Friday, October 31, 2008

26 October 2008 Collins Pine

Collins Pine is a lumber company that opens its land holdings for non-motorized, recreational use. We hiked about 4 miles in these woods today. The colors of fall are fading. The vibrant hues of a few weeks prior are now muted and lowered with the trunks and bark of leafless trees.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

25 October 2008 Fall Caching in Pennsylvania

Sunday, October 26, 2008

19 October 2008 A Day in Geauga

We decided to spend a quiet day near home and hunt a few local caches. When I was out with the dogs at our home, I was surprised to see a bright moon in the sky about 10:30 in the morning.

GG had a few new cemetery caches, I hadn't found Goat Haunt's new hide, and there was a Geauga Park District cache in Best Preserve. Since Ali had beta tested Goat Haunt's new puzzle, the burden was on me to show that I could solve the puzzle. When we started out I had no idea. After a few minutes of playing, I knew I was getting close. In the end, my gps said I was 13 feet from GZ when we found the cache :-P. The cemetery multi was an interesting historical location. It is now a Waymark.

We finished the day at Best Preserve. I used to come here all the time with our dog Murray. We would run from one end of the park to the other. It got rid of his puppy energy. It made me exhausted. Tonight we had a nice quiet walk and enjoyed a very nice sunset.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

18 October 2008 Visiting the Past

It was a strange day today. I grew up on the near West side of Cleveland and haven't really been back since my parents passed. Today we were out with GG on a mission to hunt some of the remaining Cleveland Metroparks caches. We started with a cache in Bedford Reservation, but after that we were off to the west side to hunt a cache in the Brookside Reservation. I lived a few minutes from here and played here when I was young. Before it became a part of the Metroparks, it was a Cleveland park with an old New York Central steam engine in one of the parking lots. I played baseball here in th e summers when I was in elementary school. Later in high school, I used to come here with a girlfriend to play tennis. The road into the park used to be an old brick road down a really steep curved hill. As a youth, you needed to ride your bike down that hill (without killing yourself) to prove that you belonged. Next to the brick road was a ball field with seats mounted on a grassy hillside where locals could watch baseball games.

The curvy, brick road is paved now, but it doesn't matter since Cleveland Metroparks permanently closed that gate years ago to keep people from my old neighborhood out of the park. They won't say so, but it doesn't take a genius... The train is gone as well. It's funny how so many towns I visit proudly display old steam engines. The park is a lot more like a park now than a playground. It was great to see a buck so very near where I grew up. It was also nice to see wildflowers here too. Maybe they were there when I was young and I just didn't notice.

We left Brookside and made our way to Fernhill. When I was a child, we were here at least once a week for a cookout. My dad would cook hot dogs and burgers while my siblings and I splashed across a small stream to a ball diamond and hit the ball around. We continued that tradition a little less frequently until my mom and dad were in their seventies. Our last picnic here ended with my mom in the emergency room. Like her dad, my grandfather, she insisted on pitching into her seventies. Unfortunately, you can still pitch when your reflexes aren't what they were. She didn't dodge a line drive quickly enough. She was okay, but the regular picnics seemed to give way to that event and my nieces and nephews complete lack of desire to do anything physical or outdoors. I was surprised today to see a very large suspension bridge has been built to cross that very small stream we used to splash across. The ball diamond is gone too. It has been replaced with a solitary sand volleyball court.

After Fernhill we stopped at the Memphis Kiddie Park. I don't think I ever rode the rides here, but I remember all those great looking kids rides from the days we would stop on warm summer evenings and play pinball in the game room. We played putt-putt here once in a while, but always preferred the one on nearby Brookpark Road where we could also visit the driving range. Very little has changed here since my nieces and nephews rode these rides. Oh yeah, the game room is still there.

Rocky River was yet another stop for us. This area is a bit of a double memory. In high school, this was the place we would bring our cars and hang out after school if we didn't need to work that evening. After high school, this became a place I would go fishing with my dad, or brother, or brother-in-law. We were never very lucky with steelhead here, but we always had a great time. The marina is a lot bigger now than it was then. It was probably quiet here this summer when gas was $4 a gallon. Other than the bigger marina, not much has changed since I used to come here as a teen.

Things seem to change faster as one ages. At least today, I got to remember some fun times and gained a new great memory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

17 October 2008 Evening Walks

Evening Walks are a little more difficult these days. Photos are next to impossible. We got lucky and found a few minutes to visit the wonderful park near our home.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

16 October 2008 Visiting Bedford

I always enjoy visiting Bedford. It's a nice, small town with a real main street and some interesting buildings. Ohio never had many of these small towns and sprawl has killed the character of most of them. Bedford hangs on. There was a geocaching event in town for the evening so I stopped at the town square and took a few photos.
12 October 2008 Tionesta Lake and Hunter Run

We were on the way home again. For we, it would be my first time back in Ohio in ten days. A few new AGT caches have been placed and there are still a lot we haven't found so we stopped for a couple in Forest County. An AGT cache at Tionesta Lake was number 5,000 for us. There was none of the drama of the day before, but the cache is located on a really nice trail up a hill overlooking the lake. It was placed by our friends Liz and Wes so that made it a special find as well.

We also stopped for a cache in a section of the Cornplanter State Forest that we had never visited. It was a pleasant woods walk and the dogs had fun. On the way home, we stopped for maybe the last ice cream of the season. Gwenie got to show off her cone eating manners for the camera.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

11 October 2008 Kinzua Caching

We had never before missed when going after a milestone cache. Note that is in past tense. We needed a few today to reach 5k. We started off with some caches near the house and thought we would finish off with a trip to Morrison Run in the ANF. Morrison Run has always been one of our favorite hikes and there are six caches there. It seemed perfect.

We bundled up the dogs and started a circle around our place. All the caches were falling in place with visits to a few nice cemeteries and a very nice small pond. We had been there before to find an event cache so we were glad to return for a permanent. We stopped and found a private property travel bug hotel at a home with nice woods and a quiet little pond. The property was really outstanding. We spotted a late season monarch on the way to the cache.

After a trip to find a cache near our favorite tennis courts, we were off to take a hike around Morrison Run. The caches were all 3.5 terrain and higher. Five of the six were 4 terrains. No problem we thought. We've done this hike many times before.

It was a perfect day. A grand day out. The leaves were almost electric. The ferns were a strange dried blanket on the floor of the forest. Morrison Run was gorgeous. We hadn't read the cache page closely enough. Our usual happy trek around Morrison is about 7 miles. It's a good workout and a lot of fun. Uh Oh... these caches were on the much longer Morrison to Rimrock loop which is over twelve miles. We were toast. There was no way we were going to hike for the morning and bring in six caches over twelve miles of tough hiking. We found three and kept on the loop. Ali and I were having a miscommunication moment. She was looking for the trail cut-off, and I was thinking this was a new trail I hadn't seen before. We found number four and continued on. As we got close to Kinzua Reservoir, Ali realized this trail was a lot longer than she thought. She was ready to bag it an turn around, but I wanted to go forward with just 0.2 miles to number five.

We got to number five and found the cache. The last cache, #5,000, was almost 3/4 mile away as the crow flies. There was no way we could get it before dark, and we would have hours on the trail in the dark. We signed the log and beat a retreat back. I finally got my brain in gear and realized what trail Ali was trying to find. I remember it well since it is near a stream that I had to cross years ago during a flood and a thunderstorm while carrying our dog Murray. He was afraid of lightning and would not walk during the storm.

We managed to make the trailhead with a little dusk left and made our way back to the parking area in the dark. We only had about 90 minutes of hiking in the dark, but that was more than enough with stream crossings and rock climbings. It can be really unsettling to hear packs of coyotes start to howl in the woods when you are out with two dogs. Since we made it back without any harm, I dodged an idiot bullet for insisting on finding number 4999 so late in the day and so far from safety.

It was our first of five big milestones that we missed on the cache we had chosen. 5K would wait for a day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

10 October 2008 Chasing DeLorme Pages in Pennsylvania

Little Buffalo State Park

Clay's Bridge

Shoaff's Mill

Bald Eagle State Park

We hadn't really considered doing the DeLorme Challenge in PA until Ali put our finds in the Delorme software, and we realized how close we actually are. It will take a year, but it is possible.