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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Huron’

Our run of beautiful, above average fall weather is forcast to come to an end soon, so we decided to get a caching day in before the rains come.  We have been wanting to go back to Wurtsmith AFB in Oscoda, MI to complete the seven caches on the Fitness Trail, so we thought why not?!  We added a couple new ones in East Tawas and a couple of others on the AFB, to ensure we reached our 400th cache today.  I packed some PBJ’s and soda (fuel of champions on the Fitness Trail!!) and off we went.

The first new cache in East Tawas took us to Dewey Park, a park that we had never been to before.  It’s a very nice, multi-sport park, with a couple of canals that meet up there, so it seems it has just about something for everyone.  The cache was an easy find so we quickly recorded that smilie and moved on.  The next new cache took us to the parking lot of a local eatery.  This was also an easy find, but many muggles around, so we parked as close to it as possible, grabbed it, brought it back to the Jeep, signed the log there and then quickly replaced it.   On to Oscoda and the AFB.

One of our extras on the AFB was stated to be on the cache owner’s property.  We don’t usually cache on private property, but thought we’d drive by and since it’s a week day, if there were no cars around, we may try it.  Unfortunately, many cars were parked in their drives, (maybe due to Columbus Day?), so we opted not to get that one.  We then picked up another quick find and headed for the start of the Fitness Trail.  We read the signs at the start and looked at the map to get a feel for the layout of the trail.  The caching notes stated it would take about 1 1/2 – 2 hours to complete the series so we called up the first one on the gps and off we went.   The first couple of caches were fairly close to each other and were pretty quick picks.  The third one though, had us stumped for a little while.  Our gps kept pointing us to an area that we could see had been trampled but we couldn’t come up with it.  We then stood back and let our “cache sense” kick in.  We broadened our search and started looking in other areas.  Finally!!! After what felt like a half an hour, I finally came up with it.  We looked at our gps and it was about 20 feet off.  I told myself to keep that in mind in case other caches were not quick finds.  I also realized that wearing short pants may not have been such a great idea.  I figured the caches would be a little ways off the trail, but I didn’t think I would be trampling around in pickery bushes.  By the time we got back to the actual trail, I looked like I had been attacked by a rabid ankle biter!  All I could say was “Oh well, it’s too late now” and we continued on.  The next couple were fairly easy finds, again our gps was off, but now that we know that, we were able to locate them a little quicker.  In between numbers 5 and 6 is a cache that is not related to the Fitness Trail, but is just off the trail.  We attempted to find it last December, with no luck.  The most obvious spot was empty so we really thought the cache had gone missing.  Since we were out here, we decided to give it another try.  This time we got the smilie!!  And to add to our fun, one of the previous cachers had dropped off one of their pathtags!  We enjoy collecting pathtags and now have eight.  We would like to have one of our own made and probably will very soon.  Just have to decide on a design.  We then located number six in the series and finally had all of the numbers to complete the latitude and longitude of the final cache.  We punched in the numbers and had the direction and distance to the final cache.  We located that one very easily and had the Fitness Trail completed.  Yeah!!!  Once we got back to the Jeep, I realized I had left my camera there.  So I apologize for not having any pics to go with this post.

Our only wildlife sightings today were squirrels, and many of them… too many to count.  They must really love this area!  Had a great day and yes, we reached 400, actually we now have 401 found caches.

Happy caching!

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The last few weeks have been hectic at best, so when we decided to do some caching today, I was looking forward to a day of strolling through the woods and getting away from all the craziness that is going on in our park.  We picked out two separate series of caches, the first on the northeast side of the Au Sable Rive near Glennie, and the other series took us near Curtisville to the southwest side of the river.  I knew the woods would be full of mosquitoes and other biting insects, so to prepare, we brought our head nets and made sure we had long sleeves and long pants on.   The day started bright and sunny with a good breeze so I again packed a picnic lunch and off we went.

After about thirty minutes of driving, we turned down a dirt road on the way to the first cache and just as we crested a small hill, what we saw in front of us totally surprised us.  A very large black bear was walking on all fours across the road!  Now being from Michigan, I knew there were bears and other large predatory animals here, but we always thought they were confined to the Upper Peninsula.  Not so!!!  We turned and looked at each other with eyes the size of saucers and the first word out of my mouth was “BEAR!” and Robert immediately said “Where’s the camera?!”  We fumbled around and by the time we got the camera out, the bear had finished crossing the road and was gone into the woods.  I was hesitant to drive on, not knowing if cubs were in the area, so I slowly crept up to where the bear had crossed and we looked into the woods on both sides to see if any more were in the area.  None were seen, so after letting my heart rate come back to normal, we drove on.  I immediately began to think of all the things we DIDN’T have with us, like bells on our shoes, a hiking stick (or bear stick as we call it), bear spray, etc., etc.  So by the time we got to our first cache, I told myself I was not going to worry about making noise in the woods today.  For me, the noisier, the better!  I wasn’t going to surprise anything.

Our first series of caches was a mixed bag of finds and DNF’s (did not find).   One of our DNF’s was a micro, or very small cache, usually a bison tube or medicine bottle or smaller.  After decoding the hint, we still could not find it, and with bear still on my mind, we decided to move on.  The two-track we were following ended right on the banks of the Au Sable River at an area that is well off the beaten path and I’m sure is not seen by many people.  I snapped this picture on our way to the cache hidden not far away.   I named this post “Our Beautiful Au Sable River” as all of us that live here in Northeast Michigan will agree, it is a beautiful river.

 

We picked up one more cache on our way back down the two-track, this one required a bit of a hike, all uphill, and just as we were coming to the top, a beautiful Broad-winged Hawk flew up from the ground which froze me in my tracks as I watched it try to gain altitude and fly through the trees.  We couldn’t see where it landed, or if it continued to fly on, it always amazes me that most wildlife is invisible until you are right on them!  We found the cache easily and then hiked back down to the Jeep.

With this series done, except for the two DNF’s, we decided to try to find the start of the other series we had picked out.  After a few dead-ends, that didn’t get us into the area of the caches, we realized that the caches were a series that follows a section of the Shore-To-Shore Trail.  This trail is for horseback riders and hikers and travels from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.  While I’ve been wanting to hike this trail, we weren’t prepared to do this portion of it today, so we decided to leave that series for a day in the fall, when we can dedicate an entire day to pick up those caches along that series and enjoy a good day hike.

So we decided to go down to Thompson’s Landing, which is a canoe/kayak put-in on the Au Sable River and eat our picnic lunch there.  It was a beautiful afternoon and watching the river float by is very soothing and calming.  Much needed for me today!

So our wildlife spottings today were:  1 black bear, 1 Broad-winged hawk, 2 garter snakes, 1 Kingfisher, and 4 Common Snipes, and an unknown butterfly or moth (pictured below).   A good day indeed!

Happy Caching,

Sheri

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What a beautiful day!  We knew it was coming and couldn’t wait to enjoy it.  Since geocaching.com was down most of the day yesterday, updating the website, I had to wait until 7:00 pm last night to look for caches to do today.  It was my turn to decide on the area , and I wanted to go somewhere we hadn’t cached before.  Since gas prices have climbed to $4.25 a gallon, I didn’t want to go too awful far, so I decided on the Harrisville to Alpena area.

We started at a cache that we attempted to get once before but there were too many muggles around.  Now you may be wondering what on earth is a muggle?  In geocache speak, a muggle is someone who is not a cacher, but is in the vicinity of a cache that you are trying to locate.  Today’s first cache is at a Park and Ride along US 23 just north of Oscoda.  When we arrived, there wasn’t a single car in the area.  Yea!!  We quickly located the cache, but noticed that our footprints in the sand were pretty evident, so we decided to do quite a bit of walking in the sand to confuse anyone who might wonder why there were so many footprints in one area.  Anyone from a distance watching us, might think we were a little off our rockers, but at least we didn’t make it obvious as to where the cache is.

We then headed on north.  We had our first virtual cache today.  It is at the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.  There is no actual cache container or log to sign, but to get credit for it, you have to do what the cache owner requests.  In this case, the cache owner required either a picture of you holding your GPS in front of the Light, or e-mail answers to questions they have posted on the cache page.  We opted to do the photo, since the museum is not yet open to retrieve the answers to the questions posted.  (That’s me in the photo below.)

You can see what a beautiful day it is.  The area is beautiful and there is the neatest one room schoolhouse on the grounds that was very interesting also.

From here, we headed to the Alcona and Black River area, the caches there were also very neat.  Old Alcona is considered Michigan’s only ghost town, thankfully we did not run into any mean spirits.  The little village of Black River was very nice.  One of the caches was at the park in town where the Black River empties into Lake Huron.  The river was flowing very fast, but what was so interesting is the tannins in the water, the water was the color of dark maple syrup.  After locating the cache, we ate our lunch in the park while watching a Belted Kingfisher look for his.

We then moved on to the Ossineke area, and here we had our first mystery cache.  A mystery cache usually requires you to solve some sort of puzzle or something like that to get the coordinates to the cache.  In this case, we had to solve a riddle to get the coordinates.  We thought we had the right answer, so I plugged the coordinates into our GPS, and yes, we were correct, we found the cache!  We then found a few more caches along the lakeshore before moving inland to a set of caches around Devil’s Lake.

We completed our caching day, just outside of Alpena around 3:15 pm, after finding 16 caches.  We thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful day, since tomorrow is supposed to rain.  Our wildlife tally is not as impressive as our last outing, but we did see 2 Belted Kingfishers (one was eating a small fish), 1 Kestrel, 1 Common Snipe, 1 Wild Turkey, 2 Carp in the Cranberry Creek, numerous squirrels, and 1 unidentified large bird.  Another good day.

Happy Caching,

Sheri

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