"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


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Parker Dam Event

It took five tries before we were actually able to attend, but we finally made it to the Fifth Annual Parker Dam Event. This annual event has always sounded like fun and our friends who attend each year always tell us they enjoy it. It's at the edge of a day trip for us, but we were in Pennsylvania and made this a priority.

The event is hosted by Redbat who owned the Legacy of Conservation GeoTrail and now has the CCC Legacy of Conservation GeoTrail. It was a super event. It was our type of event. We love hanging out with friends at a super park (think lower-key ASP Geobash). We were happy to see so many friends and be able to visit in a quiet setting. We were also finally able to see the legendary ammo can toss. We knew cachers stood at the beach and tossed ammo cans onto the beach. It was everything we expected. Everyone laughed and had fun. If we can make arrangements to be here, we will be sure to be back.

Redbat talks about the now ended Legacy of Conservation GeoTrail and the opening CCC GeoTrail.

The crowd gathers for the ammo can toss.



and Geokids all participated.

The flags show a close competition.

The awards ceremony

Gwen was really happy there was a temporary cache placed just for geodogs. Phineas is Phinicky on the trail and won't eat treats.

It's a lot easier to have a great event when the weather is this wonderful and the location is super.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Legacy of Conservation GeoTrail

This trail seemed to take forever to complete. We started with a bunny find on the easiest cache in December 2010 and were never able to return to the hunt. The preparation for being one of the hosts for GeoWoodstock in Pennsylvania, my constant travel for work, and Ali returning to work all seemed to keep this trail from being found. There were a few caches in the series which we had already found. We revisited most of those in the first year or two. In spring of 2012, we had grand plans to find a number of caches during a trip to Williamsport, but some tough weather limited that trip.

In the end, we made a big push to finish the geotrail in May and June before it closed June 30th. We were lucky to enjoy two series of adventures with Eva while she was still with us. We finished the trail on June 21st.

We were really glad to have the opportunity to complete the trail. The caches were our kind of hides with a mix of tough hikes and tough climbs with a few surprises. About half the caches were like a highlight reel for many of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania. The rest were often just plain wonderful walks in the woods. The pictures below are some of our memories of this amazing journey.

We had to look a couple times for the hide at Chapman State Park. This cache didn't gather many favorite votes, but we have a special fondness for Chapman. It was the Legacy of Conservation cache closest to our home and super place to go for a shorter hike. Depending on the day, you can see tundra swans passing through or an eagle hunting at the park. It is also home to Winterfest, one of our favorite geocaching events and one we have had the pleasure of hosting multiple times.

Smokey played a role in this geocaching trail. We enjoyed spotting this one with topo map pants at S.B. Elliot State Park.

Our Spring 2012 trip brought us to this quiet stream at a new (for us) state park.

This stream was in the land of the first Pennsylvania State Forest purchase.

Hyner View State Park has a great view, a benchmark for finding, and a scary looking hang gliding platform. The weather was tough on this cold, damp, spring day, but we enjoyed another visit to yet another Pennsylvania State Park.

Any reason to visit Cook Forest State Park is a good reason. We made our journey here on a blue-sky day.

Spring along the Clarion River in Clear Creek State Park

One of my happiest memories is an afternoon Ali and I spent at Kinzua Bridge when the bridge was still intact. We walked across the bridge with its awesome view and dropped though the valley on the trail across the stream and back. The happiness of that memory is so vivid that it hurts for me to return to this park. Seeing the dead remains of this magnificent piece is so painful I would rather not return. We came here and made the journey to the Legacy of Conservation cache and onto the remainder of the bridge on a cold, windy morning. I would be okay if this were my final visit.

We enjoyed Dobby's Home so much we visited it twice. :-) Both trips were memorable hikes in Elk State Forest. We enjoyed a return to pick up a card for the geotrail.

Some pictures will never capture an area. The cache called Coke and Hollywood was located at the largest coke oven banks I've ever seen. There were three banks of large numbers of big coke ovens. I've been to the ovens in Leetonia, Ohio and those are a large complex, but the number of ovens and the size of the ovens pales compares to the one's at this cache. A picture can't capture the sheer size of the operation.

I was born and raised in Ohio, but have grown to embrace Pennsylvania as my true home. I am happiest (except maybe when in California or Virginia) when exploring and hiking the trails here. Huge rocks are a part of the landscape that has become a part of me. Umbrella Rock and the trail leading to it is a super place to visit. This was our second visit to the area.

We missed the best time to take a walk along Kettle Creek where river otters were re-introduced to the state. We missed a spring visit which we could tell from a walk along the trail had been filled with an abundance of wildflowers. There were huge red trillium leaves along the one side of the old road and a large variety of other spring flowers. Our visit was close enough to spring that we could still see the large numbers of wildflowers which had bloomed. We also spotted the rather large bear paw print in the fresh mud.

Finding a Legacy of Conservation cache while visiting Leonard Harrison State Park was just icing on the cake. We've visited this beautiful place many times over the years. Being able to make a long hike here on a perfect day was an anticipated treat. The falls on the trail from Pine Creek to the state park at the top are not to be missed. We were thrilled to return, and the cache was fun.

Sand Run Falls was a new place for us to see. The hike was fun and challenging, but the falls were the star of the show. They were tall and running fast. We took photos at the bottom and made our way to the top of this powerful falls before hunting the cache.

Raven's Horn was a super hike to a great overlook in Tiadaghton State Forest. It was a no frills climb to the overlook with a nice return loop. We were doubly treated here since the rattlesnake was out for a perfect afternoon. There were so many posts about the rattlesnake it would have been a let down to miss it. I never go out of my way to find poisonous snakes or bears when on the trail, but knowing this snake was at least somewhat used to human traffic made me hopeful of an opportunity to take some (telephoto) images.

The trail for the cache Painter Cleft was a super hike, but a tough walk on a narrow trail in an area once known for mountain lions. The journey had a wonderful waterfall on the way and followed a beautiful stream. It's not hard to squint and see one of the creatures deep in this wooded area.

One of our last finds on this journey was a cache owned by George1 and used by the Legacy of Conservation for the trail. It was a series of falls Sproul State Forest. Like so many George1 caches that we found as side journeys on this GeoTrail, this was a wonderful locattion. George understood the real purpose of geocaching.

The Legacy of Conservation used a different method for cachers to prove they had visited a cache. Rather that an ink stamp which can dry out or be taken from the cache or a punch which also seem to always get lost in geotrail caches, this geotrail had a series of customed designed cards with people and subjects related to Pennsylvania conservation. They were baseball card-sized and really well thought out. They were a fun part of the geotrail.

The coin for completing the series was one of the best looking coins I have seen. Coins for most geotrails appear to be designed for the lowest cost point and with the easiest possible method. In general, many new geocoins seem to fit that description, but these were really well done. It is not trackable, but it is a prized memory of our fun.

At the end of the trail, this became our favorite geotrail. The Allegheny GeoTrail and the Seaway GeoTrail both have special memories for us, but the locations we visited on this trail were lifetime memories. I think our positive memory of this trail was enhanced because it was only thirty caches long. The lower number of caches meant a greater percentage of special places to visit. Once we actually found time to hunt the trail, the number of caches on the trail gave us the opportunity to seek other nearby caches which interested us, or as in the case of Pine Creek Gorge, hike into the park rather than park at the upper lot and find a relatively quick multi. We look forward to Redbat's CCC Legacy of Conservation GeoTrail and hope to complete it before the final month. ;-)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Night Cache Markers

I had a cacher ask recently about night cache markers. The hider wanted to hide a night cache, but knew a local park system was hesitant to approve the tack variety. The hider wanted to know if there was a product which would give night cache visibility without the potential question regarding tacks placed in a tree. The reflective twist ties below offer a great alternative to fire tacks. They can be attached and removed from just about anywhere and are very durable. They have guided over 300 cachers to our night cache. We've purchased ours at Gander Mountain, but they are available a number of places on line. One pack should cover all the markers needed for a typical night cache.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 76 Everything Ends

The streak is dead. I didn't realize it when it died, but it ended on October 2nd in a quiet churchyard in Solon, Ohio with a film can micro disguised as a small. Before the August souvenirs, I think our longest streak of consecutive days was 24 including when we vacationed in Pennsylvania for the Allegheny GeoTrail. We ended August and hoped to beat our longest drought of 46 days. We did that and then some. For a few numbers:

331 finds
9 states
2 countries
15 multis
24 puzzles
1 amazing event (Parker Dam State Park)
1 super vacation in New England with a day in Quebec
31 new favorite caches
a treasure of new memories

I had a business trip in late October so we were hoping to keep the streak alive through that trip and maybe hit 100 days. On October 3rd, I was busy at work and got home near dark. Ali wasn't feeling well. In the end our best option for keeping the streak alive was dragging ourselves off to a nearby Cleveland Metropark to hunt a newer multi in the dark. We would have the streak, but would have exchanged the relaxing journey of finding a perfectly good multi in a wonderful park for one more spot filled on the streak. I'm glad we'll be able to enjoy that trail and that multi on our own schedule. I passed by a chance earlier in the day to grab a quick find so I could take a break at lunch at the nearby arboretum. I think I made the right choice. Long live the streak.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Day 32

What do you mean there's no more souvenirs? ;-) It was easy to extend our streak on the holiday weekend. We were caching the afternoon in McKean County. This image is from along the Tuna Trail. Since the souvenirs are gone, I made our own for today. It's time to move on, but the streak has been fun. Maybe there will be one more posting when, or should I say if, we break through with a longer found streak than our longest dry spell. I hope you enjoyed these as much as we enjoyed finding all the caches.

Day 31

We did it! It was close for a couple days, but we made it. It was a tough call for the day's picture. As the summer winds down, the fields are dotted with new england asters which make a great photo. We also started the day at an old cemetery with a majestic oak at the entrance. The decision for the image was finally decided as we were driving to a cache and Ali spotted an eagle on a small pond in Crawford County. I think we have seen more eagles in Crawford than we have in any other county. It's an exciting sight no matter how often it happens.

It was a big caching month for us. We had one of our highest months for finds with 162, including six multis and ten puzzles. I found our first intercache in Spokane. In an unusual activity for us, we found two night caches. We also marked six of our finds as favorites. We usually mark about one of every twenty so it was a good month with a few well done hides. We had fun for the month. It didn't make me want to run a long streak, but we will try to carry it on for a little longer so we have a find streak which is greater than our streak of days with no finds (43). Maybe we can carry it forward through vacation.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Day 30

This was the one day in the month where we almost missed a find. We were planning to spend the day at the Geauga County Fair and knew there was a cache at the fairgrounds. We both expected to find that cache for our one for the day. I suggested we make a small detour to find a cache at a cemetery on the way to the fair. It was a good move since neither of us had noticed the fair ground cache appeared to be missing. We looked for the cache at the fairgrounds with a friend who also caches, but it appears to be gone. We were lucky to have stopped at this nice cemetery on the way.

Day 29

I was on my way home and stopped for a couple caches in Jefferson National Forest. I didn't find the first in a nice pine stand despite a long search, but came up with a nice hide along a pleasant trail with the second one. I was hoping to hunt a cache at an old picnic area along Big Walker Road, but the thought of over three miles of driving on an unmaintained, narrow mountain road made me turn back almost as soon as I started. Maybe on a return trip I can make the high up Big Walker Mountain from a parking area at the bottom. The view from the top of Big Walker Mountain is impressive.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Day 28

This evening was my first trip to Jonesville and Elkin. Jonesville is a town that missed a chance to be part of the NASCAR circuit. The town had a very popular dirt track in the days leading up to the start of NASCAR. It was a racing stop for racing pioneers Lee Petty, Buck Baker, and Junior Johnson. When NASCAR formed the local owners decided to not become a part of the new racing circuit and the die was cast for the eventual end of Jonesville Speedway. Elkin is on the other side of the Yadkin River. The image below was taken from the boat launch at a quiet city park. I found a cache very near this spot.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Day 27

My usual resting place in Salisbury was out of rooms so I was staying in Lexington for the evening. Normally the thought of a new area and route to cache would excite me, but I just wanted to finish my trip successfully and go home. I found a few on the way including one at this deserted park. The streak continued and a new souvenir was ours.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Day 26

It was time for another trip to North Carolina for work. I was able to find a few caches in West Virginia and one in Virginia on my journey to Wytheville. The image below is from a nice overlook cache in West Virginia along I77. The cache was a good hide and took me a bit to find. The month is dwindling, but we now have our longest find streak.