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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

19 July 2012 At the Nature Center

This heron appears to spend more time at this box than the wood ducks.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

17 July 2012 Really Yellow Frog

15 July 2012 New Geocache Hide

We went for a long walk in North Chagrin scouting a new location for a hide.

I think Ali spotted this tiny frog.

We can go an entire summer without spotting helleborine. This summer it is really common. Maybe it is related to the warm weather.

14 July 2012 Visiting the Prairie Cemeteries

We moved forward our short trip this year to visit the prairie cemeteries to see the wildflowers. The early heat and drought had reduced the number of blossoms and shortened the seasonleaving a sparse showing of flowers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

12 July 2012 Hiding a Cache

I've walked the trail the winds behind the arboretum at Cleveland Metroparks' South Chagrin Reservation many times over the years. In happier times, I would walk the trail at lunchtime with my staff as we enjoyed seeing frogs and wildflowers. Today's mission was to hide a new geocache near a frog-filled pond that brought lots of smiles over the years. The woodpecker and the deer were pleasant distractions on my walk to the pond.

11 July 2012 Coulby Park

9 July 2012 Bluebird Boxes

I took advantage of a week at home to replace the aging bluebird boxes at the edge of the property. We had a few wooden ones on hand, but I replaced one with a plastic Birds Choice box made from recycled plastic. Ali had stopped at the Nature Center at Holden Arboretum a few weeks prior and spotted the recycled box. I hope it wears well. It is a nice design.

I was pleased to see the tomato plants which were so late to be planted are going to produce some tomatoes despite their late planting and the ongoing drought. I wish I had better news for the pumpkins and the acorn squash.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

7 July 2012 Along the NCT

I thought this spider looked like a yellow one we had seen in Ohio. This crab spider can change color based on its hunting area. It must work well since this spider had bagged a meal for the day.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

6 July 2012 Hiking, Biking, and Relaxing

There was a new series of caches on the ANF so we headed off with the dogs for the a good walk and a few finds. It was a lot hotter on the trail than we had expected so I was glad we (Ali) had brought a lot of water for the dogs and we were able to spot some shady areas for them to rest. Today's walk was between five and six miles. Between Gwen's injury and her age, I am always nervous about pushing her too hard, but she did well on the trail and is still at an energy level where she wants to be with us on these long walks.

We track the number of caches they find with us through the travel bug tag for them. Today was a milestone as they joined us for their 900th cache. When they eventually reach 1,000 we'll make certain they get a golden dog treat container or some other way to mark the event. For today, they were just happy to be eating ripe blueberries near the pond that marked the half-way point of the journey. When our dog Toli lived with my parents she would forage in the large strawberry patch and the stand of raspberries looking for ripe berries, but Gwen and Eva are the first dogs I have seen that are voracious blueberry eaters. They will actually snap at ripe blueberries as the walk the trail.

I'm not certain if they are looking for the cache or more blueberries.

After our hike in the ANF, we dropped the dogs at home and headed off for a bike ride. It was a super afternoon to be out biking. With the mid-week holiday, the out-of-town visitors were light and the roads were quiet.

It was a perfect day to be along the river whether riding a bike or enjoying a swing.

Helleborine grows in such odd places making it tough to get a really good image. This bloom was one of several in a length along the road on our bike ride. This is one of the first areas where Ali spotted this orchid and a consistent place for us to spot the plant every year.

After our ride and a stop for water, we grabbed the dogs and headed fro Irvine Flats and some needed cache maintenance. The area has changed a lot since we first started placing caches here. The forest service has worked to remove the aliens and plant native plants in the area.

Friday, October 12, 2012

5 July 2012 Falls and a Tunnel

We had an unexpected mini-vacation so we took the opportunity to return to the Clarion portion of the North Country Trail to find a few more caches on the geotrail. Our adventure today included the 3/4 mile long Rockland Tunnel. The tunnel was amazing. With a bend in the path the tunnel got really dark at the midpoint. We were on foot and hadn't worried about navigating with a bike so our means of illumination were the two gps's.

Daylight is a pinhole at the center.

Once we were through the Rockland Tunnel there were other caches nearby. We decided to continue walking and make a visit to the Rockland Furnace. The 1832 furnace is in good shape and is tucked away in the woods.

Freedom Falls are very close to Rockland Furnace. The drought had really slowed the flow over the falls, but the view was still quite pleasant.

Ali at the top of Freedom Falls

After making our way back trough the tunnel we started our journey north. In between stops alonf the CNCTGT, we stopped at an out of the way place to find a cache at Porter Falls. These falls were also fairly slow because of the drought, but were in a quiet area and were a nice view.