Sunday, January 31, 2016

12 October 2015 McCarty State Forest

I've had an interesting relationship with McCarty State Forest. I've enjoyed the trails each time I have visited, but I have NEVER found any of the caches hidden here. There are four caches spread over about three miles of hiking. They have haunted me. Today it was time to return (one last time) and look for them again.

Success was sweet. Three out of four found isn't so bad. The multi once again eluded me, but I feel empowered for a return some time in the future. It is a beautiful state forest... :-)

11 October 2015 SGL 167

Ali was headed west, while I was traveling east so we stopped for a walk with the dogs at SGL 167. We enjoyed a few cache finds together, but mostly just enjoyed a walk on a mild, fall afternoon before heading in different directions.

This was the first place we have seen Pennsylvania use a feedplot for sunflowers. The field must look good when in bloom. It was long past that point this afternoon, but the remaining sunflowers were very popular with the birds in the field.

We spotted an old plow piece on our way to one of the caches. It was hard to date and decide if it was a piece from an old farm or a tool for growing in the game lands.

SGL 167 is a gamelands where you can see a chestnut tree on many of the trails if you are really observant. Ali spotted this really tall tree showing no real signs of blight. I hope to still be walking the earth when they finallt release a blight resistant chestnut. With a little more luck, I'll be able to plant a few.

We've hiked portions of this gamelands many times and never saw this larger pond. We hoped for a few stray ducks, but there were none to be seen.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

8 October 2015 69 Degrees

I was headed home from Fort Wayne and stopped for a few caches along the way. Donkeys from a neighboring farm came to visit while I was hunting a cache at the edge of a cemetery. I think it was the first visit from donkeys while caching.

I met Ali in Cuyahoga County so we could attend an event. It is rare for us to do weekday events far from home, but this one was in Cleveland Metroparks and the weather was amazing. After saying hello and visiting, we made our way to an ice cream stand near the park. It's one I visited occasionally as a teen with then new driving privileges.

It seemed appropriate and timely that Don Henley was on the radio as I left the parking lot.

Nobody on the road,
Nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air,
The summer's out of reach.
Empty lake, empty streets,
The sun goes down alone.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

5 October 2015 Fungus Near Wauseon

4 October 2015 Ammo Cans in the Woods

We stopped by a gamelands near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border to look for at least some of a series of 27 caches in the gamelands. Big cache series have mostly fallen to the level of either smalls or even worse micros. The walk was a treat. Ten ammo cans, asters, and amphibians were there for us to find.

Phineas looks for some reason to bay.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

27 September 2015 Lunar Eclipse

We were home in time to see the eclipse, but I wasn't sure the weather would cooperate.

The clouds left just in time to watch the show.


and gone

The clouds reappeared and blocked the re-emergence.

26 September 2015 See It By Boat

For many years I have been tempted by the billboards seemingly everywhere in Pennsylvania to "See It By Boat." Each passing billboard called out to me. Today was the day for our visit.

We arrived just in time for a tour to be leaving.

The boats appear to be custom-built flat bottom boats built to provide two rows of seating with plenty of viewing room for the tour members.

We had a two-fer with guides. The woman driving the boat was in training while the son of the family owning the cave was along to help her with the navigation and any questions. He had spent his life in Penns Cave and many other caves so we were given guides with a wealth of knowledge.

Ali's been in many, many caves and knows more about geological structures than I will ever know. It doesn't stop me from enjoying each one and maybe even learning a little.

The cave has multiple entrances. For tours with visitors, the boat leaves the cave and enters a small pond with a wildlife park. We were there to see two elk locking horns while our boat was turning for the return trip.

After a quick turn, we were headed back into the cave.

In a blink, it was over. I had a great time. Ali seemed to enjoy the journey. She really seemed happy to talk caving with our tour guides after the tour. At last, we had seen it by boat. :) Sometimes, it's just fun to be a tourist!

We were too late to pick up our coin from the CCC trail, but we had fun visiting the last few CCC caches as we slowly made our way home.

We made a stop at Black Moshannon Lake for a few hides. The lake was really busy with visitors enjoying the water on a sunny fall day.

We closed out the CCC trail with a bear crossing the trail. It was just as I like to see them, in the distance and moving away.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

25 September 2015 A Virtual Cache in Susquehannock State Forest

The Boundary Dispute virtual in Susquehannock State Forest is a high terrain cache that hadn't made our list of finds before. Today we planned to make the hike after finding a few CCC GeoTrail caches. This 2001 cache replaced a container cache which had to be removed because it was hidden in the F. H. Dutlinger Natural Area where container caches are not permitted. We expected a long adventure on the trail and were not disappointed.

Our journey began with a stream crossing. Although the spot was technically a place where a vehicle could cross we decided to not abuse our vehicle. Once we got to the the other side we saw the "road" on the other side of the crossing was in very bad shape and not a place we wanted to drive. We were happy to make our journey on foot.

There was an option of a wire crossing over the stream. I toyed with it out and back, but had no gloves for holding on while crossing. The rocky stream bottom was a head injury waiting to happen if I lost grip. I decided to splash across.

A little deep and wide for our Subaru

About four feet off the water and a rocky crossing made me unwilling to try the adventure.

We walked a road lined with camps to reach the natural area. Most of the camps were well kept. Some gave some interesting sites.

This old trailer is sliding into history.

The seven years bad luck from this medicine cabinet mirror must have passed long ago.

An old chimney from a long gone camp

Um, no comment

Eventually, we reached the natural area.

The trail was a good as expected.

We weren't alone as we spotted very fresh and very large bear paw prints.

A rare picture of us together by the trail register

There were some tall trees by the register and the virtual.

Fall was just starting to show colors as we made our way back.

A few late forget-me-nots were there as we re-crossed the stream.

The ladder was more secure on this side giving me a moment to again consider crossing by wire. I made the wise choice again.

We finished out our day with a last cache at another peaceful and scenic CCC camp location. I enjoyed being near the water as the late day sun faded.