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Caching Up With …

In this occasional series, It’s Not About The Numbers asks geocachers to find themselves, rather than a hidden container.

Today’s victim is phiki614, of Cromwell, New Zealand; the runner-up of our recent Garmin chirp giveaway.

phiki614
Age: 28
Location: Cromwell, Central Otago, New Zealand
Occupation: School teacher (and father)
GPSr: Garmin GPS60 – because it was a nice cheap model when I was looking for a receiver, though now I wish I’d gone for something more high-end.
Start date: I started in November 2009 (yep, newbie) when one of my friends posted a picture of a TB on Facebook. I googled geocaching and I was hooked before I even had a receiver – the idea behind it just resonated with me.
Current tally: At the moment, I have 403 little smileys and 48 stars.
Best geo-memory: It would probably be a trip up the West Coast my wife and I did. Before caching, I was a big fan of just going and going until I got to the location and keeping any stops to a minimum but, with geocaching, there were so many great spots the my wife and I could stop at and appreciate. The trip up and back was full of great caches and great memories.
Favourite type of cache: Any cache that gets me outside, enjoying nature, is great! But my ideal type of cache would be a nice, large container at the end of a decent walk, which hopefully would have a lovely view/point of interest.
Most often found caching … During the summer. Being a school teacher I get six weeks off, so this gives me time to plan some expeditions.
With … Mostly with my 5-year-old son, sometimes with the whole family.
Daily caching record: Only 22, but I intend to trump that this year with a trip to Oamaru or Nelson.
Most consecutive caching days: 11 days is my longest streak, on holiday in Dunedin I think.
Best find: Not technically found, but it would have to be at Fox Glacier (Earthcache GC23Q1Z). An actual cache would be GC1M 75T Hole in a Hole (Otago), which is a cache hidden inside an old railway tunnel.
Worst find: Plenty have been pretty unremarkable for various reasons (bad placement/rubbish/bad containers), but I wouldn’t like to name any.
Furthest find from home: 416km away in Westport (as the crow flies, but a lot longer by road!)
Hardest find: The hardest to get to would probably have to be GC47CE Tasman Lookout (West Coast), mainly due to a lack of track and an abundance of thorns.
Silliest mistake: Narrowing that down to one … Umm, probably taking my car places it shouldn’t have gone. I’ve been lucky to escape a few times without needing a tow-truck.
Worst injury: Nothing terrible yet. Just the normal bruises and scrapes that goes with the game. I’ve had couple of good puncture wounds from ‘Spaniards’ (a very spiky alpine plant) whilst placing a few of my caches.
Animal encounters on the trail: I was placing a cache up the Roaring Meg river in a rather remote location and I was happily wandering along, enjoying the lack of noise as I walked through knee-high grass, when all of a sudden a falcon just burst into flight out of the grass about a metre in front of me. When that failed to stop my heart, it decided to start dive-bombing me – boy, can those birds move!
Trackables – yes or no? I think they are a nice, wee side game and I try to move them on where possible, but personally wouldn’t be sending any out into the wild. I’m a little too Scottish, so will never find myself buying things which will most likely end up being stolen.
Best travel bug or geocoin found: TG Rock – a piece of igneous (volcanic) rock embedded in amber which wanted to travel around the world and visit active and dormant volcanic sites. A great idea I thought!
Hiding v finding caches? That’s a hard one. I love placing caches, but I do live in a relatively cache-light area, I think if I was to live in a cache-dense area, I would probably be more into finding caches than hiding them.
Best of your own hides: Oh tough one, I would have to say it’s a toss-up between GC2KEFN Meg Hut (Central Otago) and GC2KEFP The Tops (Central Otago). Both nice and remote in rugged country with beautiful views around them.
Other hobbies: Tramping and squash
Lessons learnt: I’ve learnt that it takes me at least twice as long to do any road trip now!
Is it all about the numbers for you? Nope, I would prefer a nice, long walk to a single cache, than spending the same time zipping around in a car looking for 10. I like the idea of geocaching for getting out and seeing nature and our wonderful country.

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