April 6: Grant’s Nature Area (which is where the pictures are from). April 13: Brown’s Woods (I neglected to bring the camera). No geocaching in either spot. For Grant’s, I had forgotten to upload the local area caches, and had only Caribbean caches, lol. For Brown’s, the unit just wouldn’t work (said there were no caches).

We did do our first letterbox in Brown’s Woods, though, which was pretty fun.

Grant's Nature Area

Grant's Nature Area

Grant's Nature Area

Well, Wally bagged this one. I walked by it. Twice. He yelled “I found it!!” I said “oh, I think that’s just garbage.” Yeah, no. Good job, Wally! We also had a small moment where we thought maybe we had found a weapon – we had, but it was a toy. Looked just like a real gun, though.

Anyway. This cache is in need of maintenance, but it looks like the cache owner might have been banned from the geocaching website, so we’ll keep an eye on it, and if nobody has maintained it by the next time we head to Ashby, we’ll find a new container and just replace it.

I was really just looking to offload the other geocoin we’ve been shamefully hanging on to since June. (I know, I know… the summer got away from us.) Picked this one up on the way home from Target today. Wally found it himself, I didn’t help at all. (I mean, I led us to where the GPS said to go, but he took it from there.)

So, geocoin passed along. Yay.

We found the Happily Ever After cache in SE Des Moines on Sunday, and finally dropped off one of the Geocoins we’ve been hanging on to. Rio’s Replacement Geocoin is now located in the cache for someone else to find.

We tried to find Webb’s RV Park cache again, and no luck, again. We suck, apparently!

This week, we did just a bit of geocaching, only for as long as it was fun for both kids.

Geocaching - Kenue Park Cache

We found:

GC26TZG – Art of Cache.

GCHMT1 – Kenue Park Cache.

GC1V75C – The Watcher. This was on private property, and even though the description said it was completely fine, the private property ones creep me out. However, we met the homeowner, and he was a very nice gentleman.

GCK69X – Lazy Cache

We tried for GC1RW0D – Gillygan’s Island – but apparently it really IS on an island, and the lake needs to be frozen to reach it, lol.

We picked up two Trackable Items – which is a first for us. We found Rio’s Replacement Geocoin at the Kenue Park Cache, and we found a (the?) Googol Geocoin at The Watcher. We’ll take these back to Des Moines and find some caches that are large enough for them somewhere. Seems we only have the micro sized caches in DM.

Geocaching - Kenue Park Cache

8/9 Geocaching and Hiking

This weekend, our family explored the miles of trails between Dunning Spring and the Ice Cave in Decorah. We found two geocaches (Above Ice Cave GC123FA and Dunning Spring GCWY1M) and hiked about 4 miles. Somewhat unintentionally. We started at the trailhead East of Ice Cave to get the Above Ice Cave cache, then took a wrong turn coming back and ended up kind of wandering around on the trails for a while, hoping to get back to our car at some point. We ended up coming out at Dunning Spring, where we had started the day before moving the car closer to Ice Cave. How we got lost with a GPS along is a kind of funny story involving having turned the GPS off, so being unable to retrace our steps, since the unit didn’t save our path. Also, the extensive tree cover in the area made the GPS point in almost the complete different direction the whole time. Our little Path of Travel arrow was pointed AWAY from the cache, while we were getting CLOSER to it.  It was a little odd.

Today we found GC1739N (One good bridge…) and were quite stoked because it was listed as 2.5 stars in difficulty and we found it almost immediately. Gratifying to know that we are not incapable of finding urban caches after all.

Then we decided to pick up GC15R6C (Grand Tour of Des Moines: Playhouse). We found a good candidate for where a cache might have been before, but we didn’t find any cache. The last visit logged at geocaching.com was ALSO a Did Not Find, so perhaps it’s been taken. I’m watching that listing and will keep an eye out to see if anyone else finds it.

Wally did NOT think these were fun. I’m finding that many of the urban caches are Micro sized, which means they’re tiny and there’s usually not anything in them to swap out. That’s really the whole appeal for him at this point. All there was in the one we found was a small log, which he thought might be a treasure map, then he was kind of mad we just left it there…

So our family recently started Geocaching. Since that usually involves hiking – or at least walking – I thought I’d add our Geocaching stuff here too!

Last evening, on our “daily” family walk, we decided to try to scope out our first Iowa cache. We chose GC1767K, “what a raquet,” which is in the vicinity of the MacCallum tennis courts. Um, well, we couldn’t find it. We were hampered by Miss G, who protested whenever I stopped walking or, especially squatted or stooped. And by Mr. W, who was for some reason making as much noise as physically possible, thereby drawing the attention of the few people using the courts. After 20 minutes of aimless wandering, we decided to come back some other time when we could actually LOOK, with our hands, rather than just wander and use our eyes.

This year, we went up Mt Timp, but with our 5 year old son (from the flatlands like we are) walking, and the baby (9 months) riding on my back. We got as far as the first fall, with him complaining the whole way, and ended up deciding to turn back.

I don’t know if it was because we went later in the season than we’ve ever gone (July 26) or if it was because it was Pioneer Day weekend, or what, but I have never seen so many people on that mountain before. The TERP cabin was even open.

Also the mountain itself seemed to have a LOT more snow than we’ve ever seen (we visit every 2-3 years). Our first visit was during a bad drought year, and my understanding is that the area is slowly coming out of the drought, so maybe this year was just the first “normal” year we’ve seen there? I don’t know.

Anyway, I could certainly have hiked faster and longer, but the little one was not happy about having to walk uphill. Also, despite our directions, he stepped into the deepest parts of the stream crossings and got his little feet SOAKING wet. Since on previous hikes, there has not been that much water, we were wholly unprepared for this and didn’t bring him dry socks or sandals or anything.

The scenery

Tunnel Drive just outside of Canon City, Colorado, is a fun little hike, but if you go in late morning, it’s pretty much all exposed to the hot sun. The trail is dirt/rocks, quite wide, and winds along the ridge above the Arkansas River. As we hiked, we saw the Royal Gorge Line train chug by, we watched rafters float along, and we saw some wildlife, as well.  (Also a used condom, whoo hoo.) The trail features three tunnels dug through the rock, two of them rather short and one quite long. The road was originally built to service a redwood water main from the river to Canon City. The trail is only two miles in length, but we only hiked the first mile of it. (Wally, who is 3, insisted upon riding on Daddy’s shoulders most of the way, and Daddy didn’t think he could do the whole hike with his extra burden.)

Hiking Boy The Royal Gorge Line train The first of three tunnels on Tunnel Drive

Eager hiker for the first few steps!   The Royal Gorge Line.   The first tunnel.
The third tunnel Cactus

The last (longest tunnel).  A cactus.

Hike completed: July 23, 2007. Total mileage: Just over 2 miles.

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