Thunderstorm warnings didn’t stop us from taking off Saturday and Sunday to the Ohio/PA border area. There were geocaches in and near the state game lands. My goal was to hit my 200th geocache by day’s end on Saturday. That didn’t happen. I way overslept so we got a late start (like early afternoon) and only found 9 geocaches and quit early because the last one we did drained me.
Our first geocache took us to/near the old potters cemetery. I had not heard of the place before. There is a nice monument describing the history of the place. Next came one that was a tiny camouflaged geocache placed in plain view. I don’t know how my husband saw it but he did and we signed the little rolled-up log paper and were on our way.
We found one near the Battles Museum of Rural Life on the trail. I really enjoy these kind of geocaches. You have to get out and walk the trail, see huge ancient trees, listen the all the thrushes fluting their song and hear the sound of a babbling creek nearby. For this one we had to make our way down a steep muddy crevice towards the end of the trail. I didn’t bring my hiking stick so my husband made his way down there with my GPSr unit. The GPS accuracy was low with the overcast skies and tree cover so he searched a wide area. I found a large stick and decided to get down there and give it a try. When I got about 3/4 of the way down, he had already found it. DOH! We didn’t have to resort to the clue. The history of the canal, the dam, and rural life at the Battles farm was really interesting.
We found several cemetery caches and with that came lots of historical facts. Several grave markers were of participants of the War of 1812.
We found our way to the state game lands where there were a few geocaches. We sprayed ourselves with some repellent and headed down the dirt road. We spotted American Redstarts (little birds) and lots of butterflies and wildflowers.
That was a very pleasant walk. When we got to ground zero of where the cache was suppose to be, we had to do some real searching. This was a really clever hide. The clue was “get bent.” I didn’t know if it meant you had to get down and lean over the edge of the creek or if it meant it was in a place that was bent, like a tree limb or bent metal. Maybe it could mean both. I won’t tell you as it would give it away but my geo-sense kicked in and I asked my husband to check one more time in a place I thought it might be and sure enough, he came up with it. We had never seen a geocache container like that before.
The next geocache was a ways off the parking area . It started off really nice. The area was mowed and very pretty.
After walking awhile my GPSr pointed off the path. It looked swampy so I wanted to continue on the path and see if it wrapped around later up the way. Sure enough, it did. It curved around and was probably going to take us back towards the geocache. The closest we could get on a path was about 100 feet from the geocache. We were going to have to bushwack our way in. The growth was so thick and the humidity was pretty bad. I got my clothes and hair caught up in the undergrowth. Some places were impassable. I had sweat dripping into my eyes blinding me and the mosquitoes were thick. My husband made his way ahead and found the cache. I came in behind whimpering, exhausted and bug bitten. We signed the log and noticed the marshy area we had seen when we were first on the path was right next to us. It wasn’t wet at all. We took that way back to the main path easily. All that bushwacking was for nothing. I was drained and we headed home.
I stayed up late Saturday night organizing the cache routes for the next day. I didn’t want a bunch of backtracking on the road as gas isn’t cheap. We got another early afternoon start on Sunday. I still needed 9 geocaches to hit my 200 mark. We headed for the Ohio line again but this time south of I-90. We found some caches near covered bridges and cemeteries. The thunder was rolling and the skies were dark. Severe thunderstorm warnings were being sent to our cellphones. I wanted to get my 200th. What was suppose to be my 200th cache turned into a “Did Not Find” or DNF. We searched and searched and the bugs were so bad. The air was hot and muggy. We both put on long-sleeved shirts and had long pants on because of the thorns and mosquitoes. I had a head net on my head to keep the bugs out. It was miserable and I felt heatstroke was upon me. I was ready to faint and had to give it up. DNF. I did get my 200th at one called “Stop at the State Line” and another where we stopped to get gas.
I had planned to head back to the state game lands up near Lake Erie. The weather warnings were coming faster. We reached the area before the rain started. We saw an immature bald eagle and a buck.
The sky was spitting a bit but nothing we couldn’t handle. We hiked down a trail in the woods where a geocache was hidden. It was getting pretty dark in there. We couldn’t see well and it was slick and steep. Lightning started lighting up the sky really close by and we hurried back to the car. Another DNF. We’ll have to come back to this one as we didn’t get a chance to really search well. It was about 6:30PM and quite dark. On the way out we stopped and watched the lighting over the lake.
If you look closely at the photo you can see a lightning bolt hitting the water (behind the memorial rock.) I know, but in the original size photo it was quite impressive. It was quite a show. On our way out of the game lands the rain started coming down so heavy our windshield wipers couldn’t keep up. Tornado-warning texts started alerting our cellphones. It was a wild and scary ride home.
I wanted to put out some geocaches because I didn’t want to be one of those who hunts but doesn’t hide. I already have 161 cache finds and hadn’t yet put one out. My husband bought me some geocache containers for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to put them out.
Trying to find a place that is approved is another story. My first try was rejected by geocaching.com and I was so disgusted. I searched for the perfect spot, hid it cleverly, got the coordinates average so it was right on and sent it to geocaching.com. I got a refusal notice. It was too close to another cache. They use “as the crow flies” measurements to see how close the other one is. I was instructed to move it a bit farther away from that cache. We went back and retrieved the cache and looked the area over. Unless I was to place this cache near a raging creek or near a big power box or busy road, I wasn’t going to be able to do it. This place had meaning to me and I wanted it there, it was the perfect place but they’d have you put it in a substandard place just to meet a measurement. There is so little urban green space left to hide caches and I’m not a fan of urban caches where you have to use stealth and worry someone is reporting you because they think you are hiding drugs or placing a bomb. I finally got a different one approved elsewhere but it’s not in a good spot.
I read that the Pennsylvania State Parks are charging $25 now to put a cache in their parks. Forget that! I heard Ohio state forest lands were now off limits to caching but on a groundspeak forum I saw that it wasn’t decided yet and that it wasn’t off limits at least not yet. Whatever. It’s getting harder to put caches out and get them approved. Between Geocaching.com’s ridiculous saturation rules (which makes you use more gas and pollution than you should have to retrieving caches) and the government’s long greedy fingers which are growing like Pinocchio’s nose, I wonder how long geocaching will be popular. Ohio has so many places that require permits before you can hide a simple little geocache. We are drowning in regulations, permits and fees. You can’t do anything anymore without a permit. Yes, I’m still disgusted. Geocaching is a fun, wholesome time outdoors and it is being ruined by bureaucracy.
My husband and I participated in an experimental geocaching program that may be implemented around the nation this past Saturday. We hope it is successful because, to us, nothing other than fishing is more fun in the outdoors.
I kind of ruined our trip because even though it was raining pretty hard when we left home I figured the clouds would break here and there and an umbrella would be all I needed. Well, the clouds didn’t break and the umbrella wasn’t all that I needed. I was soaked to the skin on my legs and my shoes were filled with water and sloshing with each step as we hiked around the countryside and through the wet brush as the rain poured on us. Other participants were seasoned outdoors people (apparently) because they had full rain gear down to their ankles. I’m still a west-coast girl (10 years removed) that hasn’t gotten “it” when it comes to weather out here. After Saturday, I think I finally got “it.”
There were 3 trails we were to take to find all 19 geocaches but I wanted to go home after we completed the first trail because I was soaked and was chilled. Even though it wasn’t all that cold out my teeth were chattering. My husband had warned me to wear my weatherized shoes and bring extra socks and even tried to give me a rain poncho which I didn’t want to wear. It’s too bad and I regret not being prepared. One of the trails we missed going on was one we had never been on before and we were looking forward to it.
My husband and I took a drive down to Waterford on Friday to do a little geocaching and to check in on the eagle. We saw one baby poking its head over the nest and one adult in the nest when were arrived. We found a couple of geocaches in the area and then went fishing at Oil Creek State Park where my husband caught 2 nice trout. I got skunked, I need to work on my fly casting as I’m scaring all the fish away.
Saturday we geocached and hiked near and inside Erie Bluffs State Park. What beautiful views from the bluffs! We spotted our first-of-the-year Yellow-rumped warblers, Towhees and what I believe were some palm warblers near the edge of the park near the RR tracks. The trilliums were in bloom like a carpet across the floor of the woods. We just had a wonderful time. It won’t be long and it will be a bit buggy. Bring your repellent.
This video was taken on 9-30-09. I’m not sure many areas can top the views we saw from this geocache location. We punched in the geocache coordinates into the GPS unit and it routed us to an out-of-the-way forest-service road up a steep mountainside. It took some time to get there but oh, was it worth it. The lake in the far right distance is Mono Lake. I kind of remember people saying Mono Lake would be dry in a few years but it’s been about 20 some years since then and it is still there.
Last Saturday my husband and I attended the Presque Isle Geo-cache Bash. The park looked just beautiful! This was our first geocaching group event ever and we really enjoyed it. There were several temporary caches put out and 5 permanent ones. We didn’t have much problem finding any of the caches except the one at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) and those that had gone missing. My husband’s 6th sense worked great except for the cache at the TREC. We eventually found it but we wasted a lot of time on that one. I lead the way to the caches holding the GPSr and when we get close my husband normally zeros in on it like a bloodhound but the TREC building was causing the signal to wander. We had a problem with the last one we went for on the beach and couldn’t find it and we were out of time and had to head back. We made it back to the Pavilion before the 3 o’clock deadline. It turns out that particular cache had gone missing. We didn’t have time to get to the one at Gull Point because of our problem with the TREC cache (and a long lunch 🙂
We met some really nice people and their families and everyone had a good time. There were so many more people there than I had expected and the ones putting on the event did a great job. People came from PA, New York and Ohio to participate. I’m looking forward to the next one.
This blog will be changing. Instead of just covering the Erie National Wildlife Refuge, I’ll also be posting about many local, state and national parks, nearby and afar.
Another major change is my Geocaching videos that I have posted on the Geocaching page. Most of the geocaching we like to do is in state and local parks and near or in national forests. The refuge system doesn’t allow it (for now) but many have virtual geocaches which is more like waymarking.
Many of the pages are still under construction but I’ll be adding the information shortly.