Friday, October 30, 2015

2 July 2015 Zero Finds

This week will go down as the week with the fewest finds of my many fair weather visits to Spokane. The weather was hot and perfect for me, but the containers weren't where I was looking (or maybe I missed them :) ). I was trying to decide between Antoine Peak and McKenzie Conservation Area for any evening of hiking when I spotted turkeys and a beautiful red-tail on the side of the road.

I decided McKenzie was too long a drive and headed for Antoine Peak. I managed to miss the one cache I hunted, but enjoyed a super walk on a hot evening.

This old sign is a relic of the past when this land was privately owned.

19 July 2015 Fun at Home

I was home finally. It was great to see the flowers blooming.

Despite their fanciful breed name, Australian Shepherds do not like warm weather. We bought a silly blow up pool a few years ago for Gwen. Now Lizzie has inherited the pool for warm days. She's more of a water dog than Gwen, but still is more willing to jump in and cool off if I am in the water first. I should have bought a bigger pool. ;)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

14 July 2015 Cars of Monterrey

I was in Mexico for a short trip. There weren't sights to see, but the car selection in Mexico is always unique and different, These are just a few.

The Chevy Matiz is a small car with a questionable past. The Matiz started life as a Korean Daewoo. GM brought Daewoo cars to the the states for a few years including an ill-fated re-badging of the iconic Lemans, before pulling the plug and leaving stateside customers with unreliable cars and few parts. Mexico wasn't as lucky. The country was gifted with the Matiz rebadged as a Chevy.

The Nissan March (or Micra) is highly regarded in Mexico. The 1.6l engine in a lightweight body gives strong performance on the streets. The interior is a step above the Matiz too. This model was just released earlier this year.

I have no idea what this is. It appears to be an 80's vintage. The body has a few dings, but it is obviously someone's pride and has a super stance. The car was parked across the street from our facility for a couple days. Unfortunately, we spotted it diagonally across the road with the front end facing a light pole when returning from lunch. It was there for the afternoon with its hood up. After that, it disappeared. :(

It's a bit scary to think how long this Plymouth Horizon has been on the road. They were first produced in 1977 and lat produced in 1990 which makes this somewhere between 25 and 38 years old. To this day, a Horizon was the completely scariest vehicle I was ever given as a rental car. Driving one of these on the New Jersey Turnpike and being able to see headlights through the gap in the hatch as the body flexed still makes me happy for surviving that trip. I can get nostalgic for most old cars I see, but not this one.

There's not much to do on these trips to Mexico. At least these cars provide a diversion.

11 July 2015 Hiking the North Country Trail in Clarion

We had hoped to hike this section of the North Country Trail over the July 4th weekend. We arrived late in the afternoon and decided to pass on this for another day. Today was another day. The trail intersection was very near one of the trail shelters at the top of Gravel Lick Road. We hiked from there to the Clarion River before turning back.

We were happy to see mountain laurel still in bloom on the remote areas of the trail.

It was mushroom time in the woods. There were some interesting looking varieties in the damp shaded areas along the ridge.

This is a quiet stretch of trail. We were quite surprised to meet two other hikers along the far stretch.

Our turn-around point was the Clarion River.

Friday, October 23, 2015

10 July 2015 Tenacious Traveler

I took a lunch time walk at a nearby Cleveland Metropark. Upon returning to the office I was surprised to see this traveler hanging on the car.

Check out that eye.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

5 July 2015 Looking for Orchids

It has been a number of years since our orchids have bloomed, but each year we hike into the higher regions of our land to look for the orchids. Each walk starts with the happy expectation that this will be the year we see a spike or two. We were happy to see four healthy orchids, but no spikes. Hopefully next year...

It's always a nice walk back and this year we were able to spot a very active salamander on the journey.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

3 July 2015 Clarion North Country Trail

We were out for a day of hiking and geocaching along the North Country Trail in Clarion County. After a quick find after a short walk on the NCT, Ali sent us to a cache in the gamelands. The trail we found was a pleasant surprise with a stream alongside and a series of falls.

We returned to the NCT for the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

30 June 2015 Eagle Marsh

Eagle Marsh lies just behind a usual hotel stop in Fort Wayne. I've been here before to see nesting hawks and walked one of the longer stretches of trail. With two or three long walks remaining to find all the caches here, this is the best remaining spot in Fort Wayne for hiking a bit when in town. I started out this evening with the hope of being able to hike to the north side of the ponds, see some wildlife and find two or three caches. The rains of the past week shut down that plan about a quarter mile into the walk. The water on the trail was knee deep and more. Off to the side of the trail the wetlands took over with deeper water still. I knew my first plan was defeated and turned back.

The towpath trail made a better (drier) choice and offered two unfound multis. I was surprised to see how far along the echinacea was. The blossoms here appeared to be near the end while in Ohio, they would just be opening.

The poppies at the edge of the marsh looked like an escapee from a nearby garden.

The goldfinches were feasting on the thistle.

They weren't the only birds in the dense thistle.

Monday, October 12, 2015

29 June 2015 Searching For An Old Cache

I sometimes obsess about things a little, tiny bit. ;-) I had recently heard there was a March 2001 geocache still active at Toledo Metroparks' Swan Creek Preserve. It's only a geocache. It only counts for one find, but someone placed this in 2001 and it is still being cared for and found. We should find it too. All of our travels and over 13,000 finds had only netted us 97 finds of caches placed in 2001 so these are rare and getting rarer.

It's been raining a lot in northern Ohio. Any deep water in north eastern Ohio is magnified in levels as one moves west and gets closer to Lake Erie. When I arrived at the park, I was able to see signs of flooding immediately. I don't think the park system normally has rangers providing information to visitors, but this one did today. The ranger took one look at my gps and said he wasn't sure they could be reached today, but I was welcome to try. It was like the gauntlet was thrown down. I was just hoping the 2001 hide hadn't been washed away.

"It can't be that bad," I thought as I started on the trail. Maybe the waters were receding.

I needed to try two paths, but eventually I made a slightly wet journey back to find the cache. The container had been replaced, but most urban containers even in 2001 were plastic and they eventually wear out.

Not quite how it looked in 2001, but still here.

If I can find one in the park, I can find the second (famously stupid thoughts). The trails after this got really truly wet. The other cache was very near a stream. In the image below I am less than 200 feet from the cache. I'm sure this is normally a small stream, but at the moment there was water everywhere. In the center of the image, a trash can on the trail can be seen tethered to the trail marker. :-0 The second find was not going to happen. :(

This deer shadowed me for a while.

I made a few more finds along my way. I've been to one park where I have had an unfriendly encounter with a person in the woods. I've avoided that park since then. This evening the wet weather left an empty parking lot in the woods. For my last stop, I decided to try erasing a dnf and find the last hide at the park. This is a roadside park just inside the Indiana border. There's not much here but a short trail in the woods. I quickly found what I thought was the container, but then realized this was a needle stash. The actual container was just a few feet away.

Other than finding the remains of a meth lab in the woods of southern Indiana, this was the most concerning find I've made while geocaching. Cachers are always responsible for their own safety, but reading logs from newer cachers on that page with phrases like, "great one for kids" and "the kids loved it" is concerning. Besides the needle stash, the ground near the hide is home to broken beer and liquor bottles. Geocaching is a fun game, but things can go bad quickly if you are not aware of your surroundings. Smartphones have brought people to the game who may have no idea of what risks may be nearby. For me, I've made my last visit here no matter what new hides may be placed.