Saturday, June 27, 2009

11 June 2009 Nature Time

Cumberland Pond

Parvin State Park

We made an early morning trip to Tuckahoe for another county and stopped at an old Methodist church cemetery with a few Revolutionary War vets before heading to the woods for the rest of the day. We started our outdoors day with a short walk at Cumberland Pond. We had just left the parking lot when Ali spotted prickly pear. It's not exactly rare, but it isn't something we see every day. The pond was filled with water lilies. When I was walking toward the pond, I spotted the swallows at a nesting box. They weren't happy to see me, but stayed long enough for me to snap a few photos. Later on our walk Ali spotted a nice green heron. She saw it very early and spent a long time trying to help me spot it. He was quite successful with his hunting along the edge of a small island just offshore.

We spent most of the remaining day with some quiet hikes at Parvin State Park and Malaga Lake. We both really liked Parvin. It was peaceful with lots of benches to hang out and wait for the turtles to climb out on logs. There were a few really large box turtles at the park. I hoped for a good shot of them, but had to settle for a few less cautious painted ones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

10 June 2009 We Got a Lucky 7!

Our day started with a visit to Palisades Interstate Park along the Hudson. We were at the park early (for us) and the morning mist had not yet burned off. Its another of those places that takes you by surprise. TO get to the park, you can stop at a number of overlooks, check out the Hudson River and leave. If you actually walk the trail though, you enter an amazing world. We parked our car at a roadside pull-off, crossed the parkway and made our way along the trail.

The trail has remants of the past including a huge old pool, a stone castle, and huge tall cliffs. The morning mist that stole our views at the pull-offs paid us back with a serene walk along the trail. The Parkway is quite old. The first planning for the parkway began in 1900 as a means of protecting the 14 cliffs along the Hudson River. It has developed over the years and the road has grown to four lanes to allow for traffic growth, but the land between the northbound lanes and the Hudson River is an amazing environment. It is filled with birds. The elevation changes make for a fun hike.

After Palisades we headed for new counties to conquer. The swans swan past us about ten feet away as I was signing the log for a multi we found. In the late afternoon we arrived at Toms River. We were actually passing through town when we spotted a cemetery that looked as though it may have a Revolutionary War veteran. We were right about the cemetery. After our visit we were walking back to the car when an old car drove by; then another; and more. They had closed off the main street near where we had dropped the car. We decided to stay and visit the show (new waymark). Once we started walking around, Ali realized we can get a Lucky 7. Lucky 7's are part of waymarking. They signify that a player has found at least seven waymarks from different categories within a half-mile radius. Toms River has so much old history and interesting buildings and architecture that we had our Lucky 7 within 0.1 miles.

After Toms River, it was one more county and on to our final lodgings in New Jersey.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

9 June 2009 Playing Tourists

Imagine 30 Feet of These

It's a Long Climb Up to The Mine Entrance

That's the Mine Entrance

Up Close

Leaving the Entrance

Collapsed Mine Entrance

A Flooded Mine Entrance

We both wanted to stop at the Franklin Mineral Museum. We did our schedule backwards the day before and arrived after closing. Today we put the Museum at the head of the list. Franklin is known for having the most fluorescent minerals and the greatest variety of any place on the planet. It even has its own mineral named for it, franklinite. The thirty foot-long exhibit The museum also included a two story replica mine. We're geeks. This was interesting. If you are in the area, it is well worth the visit. It's a great way to have fun and learn something.

After we left the museum, we stayed in the area to visit a waymark at an iron mine entrance. The mine was owned by Thomas Edison. Not one of his financially profitable efforts, but an amazing waymark. I made the tough climb down to the entrance of the mine, but held back from entering the shaft. The angle of the shaft was really steep, and we didn't have a rope to go deeper.

After our little tourist excursion, we returned back to caching in the New Jersey counties.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

8 June 2009 Patterson, New Jersey and Lime Kilns

I didn't know what to expect when we went for a cache in Patterson. I'm not a big urban caching fan, but the prospect of a Waymark visit at a place called the Great Falls had me intrigued. Our visit to Patterson was pretty amazing. The puzzle part of the cache was fun. It was in a park that overlooked the river. After we had solved the puzzle, we headed down a road to get the final. The road led to a small park at the bottom alongside the river. To get the cache, we had to drop over the side to retrieve the cache. I also saw some awesome graffiti and decided to walk over for a few photos. Uh Oh, the graffiti was in a drainage tunnel which was at least one person's home. Thankfully that one person was asleep. We walked down for a park visit and then were one our way.

Little did I know that my camera had decided to stop writing to the card. We liked the river, the falls, and the old hydro plant so much that we crossed the bridge and walked the entire area of the park on the other side of the river. There is access to get really close to the falls and a small gorge. It was an amazing site to be that close to a relatively tall falls. The pictures would have been awesome if...

After leaving the waterfalls and surrounding park, we walked over to the culture center to see if they had swag things to buy for visits in other states. No luck on the swag, but the guy working at the center was an encyclopedia of Patterson. He was an amazing wealth of knowledge and was willing to spend lots of time sharing with us. We spent a long time with him before moving on. I can think of a lot of towns that could use someone as talented, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable as that guy.

We eventually made our way to the Lime Kilns in Hamburg. We had hoped to get to Franklin to the Mineral Museum, but it was closed by the time we arrived.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

7 June 2009 Beach Caching in Monmouth and Visiting Secaucus

After a visit to the Newlyweds home for brunch, it was time to get to the serious business of vacation and the New Jersey County Challenge. There are 21 counties in New Jersey. Ali had covered five on prior visits to her sister and we had visited one during a Delaware Water Gap vacation so we had 'only' 15 more counties to visit. The New Jersey County Challenge is a little different since it excludes micros. If the container can't take a coin or travel bug don't bother to list it. This worked for me. I can't remember the last time I went over a week with no micros. :-)

We didn't need Monmouth, but the day was perfect and Ali had these puzzles solved. There's lots of puzzle caches in New Jersey. The ones we found were creative, fun ones. After a few beach visits, we headed for a new county and Secaucus. The caches in Secaucus are in a wetlands. It was really interesting caching for regular-sized caches with the New York skyline and the Empire State Building in the background. It was a great way to start the week.
6 June 2009 Monmouth County Parks and the Wedding

Tatum Park

Deep Cut Garden

No Hiking Boots Tonight

Ali's sister was getting married late in the afternoon so we had a few hours to play in a few of Monmouth County's outstanding parks. We grabbed a few caches and visited Deep Cut Garden before heading to Atlantic Highlands for the wedding.