"When you go to hide a cache, think of the reason you are bringing people to that spot.
If the only reason is for the cache, then find a better spot."
.... Briansnat


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Completing the Ohio Counties

We left for vacation with finds in 86 of the Ohio 88 Counties.

Our first find in Lawrence County was a fun cache at the library in Ironton. The staff at the library were very friendly and helpful. Ali took the opportunity of being in their geneology area to look for information. She found quite a bit of usefeul information.

We're also looking toward qualifying the Great 880 Challenge which requires ten finds in each county. We enjoyed a variety of caches in Lawrence including a number of cemeteries and and an unexpected find at a rock face. I know it's only a rock but I like it, Yes I do will certainly get a favorite vote from us.

We finished our 88 county quest and added another completed county to our Great 880 Quest with a visit to Gallia County. Like Lawrence County, we relied on many cemetery caches including a very nice multi in Mound Hill Cemetery overlooking Galipolis.

We finished our visit to Gallia with some time in the woods at the attractive Raccoon Creek County Park.

With Ohio counties now all green, we now have five states (New Jersey, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio) with caches found in each county. We've looked out to see other states where we could enjoy a chase for all the counties. New Hampshire and Connecticut are waiting for return visits. Vermont, New York, Maine, and Washington are four states which would be much more difficult to complete, but are calling out as wonderful journeys. For now, we will enjoy completing this challenge.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday, July 01, 2016

Find it... in Medina County GeoTrail

We find a lot of caches and have completed a far share of geotrails. We usually find the geotrail caches much later after the series has been out for some time. The one exception a few years back was the Backroads and Beaches GeoTrail in Lorain County which we found the same day as the kick-off event. Today was the second exception.

My work travel schedule made staying in Ohio for the weekend a good idea. I wanted a weekend where we could cache and be together without the dogs. The Medina County GeoTrail made the perfect opportunity with perfect timing. The day started with a kick-off event and the Wolf Creek Environmental Center. The building is nestled in the woods and was large enough to hold a big gathering of geocachers.

After visiting with friends, meeting some new people, giving away trackables, and publishing the caches, we were on our way. We really enjoyed the Strolling Stark GeoTrail because it mixed county history with visits to Stark Parks. This geotrail was like that only more. We were able to get our fill of nature enjoying multiple Medina County Parks and a stop at Cleveland Metroparks' Hinckley Reservation while enjoying a number of historical and interesting places in the county. In our first day on the trail, we missed only the bakery and the rail museum which were both closed by the time we arrived. We did manage a stop at a roadside Amish stand. They were out of fresh bread, but I was happy for a jar of elderberry jam.

It is a cicada year in Northeast Ohio. They made their presence known very loudly at a number of parks.

Our trip to scenic Allardale Park included spotting two blue birds. I was happy for the opportunity to capture an image of this bluebird on the nesting box. I was happy Ali spotted an indigo bunting during our walk, but disappointed I missed a rare opportunity to capture an image of a beautiful bird.

We tend to cache a little slower than most cachers. If there's something to see, we'll gladly give up a few finds for the day to see the sights. We could have pushed and qualified for the coin in one day, but we had a great time and decided to return the next day to finish the trail.

The return for a second day brought a happy surprise. When we arrived at Mapleside Farms for a cache, there was a car show in progress! I'm foolishly happy looking at other people's wonderful old cars. It was a good show.

We were able to visit with the happy owner of this 34 Chrysler. His all original car was impressive.

All things, including this fun geotrail journey, must end. We found twenty-four of twenty-five caches with one left behind for a future return to the county. Before our journey home, we made our way to the hotel redeeming coins for those completing the trail.

The image doesn't show how nice the coin is. It captures the county perfectly. It was given to finders of eighteen caches while the bonus pathtag was awarded to those finding twenty-two caches in the series. It is a very nice keepsake for us and a reminder of a very fun weekend.

Should you decide to visit the trail, there are plenty of other well done caches in the area to fill out a few days of fun. Hinckley Reservation has a number of caches. The Brunswick 200 series celebrates the city's bicentennial. There are eight caches in the Friends of Wadsworth annual series. Whatever your caching taste, the Find it... in Medina County GeoTrail is worth a visit and offers a coin worth adding to your geocoin collection.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Strolling Stark GeoTour

The Strolling Stark GeoTour is a ten cache trail in a county south of our Ohio home. We decided to make this tour one of our winter geocaching goals. In 2013 we completed the Marion County GeoTrail in the winter months. It was a perfect way to shorten the winter and get some exercise. Marion's tour was a lot of fun and is still a positive memory for us. The Stark GeoTour promised even more since the trail was released with the support of the county park system. Stark Parks is a scenic park system so the chance of winter walks in the park was enticing.

We started in mid-January with a trip to Stark Parks' Walborn Reservoir. Ohio can be quite grey in January, but walking the trails here helped move the winter along. With only ten caches in the series, we could have raced through the county and finished in one day. There are enough interesting things to see and caches to find that we chose to spread the tour over multiple visits.

Icy Walborn Reservoir from near the boat house. There is a cache on one of the islands and the park rents boats (non-motorized) if you care to add a T5 to your journey. Local cachers, thekamphs, made our planning easy. They have placed many well maintained caches in Stark Parks which give trail cachers a reason to stay at places like Walborn and enjoy the sights.

Our Deercreek Reservoir visit was the greyest, snowiest geocaching day of the winter.

The following weekedn, we returned for more of the trail and were treated to blue skies and sunshine.

We finished the GeoTour on a bright blue day in early February.

We made four visits to the county to finish the GeoTour. We enjoyed the parks, the history, and the caches. The coordinates were good. The locations were interesting. This is a first rate geotrail. Meeting the trail requirements also means a trackable coin.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Follow Your Arrow

Coke has finally released a special bottle celebrating geocaching. ;) Remember to follow your arrow often and enjoy the journey.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Store of Our Own

I'm lucky to be able to cache in Spokane when there on business. Besides outstanding natural beauty, the area is filled with a dedicated group of cachers who have provided me hours of fun on trails with high-quality geocaches. Spokane also boasts having one of the only two brick-and-mortar geocaching stores in the US. My first visit to the Cache Cave was for the Back to the Future geocaching event. I've been back a few times for supplies. Everyone is friendly. They are all geocachers. The store is well stocked. It's a must visit if you are in the Spokane area. I try to leave a little space in my luggage for purchases on the chance I can stop for a visit when I am in town.

Make certain you bring a favorite point for giving the well-done Tardis cache outside the store.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Best Flashmob Theme Yet?

The Hotel Matthews in Akron, Ohio was torn down in 1982. In its day, the hotel served the African American community in the neighborhood and provided lodging for a number of artists including Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington as they performed in the area.

image source unknown

In memory of this now departed landmark, an artist created Hotel Matthews.

image source: Clio

Local cacher AHOLLYS is hosting a flashmob at the work requesting cachers bring a bag and form a line for check-in.

Her flash mob theme is completely appropriate and a perfect example of the spontaneous nature these events should capture. Hopefully, there will be a long line waiting for check-in.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Call of the Wildflower

We had the opportunity to add our 34th state with geocaching finds with a vacation in Minnesota. We traveled from Minneapolis to Duluth/Superior to Grand Marais to Ely and back to Minneapolis. We are suckers for state park caching and for multis so the state park sponsored Call of the Wildflowers geocaching trail was perfect for us. We covered most of the state parks on our travel path but left many, many places to still visit in the future. The week was a state park highlight show with so many great locations to see. We missed much on our travels, but the images below are a good sample of our journey. If you like visiting state parks, this is a wonderful way to get to know Minnesota.

The best feature of our geo-rental was the parking sticker we added to give us entry to the parks.

Actually, we liked the rotating knob for the transmission selector, but were focused on the delicious chocolates we found on the way,

Our journey started Friday afternoon at William O'Brien State Park and a quiet walk along the shore.

We took a break from the state parks to pay a visit to Franconia Sculpture Park.

The glacial erosion at Interstate State Park made for an interesting earthcache on our journey.

and we did see wildflowers near the glacial formations

Jay Cooke State Park included a very nice bouncy suspension bridge and some very fast water.

Gooseberry Falls State Park

At Split Rock Lighthouse State Park we enjoyed the lighthouse up close and from afar. We even enjoyed a little birding.

At Tettegouche State Park Ali spotted signs of earlier blossoms from nodding trilliums. These are uncommon in our normal travel and caching areas.

Bunch berries are more common near home for us, but in the parks we visited they were everywhere. They were well past blooming but their distinctive leaves and berries were very visible to us. The plant below was spotted in Judge CR Magney State Park. We probably didn't give this park as much time as we should have, but we enjoyed seeing the bunchberry and a nice view of Lake Superior.

After a brief visit to Thunder Bay, we crossed back to the states and enjoyed a quiet day's end walk to the river at Grand Portage State Park.

Every day brought more waterfalls. We started the second half of our vacation with a visit to Cascade River State Park with high views of the falls, spots along the trail at water level, and some very interesting rocks.

Whale Lake wasn't a part of the state park geotrail, but this serene lake in the Boundary Waters area at the Eagle Mountain was a quiet and pleasant stop on our way to Eagle Mountain.

Minnesota's highest peak was another side journey for us. Eagle Mountain is a low high point by most standards and not tall by comparison to many of our climbs, but it was a spirited hike from the low elevations of the Boundary Waters to the summit. We seemed to be threatened by rain this entire walk, but the weather held out for us to visit the marker and stop to enjoy the view at the top. On the way down, another wildflower, indian pipes, were visible along the side of the trail.

The fast waters running through deep cut gorges at Temperance State Park started another day of adventure for us.

Since this geotrail was about the wildflowers, we enjoyed spotting blue vervane on our journey to Ely.

Whether it's huckleberry, blueberry, wine berry, or tasty raspberries no summer vacation on the trail is complete without many helpings of berries along the trail.

I was thrilled for this bird sighting near the end of one day.

Where would be a better place to continue the Call of the Wildflower geotrail than a half-mile underground? We weren't going to pass by the opportunity to tour the old Soudan iron mine. The mine has been closed since 1962, but it offers a rare view into mine life at that time using mine equipment from the same era. We were both happy to have the opportunity as a side trip before continuing the Call of the Wildflower geotrail.

This is what you see after descending a half-mile to the 27th level in a mine elevator filled with over a dozen other people.

That's me, looking at home with a hardhat in a mine car.

A three-quarter mile tram ride took us to the last stages of the mine and our tour.

Back on the surface, we diverted from the geotrail to find Minnesota's oldest cache and enjoy the call of the wildflowers at a wetlands boardwalk.

We ended the last full day of vacation visiting multiple state parks on the way back to Minneapolis. Our first stop was Bear Head Lake with a view that called out to sit and relax by the shore

Moose Lake State Park was also quite inviting. If it were practical, I would have wanted to just spend time on the water. It was like glass and invited a visit.

We finished our day and this journey with a multi along the river at St. Croix State Park.

This is a geotrail that deserves a look and a visit if possible. I had a great time and have great memories. The parks and the general area were locations that left me longing for just a bit more time to spend and enjoy. We took it relatively slow. It would take us at least two more vacations to visit the rest of the state parks. It won't happen, but we were rewarded for completing just a part of this journey. Maybe one more is possible to see the prairie parks...