Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2012 - Minnesota's 5th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 5th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 18th, 2012 and was the most successful event I've held to date. Like last year, the weather was spectacular, the crowd of geocaching friends has grown, and the food was good and plentiful.

Like the previous four events, it was held in Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, located about four miles south of Miesville, MN and six miles northeast of Cannon Falls, MN.  The majority of geocachers paddled the Cannon River from Cannon Falls to Miesville Ravine, a 6.7 mile stretch of the river that is just gorgeous.  Others biked the Cannon Valley Trail from Cannon Falls, MN to Welch, MN.  And some geocachers just stopped in for the picnic.

I would like to thank the following:

  • My geocaching mother Norvina, who sets up and mans the shelter while we're on the water.
  • Doublemoose for stopping in to help Norvina with picnic setup.
  • Nosnow and Shadow's Friend, Commando04, the MNGCA, Dakota County Parks, and the MN DNR, all of whom provided door prizes.
  • And especially thank you to all of whom attended this event. Without you all it just wouldn't be as much fun to be on the river.

Final attendence numbers as of September 7th, 2012:

  • There were 43 RSVPs.
  • 43 have logged the event Attended.
  • 58 signatures were listed on the written log.
  • Physical headcount during the picnic was in excess of 65 attendees if you count infants and canines.
  • 6 dozen ears of sweet corn served along with a pound and a half of butter.
  • In years past, we've filled two park barrels with trash. This year, we hauled out two of our own trash barrels leaving the park with only a minimal amount of cleanup.

Lessons learned from this event:

  • Just when you think it can't get better, it does.
  • Bring more sweet corn next year.
  • I need a bigger wagon to traverse the picnic gear from the parking lot to the shelter.
  • Kayaking solo on the river was much easier than anticipated, but more tiring than canoeing.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

Additional pictures can be found attached to the event listing.

2012 - Zippel Bay State Park, Williams, MN

One of the goals on my lifetime bucket list is to camp at each of the Minnesota State Parks that offer camping.  Wanting a bit of adventure, I spent the weekend camping at Zippel Bay State Park with Molly and a group of friends.

Located on the southern shore of the Lake of the Woods, Zippel Bay is Minnesota's most northerly state park. Our stay was very pleasant and the weather was perfect. The park is spectacular but also very remote. If you want secluded and quiet, this is a place for you. The only negative thing I can say about this park is that the showers were about a mile from our campsite and we had too drive to get there. Beyond that, if you can handle no electricity while camping and a seven hour drive from the Twin Cities, Zippel Bay is well worth the visit.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Driving Across The Open Range, WY

Just a few random snapshots during a drive across western Wyoming's open range. One of the most desolate places I've ever been. The last three photographs are allegedly the actual Oregon Trail.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, OR

On a drive through the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side of the river, you must stop for a visit to Multnomah Falls. Billed as Oregon's highest water fall, this 620' two-step water fall is a geological beauty. The cool and misty breeze created by the tumbling water as you ascend to the top is a wonderful experience.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Fremont Troll, Seattle, WA

While visiting Seattle, WA during my summer geocaching pilgrimage, we stumbled upon the Frement Troll. It is located under the north end of the George Washington Memorial Bridge, also known as the Aurora Bridge. Molly claims to have heard of this troll and said she's seen pictures. I doubted her somewhat until she pulled out her copy of Ripley's Believe It Or Not showing an article written about the attraction.. sorry I doubted you Molly.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC

While visiting Victoria, BC, we boarded the local transit service and headed up the road to explore the Craigdarroch Castle. This 39 room, 20,000 square foot, mansion was built in the 1890's, a time when conspicuous consumption really got its start.  This castle is a great depiction of the Victorian age.

One observation I had was that all of the entertaining spaces, the dining room, ball room, etc, are located on the upper floors of the residence.  Having always thought these spaces should be on the ground floor at the front of the house (like the White House), I asked the curators about this. Apparently this design was intentional by owner Robert Dunsmuir as he wanted to flaunt his wealth to his guests as they made their way through the home to those entertaining spaces.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Puget Sound, Victoria, BC

With passports in hand, we took a short day trip into Victoria, BC, riding the ferry from Port Angeles, WA into Victoria, crossing the Puget Sound. The ferry we sailed was named the Coho. Operated by the Black Ball Ferry Line, the Coho was essentially a full sized shipping vessel and kept us comfortable during the two hour crossing.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Mount Margaret, Snoqualmie, WA

The goal today was to climb Mount Margaret and find Washington's oldest active geocache, aptly named, Geocache (GCD). The hike of Mount Margaret goes down as not only THE, MOST, spectacular and gorgeous hike I've expereinced, but also as the most brutal and physically exhausting. According to the track log of my GPS, each direction of the hike was 2.3 miles in length with an elevation change of over 2000', topping out at approximately 5200' above sea level.

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Giant Slug, Snoqualmie, WA

While hiking near the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, we noticed these interesting creatures near most of the rotten wood falls. These gastropods are an important feature of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem as we found them to be plentiful in both Washington and Oregon.  Note the quarter dollar coin added for context..

Enjoy the photograph (click thumbnails for larger view)..

2012 - Snoqualmie Tunnel, Snoqualmie, WA

Located under a mountain within the Snoqualmie Pass, the Snoqualmie Tunnel is a 2.3 mile long tunnel along the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. I discovered this gem while perusing maps a few years back and just knew that this had to be a stop on our way out west.

Exploring the abandoned railroad tunnel was quite an adventure that we all thoroughly enjoyed.  At the midpoint within the tunnel, the light at each end is nearly imperceptable to non-existent.  The eary feeling of hearing other pedestrians and bikers make their way through the tunnel brought on chatter about horror movies and other bone chilling thoughts.  We also scored the geocache that is hidden within the tunnel called Bloody Fingers, Dirty Diapers... (GCJMDK).  Finding this geocache will be something most of us will never forget.  Right mom?

Enjoy the photographs (click thumbnails for larger view)..