Sunday, March 30, 2008

23 March 2008 Signs of Spring

Other than skunk cabbage I had seen little signs of spring. This morning, I took the dogs for a walk around the property. I was certain I would see at least one colts foot. No luck. I've heard a lot of birds, but missed seeing the odd bluebird that usually tips the hand that spring is near. Last week was a bit of a cheater since I got to hear my first spring peepers in Salisbury and saw my first red-wing blackbird.

When We got back to Ohio, I had to settle for leaves unfolding on a dogwood and sprouts of growth on the lilacs. It's not much, but it is a sign spring is near.
22 March 2008 AGT Caching in McKean County

We already had our AGT coin for McKean County, but wanted to find more of the remaining caches. The day started off great with a visit to the Kinzua Bridge. It still hurts to see the marvel lying on the gorge floor, but I am getting used to it. I just wish the state of Pennsylvania would decide to act and stabilize what remains. It they turned the remaining large portion into a walking platform, it would be an amazing attraction and would give visitors a real feel for when the whole bridge was there. While in the area, we grabbed a real outstanding cache just across the road from the park.

We spent the remainder of the afternoon chasing AGT caches. I was a really big fan of this trail and still like the idea, but now I'm wavering a bit. Many of the caches are just there. There's not a lot of wow in them. This afternoon, we were in Smethport, a town we don't visit often. We came for a cache at the fairground. We must have passed fifty caches on the way to the cache and another 20 Waymarks. In the end, the cache was less than 50 feet from the car.

We have been to outstanding caches in each county so far, but we have seen a few that were just another find. I think this is going to get real tough as we hit the counties we've barely cached, and I start whining over the caches we're passing. When you can't find them all, it's important to find the really nice ones.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

21 March 2008 Pent-up Caching Demand

Flooded French Creek

Stream on the Way to Big Four Rocks

I got into town about 4 1/2 hours later than planned on Thursday. We had hoped to cache in Lorain County after I got back. With that plan falling through, I really wanted to get out on Friday. We were heading to PA and decided to stop at a gamelands to hunt a few caches. The snow was high and the walking was a little tough, but we managed to find one of the two caches. On the way back, we got off the path and into a really wet area. As we walked the crusty snow would collapse and we would fall through the snow into the icy water below. It was hours before I could feel my toes.

Despite the cold, we decided to head for a cache on French Creek. The cache was placed by a new hider. When we got to the area, we realized that the hide location was about 20-30 yards out in the flood waters of French Creek. I think we'll return in May. :-)

Not to be defeated we headed home, dried off, and went back out. After a 30 degree uphill in the Big Four Rocks area, we dnf'd the cache. There were large pools of frozen water everwhere near ground zero. It was a great hike and one of those places where if you must have a dnf, it should be at a cool place you don't mind visiting again.

The day didn't do much to curb my caching frustration (or work frustration), but it was great exercise and we visited some nice areas.

Monday, March 24, 2008

18 March 2008 Caching near Salisbury

I was late out of the office so my caching plans altered. Going without a plan, I ended up at the park with this nice mill. Many of the local parks have weird hours. Rather than just sunrise/sunset. This one was 7pm. I visited this mill, grabbed the caches, and returned to the parking area just as the local parks employee drove through to lock the gates.

I finished my evening with a visit to the cemetery behind this nearly 150-year-old church. Three Revolutionary War veterans are buried here including Matthew Locke, a Brigadier General.

Who needs a plan?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

17 March 2008 St. Patrick's Day in Salisbury

I was really happy to fly somewhere with a direct flight. I was even more happy to arrive on time and enjoy time at a few local parks. There was plenty of green (grass) to celebrate the day. The spring wildflowers and blossoms were a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

16 March 2008 Spring Fever starts to settle in

On our way home we stopped and walked Irvine Flats. We both pondered which animal made the little snow divets. It seemed to have rooted under the snow and stopped at points to push the snow up. We had never seen these trails before, yet they were everywhere today. Ali spotted a few mergansers and some other ducks that the dogs flushed before we did. As usual, my camera was everywhere but on the birds. We got to hear a lot of early migrating birds. On the last leg of the trail I spotted my quarry, skunk cabbage. Yes, I have reaffirmation that spring will eventually arrive.

With daylight savings time, we still had time for a lively walk through Big Creek when we reached Ohio. The sunshine on the snow as we walked through the hemlocks almost made me grateful for winter (almost, but not quite). Near the end of our walk we were treated to a very nice sunset through the trees along the ridge.

Monday, March 17, 2008

15 March 2008 Winter Wanes?

There are signs that spring is near. Two amish men plowing a field. Bird calls filling the woods during a walk at Pymatuning. Yet it was quiet while caching today. Most cachers haven't left hibernation yet. There hasn't been that much snow, but it has seemed to linger. The walking was tough today. The temperature is warm enough to leave a lot of water hidden beneath the snow, but not warm enough to melt it away. With no place to safely park and leave the geomobile, Ali stayed with the dogs, while I walked back for one cache (Sibling Soldiers) Most of the last 1/10 of a mile were walked with my feet under water. It was nice to reach the warmth of the fireplace afterward. :-)
13 March 2008 Driving Home

It was a long drive home and a late return. I stopped for a few caches along the way including a number of cemetery caches. The inscription on the wooden cross reads, "Here lies an unknown Civil War Veteran." My last stop of the day was a cache near the Independence Dam on the Maumee. Snow melt made the river rage as it passed over the dam.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

12 March 2008 Indiana's Spirit Quest - Day 2

Yep, it's flat. The Indiana Spirit Quest is a great trail of caches through the rural cemeteries of the area. I expected the flat. I was disappointed that because of all the flat the wind rips through these old cemeteries carrying dirt and small rocks from the farms. Most of the older, softer headstones can no longer be read. It's sad to see all this history wiped out.
11 March 2008 Indiana's Spirit Quest - Day 1

10 March 2007 A Quiet Sandusky County Park

Sunday, March 09, 2008

9 March 2007 Snowshoe Caching

It was a glorious day to be out and a day to notice the surroundings and little things on the trail. I had to chuckle at the thought of all the local churches that announced on the news their services had been canceled the evening prior. Wet roads and a plowed parking area awaited us. The trail through this new park is about three miles long. We found stage one and missed stage two for a dnf. Still it was a grand day to be out. The last photo shows almost two dozen whistler swans. Their song filled the air as they made their way north. Spring is getting near.
6 March 2008 Another look at Dishman Nature Park

One of my staff members had joined me in Spokane. We were able to leave the office early and stop by to find two of the caches here. I later found that something strange had happened with my pocket query and I missed the other six caches here. Good news... and a return visit in the future.
5 March 2008 Dishman Nature Preserve

Sometimes a photo does no justice to an area. Dishman Nature Preserve is a very scenic walk. The rock faces are impressive. It is a sunrise to sunset area with the phone number of the local towing company on the sign at the gate so I didn't tempt my fate.
4 March 2008 The Columbia River (and high above)

Along the Columbia

Rising Away From the Columbia

The Road Up

If I lived here, I might be jaded and think this was just another cache with a great view. Since I don't live here, I was in awe. I probably shouldn't have been here. The access road still had it's chains only sign, but this was awesome.

My first stop was a walk along the Columbia River and some ducks I had never seen before. It was a memorable afternoon.