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Monday, July 27, 2015

19 April 2015 Return to Cotton Wood Hollow

We returned to Cotton Wood Hollow this afternoon to avenge an earlier geocaching DNF and to hopefully spot the spring wildflowers which were still tucked under snow on our last visit. The wildflowers delivered with a good variety and we were able to spot the cache which we missed on our last visit.

We also got a much better view of the hillside dump at the edge of the property. As usual, I was mostly interested in the pieces related to the old pick-up overturned at the bottom, but there plenty of old and interesting things of the past.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

18 April 2015 Peepers

With all the traveling this year, we were happy to have one evening and have a peaceful walk at the Rookery to listen for spring peepers. I used to think I was a bit of a freak for finding their thundering calls so soothing. I continue to find others who share my absolute love for this ritual of spring.

Despite the near-deafening noise, this is one of the most peaceful places I know to end a day and one of my favorite memories to re-live each spring.

On the way out we ran into a couple sets of parents who were out with their kids and flashlights looking for peepers. It's good to know someone is being groomed to enjoy this beautiful sound every spring.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

17 April 2015 Going Home (Briefly)

I had a few days before travel took over again. I was happy at the thought of going home, but exhausted from the week's drive which included Evansville. The weather was super and we were looking for cache finds in Auglaize County. A chance to visit and walk a place called Dr Elizabeth Yahl Kuffner Nature Preserve sealed the deal for the homeward caching.

The nature preserve was an awesome place. Despite a little used marked trail there were so many wildflowers they were spilling onto the trail and became obstacles to avoid during my walk. I found the cache, but the walk was worth so much more.

I enjoyed every step at the nature preserve. After that I made my way to the nearby Miami and Erie Canal. The canal area was a thin strip of land with woods on one side. It was only about 100 feet from the road. There were promising bird calls and I spotted a few turtles sliding into the canal after I arrive. After that it got a bit weird. I spotted someone approaching from the distance. As he neared, I realized he had a cocked bow and was hunting something. It seemed a strange and dangerous place to hunt so my stay at the canal was quick yielding nothing more than the cache find.

My last stop was unplanned. I was once again ensnared in traffic on I75. With clearly nowhere to go and not way to get home in any reasonable time, I made a visit to the Lippincott Preserve near Lima. The cache page said the preserve was established as a bird sanctuary. I had no luck spotting birds, but the trail was dotted with a nice collection of wildflowers.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

16 April 2015 Fowler Park

I had a late start on my return trip from Evansville to Fort Wayne. I was also losing an hour with a time change. I was hoping for a new county for geocaching and a nice place to walk and exercise. Fowler Park in Vigo County was a very happy surprise. There were wooded trails with elevation changes and spring wildflowers. The visit was topped off with a couple nice cache finds.

The sight of a real ice cream stand in Indiana was a pleasant event. I was off the trail and making the long drive to Fort Wayne. Stopping for a sweet treat break was a happy event.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

15 April 2015 New Harmony

I decided to head west after work to find the caches in a new county. After a disappointing visit to a state park, I made my way to the town of New Harmony, Indiana. New Harmony started life as a utopian community founded by Lutherans from Pennsylvania. They left after ten years to return to Pennsylvania (they had enough of the mosquitos on the Wabash?).

After the departure of the Harmonists, the town was purchased with the goal of establishing a community of shared wealth and resources. Today it is a quiet home to about 900 residents and a tourist attraction. I arrived as the town was setting up for a weekend art show. I enjoyed a few finds and a quiet walk around town making the relatively long drive back to my hotel. The only real break to the quiet of the town were three owls very near town. It was the first time I had noticed three owls triangulated and completing what sounded like a call and response. I was within 100 feet of one ot the owls.

Friday, July 17, 2015

14 April 2015 Returning to Evansville

It had been many years since my last visit to Evansville. It's not my favorite trip. Since there are few flights and the few that do exist pass through some of the most congested hubs, I drive. It's a long, monotonous drive with a time change. I always end these trips exhausted. I broke up the drive today by finding caches in new counties along the way. Ironically, the best location of the day was a rest area west of Indianapolis. There was a cache in a wooded area filled with wildflowers.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

13 April 2015 Turbines in the Late Sun

12 April 2015 Another SGL

We started our day with a walk at our home looking for birds and wildflowers. The hepatica wasn't yet in bloom, but we were able to spot a few birds.

We stopped for a long walk at SGL143. It was early for spring flowers, but it was the warmest day yet for hiking. We found a series of caches and a few other interesting sites.

We both spotted this different acorn cap. Neither of us recognized it, but a look on Google showed it was from a sawtooth oak.

Ali spotted a few chestnuts from one of the trees close to the trail. The nearby chestnut had signs of blight, but it was still a survivor and on of the few times we've seen chestnuts along the trail.

We also spotted a rock with many shells imbedded in it. The shells were still in great shape locked in this ancient rock.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

11 April 2015 State Game Lands 167

We enjoyed a spring walk with no snow and early spring wildflowers. We also enjoyed a fun series of puzzle caches on our walk.

There will be fewer and fewer people in very short time who will understand the significance of this sign. Cell communications have begun to minimize the perceived value of land lines, but this was an interesting landmark of technical innovation. It was an unexpected find on a walk in the woods.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

10 April 2015 Western Basin Birding

We try to set aside on day each April to visit Sheldon Marsh to look for birds. Today we had the opportunity to make a few additional stops.

Old Woman Creek is a tough place for images. It is a great place for birding, but often the birds are off in the distance and hard to capture. This morning we were not helped by a stiff wind that made keeping the camera stable a daunting task. We were happy to see a number of great egrets and great blue herons. We were also pleased to see an immature bald eagle on downed trees in the water. It moved around a couple times while we were watching, but did not appear to have any success fishing.

We made a stop at the beach in Huron to find two caches hidden along the breakwall. We were surprised walking along the beach to spot a flotilla of ducks on the water. Once we reached the breakwall, we surrounded by birds Ali quickly identified as kinglets. A few good images confirmed they were golden-crowned kinglets. The ducks and varieties were plentiful. Near the end of our walk they were joined by a great blue heron fishing the surf along the beach. During this walk, the winds began to die down, the sun came out, and the day got much warmer.

This is springtime in Ohio?

Our path to the caches along the breakwall

Gave us views of golden-crowned kinglets...

And lots of ducks.

Our next stop was Sheldon Marsh. By now the day was amazing. Sheldon Marsh is usually a certain spot for egrets and great blues herons, but today was different. We spotted one egret far out of camera range and a shy heron hidden in the grasses. We were able to spot dozens of turtles which always seem to be a part our visit.

Whistling swans in the pond on the golf course side of the were an unusual site today. We've seen them once before at Chapman State Park. Today they were spending time on their journey north.

A red tail hawk passing overhead

Greater scaups on the Lake Erie side of Sheldon Marsh

Spotting a brown creeper on our walk through the woods was an unexpected, pleasant surprise.

Our last stop was at Eagle Point. We've often seen eagles at this viewing area. This year we spotted one a far distance away, but none in camera range, Instead we were able to spot the egret below on a fishing expedition.

A heron arrived as our last bird view of a fun day.

Our last stop was a visit to Tofts in Sandusky for ice cream. :)