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Friday, August 29, 2014

1 April 2014 Walking Euclid Creek

It looks a lot more powerful from above.

31 March 2014 The Buckeye Trail Along Tinkers Creek

The longer days are a great opportunity to take a walk and explore a new trail after work.

Two very skinny deer standing by the shore of Tinkers Creek

Thursday, August 28, 2014

30 March 2014 SGL 291

We've made geocaching stops at SGL291 in the past. In the warm months it has a trail that runs along power lines with nice flowers. Today, the weather was cold so we had a quiet walk through the snow. There were signs of spring and (hopefully) a last look at winter's beauty on the journey,

Skunk cabbage always gives reassurance that a harsh winter can only hold on so long.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

29 March 2014 Death of My Camera

We started our day by finally getting a great view of the eagle we had been trying to spot for weeks. It was a glorious sighting on a wet day. We wanted to visit the Jamestown Audubon Center and find the Ranger Rick series of caches there. After stopping inside to hunt information for a puzzle cache and look at the exhibits, we made our way to the grounds. The rain had stopped, so I took my camera as we set off on the trails. It was a bad mistake.

We made it through the first caches with no rain. Then it started. I usually put my camera in my waterproof raincoat and that provides enough protection. In normal rain, it would have have enough. In the day's intense rain, it wasn't.

We knew this was a big year for tundra swan migrating through the area. We've seen them before at Chapman State Park, but the sheer number at the Audubon was surprising. It was a mix of tundra swan, geese, and ducks on the drained pond area.

I kept looking for skunk cabbage, a sure sign of spring. I finally spotted some about half way through our walk.

The death of my camera happened soon after this image. There's only so much water a camera can accept. It was a tough day on the trail as I lost a companion who had been with me for many, many miles.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

26 March 2014 Spring Journey to Dishman Hills

I was glad the ice was gone when I was retrieving a cache from the edge of the rock face below. I was a little surprised the cache listing described this as a great place to bring your children. I'm certain I wouldn't want a small child around this drop while I was trying to retrieve a cache and sign a log.

Snow was still visible on the mountains in the distance as I made my last find.

Monday, August 25, 2014

25 March 2014 Spokane River in the Spring

Since I've to this park so many times this year with snow on the ground, it was great to return for a quiet walk after leaving the office. There were only a few blossoms, but they were the first after a long winter.

23 March 2014 An Era Ends

"Nothing stays the same... Everything changes... Usually not for the better." -me

The local Agway has been a part of our home in Pennsylvania for a long time. It's always been a favorite spot for me to stop on relaxing Saturday mornings each spring to look at nursery items to plant. I've always found something of quality here. It's been our go to place for basil plants and perennials. It's been a place to get food for our dogs... tools... supplies... muck boots. It won't be any more.

The business is closed and the land has been sold so a Family Dollar can be built. Youngsville doesn't have a lot going for it, but this store was a place to find what you needed. Now that useful convenience will be gone so a cheap retail store can settle in 500 feet from a Dollar General. It's not an improvement. It wasn't about the shopping or the store. It was about a place to go and explore. It was about a tradition. It was a local store with local owners serving the residents.

The blossom below is from one of the many rhododendrons I planted one spring many, many years ago. I was travelling back and forth to a site for work and spending the weekends in PA. One Saturday morning while I was waiting for Ali to arrive, I drove to this Agway and bought most of their rhododendrons, about two dozen. I then set about planting them around the house and in the woods. At least each spring we will have a yard full of beautiful blossoms.

At some point, it would be nice to see something stay. Tradition and community should count for something. This was a sad day.

Friday, August 15, 2014

22 March 2014 Spring in Allegeny State Park

I don't remember seeing Amish ice fishing before. I hadn't really noticed the hats when I took the image.

After seeing all the open water on this inlet, I am not sure I would have wanted to be ice fishing on the lake, but I am often shocked but what is considered safe ice by people fishing.

We did a lot less caching than we wanted today as a number of park roads were still barricaded for the winter, but it was a grand afternoon out.

The trail was either snow free or a slippery, icy mess. We enjoyed the good sections and were super cautious with the ice.

It was a happy day to have Phineas mended from his frostbite and back on the trail with us. He is really a great, happy dog. It has taken us awhile to adjust to the reality (and noise) of having a beagle with us. This is the first dog since we have been together where we have no chance for a mistake. One dropped leash or one broken piece of gear will give him a window to take off frantically chasing his nose. The closest we have ever come to this was our first dog Murray. After a couple years with us, Murray was bonded and part of the pack. We had a leash fail once in the woods. He stood and waited for me as I transferred the leash from our spaniel Becky to Murray. I know we'll never have that level of comfort with Phineas. I just hope he doesn't break our hearts.

Phineas gets really excited at the sight of his snowphlake coat.

Ready.... Set....

Bay

21 March 2014 F-4 9457

I stopped for a break in Hinsdale on my drive home and made a second visit to this Phantom. F-4's are fighters I remember from my youth. My dad was a big airplane fan and my brother was in the Air Force so many Labor Day weekends we made a stop at the airport to visit the air show. In those days Phantoms were a military staple and a big presence as the featured jet of the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels. These days, most people in the U.S. either don't remember or never knew these fighters. Interestingly, they were just retired after 40 years of service from the German Air Force in 2013 with a big send off.

This plane is unique for its last flight. It was brought in for a carrier deck landing after being hit and damaged in battle. The plane was on fire when the pilot put it on the deck. I can't begin to imagine what it takes to land a plane in that condition or be a part of the landing and fire crews as a burning plane touches down on an aircraft carrier. It's an amazing bit of history.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

19 March 2014 Visiting Dryden Lake

In Ohio and Pennsylvania, the water is open with the ice gone. That was not the case at Dryden Lake. The trails were mine on this cold evening as I awoke a few caches from their winter slumber.

18 March 2014 Phineas is Phound

By morning we were certain we had lost our silly beagle. Neither of us expected to find him, but as soon as daylight arrived we were on the trail. We also knew it had been very cold the evening before so he would be in bad shape when found. Once again we walked for miles and couldn't find the roaming beagle.

I needed to be in Cortland, New York for work so my chance to look was the morning. We had given up fearing the worst and returned to the house when we received word that a beagle had been found to the south. With hope we headed south. When we got to the place he was supposed to be we were over four miles from home. The man retrieved Phineas and there was no doubt he was our happy silly beagle. This kind stranger had found Phineas walking in the road at 2am and picked him up. He spotted the geocaching Log My Dog tag Phineas wears and found our account on Geocaching.com. Through the assistance of our friend and the Warren County Humane Society, our beagle was soon on his way home.

All was not roses for the little boy. He had frostbite on his nose, his lips, his pads, and his ... well you know....

With Phineas back home, I made my way to Cortland. Spring was in the air as I made a few cache finds on the way. I was happy the cache at the location below was not in the swamp where my gps was pointing.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

17 March 2014 Phineas Goes Again

Once more the elusive beagle took to the hills and ran. It was a bright, blue day out, but with 18 degrees forecast for the evening, we knew he was at high risk. I lost count after over a dozen miles on the trail. We were able to follow his paw prints south, but lost his track in areas where the snow had melted. We kept looking throughout the evening, but went to bed with heavy hearts.

Me made our fruitless search against the background of blue skies. Other than a few early sightings and his baying which quickly died away, he was gone...

16 March 2014 Oil Creek State Park

We spent a very cold afternoon at Oil Creek State Park searching for a couple puzzle caches. These beautiful ducks were a visual treat in the early afternoon.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

15 March 2014 A Quiet Ride East

At 65 acres, this isn't a dog park. It's a dog resort. Multiple off leash areas, agility courses, and trails through the woods are here to comfort the special dog.

The trail signs are at dog height. I'm sure Gwen could read it. ;-) Gwen and Phineas both enjoyed the trails and the visit and we enjoyed the finds.

Tamarack Lake used to be a serene stop on our journeys. Pennsylvania DCNR deemed the dam unsafe a few years ago and breached the dam during a low point to prevent catastrophic failure. With no funds available to replace the dam, the old lake bed sits dry. It's a sad sight to see. We stopped this afternoon for a walk along the old lake and a few caches. One bonus of our journey was Ali spotting an eagle along the old shoreline. Hopefully DCNR will be able to restore this quiet gem within the next few years.

Phineas phinds a cache at Tamarack

Our caching day included three puzzle finds including a stop at the scenic cemetery in Titusville. This nice sculpture was one of the stops on the journey around the historic cemetery.