programs to know how to find that information. I do fondly recall a FTF I got in Steele, MO (Gateway to Fun) that I pulled over to hunt on my way to St. Louis only to discover I'd not downloaded the coords into my GPS. So I reluctantly went on my way, but did look it up while I was in St Louis and was excited on see that it still hadn't been found on my trip back. By then it was a week old and had a DNF, but I earned an FTF before heading on home to Hot Springs.
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?
When I started caching I frequently tried for FTF's sometimes late at night or before sunrise. They were always within a few miles of my house. A policeman stopped to visit with me around 4:30 one morning (tried to get it on my way to the YMCA to exercise before work). I didn't earn one that morning but figure my license plate got entered on a watch list. Another time I was alone, behind a building on Park Ave a little after midnight. It took about 30 minutes, but I was successful. However, realizing I'd have chastised any friend for such foolishly reckless behavior I quit actively pursuing FTFs. I couldn't compete with the many retired local cachers while I was working full time.
Do you have any other hobbies besides geocaching?
My other hobbies include boating, traveling (often to visit family), tasting craft beers, watching sports (Rock Chalk Jayhawk), volunteering with Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Garland County Suicide Prevention Coalition, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Civitan Club projects, and local festivals.
You didn't ask about travelbugs, but I love them. However, the ones I've put out seem to share my erratic activity level.