Thursday, December 29, 2016

29 July 2016 State Park Visits

Ali had state park visits planned for the day starting with Pike Lake State Park. We both liked this relatively small state park. It was quiet and peaceful with nice trails in the woods.

Oh my, look at those paddle boats...

Last week I had never seen a five-lined skink. Now I have seen them in a nature preserve and this state park.

I was happy neither of us fell into this old well while hunting a geocache at the park.

Our visit to Scioto Trail State park was a quick walk along the shore of the lake with more rain on the way back.

Monday, December 26, 2016

28 July 2016 Rainy Day

Most of our vacations include at least one rainy day. This trip had more than one.

The rain was hard and steady. The roads were covered with standing water and wet slippery mud. We brought our Mazda on this trip rather than one of the Subarus. This rain and the slick roads made me reconsider that decision.

Eventually the rain let up so we stopped for a visit to the Scioto Brush Creek Nature Preserve.

Translucent mushrooms

Northern sea oats

It doesn't take much to make the streams muddy here. It is very different from the rocky or sandy bottom streams I am used to seeing.

We spotted large gatherings of butterflies after all the rain. We finally realized they appeared to be gathering to drink the rain water.

This tree is claimed to be the state's largest buckeye. At a claimed height of 109 feet it towers over Ali.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

27 July 2016 Lawrence and Gallia Counties

It's considered an achievement to find caches in all the counties in a state. We have already found caches in all counties of four states. It seemed time to actually find caches in all the counties in our "home" state. Lawrence and Gallia Counties were the only ones we had missed during our twelve years of geocaching. We were staying in Ironton which is the Lawrence county seat so finding a cache in Lawrence was an easy task. We were happy to start our morning at the local library in Ironton. The geocache final was in the geneology room. Ali has done much of her family's ancestory with many courthouse visits over the years, but Lawrence offered a chance for her to explore the history of a part of the family which settled in southern Ohio. The staff member who pointed her towards a few valuable resources was friendly and clearly loved her work in the department.

I amused myself with the discovery of an amazing book locating veterans' graves. If I had time, I would start the project to record and post on-line images of the grave markers of veterans of all wars by their service and the grave coordinates with the hope that future historians, geneologists, and descendants could use the information as a resource. With some luck, I will have the time to begin. Each year many grave markers are weathered to the point of unreadable or damaged. It would be great to use the technology available to bring this together.

This trip had the most butterflies since we traveled through Pennsylvania Counties for vacation in 2008.

We often pass by roadside hides when traveling. They are often the worst of geocaching, but we were intrigued by a roadside regular. It turned out to be a fun adventure hidden in a rock face.

The cache was nicely hidden in this crevice.

It wouldn't be a visit along the Ohio River without a visit to one of the locks. This is Lock #10 also know as the Robert C Byrd Locks.

I don't think of being on a river to sail, but this sailboat docked at someone's home on the West Virginia side looked like a great way to be on the water.

We made a stop at Mound Hill Cemetery to find a multi-stage cache which shared the history within the cemetery. It was a fun journey at a picturesque location.

It's not often when there is an admiral

and a major general in the same small-town cemetery.

You also don't see many memorials to people who lost their lives on the Titanic.

I spotted my first GEM pump the day prior at Confidence Cemetery. That pump had its cowl removed and the chain assembly had been stripped. Mound Hill had a GEM pump in working condition. The pumps had been made in Blue Ash, Ohio. They company appears to be out of business, but a hardware supply company called Lehman's still provides parts and now makes a replacement model. The hand crank pump is much different from the piston pumps I remember from Cleveland Metroparks and old rest areas of youth. There are still a few of those in place and functional at rural cemeteries and a few of the old remaining roadside rest stops. These crank pumps were a new sighting.

Our last stop was at a county park called Raccoon Creek. We enjoyed a brief walk on the trails and a stop by a small pond to spot a frog along the shore.

Friday, December 23, 2016

26 July 2016 Along the Ohio

We started our day with a visit to Georgetown, Ohio. We stopped in town to locate a benchmark and hunt a few geocaches. Once we arrived we spent time walking the area and learning more of the boyhood home of President Grant.

The president's boyhood home was quite large for the period.

President Grant's first school

A later schooling location for the future president

We both spotted the ugly pest, the eastern bagworm. They are voracious eaters and attack a multitude of trees with the capability of killing them. This one was climbing the side of the statue of President Grant. This was the first time I remember seeing one.

Our next stop was in Ripley, Ohio which is the home of the Rankin House. The house closed on the day of our visit, but the grounds were still open. The house sits high overlooking the Ohio River. It's a modest house which at one time was home to the Rankins and their thirteen children. It was also for many escaping slaves their first underground railroad stop in a free state. Besides the fifteen members of the Rankin family, the home also gave shelter to as many as twelve escaped slaves as they made their way to freedom.

The view near the Rankin House shows how the home would be visible to slaves as they made their way across the Ohio River and into freedom.

Hundreds of escaped slaves made the journey up this hill before reaching the Rankin House.

Our busy day included a visit to the Adams Lake Prarie. July isn't the best time of year for wildflowers in bloom, but the prairie was in bloom

We made a late stop in Portsmouth and spent time relaxing while looking at the impressive floodwall mural. It seems a long time ago when Pokemon Go was a rage, but on this evening there were dozens of people walking and driving along this road completely immersed in a game they would soon forget.