March 2017: –RobFam
1. Tell us about your caching name.
ROBFAM. My oldest son came up with it. It is a combination of the words ROBerts FAMily (ironically enough ROBFAM was taken, so we added the – in front of it).
2. How were you introduced to Geocaching and what was the first cache you found?
Many years ago, while living in Chesapeake, I was doing long distance orienteering challenges; one day while out on a trek, a teammate brought up the subject of geocaching. The way I understood it at the time, it was a navigation game for children so I kind of just forgot about it. Fast forward several years, living in Camp Lejeune NC at the time with 3 kids (1,3, and 7) we were all out on a hike near the Croatan National Forest when my oldest son spotted a hole in the trunk of a tree and says “wouldn’t that be a cool spot to hide a treasure”. I immediately recalled the geocaching conversation and tried my best to explain it to my kids as we walked to check out the hole in the tree. I was trying to explain what a geocache container might look like when my son picked up a container out of the hole that was clearly marked “Official Geocache” and asked “Do they look like this”. On the way home from the hike, my wife pulled up the website on her phone and gave us all a better class as I drove. After signing up, we pulled into a nearby park and made our first official find Deppe Park- Not Deep. –RobFam was hooked.
3. Tell us about your receiver and any other “tools” (hardware and software) that help you cache.
My wife and I both have C:GEO downloaded onto our phones. When I am going deeper into the woods I will carry my compass and GPSR. The GPS that I have been using for the past several years is the Garmin 401 Foretrex. My 2 sons, after learning how to read a map and use a compass are now learning to use a GPSR (Etrex and Legend).
4. What essential items do you always carry in your cache bag?
A phone and a pen for most caches. But for those awesome caches that require anywhere from a 3 mile hike to an all day hike, I will carry my geobag - a Maxpedition sling pack consisting of: map, compass, GPSR, knife, water bottle and nesting cup, lighter, emergency bivy, a 55 gal trash bag, 550 cord, head lamp, UV light, pen, extra batteries, Swiss Army tweezers, log roller, SWAG, cache repair kit, triangular bandage, and my stamp / Letterbox notebook.
5. Do you trade items in and out of caches?
When the kids are with me – of course!
6. Do you have any signature items or ones in the works?
No… I just can’t decide on something. I did carve my own stamp for letterboxing, it’s not that creative but it was fun to make.
7. What is your favorite thing about caching?
Being in the woods.
8. Do you cache by yourself or with another person? How often do you go caching?
I cache with the family when I can get them out the door. I also love caching with other people, but will cache by myself if no one is up for the trip. I just finished my 366 day challenge so I was caching every day, I have slacked off a bit now.
9. What is your favorite type of cache (traditional, multi, puzzle, virtual etc.)?
I love traditional T5’s hidden deep in the woods far from roads and buildings. I also love to go after caches that haven’t been found in a very long time.
10. Tell us about your favorite cache.
Wow! I can't commit to just one... and I always like to think that the 'next one' may be my favorite.
11. Tell us about a memorable caching experience that you have had.
On our 1 year geocaching anniversary, my two oldest boys (8&5 at the time) and I rappelled down CACHERS OVEN a T5 up in Maryland requiring a rappel into an abandoned well and then a rope climb back out. It was our 500th find! Here is a quick video of that adventure: Geocaching Milestone: 1 Year / 500th Geocache
12. How many states and countries have you cached in?
10 states and 2 countries... I tried to cache in several other countries, but missions kept getting in the way of geocaching.
13. If you could take a vacation anywhere to cache, where would you go?
To find the current oldest unfound Geocache in the US... I think that might be
Ivan's Eye? Anyone know?
14. Tell us about your other interests or talents.
I am one of the Directors for a youth group (AWANA) at my church, and I’m active in Scouts. I also volunteer as an EMT in Fairfax County.
15. Have you set any goals for yourself this year related to caching?
I want to do more WherIGo’s.
16. What would you like NoVAGO to focus on in the future?
NoVAGO, you’re doing great! You’re providing a much appreciated service to the NoVA geocaching community… keep on keeping on.
17. How did FTF Magazine articles come about?
So I teach survival skills, I’m certified in several aspects of rescue, and I write survival / bush-craft articles for a few different outlets. While working with a partner on another one of these survival projects, we realized that we were both geocachers. Once we wrapped up the project, he sent me a link and said if I have some down time I should submit some of my work to this really cool but lesser known magazine (He didn’t know that I was already a subscriber). So I looked into it, and submitted. In this latest issue, I have an article about what gear to select when geocaching in the wilderness… stay tuned for follow up related articles.