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PostPosted: Sat Jul 01, 2017 2:59 pm 
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I had the distinct pleasure of meeting this month's spotlighted MGS member at the Cache Across Maryland (CAM) picnic event in May. I can definitely relate to Donna's struggle with back issues, as I also have had fusion surgery and an implanted spinal cord stimulator. I am inspired by her story and her will to overcome her challenges! Join me in getting to know and root for Ddubz1!

Interview Date: 07/01/17

Caching Name: Ddubz1

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Real Name: Donna Whalen

1. How did you become involved in geocaching. When did you start?
I got started in geocaching completely by accident. After having had nine spinal fusions and a spinal cord stimulator surgically implanted in my spine I had two years of unemployment and learning to walk again. Waiting for even partial disability is a long process so I couldn’t afford to go to physical therapy 3 times a week. As a result, my doctor told me to get out and walk. My daughter had stumbled upon what she thought was a letterbox on one of the local trails. I was very interested and I asked her to show me. It turned out to be a mystery cache that started my introduction into geocaching. After a trial month period from March 2016 I was hooked.


2. How did you choose your caching name?
The nickname Ddubz was actually a nickname that had been given to me by an old coworker. My initials being D.W. it was just easier to say Ddubz than my name so I adapted it to geocaching moniker.


3. How many caches have you found so far?

To date I have found 603 but I did my first 500 in 2016 because that was my goal. Although I have slow days where I can’t move as well as I should, I still find a way to plan trips to get geocaching at least once a month if not more.


4. What brand/type of GPS do you use?
I have a Garmin ETrex but I tend to rely solely on my phone. The lighter my pack the better I walk, so I tend to just keep my bag light.


5. What programs/software or hardware (PDA/laptop/phone) do you use to make caching easier?
I use the geocaching app on my android phone as it is not only one of the easiest to work with, it also has the best listings.


6. What type of cache do you prefer seeking – traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual?
What can I say, I love them all, but I am especially drawn to puzzles that you actually have to do on site. They break up the monotony of looking for the typical average hides of bison tubes.


7. Which caches were the most challenging – physically/mentally? Why?
At first, every cache was a challenge in itself (the walking) but now it is anything that requires my bending or lifting that makes it the most challenging. Not that I am going let that stop me.


8. Do you have a favorite or favorites among the Maryland caches that you’ve found? Do you have a favorite in a nearby state?
I have a few favorites but I really love WVTim’s gadget caches.


9. What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve ever found in a cache?
The most unusual would be a weather rock. A normal average rock in a plastic bag that had a note attached with a “if it's hot it’s sunny, If it's wet it's raining…. etc.


10. What are your current caching goals? Is there a certain cache that you can’t wait to do?
My current goals include trying to get every single Clean and Dry Surface cache hides as well as the Smithsonian Natural Museum Geotour. The goal I set for myself is to get to 1000 caches before the year is out and that is the one that I can’t wait to do.


11. How many caches have you placed? Do you have a current hiding goal?
I have 14 hides so far with two of them being puzzle caches and am working on a third. No real goal other than to make each one unique and different.


12. What advice would you give someone that wants to place a cache? What steps do YOU take when placing a cache?
Advice I would give is to take the quiz located on the geocaching app it is pretty much self-explanatory and easy to follow. My first step is always backwards, I design the cache way before I have a location to put it.


13. How often do you go caching?
As much as I would love to say daily, I have other commitments that require my attention as well so at this point I make it out to go caching at least once a month if not more.


14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?
Find a geobuddy for the beginning at least. Make friends on the Maryland Geocaching Society page. Don’t be afraid of asking anyone questions. (There is no such thing as a stupid question) Don’t worry about your DNF (did not finds) because no matter what, you won’t find them all but the adventures last a lifetime. When signing your finds online, tell your story without giving up the secret of the location of caches, that way you can look back and read them like a journal. Most importantly, don’t give up.


15. Have you completed CAM in the past? What was your favorite aspect?
The first CAM I did was this year’s 2017. My favorite aspect was the thought that I got it done. I set myself a goal and achieved it.


16. Do you collect geocoins? Of the ones that you’ve collected, which is your favorite?
I love collecting the coins, of all those I have so far my first had been my favorite The Gadget Caches of Berkley County.


17. What type of gear do you carry with you on your caching trips? What’s in your geopack?
I have spare logs, a mirror, a knife, spare log containers, PathTags to trade, a pen, and usually a screwdriver, tweezers, flashlight and a backup battery charger for my phone.


18. What is your most memorable caching experience?
My most memorable had been one of the CAM caches, CAM2017: National Park Seminary (GC6Y6GH) https://coord.info/GC6Y6GH because of the beauty of the area. It felt like you walked into a different time and era.


19. What is your best caching story?
The crew I was with (MM52, babershop2010 and Dfeifer, when we are together we become the Eastern Shore Cache Crew) came across one that needed to be filled with water to get the cache to the top of the host. I happened to find a beer bottle and we filled it up with the beer only to watch it foam up; which doesn’t make a cache float by the way. We then used the bottle to get water from the nearby creek. We flushed it out and signed the log. We had also captured a picture and sent it to the owner of the cache. He stated it was his favorite picture of all time.

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20. What do you like about geocaching? What keeps you going?
Each geocache is a mini adventure and each day is a blessing so as long as I can walk I will keep going. What keeps me going is the next find. And then the next one… and so forth.


21. Besides geocaching, what other things do you like to do?
I like my part time job that keeps me in a place that allows me to be myself even with my limitations and that I can buy parts for caches there. I also still volunteer for United Communities Volunteer Fire Department and do photography for the National Fallen Firefighters and Maryland State Firemen's Association. Which in turn takes me to new places to cache all across Maryland.


Bonus Questions:
Would I recommend Caching to anyone? Yes!


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:21 pm 
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:applause: Great SpotLight Donna! Congrats! :dance:


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:51 pm 
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Great write up. Hope to meet you guys on the trail someday. Possible during CAM.

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We are now Mr. And Mrs. Coupleocachers and Proud parents of AmeliaGrace
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