Friday, October 19, 2012

Chris Hall - Feature Cacher

When I saw posts on Facebook from Chris Hall, my first thought was that he is a super dad who is proud of his son and his relationship with little Jaydon.   Second thought was that this is a Geocacher who just may have a good story to share.  As so he does - simple but an absolute super story of life and times with Jaydon and Chris Hall, of Summerville, South Carolina. 

“Chris, I want to show you something.” No matter who says it, you are always a little uncomfortable about what it is. Luckily it turned out to be something that launched a new and exciting hobby for me, Geocaching.

 I started Geocaching in October of 2009 after my friend Mat showed me a micro bison tube hidden behind a street sign. Finding the idea of caching interesting I went out to find one on my own. 

At the time I did not have a GPS or smartphone so I printed out cache descriptions and maps. For the first couple of months I found close to twenty caches this way. Some were park and grab and a few others were in the woods. All without a GPS. 

 By this time I was hooked and started looking for a GPS. I found them to be too expensive so I turned to Craigslist were I found a Magellan eXplorist 200, for $30. Now I was ready to cache. 

For over a year I cached in the Charleston area as well as Charlotte, NC and Bristol, Tennessee. I even got a smartphone and a geocaching app. 

Along with finding geocaches I have placed a few. One of my first and most popular geocache is the “Charleston County Public Library.” This cache is a multi mystery cache. It sounds hard but it is not. In fact it’s a family friendly cache with over 45 favorite points. 
 On April 19th, 2011 something happened that changed everything. Jaydon, my son was born. With a new son I had to put Geocaching on hold and become a stay-at-home dad. Unable to Geocache I turned my attention to blogging and started a Jaydon and Daddy blog called The Adventures of Jaydon and Daddy

Over a year later I was in Florida visiting my grandfather. Jaydon was back in Charleston with his mother. While in Fort Myers I decided to pull up the Geocaching app on my smartphone. The next block over was a virtual cache. Deciding it was an easy find I went for it. After logging the find I realized I still had the caching bug.

 Jaydon was 16-months old and was OK with riding in a car seat. So after returning home I decided to take Jaydon on a couple of easy park and grab geocaches to see how well Jaydon would behave. I was happy to find that Jaydon enjoyed taking trips around town. 

 I started caching again, taking Jaydon along with me. In areas where caches were grouped together I would put Jaydon in a stroller and walk the area caching. To my surprise my wife was supportive and offered me opportunities to geocache on the weekends while they were out and around town. 

 I was already taking hundreds of photos of Jaydon and now that would include Jaydon holding a geocache or trackable. I began posting the photos on Facebook and even wrote a couple of blog post about Jaydon geocaching with me, his dad. 

Since I was already a big social media fan with Facebook, Twitter and blogging it was natural for me to start a geocaching Facebook page. 

 I called it “Lowcountry Geocaching.” My posts quickly went from just random pics of my son to interesting cache photos and Geocaching tidbits and discussions. In only a couple of months the “likes” for his “Lowcountry Geocaching” page jumped to over 370. 

My finds also jumped within a couple of months from 300 to over 460. It would have been more by now but I’m not comfortable taking Jaydon into wooded areas especially in the summer heat of the South. Biting bugs and snakes can be a big problem. Depending on the winter and the fact that Jaydon will be older I may take him on a few park caches in the woods. 

I recently hosted my first ever caching event. It turned out to be a great success with over 20 cachers attending, including a gentleman from Germany. 

 With most of the caches in the area already discovered and the wooded caches off limits, for the time being I have turned my caching interest towards creating my own custom geo-swag. Using 1 1/2 inch diameter wooden coins, basically the same size as a standard geocoin, I have created personal swag with fun and interesting art on one side and the Lowcountry Geocaching logo on the other. I’ve also added a QR code that when scanned will take you to my Geocaching Facebook page. 
 I have already produced over 40 coins and dropped most off into caches in the Charleston area and even sent a few off via snail mail to some of his Facebook friends across the country. 

 If you find one of my wooden geocoin swag be sure to scan the QR code on the back like the Facebook page and post a message on where you found the coin. 

I have some great ideas for a couple of unique caches. I want to take geocaching to the next level, at least in the Charleston area. There are so many interesting ways to hide a cache. I’ve been researching unique caches online and believe I can do the same. 

 For me Geocaching is part traveling and part scavenger hunt. It is a way to get outside and explore like when we were kids. I hope I never get tired of it.

So there you have it.  My feature geocacher - Chris Hall knows it not all about the 'numbers', it's all about family.  Thanks Chris for sharing your story.

And by the way, it all start with GC1EKKK,  a difficulty of 1 and the terrain of 1.  But what a way to start -  it was a micro. 

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