Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

2013 - Bart Finds 8000th Geocache

A few years back I was perusing the Wisconsin Geocaching Association forums and read a discussion about favorite geocaches in the state. The one that stood out the most to me was Twin Bluffs Cave (GCXWPM) by Shrek and Fiona. I knew at that moment that the geocache would have to go on my short list of caches to complete. Unfortunately, being on the short list does not equate to pursuing the cache in a timely manner.. the cache remained unfound.

I had been planning for quite some time to find a special geocache for the milestone of my 8000th find, which I estimated to happen late December. With Twin Bluffs Cave still in the back of my mind, I knew this had to be the one. It was now or never. After some logistical planning, a three hour drive to Lyndon Station, WI, I finally made the find along with daughter Laura, Doublemoose, and his daughter Geohockey,

The most impressive thing about this adventure was not the geocache, but the impressive nature of the geological feature hiding here up in the bluffs. As you approach the cave entrance, it looks like nothing more than a narrow fissure in the side of the cliff face. But as you explore more, you soon discover that this is the entrance to a fairly expansive system of caves. At the inner room of the cave, I would estimate the ceiling to be nearly 30' high, expansive enough to hold a small disco party. The primary cave easily goes back 80 to 100 feet or more. Off the inner room of the cave, there are two caves headed in each direction normal (perpendicular) to the primary cave.

One thing that was clear to me was how similar this system is to the littoral caves on Byllesby Lake in Cannon Falls, MN. I suspect the wave and current action from melt water following the last glaciation period is what created this system, where each cave is caused by the erosion of fissures within the layers of sandstone.

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

2013 - Fun With Pumpkins

It's no secret that I enjoy playing with firearms. So when pheasant hunting was unproductive on a recent trip to South Dakota, we assisted the local community in disposing of their leftover Halloween pumpkins. Joe and Lee supplied the Tannerite. Mike supplied the ammunition. I supplied the firearm. And we all practiced our marksmanship.

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

2013 - Myre-Big Island State Park, Albert Lea, MN

For our final camping trip of the season, we spent MEA weekend at Myre-Big Island State Park. Located in Albert Lea, MN, Myre-Big Island offers hiking, biking, and paddling opportunities. The fall colors were gorgeous and the Hiking Club trail had a pretty good mix of scenery between its prairie and deep wood views.

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

2013 - Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Crookston, MN

On a recent road cruise to the northwestern corner of Minnesota, I stumbled upon this beauty while geocaching around downtown Crookston, MN. Built in 1912, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has triple Gothic spires. The original architect built two other churches just like it, one in Duluth, MN and the other in nearby Terrebonne, MN. This particular building was abandoned in 1990 after the parish moved it's church to a newly built box style structure. It's a shame that this beauty is in such disrepair. Just standing next to this building one gets the feeling that in its day, being within the walls of this cathedral was a grand experience.

The story of the demise of this cathedral is quite sad. Read more about it here..

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

2013 - Red River State Recreation Area, East Grand Forks, MN

On a weekend road cruise to geocache the state parks in the northwest corner of Minnesota, we used the Red River State Recreation Area as our base of operations. On this cold and rainy weekend, we parked the camper here for lodging as we geocached the weekend away at the northern parks and the greater Grand Forks area. The location of the campground was both a blessing and a curse. It was nice being located in downtown East Grand Forks, MN, on such a nasty cold and rainy day. It provided us with places to hang out while the rain was falling. Though, the noises of town late at night and into the early hours of the morning left most of us restless in bed (traffic, sirens, train whistles). I probably would not camp here again.

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

2013 - Broken Toe Island (GCKG14)

Broken Toe Island (GCKG14) by OlysGirl

I've had this geocache on my to do list for several years now and finally decided to go for it. I figured I'd better not paddle the mighty Mississippi solo so Doublemoose graciously joined me for the adventure.

I loaded up the watercraft, a red 16', 2 man-power, Old Town Camper canoe. We parked at the public water access at Prairie Island. As the crow flies, it was .79 miles. But we all know crows don't fly in straight lines.. going around the bottom end of the island, and it was easily a mile each direction. Luckily, the open water was calm and only a couple of heavy boats sped by so we were able to take in the wake safely and made it to the island without getting wet.

After fifteen minutes of searching we scored the little bugger. We did the dance and fist pumped to celebrate the find of this lonely cache. Then snooped around on the island for a bit before paddling back to the landing.

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

2013 - Scenic State Park, Bigfork, MN

Our gang spent five gorgeous days last week camping at Scenic State Park. Located near Bigfork, MN, on the Edge of the Wilderness, Scenic State Park is literally one of THE most gorgeous state parks in Minnesota outside of the northern shores of Lake Superior.

The park is very nicely maintained and the park staff were very busy keeping the park clean and picked up. The park offers hiking, paddling, fishing and a swimming beach. We managed to take advantage of just about every feature this park has to offer. The only issues we experienced were fairly minor. The swimming beach is not far away but just far enough away where the kids couldn't wander down to swim on their own. The mosquitoes weren't bad but the biting black flies were out something fierce. In spite of the beach and the flies, I would definitely return to this park to camp again.

I managed to snap a couple hundred pictures. Here is just a sample of our experience.

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

2013 - Minnesota's 6th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event

Minnesota's 6th Annual Canoe-in Geocaching Event was held today, Saturday, August 17th, 2013. For six years running now, the weather was spectacular and the crowd of geocaching friends has grown.

Like all previous canoe-in geocaching events, the 6th annual was held in Dakota County's Miesville Ravine Park Preserve, which is 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.
  • Nosnow and Shadow's Friend, the MNGCA, and Dakota County Parks, 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 attendance numbers as of September 13th, 2013:

  • There were 45 RSVPs.
  • 50 have logged the event Attended.
  • 64 signatures were listed on the written log.
  • Physical headcount during the picnic was in excess of 65 attendees if you count infants and canines.
  • 7 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.

I am always reluctant to say there will be a followup event in the following year. But with a gang of friendly geocachers that grows every year, it's easy to say, see you at the 7th annual event next year.

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