Saturday, November 30, 2013

19 June 2013 Ravens Horn and Cubs

We bid farewell to Wellsboro this morning. We stopped for a last visit at the diner and took a walk around town to visit the outdoor shop and finish the best Whereigo cache we've ever done.

Raven's Horn was one of the 'legendary' caches in the Legacy of Conservation series. Finders spoke of two things, the tough climb up the ridge to the Vista and the rattlesnake at the vista. I'm not overly bothered by climbs. We've done a lot of peaks while hiking so they don't really intimidate me. This one was tough because there weren't a lot of switchbacks, but it wasn't that high so the relative lack of switchbacks made for a short climb to the top. It was a little over an hour from the trail register to the peak. There were also some nice viewpoints along the way to keep me interested.

I expected the rattlesnake to be a telephoto opportunity. I stay as far away as possible from these beautiful creatures, but figured any snake that stayed at a vista where a lot of hikers and cachers visited had to be a calm snake. It was beyond calm. It was quiet and motionless for our entire visit. The overlook was everything we expected.

Ali at Ravenshorn

Follow the arrow to see the rattlesnake

Looking out from Raven's Horn. For us, this is what geocaching is all about.

We continued down to the cache and followed the trail down to make a loop. I like loop caches when they are possible because they give more opportunities to see new places.

Four-leaved milkweed was a new find for us. We found multiple areas in bloom on the way down.

We've seen a lot of gimmick caches. Often we are leery of what we may find and how it breaks the guidelines. The calf's baby bottle hidden across the road from a cacher's diary farm was a new, fun container for us. We enjoyed our visit, then continued our journey to Lock Haven.

By now, you are probably wondering where are the cubs. We found the cubs late in the afternoon in Lock Haven. For once, we were off the trail and exploring a town in daylight. We had been seeing small airplanes in the sky for most of the afternoon. When we were in Lack Haven we realized the reason for all the planes. The Pipers were returning home to the place they were built for a weekend of friendship. They were very friendly. When I explained we just wanted to walk around and take pictures, they welcomed us in. It was awesome.

Friday, November 29, 2013

18 June 2013 Sand Run Falls and Cowenesque Lake

Our journey today had two major goals. We wanted to find the Legacy of Conservation cache at Sand Run Falls and to visit Cowenesque Lake. The logs to Sand Run Falls were really positive for prior finders and friends had placed a number of puzzle solutions at Cowenesque Lake. It sounded like a perfect plan. After pulling off at a roadside parking area, we started our Sand Run Falls journey. The trail quickly moved towards a quiet stream.

We stayed on the trail until we eventually came to a rope line. Rope line? It was a steep way down and previous cachers appeared to have used it so down we went.

The rope line was a bit of overkill as Ali stops part way down and uses her hiking stick to point out something she sees at the bottom.

Once we were at the bottom, the area started getting real interesting with a trail following a small stream with a series of riffles.

I'm easily impressed. I really liked the first falls we came upon. They were near enough to the cache that I just assumed we were at Sand Run Falls.

This small grotto area by the first falls was really serene. I am a little concerned though when I come upon dwellings built in the woods. There was clearly a semi-permanent, small camp shelter built to the right of the falls.

Oh, those must be the Falls...

Wow... Sand Run Falls

The falls are beautiful. The raw power at the top is awesome.

Like so many geocaching adventures, we discovered an easy trail to take us out of the area and back to the trail where we parked. Returning by the conventional path took us to a small final falls.

After leaving Sand Run Falls, we made our way to Hills Creek State Park. We're getting closer to finding geocaches in 100 state parks around the country so this was another new park to add to our list. It wasn't a bad park, but for us it wasn't exciting. It looked like a great place to go camping, but we're not the park-and-stay type. It's funny how expectations change. If this park were in Ohio, it would be above average, but since there are so many super state parks in Pennsylvania, it didn't stand out. The staff were really busy getting the place ready for the 4th of July crowds. So much so, that one employee wore out his John Deere. We thought the creative tow package with the Kubota was ingenious even if the corporate safety manager part of my brain was 'screaming don't do that.'

Cowenesque Lake is an Army Corps flood control project. As we have traveled around, we have seen a number of these places. Most have larger reservoirs and a fair amount of land surrounding the reservoir. They all appeared to be built at some point with a thought of providing recreational lands in addition to their flood control purpose. They look as though they were once great places for families to spend time together getting invaluable exercise. They have large parking lots, trails, boat ramps, and no visitors. :( Many appear to get very limited use. They all look to be partially abandoned. Cowenesque Lake is a perfect example of that. Its an attractive location with lots of trails and grass and weeds reclaiming the parking areas. We enjoyed our visit. There's a number of higher terrain caches with a few multis and handfuls of puzzles.

We ended the day back in Wellsboro with dinner, locating most of the whereigo balance, and sitting in the park near the Wynken, Blynken, and Nod statue.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

17 June 2013 Wellsboro and Pine Creek Gorge

Wellsboro, Pennsylvania and Pine Creek Gorge are two of my favorite places to be. I was happy to return here as part of the Legacy of Conservation geotrail vacation. We usually park at Darling Run Station and walk the gorge trail to the Turkey Path to the top of the falls. We've been here every season except winter. I'm not sure which is my favorite, but today's weather was nearly perfect for capturing the beauty of the area.

We stopped at the top and enjoyed the views and the Legacy of Conservation cache. We actually remembered for once to ask at the gift shop to see if they had the Pennsylvania State Park passport book, but they were out of stock. ;-) While were were there dark clouds started to roll in. Since we had miles to get back to the geomibile, we decided not to press our luck and started back down Turkey Run. We stopped for a few pictures on the way down and were happy to have blue skies back by the time we reached the bottom.

After we left Pine Creek Gorge, we traveled to Colton Point State Park for more geocaching and a last look at Pine Creek Gorge.

This was a beautiful spot, and I really wanted us to find the cache. A lot of recent rain made us both think hard before crossing this fast stream. Sometimes, it's just better to enjoy where the cache is.

We enjoyed a quiet evening in Wellsboro. We stopped at the Frog Hut. We visited Wynken, Blynken, and Nod at the town's park, and visited the first few stages of a Whereigo highlighing historical Wellsboro.