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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:32 pm 
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I remember meeting Up & Down last year shortly after they started caching, since that time I have had the pleasure of caching with them on several occasions. They are so infectious with their enthusiasm! They are regulars at many of the central Maryland events where I am often entertained by their stories of their latest caching adventures, in fact, this month’s MGS Geocache was a cache I learned about from them at a recent event. I have had the pleasure of caching with them on several occasions.

Interview Date: August 1, 2017

Caching Name: Up & Down

Real Name: Al and Carolyn Wheeler

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1. How did you become involved in geocaching? When did you start?
In June of 2014 we saw a lady snooping around in a very old cemetery in Harpers Ferry. As we watched her search around an iron fence we couldn’t help but ask what she was doing. At first she didn’t want to tell us. We persisted in our questions and finally she gave in and told us about Geocaching. We went home that evening and looked it up on the Internet. The next day we were searching for a cache.


2. How did you choose your caching name?
After we found our first cache we discovered one shouldn’t use our real names to log it. We decided to use Up & Down for a temporary name as we had searched up and down for this first cache. After we had found about 10 caches we thought it would be too much work to change the name. We have since been known as Up & Down.


3. How many caches have you found so far?
As of August 1st we have found 2,648 caches.

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4. What brand/type of GPS do you use?
Most of the time we use our iPhone. We have a built in extended battery that will last the entire day. As for a GPS, the Garmin Etrex 20x is our preferred tool.


5. What programs/software or hardware (PDA/laptop/phone) do you use to make caching easier?
We prefer using Cachly on our iPhone. We feel it’s more straight forward to use then the Geocaching App. On our laptop, we use the Geocaching web site. Other programs we use on our laptop include: Project GC, Find Latitude and Longitude, and Geocaching Toolbox.


6. What type of cache do you prefer seeking – traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual?
We like variety though whenever we get the chance we go after virtuals caches. When traveling we usually avoid multi’s as they sometimes can take hours to complete. We always check to see how many stages there are. Puzzle caches is another type that usually have to be solved ahead of time though not always.

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7. Which caches were the most challenging – physically/mentally? Why?
Physically the 5/5 traditional caches are guaranteed to be difficult. Additionally they may have special equipment requirements to make the find. Conversely the mystery/puzzle caches are by far the hardest mentally. We usually stick with a difficulty level of less than 3.


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?
There are so many caches that we’ve enjoyed. Here is a list of just a few.

Traditional - A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Multi-cache - The Evil Imp – A Nyte Cache
Mystery - The Capitol-A Historic Frederick Geo-Adventure
Virtual - Maryland Heights (part II)
Wherigo - The Angels of Frederick
Letterbox - CAM 2017, National Park Seminary
Earth Cache - Libertytown Watershed

In West Virginia we’ve enjoyed all of WVTim’s caches

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9. What’s the most unusual thing that you’ve ever found in a cache?
Stickman made of colored wires.


10. What are your current caching goals? Is there a certain cache that you can’t wait to do?
For this year we want to average over 100 caches a month, travel to more states, and make some finds using a kayak.

Mingo in Kansas would be a milestone for us. I expect we’ll get there sometime next year.


11. How many caches have you placed? Do you have a current hiding goal?
So far, we’ve hidden 15 caches. We have plans to put out more. We would like to put out a few more challenging caches.


12. What advice would you give someone that wants to place a cache? What steps do YOU take when placing a cache?
Find a place with easy parking
Hide something you would enjoy finding
Hide a cache on a sunny day to get accurate GPS readings
Wait at least 10 minutes to get accurate GPS readings
Try to make your cache creative
Do not hide in the middle of a poison ivy patch

We use our iPhone and GPS unit to get as accurate readings as possible.

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13. How often do you go caching?
As often as we can. This year we’ve been going 4 or 5 days of every week. The month of July has been an exception as my loving wife had a knee replacement and that has slowed her down. We hope by end of August she’ll be back in full force.


14. What advice would you give a beginning geocacher?
Finding traditional caches was easiest as we started off by using just our iPhone. Eventually we learned how to use our GPS unit and we worked our way up to puzzle caches. We are still learning.


15. Have you completed CAM in the past? What was your favorite aspect?
We’ve completed 2016 and 2017 CAM. The best aspect of CAM caches is it takes us to places like parks and landmarks in Maryland that we wouldn’t normally go.


16. Do you collect geocoins? Of the ones that you’ve collected, which is your favorite?
Yes, we collect geocoins. Our favorite would be “Heart of the Civil War”.

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17. What type of gear do you carry with you on your caching trips? What’s in your geopack?
Our geopack usually contains extra cloths, food, water and smaller items like matches, pens, tweezers, batteries, extra logs, trinkets, Ziploc Bags, First Aid Kit. etc. Trekking poles/hiking sticks are another great item to have. Finally, we have our iPhone and Etrex 20x GPS unit.


18. What is your most memorable caching experience?
One of the most memorable caching experiences would be WVTim’s Cave . What a great time we had. Crawling on our bellies, squeezing through tight areas and twisting around rocks, climbing up and down, shuffling our feet on slippery rocks. For me I was never quite sure if claustrophobia was going to set in. Fortunately, it did not. Tight areas don’t bother my partner. We also took our 8-year-old grandson who had no problem going through the tight spaces. Once inside the cavern where the cache was located, WVTim had everyone turn off the head lamps. It was so dark! There was no way one could find their way out without light. One other thing I would like to mention was how everyone was pitching in and helping each other. What a great experience!


19. What is your best caching story?
GeoRick’s 5/5 multi cache on Sugarloaf Mountain, Buker's Large Nut, was an adventure we’ll never forget. We were at the final stage looking over a cliff knowing somewhere over the edge was the prize we needed for a happy face. Before adventuring over the edge, we called GeoRick just to verify where we thought the cache may be. I could see him smiling on the other end of the phone as he could tell we weren’t thrilled about going over the edge. He verified our fear. For safety, I pulled a rope out of our backpack and tied it to my partner. I knew I could pull her back up (if needed) and I wasn’t sure if she could pull me back up. Off she went down the side of the rock formation searching for the prize. She was able to locate and reach the cache. She signed it and placed it back. She was able to crawl back up on her own. Another great geocaching experience!

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20. What do you like about geocaching? What keeps you going?
Visiting new places! We both like to travel and we both enjoy getting out. Geocaching is a perfect fit for us.


21. Besides geocaching, what other things do you like to do?
Hiking and seeing new places. This is why geocaching fits our life style so well. I’m a coin collector and love doing home projects. My partner is a volunteer at the Food Bank and Animal Society.

22. What question did you expect us to ask but didn’t?
Have you had any Medical Emergencies due to geocaching?

I’ve been to the emergency room for something they call recluse spider bite. The flesh on my leg was being eaten away from a spider bite. The doctor had to cut away what he called the infected part. I soon had a large hole in my upper thigh at least a half inch deep and a couple of inches in diameter. That stopped our geocaching for a few weeks. Eventually the hole repaired itself.
The next summer I had another bite. This time I went to the doctor immediately and I was cured with antibiotics. Didn’t lose any caching time!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:46 am 
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Another great couple I've met geocaching. As always, helpful and friendly. I am curious though. Who was that cacher at the cemetery in WV who got you interested in this game?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:43 am 
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Nice write-up! I've had the pleasure of meeting Up & Down on several occasions, on the geo-trail and at events. Interesting to learn more about them.


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