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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 Robert Harwell, of North Carolina – the winner of our second Garmin chirp giveaway as chosen by our blog readers.

Robert Harwell
Age: 38
Location: North Carolina, USA
Occupation: Founder of webstore GeoSurvival Gear.
I am never really “outside” of geocaching. Through my fairly new online business, I sell paracord gear (such as survival straps, belts, lanyards etc) which is all hand-crafted to order. I am also an official distributor for Groundspeak merchandise. This is my work and leisure. I enjoy it and geocaching a lot. 🙂
GC handle: Harwell5
When first signing up, I just chose to use our last name and there are five of us in the family, so it was kind of fitting. Had I known it would stick, I would have made it “cooler”.
GPSr: Started out using a Garmin Nuvi 250W because it was what I had. Migrated to a Garmin GPSMAP 60CSX because the Nuvi battery life didn’t last long enough to find those micros in the woods. Just recently upgraded phones – from a Blackberry to an Android DROID2 – because it was time and the GPS functionality for the BB was nowhere close to a pinpoint location.
Start date: Since March 2008. My dad sent me an email about this “new” (to us) thing called geocaching, I went online to check it out and have been geocaching ever since.
Current tally: 644 finds and 33 hides.
Best geo-memory: Probably a FTF about 150 miles from home. We were on vacation and I had noticed on a route pocket query I made the week before we left that there was a new cache placed with no finds. Thought for sure it would have been found by the time we arrived, but we all were really excited when we found a fresh, clean logsheet and the FTF prize. The view from the overlook along the road through the mountains was beautiful and the cache name – Picture Perfect (GC1F8RV) – was very fitting.
Favourite type of cache: Larger caches with swag to trade.
Most often found caching at … Weekends when I can. Weather and darkness don’t bother me.
With … Usually alone, unless I can talk the family into it or we are on vacation, then they don’t have a choice. 🙂
Daily caching record: Thirty finds while alone on a birthday run.
Most consecutive caching days: Seven days.
Best find: Probably not for the cache itself but for the history of the location … The Bomb Crater (GC1DP23). It’s where an actual 30-kiloton Mark 6 nuclear bomb was accidentally dropped in the yard of a family in Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Visit the cache page for the full, TRUE story.
Worst find: Don’t really have a bad one.
Furthest find from home: About 200 miles.
Hardest find: Kohl’d Hard Cache (GC1QTWR), not because of the hide but because of my lack of experience. It was one of the first caches I tried for and it took four visits to finally make the grab.
Silliest mistake: Can’t really think of one, except maybe referring to the next question of being careful and paying when geocaching.
Worst injury: When reaching down to grab an ammo can, I didn’t duck far enough and sliced my head open on a thorn-type protrusion from a branch above the cache. Ended up going to a medical centre and getting five to six stitches in the top of my head. I kept the scar as a souvenir. 🙂
Animal encounters on the trail: Nothing, other than an occasional pack of whitetail deer.
Trackables – yes or no? Yes, I enjoy helping them along their journeys. Don’t enjoy expecting to find one as listed in the cache and it not being there or there being a laminated paper copy of a coin instead of the real thing. I understand why cachers do this, as missing coins are becoming more frequent, but it just takes away from the game and expectations of finding a new trackable.
Best travel bug or geocoin found: Really had a jaw-dropping moment at an event cache when I discovered a Northern Planisphere geocoin in the hands of a geocacher who said he’d found it in a cache somewhere. I couldn’t believe that it had been in circulation for two years and had not been muggled or stolen. A really beautiful and large coin.
Hiding v finding caches? I like both but I enjoy the “eureka” moment of the find.
Best of your own hides: H5’s D/T Bingo Challenge (GC1P71J). It challenges cachers to complete the “bingo” card of finding a geocache in any row on the D/T card of 81 combinations of finds before venturing out to find my cache and call out “BINGO”.
Lessons learnt: That friendships made through geocaching will last a lifetime. There are no other people on the planet like geocachers and they are some of the best people in the world.
Is it all about the numbers for you? Definitely NOT.

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