3 October 2011 Oxford to Kentucky
Ali had solved a number of puzzles around Miami University's campus so we planned to spend the morning caching there. The campus really attractive so the walks were pleasant. I was worried about parking, bu that was easy. Negotiating muggles was not fun, and I was feeling sick from my meds for a good part of the walk. Still, it's always nice to tack on the actual find after Ali has worked out the solution to a puzzle cache.
Our main target and reason for going to Georgia via Cincinnati was to find the true oldest cache in Ohio, Shawnee Lookout Cache. This cache doesn't get the credit for being the oldest remaining cache as a result of a cache page date change, but it is. It has a lot of favorite votes and sounded like a great reason to walk in the woods.
We knew we would have to pay to enter Hamilton Parks. What we didn't know was finding someone to pay was harder than finding caches in the woods. The entrance gate was unmanned. The two ranger vehicles were unoccupied. The ranger station was empty. We finally called the non-emergency number posted on the door of the ranger station and were told the ranger would be by. He was... 30 minutes later. He was a nice guy and $3 is nothing for an entrance fee, but hell will be significantly colder before I set foot in another Hamilton County Park. Seriously, we were paying gas for our vehicle, hotel costs for a room, meal costs, and burning vacation time so we could stand around and waste what vacation time I have to give $3 to a ranger. You have to be kidding. I wonder if anyone in Hamilton Parks ever heard of honor pay or a machine to dispense the tickets?
I really don't mind paying, and the ranger was just doing his job. This is why northern climates struggle to succeed in tourism. Half the year the weather stinks and the other they spend torturing visitors who actually do show up. The $3 fee is a joke. I am sure some fiscal conservative earned wonderful votes by adding the fee and maybe they make a few dollars on a busy day. In reality, the poor ranger who has a job to do keeping the public safe and secure probably cost $15-20 in mileage costs and his salary to drive over and accept our $3.
In the end, we enjoyed the park. The Shawnee Lookout Cache was a super walk and earned a favorite vote for us. We were able to grab a few other caches in the park before making our way south to Kentucky.