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Supporting Member Spotlight - markayla

Meet markayla!

1. What is your real name?

Mark and Kayla Freed

2. Where is your home location?

Cedar Rapids, Iowa

3. When did you start Geocaching?

I (Mark) started caching with my dad, Let Freedom Ring in 2003. Kayla and I started dating in 2010 and that’s when I introduced her to Geocaching. We created our own current account on 11/3/2010. When deciding a name, I jokingly suggested we could combine our names using the letter K from both to become ‘markayla’. Little did I know that Kayla would love it and that would be our name from that point forward. 😊

4. How did you learn about Geocaching?

My dad learned about it from a coworker back in 2003. We got dad a GPS and when we pulled up the map, we saw a cache about a mile from our home. We ventured out and followed the GPS right to the cache. From the moment we found that cache, we were hooked!

5. What is your favorite part of Geocaching?

Being outdoors is great and I really enjoy all the people I’ve met through Geocaching, but my all-time favorite part is being taken to places that I never knew existed. We’ve taken several trips together. While the trips are not 100% Geocaching, we always find some caches. The caches we’ve found on trips are some of the best adventures we’ve had! We’ve definitely found some amazing locations that we would have never seen if Geocaching hadn’t taken us there! The game definitely plays into our love for adventure!

6. What types of caches do you enjoy most?

Well I can never pass by a virtual cache without stopping to check it out. And the puzzle cache type is pretty great because it has so many possibilities within it; from true puzzles, field puzzles, geoart, challenges, and more recently, Adventure Lab bonuses. A well done wherigo can be lots of fun. A quick and easy two stage multi is always appreciated. Who am I kidding, we like them all! 😊

7. What is the favorite cache you’ve found?

Kayla and I have geocached on several trips and found some pretty amazing locations, it’s definitely hard to narrow it down! Some of our favorite finds/adventures are:

We visited GC202RG – 49 AND HOLDING THE CACHE A GOLD MINER’S DELIGHT in Pella for our 1000th find.

We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon and found several caches during that trip. Our most memorable of that trip was GCHREH – Na’ili’ili-haele WaterFalls Cache. It was our first 5/5 (it is a true 5/5) and an incredible adventure!

We took a trip to Texas and found a cache in every county on the trip down. On the return, we cached/drove for about 18 hours straight and claimed smileys in 8 different states!

We took a trip to Seattle and got to visit Geocaching HQ, complete the HQ GeoTour, hiked to GCD, visited the Original Stash Plaque, and completed the Tunnel of Light APE Cache.

8. Outside of Geocaching, what other hobbies/interests do you enjoy?

My family is my world. Thankfully my family enjoys geocaching enough to come with me sometimes. I'm definitely looking forward to taking my boys caching more as they grow up. :) I’m also passionate about my sports teams; Iowa State, Cubs, and the Kansas City Chiefs! :) I also enjoy movies, playing games, and just being outside.

In addition, Mark has been serving on the Board of Directors since September 2019.

9. What made you want to become a board member?

I was previously on the board from 2016-2017. I enjoyed that experience enough that when an opportunity presented itself to be on the board again, I jumped at the chance! Initially, I wanted to be on the board to connect with other cachers and really promote geocaching in our great state. I wanted to serve again because the board is completely different now than it was my first term, and I was very eager to connect and collaborate with different people. Both terms have been great experiences and I encourage anyone who even has a slight interest of serving on the BOD to contact a current board member for more information! :)

10. What have you enjoyed most about being on the board?

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the other board members better and having the opportunity to encourage a healthy, active lifestyle through Geocaching. It’s definitely a highlight every time I see or hear about someone new joining the game and our organization! I’ve also really enjoyed setting up these interviews with supporting members. Learning a little bit more about cachers in our state has been a lot of fun! Thank you to all who support and have participated in these interviews!

Thank you to markayla for being supporting members of IGO!

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