Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday before the holiday break

Since its the Friday before the long holiday weekend many people around here have taken the day off. When I looked out the window I could see the snow sparkle in the sunlight and wanted to share it. Hopefully this turns out.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cirque Du Soleil

It's been a while since I've posted, so I'll start with a quick update. The caching streak is still alive and at 167 days. Thanksgiving was just Erin and I staying home this year, very relaxing. We've also been starting to run a bit more.

So we decided to head up to Grand Forks to see cirque du soleil. I don't think either one of us knew what to expect other then a good show. We got up early Saturday morning to meet Erik for a run. Erin was a bit nervous about shooting for 6 miles, and I was a little worried as well. I got sick on Thursday and was still feeling a bit off.  The run went well. A good conversation kept our minds busy until mile 4 or so. With the breeze at our back we were all dressed a bit too warm. A few walking breaks helped with that and we finished the day with about 5.5 miles.

After the run we showered, had breakfast and loaded up the Garmins with geocaches to find before filling up with gas and heading North. Our first stop was in Hillsboro to try for a couple of caches we missed earlier in the year. The first was at the golf course which was deserted today. The second was in a bush and was easy without all of the leaves blocking the view. From there we headed up to Buxton where we were unable to find one of the three caches we tried for. After caching in Buxton we headed to Reynolds where we had an odd sense of deja vu. We had passed through here on our bike trip a few years ago on our way to Grand Forks. Once we'd found the 2 caches in Reynolds we made the short trek into Grand Forks.

We picked up a quick cache before stopping for lunch at Five Guys. They had a touchscreen pop dispenser there that was kind of neat. I've heard about them before but never encountered one. Once we were done with lunch we did a little more caching before heading over to the Ralph Engelstad Arena. After picking up our tickets and finding our seats we waited for the show to start.

The show opened with an odd little scene where an audience member was abducted, but after improved after that. One of the first things we noticed was how they could use their set to not only raise and lower hanging props, but move whatever was in the rigging to a back stage area. It was a really neat setup that I am not doing justice with this description. Some of our favorite acts in the show were a guy with a very large hula hoop that could ride around in it, a lady hanging from some scarves, a group of people jump roping, three ladies with diablos and a crowd of acrobats throwing each other around. We were both impressed with everything and would go again.

After the show we headed to a bar in the riverwalk section of East Grand Forks.  The food was good, but the service was terrible. I was also feeling sick again and was ready to head for home, so we decided to head back home.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Geocaching in Jamestown

This weekend Erin and I attended a geocaching event in Jamestown. We got up early on Saturday and headed out of town. Our plan was to get there before the event, find some caches, and then have lunch at the event.  We made it into town a little after 10:00 and went searching for our first finds of the day. There were 2 caches in a park near the interstate, and after some searching we found both.  We then headed into town for the third cache. As we were signing it a car pulled up and someone got out and greeted us.  We were introduced to Minot Ranger was in town for the event.  After chatting with him a bit we decided to team up for the day. We left his car where it was and he hopped in the truck with us. From there we picked up a few more caches, and then met up with a couple of cachers we had met the previous week in Mayville. With this group we found a few more caches until we ran across my manager and he joined the vehicle caravan.  The 8 of us picked up a couple more caches before heading to Perkins for the event.  Just after we arrived at the restaurant it began to snow. I didn't think too much of the snow as we ate and talked with our fellow geocachers.

Erin, Chad, with Mike and 1 of his daughters in the background
After lunch we had just enough time to grab a few more caches before we had to head out of town. I was watching the boys at 6:00 and needed to get back to town. The snow was coming down in large wet flakes at this point. We stopped by a cache we had previously found to help out the other cachers before heading into a park where we had been a couple of weeks ago to pick up a new cache, and one that had been missing when we came through. Jim had already found the caches in the park and was able to help us find them quickly. After we finished up in the park we drove back to Jim's car to drop him off and then we headed back to Fargo. Getting onto the interstate I slide around a bit before regaining control. It was more slippery then I realsed.

Scooping out the guts
That night I got to carve pumpkins with the boys. This was a bit of a stretch for me. I don't have much expertise with pumpkins. Fortunately the boys had done this before and had some idea of what they were doing. I was mainly there for moral support and to assist with sharp objects as needed. We finished off 1 of the pumpkins which looked pretty good when we lit it up with an upside down lamp. It was a fun day.

Taping the template down

One complete pumpkin

I didn't have anything better to light it up, so we turned a lamp upside down to see what it would look like

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Geocaching in the mist

Most people would describe the weather on Tuesday as unpleasant.  There was a thick fog all day and misted from time to time.  I really like this kind of weather and all day at work I was excited to get out.  Erin and I had planned to go geocaching with Krisann in Kindred and then grab supper at the bar. When I checked the Kindred caches I noticed 5 new caches Southwest of town that had just been added on some brand new trails. When I got home and told Erin about the new caches she was excited, and when Krisann picked us up we convinced her to give them a try.

It was starting to get dark as we drove. The parking area was a bit hard to spot, but we found it.  Immediately after leaving the car we had to hop a barb wire fence at a crossing and then we were off on the trail.  We brought along a couple of headlamps and a couple of flashlights which gave us enough light to follow the trail.  When we approached the first cache the Garmin's had us in the middle of a grassy area.  Krisann wandered near the treeline, where a mouse caught her attention. It was fortunate, because that was the tree with the cache. We signed the log and began to search for the trail to the next cache.  We went the wrong way before discovering that the trail was partially hidden in the trees.  A local boy scout troop had recently constructed a bridge over a small creek.  Stopping and listening to the water flow was very peaceful on this dark misty night.  We followed the trail until we hit a road, fortunately we found where the trail picked up again on the other side.  At this point the trail was between a raving where the creek was flowing and a corn field.  Soon we came across the next cache.  The Garmin's were a bit off on this one as well, but we were able to find it. From there we had to cross another fence and continued uphill for a while to the third cache, which we found as well.  It was hard to believe we were 3 for 3 in the dark.  Finding the trail after the third cache was a little bit tricky, but we managed.  The trail then looped around to the North where we found our fourth cache of the night.  Even though the Garmin's took us to the right tree this one took us awhile to find. From there we continued to follow the trail until we came to a fork.  Based on the description of the cache we chose the red trail and set out. The trail was narrower and steeper than what we had previously been on. After a bit the trail turned away from where the cache was.  The closest we came was about 500 feet to the cache. We didn't want to walk that far in the woods for fear we'd get lost, or stumble and get hurt in the rugged terrain, so we turned around and walked back to the car. The night was warm enough that we all felt overdressed. On the way back we stopped on the bridge again and turned off the lights and enjoyed the calm of the night.  When we got back to the car we decided to dry driving to where the fifth cache was.  The GPS took us to the edge of a field with no good places to hide a cache. We guessed that the coordinates were off for this cache and headed home.

The next day our suspicions were confirmed as the cache coordinates were updated, and I received an email with updated coordinates. I'm excited to get back out there and find the last cache, but I doubt it will be as magical as the first time we went out there.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Meeting the pirates

A musical stick, drop the washers and they swirl down the rod
Erin in a pirate mask
This weekend has been a busy one. Friday night we went over to watch the boys and stayed overnight. Then Saturday we had a geocaching event in Mayville. As we were preparing to head out, there was a quick change of plans when Sam decided to hang out with his soccer team, leaving Erin, myself and John to make the trip up north.  We arrived a little early to find some existing caches that we had missed last time we were in Mayville. We worked to find a couple of micro caches before heading to rainbow park.  There were lots of interesting things within the park. A kinetic sculpture immediately caught my attention as we walked through the park. We found a threaded rod with washers on it that made a musical sound as they slid down as well as an  herb garden that invited you to sample some of the plants. We found the cache fairly quickly in the park and then wandered around a rock maze before heading out. As we were leaving the park we spotted pirates in a park across the highway.  Figuring we were in the right spot for the gathering of the pirate counsel we headed over to say hello. The family that was hosting the get together were all dressed in full pirate gear. It was neat seeing how much they embraced the pirate theme.  The wind was fairly cold as we waited in a shelter in the park for others to show up. It was fun being able to put faces to some of the caching names we've seen in the past few months. When enough people showed up coordinates were handed out to some temporary geocaches in the park. We set out to find them with an older couple and a couple of the pirate children.  The group dynamic was very friendly. Finding the 7 caches took us about an hour. When we got back to the shelter we were shown travel bugs on several of the cars at the event. We enjoyed seeing how involved with geocaching everyone was. After the event in the park we headed over to a local restaurant to grab some supper and warm up. As we waited for the food, we took a quiz on various pirate phrases. I did fairly well, but was beat out by one person who got just a couple more questions right. Erin and John both won door prizes. On the way back all three of us took turns contributing to a ghost story.
A delightful cache

John holding a temporary cache for the event

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bismarck Caching Trip

A walking bridge over the James River in Jamestown
Erin on the trails near the giant buffalo
This past weekend Erin and I went to Bismarck so she could spend some time with her family around her birthday and so we could do some geocaching. Saturday morning we hit the road early and started off looking for a harder cache near the wheaton exit along I-94. We weren't able to find that, but we didn't let starting the day with a miss get us down. We were able to find several caches between Wheaton and Tower City and were enjoying the morning. Our next stop along the way was Jamestown. We started out in Mc Elroy park and took short walking detour up to the buffalo on the hill. As we were in Jamestown I remembered the run Erin and I shared when I was in town for my Grandma's funeral just a couple of years prior. That morning we seemingly covered all of Jamestown before the sun came up.  It was a little odd seeing vaguely familiar places in the light of day. After clearing out the park and grabbing a few more caches in town we hit Arby's for lunch on the way out of town. We made a few more stops on the way to Bismarck including Steele where we found a cache near a giant bird statue. Oddly enough neither one of us ever noticed this while driving back and forth between Bismarck and Fargo on the interstate. When we got into town we stopped by her parents house to unload our stuff and then the four of us when caching in General Sibley Park in South Bismarck.

The next day Erin and I headed out to do some caching along the Mandan side of the river. We found a neat mountain bike trail that ran between the interstate and the river. It was the perfect place to hide geocaches, and the caches there did not disappoint. Several cachers had put some thought into placing high quality caches in this park.  We found close to 19 caches that morning and walked close to 5 miles. The weather was perfect, a bit cool with a slight breeze. We enjoyed spending time in the woods in the fall.
A view of the path near the river
A bear we found

Can you spot the rat?
After lunch Erin's parents joined us for some caching out on the university of mary campus. We had mixed success, but enjoyed the view from up on the hill

Click to view larger
Monday morning Erin's Dad and I went caching and found about 10 caches around town before grabbing lunch. Here is a picture of a whale toy we found with Red Lobster in the background. After lunch Erin and I packed up and started heading for home. We had a few caches along the interstate that we wanted to grab along the way. We found this neat abandoned rest area near crystal springs. After finding the cache we did a little exploring. We finished the trip by finding the first cache we missed on the way out after getting a hint from the cache owner. It was a good weekend of geocaching.

An old fountian?

No one home

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

100 days

Erin and I hit 100 consecutive days with a geocache find last night.  It started out seeing if we could just get to 30 and we kept going. It's been getting harder and harder to keep it going, but we've both been motivated to see if we could get to 100. For the big day I decided we would finally check out MB Johnson Park in Moorhead.  I've wanted to go there for a while, but kept putting it off. When we arrived we were surprised by how much parking there was.  I think I saw 5 different parking lots.  The weather was cool and overcast with a constant breeze, I would catigorize it as a perfect fall day.  We found all 6 caches in the park fairly quickly and enjoyed some of the trails in the park.  I'm excited to go back to do some running, or biking there.

Speaking of running, The past few days I've done some very slow and short runs, but the ankle is making progress. I'm hoping it won't be too much longer before I can get out and log some miles without worrying about it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What kind of idiot climbs a pine tree

Cuts and scrapes
My battle wounds
There's a cache in town that I've been interested in going after for a while now, a 4 star difficulty and 4 star terrain.  Harder than any cache we've tried for. We had a somewhat open night, so we figured we'd finally give it a shot. When we arrived we quickly determined which tree to search, and Erin spotted the cache fairly quickly.  It was about 25 feet up.  Who hides a cache this far up a pine tree? Ok, a better question is what kind of idiot climbs up the pine tree to sign the log.  I guess this kind of idiot. I figured it had been found before, and someone had to have put it up there, how hard could this be? Just getting to the trunk was a bit of a painful process. I had to push away branches as best I could and squirm around others.  After reaching the trunk I had to pull myself up before I could get my feet on a supporting branch.  After that it was just a matter of picking the next branch to move to, grabbing it and realizing it was sharp and pokey and then getting poked by other branches as I moved up. Eventually I made it up to the cache and tried to open it. No luck.  Ok, maybe I'll unhook it from the tree and toss it down to Erin. Nope, it wasn't just hooked, the wire was twisted onto the tree. Somehow I managed to brace myself in a position to use both my hands briefly and I got the cache untwisted and sent it down to Erin to sign. This wasn't very comfortable, but sharing this with Erin wouldn't really help. I knew she was working as fast as she could. After she got it signed she tossed it back to me, or rather just a bit short of where I was.  Damn. It was hard enough just hanging onto the tree without turning around and trying to catch a small object. After Erin dug the cache out of the tree where it had fallen we gave it another try and somehow I managed to catch it. This is when Erin ran back to the car to get her phone to take the following pictures.  My arms were aching, and I still was trying to reattach the cache to the tree.  The wire broke off, so I needed to twist it back onto the cache before the tree. Eventually I got the cache put back where I found it and started down the tree. When I finally climbed out of the tree Erin told me I was bleeding.  It didn't hurt.  At least it didn't hurt any more than the rest of me which was just as scrapped up.  My arms were aching and I don't think I could have stayed up in the tree any longer then what I had, but we had found the cache and been able to sign it.  I guess this is what fun feels like.
An idiot in a pine tree
I think I've had enough christmas tree for a while

Monday, October 1, 2012

Geocaching Road Trip to Fergus Falls

Erin hiding in the trees at our first find of the day
For a while now Erin and I have been wanted to get down to Fergus Falls and do some caching along the Central Lakes Trail. This past weekend we finally had an opportunity to make it happen. We got up early Saturday morning and loaded up the bikes on the truck. We had planned on taking the road bikes, but on a whim I grabbed the mountian bikes instead. The drive was much shorter than heading out to Park Rapids and the Heartland Trail.  We drove through town and eventually found our way to Delagoon Park where the trailhead was. After unloading the bikes we started to hunt for caches in the park.
Click to embiggen

The central lakes trail
It was fortunate that I had grabbed the mountain bikes, because we were able to ride all over the park searching for caches, instead of having to leave the bikes by the road and walk to the caches. We found some neat caches in the park, including 1 stocked with VHS tapes for trade and another that used a pulley. After clearing out the caches in the park we hit the Central Lakes Trail. The trail was beautiful at this time of year, the leaves had turned, the lakes were perfectly calm and it was unseasonably warm out. The caches that were along the trail were not just quick stop and grab caches, a few of them Erin had to go after along because of ankle was still hurting.

Where's Waldo...  I mean... Erin
 After we finished the cluster along the trail near the park we decided to pack up the bikes and grab some lunch at Dairyland, a local Dairy Queen knock off.  We both had burgers with fries, and split some cheese curds. The cheese curds and fries were good, but the burgers were awful. I think we discovered where the lean finely textured beef(pink slime) went to that McDonalds no longer uses. After lunch we stopped by a park off of Hoot Lake to pick up a cluster of 4 caches before heading home. Fortunately there are plenty more caches in Fergus Falls we didn't have time to pick up, so we'll be back.

Erin and the top of a hill I was unable to climb

Friday, September 28, 2012

The road back

This week has been fairly unexciting. Erin got sick on Sunday, and I followed on Monday.  Forteunately between the 2 of us we were able to keep the caching streak alive, it's currently at 88 days. The ankle is feeling better, but there is still some visible bruising that hasn't gone away yet.  I've been to the gym a couple of times and did a half hour on the elliptical with only a little pain. Going forward I should be able to do low impact cardio at the gym, and maybe introduce some very short runs and see how it goes.  After seeing Rachel's writeup of her hundred miler I'm wanting to get out and do another trail ultra myself. Erik had brought up Trail Mix in the spring which sounds apealing. I think it's been long enough since I've done that race that the uglyness has been forgotten. This should also give me something concrete to shoot for. It's good to have goals.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grasslands Adventure

Going through the gate on our way back to the car
With fall here, I thought it would be a great time to head out to the grasslands for some hiking and geocaching. I had been out to the grasslands before to hike, bike and run, but Erin had never been out there. On the drive there I asked her if she was scared of cows, and she laughed it off. I told her how sneaky and underhanded they could be but she dismissed my comments thinking that they were just cows.

The first cache we looked for was near the trail head. We got out of the car and were caught a little off guard by the cold wind. We expected a crisp morning, but the accompanying wind was something that was a little unexpected.  The first cache was found fairly quickly although it was about 40 feet from where the Garmins told us it would be. We decided that we would grab some windbreakers before heading on to the next cache.  After a quick trip to the car we were off again, this time heading deeper into the grasslands.  Up until this point when I went out to the grasslands I stayed along the North Country Trail, however this time the trail didn't go where we needed it to. We found some wheel tracks and decided to follow those. Fortunately the tracks took us almost exactly where we needed to go.  The second cache was another easy find.  As we were signing the log I asked Erin again if she was scared of cows. She sort of laughed and asked if there was one behind her.  In the distance I noticed 3.  Probably the advanced scouting unit of the cow army.  Even though the scouts were trying to hide we could clearly see them. God help us if they ever discover camouflage. I figured the cows already radioed our position to the rest, so we might as well try for cache number 3. We tried to outflank the scouts, but they noticed our movement and fled like the cowards they were. From there we followed some wheel tracks through the woods for another half mile or so before heading off on a cow trail.  Normally cows move single file like sand people to hide their numbers, but here there were 3 distinct trails. What were they planning? We went a little farther and found a clearing in the woods. From there we spotted an advanced cow battalion trying to hide behind a barbed wire fence.  I was thankful that cows were such awful hide and seek players. Thinking we could get around them Erin and I moved back into the woods, but we had been spotted.  The cowards again fled, and I found myself thinking this was almost too easy. Were we being led into a trap? Erin was getting a little nervous, I think she was sensing we were mooving deeper into cow held territory. We were about 700 feet from the cache and decided to proceed through the gate. We had gone this far and would not be stopped.  After we cleared the gate we followed the trail up a hill and there we saw it, the headquarters of the cow army. They had made their base in a large clearing, directly in our path to the cache. It all made sense now. They wanted us to become emotionally invested in finding this cache. It was less then 500 feet away from where we stood staring down the herd. As we stood there I spotted one of the cow special forces emerging from the woods. Once it was spotted it hung it's head and shame and returned to the herd. All of that training to sneak around our flank was wasted. Since their trap had failed to spring I figured we could take the trail in the woods that the special forces cow had used. Erin was thinking about turning back, but we couldn't let the cows win. Who knows where their tyranny would stop if we did not stand up to them. The trail took us safely around the cows encampment and after delving deeper into the woods we were victorious. The cache was OURS! With the log signed, the cache returned to it's hiding place and the cows thwarted we needed to head back to the car.  We followed the trail back to the gate, however I decided to take a shorter route. The cows had been angered by our victory and decided now was the time to act. They began to marshal their ranks forming a line standing shoulder to shoulder. As they began to move my direction I shouted which briefly distracted them Erin was up on a ridge and kept moving toward the fence line.  When the cows began their second attack I stood my ground.  I shouted for Erin to keep moving and I would bravely hold them off. As I stood there staring the cows down I could feel their shame growing. They had failed to protect the cache and they knew that I knew that they knew that. I turned my back in disgust and retreated into the woods towards the fence line. Erin had already reached it, but was unable to find a spot to cross. We decided to follow the fence back to the gate. Along the way we didn't see any more cow activity, perhaps they had consigned themselves to their fate and were lining up for the truck to the slaughterhouse. When we made it through the gate Erin was relieved.  On our way back we spotted the 3 advanced cow scouts, but they kept their distance. Eventually we made it back to the car and had Jimmy Johns for lunch, we had picked it up the previous night.
Looking for a cache in the grasslands

After lunch we headed out of the grasslands, my ankle was starting to bother me and hiking didn't seem like it would make things better. We grabbed a few caches along the road and stopped by a couple of cemeteries on our way to Lisbon.
Large tree in the middle of a cemetery.
When we reached Lisbon Erin needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at the gas station/grocery store. From there we backtracked to a cluster of caches that was Southeast of Lisbon. When we got there we discovered that this place was called Dead Colt Recreation Area. There was a picnic area, and a swimming beach, as well as camping areas and a couple of baseball fields. It was a beautiful area and we had a good time caching there. After we found all of the caches in the park we decided we had enough for the day and headed home.
Dead Colt Recreation Area (Click for a better view)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Offsite trip for work

This is me putting in a winning effort at ladder golf.
Thursday afternoon my team at work was invited on an offsite trip along with another team out to a coworkers cabin right across the lake from Maplewood. It was a good chance to get to know my teammates better and relax a little.  I got a chance to kayak took a pontoon tour of lake Lida played some ladder golf and enjoyed some good food.

Ronnie and I on the pontoon.

The sprained ankle is feeling a bit better. I'm walking normally most of the time.  Inclines still cause it to hurt and there is still some swelling.  I might get to the gym this weekend and test it out on the elliptical before getting out and running on it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ouch Part 3

Recovery from my sprained ankle has been slower then I'd like. There are times when I can almost walk normally on it, and times where it still hurts a lot and I have trouble moving around. I've still got some very impressive bruises showing at the top of my foot, along the sides, and even near by toes. I'm hoping to get to the gym or even get out to run soon, but that might be optimistic.  I'm just taking it a day at a time. 

The girls and Erin out looking for a cache in North Fargo
This past weekend Erin and I were babysitting again. This time 2 girls. Erin and I had a great time, however cooking for them was a bit challenging. They were fairly picky and didn't like things that were spicy, or seasoned, or really anything with flavor. Ok, it wasn't quite that bad, but we did make a lot of kraft mac and cheese.  We took the girls out geocaching both Saturday and Sunday and found a total of 5 caches with them.  We also targeted caches near playgrounds, so they got to play in some new places. With the finds this weekend and the past couple of days our geocaching streak is at 79 days.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ouch Part 2

The swelling a bruise on my ankle
It took a day, but I've got a nice bruise that formed on the top and side of my foot.  This is about a day after I tweaked my ankle.  Perhaps this is going to take longer then I thought to heal up. On the bright side I can put weight on it, and walk sort of normally. I'm hoping some ice and ibuprofen can take the swelling down.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Wednesday night Erin and I were going over to some friends for dinner and needed to find a quick geocache. When we got there the Garmins were directing us all over, so we started searching over a wide area. There was a tree that seemed to be the closest to ground zero, but the only place to put a cache there would be above head height. It's possible the cache was there and we just couldn't see it.  I kneeled down and had Erin stand on my knee, but since there wasn't much to grab onto she couldn't get up.  We switched positions and I tried to stand on her knee. This didn't work very well and I wound up twisting my ankle as I fell.  At first it hurt so bad I couldn't really talk, it was like when your breath gets taken away by jumping into cold water. I rolled over to a nearby bench and sat down.  Eventually I was able to talk again and had Erin look for the cache, which she found almost immediately, exactly the same amount of time it took my ankle to swell up.  Fortunately the swelling wasn't too bad and I was able to limp my way through the rest of the evening. I'm thinking this is going to make continuing our consecutive day geocaching streak (currently at 73) harder to maintain as well as doing anything physical. I've been doing better this week with my running, and getting to the gym. Not just because it's something that I should be doing, but because I want to again.  It feels good to have that motivation. Sooner or later the motivation and ability will line up again and I'll find the running addiction again.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Geocaching in Maplewood State Park

Erin and the boys looking at acorns
This past weekend Erin and I were staying with some boys we babysit.  Sunday morning after breakfast we drove out to Maplewood state park to find a couple of geocaches.  The first one was part of the Avian adventure series and we found it fairly quickly, the other was a few miles away from that.  We drove over to the second cache and parked less then a quarter of a mile from the cache. I didn't want to make a quick find and then take off, so we took a round about way to the cache on some of the trails and wound up hiking a little over 2 miles.  A good time was had by all.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bemidji Caching Trip Day 4

A Nintendo repurposed as a geocache in Lake George
Day 4 of our geocaching trip started with the realization that it had rained overnight and our plan of starting the morning with some biking was going to be a bad idea.  We had breakfast at the hotel and planned our next move. Instead of caching on the bike trail we would started heading home and try to find more caches along the way. We spent some time in Lake George and along the North Country Trail with runs just a little south of the town.
A spider web catching the light on the trail

After Lake George we went to Itasca to do the Avian Adventure cache there. This was the hardest one we have done so far, it seemed like the caches were all about 30-50 feet from where the Garmins lead us. Eventually we solved the puzzle and got our bird card.  It was close to lunch time so we stopped at a barbecue place just outside of the park only to realize that they weren't open on a Tuesday. We decided to snack and then eat when we got to Park Rapids.  Half a dozen caches later we were in Park Rapids eating at the Royal Bar.  The food was good, but I hate how small town places don't take credit cards. After lunch we headed back to Fargo with only a few more stops to look for caches. We wound up with 194 finds over our 4 day trip.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bemidji Caching Trip Day 3

One of the caches that wasn't a matchstick container
Erin grabbing a snack along the trail
Day three of our geocaching excursion began the same way day two did, with breakfast at the hotel.  I really like breakfast at the Holiday Inn.  We decided to do some more biking today, this time heading South along the Paul Bunyan trail.  We drove to where the trail starts to head out of town, but this time there wasn't a public parking lot. We decided to park at a church because I didn't think anyone would be there on Labor Day. We couldn't find the first couple of caches, but then started to have better luck. Most were still matchstick containers, but were much more difficult to find then what we'd seen the previous day.  They were further back in the woods, and the terrain had more hills. I was hoping to make it out to Guthrie, but the temperature started to climb and we were running out of water, so we decided to head back. At the time we had found 72 caches for the day and our biking trip would be 21 miles. When we got back to the truck we decided to head back to the hotel to shower and drop the bikes off. We also took the time to log our finds and load up some waypoints for after supper. We decided to hit up Bar 209 again for some cheese curds, this time Erin ordered the pot roast and it wasn't as good as the burger she had previously. We headed just North of Bemidji to try to find some more caches. We found 3 out of the 6 we tried for before I got sap all over my hands and it started to rain. We decided to call it a day and went to Target to pick up some miscellaneous stuff, before heading back to the hotel to lounge around in the hot tub.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bemidji Caching Trip Day 2

An old sawmill foundation near the lake.
This chipmunk was enjoying an acorn.
He stayed within 5 feet of me while I logged the cache
Our second day of our Bemidji caching trip started with breakfast at the hotel.  As far as hotel breakfasts go I think Holiday Inn is above average.  I had some cinnamon rolls and Erin had a bagel and hard boiled egg. After breakfast we drove over to the Paul Bunyan Trail that runs along the east side of the lake.  The geocaches along the lake were all spaced about a tenth of a mile apart and many were the same matchstick container in trees near the trail, not the most exciting caches.  We turned it into a bit of a sport by seeing how fast we could get through the trail. After biking about 23 miles we had done the caches along the lake and were ready for lunch.  We opted for a quick trip to Burger King before doing some more geocaching on the bikes.
Random people taking pictures with Paul Bunyan

We parked at the visitors center and biked around downtown and near the collage for the rest of the afternoon.  I took some pictures of the art in the area, but missed a lot

The USS Sally, I have no idea what the significance of this is
Erin and the Republic
Here is a picture of the mighty Republic.  Ok, maybe not so mighty, but it does have a geocache. We spent a while looking for it, because there were so many great places to hide one here.

Some turtles we spotted from a bridge on the Mississippi
When we were finished downtown we dropped the bikes off and loaded up some more waypoints on the Garmins. There were 7 caches near the hotel and we wanted to get to 66 finds for the day, so we'd have 100 total in our first 2 days.  The first cache was at a hotel across the street. We wandered around outside for a bit with the Garmins pointing into the building.  Eventually we realized that was correct, and went inside to log the find.  Then we went to a near by park.  The first few there were easy finds, then we had to go onto a Frisbee golf course.  After finding one of the caches we were walking back through the woods when we encountered some golfers who asked how things were going. Not wanting to explain geocaching I just replied with a friendly "Guten tag" and kept on going. After that we wandered around in the woods for a bit and were just a touch lost when Erin looked down and spotted the cache we were looking for.  Getting back out of the woods was just as fun as getting into them. When we were finished in the park we were 1 cache short of our goal. We found a quick park and grab before deciding on Little Caesars for supper.  It was a long day, but we had lots of fun.