Friday, July 27, 2007

27 July 2007 River Road Park

I got finished too late at the office to go biking with Ali. She was signed up for the bike patrol, and I wanted to spend the evening with her. Instead I stopped at this new park to hunt a couple caches. As I walked the trail, I ran into two areas that were filled with butterflies and bees. I was lucky and got a few nice images.
26 July 2007 Daisies in the Yard

I spent a quite moment enjoying the blanket of daisies we have in a corner of the property. My mom planted daisies years ago at their home. She worked year after year to spread them out and get more to grow. Eventually she had half their property ringed in daisies along the edge. She was heart-broken one day to arrive home and see that my brother had taken it upon himself to rid her yard of those 'weeds'. Luckily for us, she had shared seeds from her daisies with us so they can live on. Thanks mom. This photo is for you.
25 July 2007 Planning a Cache

I asked Cleveland Metroparks for a second geocaching permit, and they said yes. I went to South Chagrin this evening to work out the details of the cache. This is one of two caches that I wanted to place for the NEOGEO Bingo event. Ali smartly nixed the idea. Two bad storms just before the event would have made this a very difficult cache. It will be much easier this time of year.

On the walk around, I was treated to square stemmed monkey flower, some sunflowers, and a few touch-me-nots. I also came upon the heron that is shown. A little quicker on my part and the photo would be even better.
24 July 2007 How Does Our Garden Grow?

It's been a tough year with way too little rain. We've lost too many young trees to be happy. Even so, there are some good things happening in the yard. Our vines have pumpkins, spaghetti squash, and acorn squash. Our tomato plants are going to have fruit as well. It was rainy early and not great for walking so the garden got much-needed attention.
22 July 2007 Visiting Lake Milton

A number of years ago Lake Milton was drained so the dam could be repaired. I had seen the lake for years from the highway and watched the strange sight of the lake being drained. We had never visited it before today. Since the dam was repaired and the lake refilled, it has been converted into a state park. Like so many state parks, it exists as a vehicle for boaters. There aren't many trails, but what is there is pleasant. The hides were quick micros,, but it was a pleasant way to spend the day. In a rare action by us, we actually found all the caches here rather than leaving one or two behind as dnf's. :-) The photos were taken about a half hour before sunset after we had found our last cache.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

21 July 2007 Beaver Creek State Park

The caches today were tough and challenging. At the end of the day we had hiked eleven miles and found 10 caches. Ali has now completed the state park challenge for two straight years. One of these days I may actually go to Jefferson with her.
21 July 2007 Beaver Creek State Park

This park is always a favorite for us. The caches in the State Park series and two other caches led us to places in the park where we had not previously been. We had a great time and enjoyed the challenges. These photos are a few more touristy shots with a couple interesting flying creatures.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

21 July 2007 Caching Guilford State Park

We met Lep here in the morning for a day of Columbiana County caching. Last year had been my first visit here in years. I was impressed last year and still liked the park this year. It's short on hiking, but it is a really pleasant place to spend the day. We found three new hides in this park and let Lep walk the plank to get last year's remaining cache. My only photo regret was being asleep at the camera when a great blue heron took off just a few feet in front of us. I never get tired of seeing those majestic birds.
18 July 2007 Caching Solon

I was caching solo this evening and stopped for a cache on my way home from the office. This is a park in Solon, Ohio on Root Road. The photos are from a wetland restoration project at the park.

Monday, July 23, 2007

18 July 2007 Sunset in Mentor

We were out to do a little caching and visit Cooper's for ice cream. We stopped at the park nearest Cooper's to grab a puzzle cache. After the puzzle cache we decided to grab the two whistlen caches along the lake. It had stopped raining and the park was really pleasant so we spent about an hour just relaxing on a glider. We got to see an outstanding sunset and were treated to one of the local youth showing off his skateboard skills. He started at the top of a steep hill in the park and skateboarded down the hill. At the bottom, he had two choices, stop or go into Lake Erie. He did it twice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

17 July 2007 Silver Creek, New York

If we were able to get a cache placed here, could it possibly qualify as the largest skirt lifter? :-) Yeah this belongs in bits and pieces, but it was raining too hard to take the camera on the trail. For all my friends afraid to admit they know me when I mention Waymarking, these photos have already been submitted. Only 954 to go to become a Waymarking thousandaire.
16 July 2007 Another Visit to Chautauqua

I have no idea what this flower is, but I found it in the state forest while caching.
15 July 2007 Our Planned Night Cache is Dead

I had to return to New York on Tuesday so rather than continuing to abuse my body, I planned to stay in PA for the return trip. Ali and I took the dogs to the Tanbark Trail to finish a cache series placed by our friends Liz and Wes. We were a little concerned since our trip here to do the first 2/3 of the series sparked the cow dogs (aka Eva and Gwen) into eating every blade of grass on the trail. Eva has been sick lately, and after the last trip I spent two days wondering if she had gotten into something really bad.

Both dogs behaved today, and we had a great visit to the Tanbark. We finished the series at their puzzle cache and were able to swap the red Jeep Gryff had given me for a new red Jeep. :-) The even better news was that we left enough caches to return for two more hikes later this year.

Once Ali headed for Ohio, I was given two assignments. The first was to head to a letterbox that we had prepared but never listed on the letterbox site and turn it into a worthy geocache. That was an easy task. My second task was not so easy. I was to travel out to the night cache and get it ready for listing on the web page.

This night cache was placed so long ago that we wore snow shoes to place it. It had so much promise including a great walk, a neat in-the-air hide, and about 30 yards of swamp crossing to get to the final. The in-the-air hide died on that first fateful four-hour day of trying to place this cache in snowshoes. I thought Lep was going to kill us after trying to beta test this in the dark in a driving rain with Little Lep. We've been back twice since and had no luck at getting it finished. We had agreed to up the terrain to 4 1/2. This afternoon I was ready. I had new boots and a will to get this monster birthed. I spent two fruitless hours trying to correct the night markers. I found the cache. It was in great shape, but the trails leading to the cache were overgrown., There were other paths. I tried to incorporate those into the cache. In the end, out of frustration and the fear of needing to hike four miles out to fix this thing constantly, I removed all traces of the cache from the swamp, took the ammo can and said good-bye. I guess sometimes the best caches are the bad ones that don't get placed. Sniff... sniff... RIP Irvine Two Flats. You had so much promise.
14 July 2007 Warren and Corry and Spartansburg oh my.

The Sisters/4 placed a series of caches on their family farm near Corry. We were going to visit the Warren Fairgrounds for the Pleasures and Treasures Arts and Crafts Festival so it made sense to continue west to visit these farm caches. Private property caches are always fun and these were no exception. There were ten caches. We found seven and dnf'd three. Okay, Ali found seven, while I walked with her. I had just gotten to PA the evening before after a trip to Sanborn so I was a bit out of it. At one point she was teasing me and swinging a micro she had found which I had probably walked right past. It's the first picture in the series. We had a great time and spent a lot of time walking around and just enjoying the woods.

After we left the farm we headed to Corry for a cache in Mead Park. It was a well done Schrecky hide. Then we headed for Spartansburg. Spartansburg is a strange place. It has a small reservoir named Clear Lake that is anything but clear or a lake. It is very shallow with a lot of plant growth. One side of the lake plays host to a lumber company and the spillway seems ready to collapse. Throw in a rail trail that allows people to drive their trucks, sport utes, etc and it makes for a different place to visit. All that said; it somehow works. We've never been here at a time when there weren't people fishing. Since the reservoir is so shallow, boat motors are all quiet. As you walk (and cache) the rail-trail there are little side trails that lead to pleasant shoreline areas. There are also birds, lots of them. As we walked to the first cache, a great blue flew directly overhead at a really low elevation It crossed to the other shore and landed. Of course, my camera wasn't ready.

While I began to stalk the great blue for a photo, Ali found the first cache. As I continued to stalk the great blue, a duck and about six ducklings made a landing on the water and began to swim around. Ali decided she would go find the second cache. I had just finished a fruitless search for the perfect photo of a great blue when Ali returned to tell me that she had found a green heron (and the second cache). She led me to an area behind the spillway. Sure enough, there it was. I grabbed a far shot from where I was and debated my survival chances if I walked across the spillway. Alas, survival instinct took over and the only memory of that outstanding green heron is the second rate image on this page. Oh well, another time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

13 July 2007 Caching Niagara and Going Home

Today was a clean-up day. I had searched for the multi that led to Nature's Bonus and for Nature View At Night before meeting Gryff. Once we started caching together, we made multiple trips to the mosquito-infested place known as Nature View Park. We were last here at night during 13-degree weather in March. We were able to reach the end point of Nature View at Night only to be foiled in our search for the cache. As I used a stick to log our dnf and a frownie face in the snow, we vowed to return. On the way from our Nature View dnf, we made our third futile attempt at finding Nature's Bonus. Today that all changed. I found Nature's Bonus almost instantly. Jill did all the work needed to make Nature View at Night a smiley.

With those in hand and the rain momentarily stopped, we decided today was the day for the SMFR cache. It took me four tries to find stage 1. I had already looked for stage 2 once with no success. We figured the rain would keep the muggles away and it did. It didn't really matter since we still had no luck with stage 2. After some silliness on the swings, it was time to do what I seem to be doing more these days. We grabbed our geo-senses skipped stage 2 and found the final in the rain that kept returning all day.

When the rain let up again we decided to make a return to Nature View. There are still about six caches left in this place and hiking here at day is a lot less dangerous for your body than at night so off we went. Nature View finally gave back on this cache. I would love to show a photo of the yellow warbler, or the flicker, or the grosbeak, or the..., but alas I was too slow and they were too fast.

After one final cache, it was time to head home to PA. The sunset photo is from Route 60 at the edge of Lilydale. I wonder if the psychics know I was there?

Monday, July 16, 2007

12 July 2007 Caching Royalton Ravine

It was one day short of one year since our last visit to Royalton Ravine. What better way could there be to celebrate one year of caching, than to visit Western New York's giant hogweed mecca? Royalton Ravine should be a gem. I've never been here in the spring, but there are remains everywhere from spring flowers. There are wild ginger leaves bigger than my hand and jack-in-the-pulpit leaves half-way over my knee. Bloodroot and trillium leaves are everywhere.

So what goes wrong? Hogweed, lots of it. With one year of knowledge, I was able to distinguish cow parsnip from the monster weed. It is scary and educational to see them next to each other along the stream. The lilies were in bloom along the stream bed so we cautiously picked our way over to them for photos. After our visit, a really outstanding ravine cache and an old multi had joined the found list.