A Q&A with Noel Heard, winner of the Nikon Weekend Takeover

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Congratulations to Noel Heard from Calgary for winning the Nikon Weekend Takeover prize for The Great Trail Treasure Hunt! Although Noel and his wife, Danielle Bouch, are relatively new to the world of geocaching, they’ve jumped in with both feet and show no signs of slowing down. Now searching for their ninth box (only 191 boxes to go!), they’re branching out from their hometown of Calgary with the hopes of coming across many more boxes before the contest comes to a close. Here, Noel talks about the power the Trail has to unite Canada, advice for fellow new geocachers and what his favourite trail location has been thus far.

How did you get started geocaching?

This is our first time doing it. My wife saw The Great Trail Treasure Hunt contest on social media and she was the one that got us both started on it. We’re really excited about it and we’ve been having a great time tracking down the boxes and seeing parts of our local neighbourhood that we’ve never seen before.

Which box did you find?

We’ve found a few, actually! We cycled around Calgary and found five boxes there. We’ve been out to Canmore, Alberta, and found a couple boxes there as well, and then we went out to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, near Cochrane, to search — we had never been before and it’s absolutely beautiful. I think in total we’ve found eight boxes now. We plan to do even more! You can bet we’re going to keep going.

What’s been your favourite trail location so far?

Glenbow Provincial Park is really spectacular and it’s a place so close to home that I’ve never seen. It was so cool, everybody should go out there! We were hiking when we found the box. We actually had our big backpacks on because we’re currently training for a backpacking adventure coming up in a few weeks. We were doing some interval training while geocaching for fun at the same time — it was a good day.

What does The Great Trail mean to you?

The idea that you can go anywhere just by stepping out your own front door is incredible. Everything is connected and that is a powerful way of uniting Canada. There are so many places in Canada that I haven’t been yet and I’d love to visit anywhere out east, especially Newfoundland and Labrador. We’ve done quite a bit of exploring on the west coast but we haven’t really gone out east since we were kids, so we’d love to go back. Canada is such a huge place that it’s almost hard to wrap your head around it, but The Great Trail makes it feel a bit more connected.

What was your reaction to winning The Great Trail Nikon Weekend Takeover?

I’m so excited to be the winner! I’ve been really wanting a good camera for a while and it’s an amazing prize so I’m so happy to have won it!

Do you have any advice for new geocachers?

It’s surprisingly easy with technology being what it is today. Just take your phone with you and go hunting! There’s not much standing in your way, it’s just about deciding to explore parts of your local neighbourhood that you never knew about before.

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