An American cacher OzGuff has the second most caches placed by an individual in the world. I wondered why and how someone could hide so many caches so I wrote him an e-mail requesting an interview with him. His reply in English contained the Hungarian word „köszönöm” in brackets at the end of his e-mail. This was what I asked him first about.

-I couldn’t help but notice the Hungarian word you used to sign off your e-mail. Where did it come from?

[OzGuff] I thought that since you were Hungarian it would be nice to thank you in your native language. I found a website that could translate English into Hungarian and found a word that seemed to mean "thanks". Hope I got it right!

Me after "signing the log"; Paint The Town led you all over the town getting information from murals; you had to "sign" a well known graffiti wall.

- You have 951 caches hidden. How? Why?

[OzGuff] When I started geocaching back in September 2003 there were very few caches near where I lived. I started placing caches in the hopes that they would attract other cachers to my area and that they would place caches that I could then go and find. My original idea didn't really work but I kept placing caches. I didn't start out with the intention of being one of the most prolific cache placers -- and I will never catch King Boreas (the number one placer) -- but I definitely enjoy finding cool and interesting spots to bring other cachers to. And I also like developing puzzles that cachers have to solve in order to find the coordinates for a cache.

- How do you select the place where you want to hide?

[OzGuff] Usually it is a cool spot that might be off the beaten path. Sometimes it is just a spot or two along a trail in a nearby national forest that doesn't already have a cache. And sometimes it is just to place another cache. But I definitely like to mix it up so have a diverse mix of caches -- park-and-grabs, long hikes in the woods, devious hides, hard puzzles. If you come to western North Carolina you should be able to find a few of my caches that you enjoy.

My family near the Little Bradly Falls multi-cache. (OzGuff, OzMeg, Tahu, SWMBO).

- How much time, energy, cost is involved with your caches?

[OzGuff] Too much! The caches I have placed are usually placed while I am in an area either caching or on business or hiking with the family. I don't usually go out of my way to place caches but work it into other activities. But if you work out the total value of cache containers, logbooks, writing implements, and trade items, I have probably "invested" somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000 in the caches I have placed. (And maybe even more.) But without people placing caches this activity would not be possible, so I will likely keep placing them.
Cache maintenance is also an issue, but I usually wait until there are consecutive online logs mentioning a problem before visiting a cache to repair/replace. But I definitely take cache maintenance seriously and try not to let a cache sit there too long without checking up on it.

- Do you have a favorite one?

[OzGuff] My favorite cache of mine is The North Carolina DeLorme Challenge (GCTYE6). The DeLorme company makes maps of US states, with each state divided into smaller sections. Most states have between 50-80 pages. The DeLorme Challenge is to find at least one cache on each of the pages of the DeLorme atlas. I started the one for my home state of North Carolina. The reason I like this cache has nothing to do with where the cache is hidden but is all about the stories the cachers who have attempted the challenge tell when they meet me. (I try to be available when they finish the challenge as the cache is hidden not far from where I live.) Without exception they really enjoyed exploring North Carolina and are happy that I placed the cache. They went places they never would have and saw things that they will remember for years. It is just fun to chat with them about their travels! (And to give you some idea about the relative size of Hungary and North Carolina, Hungary is 93,030 square kilometres and North Carolina is 139,509 square kilometres.)

Me at the top of a 25 meter chimney; in the middle fo an extreme 5/5 cache called Earth Wind Fire Water.

- Do you think there are people who log a find but actually they have never found or even visited your cache?

[OzGuff] Definitely. Early on I tried to make sure that people who had logged my caches online had actually visited the caches by comparing the physical log. But I eventually came to the realization that if someone wants to increase their find count that is their problem, and not mine.

Me at DisneyWorld finding a virtual cache.

- Are there any ways for you to make sure that everyone plays the game in a fair manner?

[OzGuff] My philosophy on geocaching is that we all play the game differently; what seems "fair" to you may not seem "fair" to me. So I have adopted the philosophy that if you let me play the game my way I will let you play the game your way.

- How do you maintain so many caches?

[OzGuff] I just make sure that I take the time to get out to any caches that seem to have a problem. But I do try to make it efficient by visiting a number of caches in the same general area at the same time. And many of my caches are puzzles which do not get attempted as frequently. And most of my long hike caches are also rarely visited so don't need as much maintenance. It is actually the park-and-grab caches that need more maintenance; because they go missing more often and are visited more often.

Me near a cache called "Nashville Air Museum".

- There is at least one cache named after you (OzGuff does Bat Cave!). What’s its story?

[OzGuff] I thought that a cache of mine was missing and asked another cacher to replace it for me. I provided the replacement cache, but when he got to the "missing" cache he found that it wasn't missing. I told him to just keep the replacement cache, and he wound up placing it and called it "OzGuff Does Bat Cave". (The cache is located near an area called "Bat Cave".) There are actually a few more caches out there with "OzGuff" in the title; most of them are "thank you" caches placed by others who appreciate my contributions to geocaching.

And, of course, I appreciate the caches for two reasons -- because it means I am probably making a positive contribution to the sport AND because I get to go out and find them!

A friend (Nuwati) and I after conquering Tube Torcher 2 eleven hours over two days, most of it spent underground.

- What do you know and/or think of this cache: That’s Enuf, OzGuff!.

I noticed that King Boreas placed a cache called "That's Enuf, OzGuff!" (GC126BV) where KB had obviously noticed that I had placed a decent number of caches. So I placed King Boreas vs. OzGuff: The Gauntlet. Since then we have communicated a few times, and even hidden caches for each other. (I now have a cache hide in Minnesota and KB has a cache hide in North Carolina.) It is playful competition, but I still have no plans to make a concerted effort to catch him. He has a huge lead and there is no way I could ever get there.

- You are also active in finding caches. What cache types do you like?

[OzGuff] Much like the caches I like to place I like to find caches that take me somewhere new, somewhere cool, somewhere interesting. Long hikes in the woods or to the top of a mountain with great views -- these I like! I also find the park-and-grabs but don't find them nearly as rewarding.

- Have you found caches abroad?

[OzGuff] Yes. England, France, Australia. I am a dual-citizen, US and Australia, and have found caches Down Under while visiting relatives. My family took a vaction to Paris a few years ago and we found some caches. My company has training offices in London and I was able to find a few caches there while helping to train new employees. When I travel I like to find caches!

My kids, their cousins, and my father-in-law in the middle of a night cache.

- Do you have plans for more caches to hide?

[OzGuff] I wouldn't say that I have "plans" but I will definitely be hiding more caches. I am trying to come up with something special for my 1,000th hide.

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