April 2011
For this month's Interview Series, I got in contact with Jennifer&Dean from Lolo. They have been geocaching since 2001, and so are considered to be some of geocaching.com's Charter Members. They are also veterans of Montana Geocaching, and can provide newbies and veterans alike with some good tips, tricks and advice.

"How did you become involved with geocaching and when?"
Jen first created an account on July 31, 2001, but there were not many caches around and we didn't have a GPSr.  We tried a few caches without a GPSr, but no luck, so about a year later we decided to buy one and went to an event to learn more about the game. We then changed the name on Jen's account to Jennifer&Dean. Skydiver and Rye&Leigh were among the attendees, and they turned out to work with Dean.  As did another geocacher- Asatruar.  So we already kinda knew the local caching group.  Not long after that event, we started helping with other events and had a blast and within a year or so the MOOG group was fully developed.
"Could you explain your geocaching name?
Jennifer&Dean because it is our first names. We tried a few other names but nothing made as much sense.  At one point we thought about having separate logons, then we realized that the amount of time spent logging caches could be annoying if we each had to write our own log. 

"What is it about geocaching that makes it exciting to you and keeps you involved?"
The people we get to meet and the places we get to go. We love attending and throwing events so we can meet people. Jen has actually attended several events while on business trips. And the neat places we get to visit, most recently Wenatchee, WA and the Dry Falls area of Washington were a lot of fun to explore.

"Are there any things that you'd like to see improved, or simply changed, in geocaching?"
There has been a lot of focus on power trails this year around the US, and while they are fun, we think people need to think more about their placements and why they are placing a cache. Bring us somewhere special and fun or at least nice. Don't place a cache just to place it, but instead ask yourself, "Would I enjoy spending 40 minutes standing or hanging out here?" and if you can't honestly answer 'yes', then ask again why you are placing the cache.

"What type of GPSr, or navigational device, are you currently using to geocache?"
We have the Garmin Oregon 450T GPS receiver.  It is awesome as it allows you to mark a cache as found and then add field notes; then you can upload the list of found caches to geocaching.com. You can open your 'Field Notes' section there and they are all ready for you to log!  No need to track finds any other way!  It has been amazing for road trips!  We mark all the finds on the GPS and then upload them for ourselves and any friends who traveled with us.

"Do you have a favorite type of geocache that you like to find? Are there any that you dislike?"
We enjoy most types of geocaches.  We try to solve puzzles before road trips if we have time. We tend to avoid complex multi-steps while on trips but enjoy them otherwise. The only caches we dislike are the ones hidden without any real thought about the placement- Jen found a whole series of caches once that were hidden at fast food restaurants, out back near the dumpster.  After the 3rd time she pulled into a parking lot to find out it was one of these caches... she just stopped searching for caches by that particular owner.  

"Can you relate any geocache hunts that really stand out or were unusual?"
We had a chance to geocache in New Orleans a few years ago over Labor Day Weekend. Jen was working there and ended up having to spend the weekend so Dean and another caching friend flew down.  We visited the Premium multicache GCE02C - Vieux Carre, which is the top cache in Louisiana and then spent the day wandering all around New Orleans caching. It was an amazing weekend, made even better by trying to cache during the Southern Decadence celebration that happens in New Orleans that weekend. Decadence is known as the Gay Mardi Gras and we had no idea that there was a party that big about to happen when we made our plans -- it was a blast. 

"What are some of your favorite tips or tricks?"
Always carry some spare logbooks when doing urban caching; TSA looks at you funny when you try to carry an AMMO can through as carry-on but as long as you let them play with it, they are usually OK; large amounts of travelbugs and geocoins in your carry on should be separated from the rest of the electronic wires when going through x-ray machines; don't put geocoins or a GPSr in your checked luggage as you don't want them to disappear.
When traveling, check ahead for Events in the region you are heading to, and don't be shy about showing up at them. You might meet some great new friends who recommend awesome caches you didn't have planned and who drag you out night caching after the event.
"Are there any areas in Montana that you enjoy geocaching the most?"
We loved driving around Lake Koocanusa in Northwest MT a few years ago, and it is always nice to hike in the Bitteroots for a cache or two. We haven't yet been to a part of MT that we haven't enjoyed.
"If you were to recommend a "must-do" Montana geocache to someone who had never been geocaching under the Big Sky, which one would it be, and why?"
There are so many... Lost Lake Overlook has already been mentioned by someone else. We keep a Bookmark list of all our top favorite caches on geocaching.com; there are a bunch of MT caches on that list.  For overall favorite, probably Hubbart Falls- GC12PXB or Holland Falls- GCGKYP; both had decent hikes and neat views.
"Do you have any other parting words of wisdom, advice, or general thoughts that you'd like to share?"
If you aren't having fun caching, you are probably doing it wrong. Don't worry about what other people are doing unless it actually endangers someone, and just get out and have fun. Oh, and don't forget spare batteries when planning a day of caching!

I'd like to thank jennifer&dean for particpating in the MontanaGeocachers Interview Series. If you enjoy finding geocaches that provide great hikes, great scenery, or just plain good geocaches in general, check out the list of geocaches this couple has found in their profile. And if you're in, or around, Missoula, check to see if there is an Event you can attend - chances are you'll meet up with Jennifer and/or Dean.