June 2008
 
For this month's Interview Series, I got in contact with JBraach of Bozeman. This couple has been geocaching since 2005, and were the first to complete the Montana Delorme Challenge. These veterans of Montana Geocaching have travelled nearly the same distance as if they'd driven around the earth, and offer some words of wisdom to those who are thinking of participating.
 
"Out of the two of you, who got who into geocaching, and how did that person first get involved?"
Our first experience geocaching was in the summer of 2004. While at a family camping trip Scarlett and I went with my parents, who have been caching since 2001,  to find a couple of caches. We immediately liked the idea but didn't follow through at that time. In September of 2005 we again went caching with my parents and decided that it was time we got a GPS and started ourselves. We received a GPS for Christmas that year and we haven't stopped caching since.

"You have geocached all over the state, in fact, the majority of your finds are between 200 to 500 hundred miles from your home coordinates, what has been your favorite places to geocache?"
Our favorite places to geocache are those areas that are a bit off the beaten path. Whether we are in the mountains of western Montana or the plains of eastern Montana geocaching has shown us wonderful sites and areas that we probably would never have discovered otherwise.

"To date, you are the only geocachers to have completed GC12727 The Montana DeLorme Challenge. When did you start, and when did you complete this challenge? Do you have any tips for other geocachers who are intersted in pursuing this cache?"
The Montana DeLorme Challenge has been our proudest achievement in geocaching so far. We had a wonderful time and got to see so much of the state. We took three major trips over the course of a little over a month to complete the challenge. I highly recommend this cache as a way to discover some of the more remote places in Montana. The one tip I have for anyone looking to pursue this cache is to plan your route ahead of time and don't be afraid to drive by a cache without stopping after you have that page. If we had tried to do every cache we went by we would still be out there. We do look forward to revisiting some of the areas that we passed through while working on the challenge and getting some additional finds.

"Total cache-to-cache distance for you is 19549 miles!!! That's nearly the circumference fo the earth (24,901 miles). What tips do you have for geocachers that would like to travel more as a way to find more geocaches?"
The distance around the earth is a very interesting stat. I suppose we've been around the world a couple times then because we have put just a shade over 60,000 miles on our pickup since we started geocaching. A lot of our travel has been out of necessity because we had limited geocaches in our area, both when we started geocaching in Whitefish and now that we live in Bozeman. We really enjoy getting on the highways and biways to get caches. In our opinion some of our best days were ones where we drove hundreds of miles to pick up just two or three caches.

"Do you think that if it weren't for geocaching, would you travel around as much? Or do you have other interests that would keep you on the road?"
I have always had a love for travelling and geocaching is a wonderful tool to give me a direction to go. Everyone knows of neat things to see in their local area and when they place a geocache they are able to share that site with others who would never know about it otherwise.

"Are the current increases in fuel prices keping you from heading out onto the road as much, or have you begun using different strategies for finding long-distance geocaches?"
The current increase in fuel prices has definitely had an impact on our geocaching. We enjoy caching very much but we are not rich people. We have had to take a good look at our budget and because we love to cache we have cut back on other expenses, like eating out and cable TV. We also started taking our car, instead of the pickup, on geocaching trips to save cost on fuel.

As far as anyone considering travelling to get caches goes a great way to save money is to get together with other cachers and carpool. It doesn't take anymore gas for four than it does for two. We have been fortunate enough to travel with others a couple of times and I think good company really adds to the caching experience as well as saving money by splitting expenses.

"Bozeman seems to have very few geocaches, for one of our larger cities this seems like either a paradise for hiders, or a disappointment for finders. What is your take on this?"
As far as caches go in the Bozeman area, there may not be as many in town as other areas, but there are some great caches in the surrounding mountains. A large number of the oldest active caches in the state are within an hours drive of Bozeman, some just require a little more work to get to than others. To me one cache at a scenic mountain lake is better than twenty caches in department store parking lots. As the snow recedes in the area we plan on placing a few caches of our own, but don't expect them to be within the city limits.

"Have you heard about other geocachers in the Bozeman area that are interested in getting a group together?"
We haven't had the pleasure of meeting too many Bozeman area cachers yet, but we have been to a few events around the state and have met some really wonderful people from all corners of the state. We always look forward to meeting and chatting with our fellow geocachers.

"You've cached in all of the northwestern states, including British Columbia. Other than Canada, are there any other countries that you'd really like to find at least a few geocaches in?"
As far as where we will cache next, I really don't know. We always like to see new areas but we don't have any plans for travelling to other countries as of now. There are still so many caches and so much to see in Montana and in the Northwest that we haven't even scratched the surface. We will probably be quite content to continue to travel around Montana and our neighboring states for some time.


I'd like to thank JBraach (Josh & Scarlett) for particpating in the MontanaGeocachers Interview Series, and if you happen to meet them on the trail, or at an Event, say hello and ask where they've been to recently.
JBraach