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Random thoughts, rants, raves and photo opportunities

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)..

2012 - Enter If You Dare (GC26MDE)

Enter If You Dare (GC26MDE) by bflentje

Anyone who knows me understands that you just can't pass up hiding a geocache in, on, or near, the coolest of geological features.  The cave located along the Cannon Valley Trail is no exception.  Nearly 4 miles east of Cannon Falls, MN on the bike trail, this cave was not created in the traditional way that most caves are.  The cave was the result of erosion of underlying layers whereby a large slab of limestone "broke free". The downhill end of the slab collapsing, the uphill end of the slab still under support, effective creating a cave that resembles a lean-to.  Regardless of how the cave was created, it has many of the attributes you'd expect in a cave.  For example, local wildlife such as bats, raccoons, and bobcats use it for shelter.  And the atmosphere inside the 30 to 40 foot deep cave is cool and damp.

Geocache Enter If You Dare (GC26MDE) is hidden within this cave.  In order to find the .30 caliber sized ammocan, you have to go to the deepest, darkest, end of the cave using your flashlight.  The cache is hidden within a perfectly sized hole covered with a few boulders.  Even as someone that enjoys a good cave, I am always just a little leary of entering as you never know what critter might be inside to welcome you.

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

2012 - Down Under (GC27AJJ)

Down Under (GC27AJJ) by bflentje

Geocaching power trails are popping up all over the countryside.  The Cannon Valley Trail, which winds from Cannon Falls, MN to Red Wing, MN, is no exception.  In fact, some of the finer hides in the area are along this stretch of the Cannon River, both in the water and on the bike trail.

Geocache Down Under (GC27AJJ) is located in this area and seems to be quite popular with those that can find it. The placement and execution of this cache is what makes it a fun cache to find. Most cachers approach ground zero on the bike trail and wander around in circles flumoxed as to why they're struggling to locate a .50 caliber ammocan.  It is only those intuitive cachers that realize that they're standing above the cache container, a whopping 75 to 100 feet above it.

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

2011 - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)

Geo-Opoly:  Boardwalk (GC2MDKD) by Boreal Walker

SPOILER ALERT Do not proceed unless you do not intend on hunting for this geocache.

Along the Great River Ridge Trail, Boreal Walker has a truly, totally, evil hide.  The cache is hidden on a former railroad trestle and is rated 5/5.  While out caching the trail today with Norvina and bowersm, we managed to score First To Find on this monster of a cache.  Cachers had logged 23 Did Not Find logs prior to our find.

Boreal Walker claims to have hidden this cache during the winter months with no tools, which is a testament to the amount of snow that fell last winter.  Our team needed 12' of my 16' ladder in order to reach the cache.

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

Highslide JS
Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
bflentje, Norvina and bowersm getting ready for the challenge
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Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
Setting up our equipment
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Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
We scored the find
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Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
It's right there.. do you see it?
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Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
Do you see it now?
Highslide JS
Geocache - Geo-Opoly: Boardwalk (GC2MDKD)
Norvina extracting the cache from its hidey hole

2009 - Cannon Valley Trail, Cannon Falls, MN

I really struggle with these made up holidays; Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day, you get the picture.  When Nene mentioned to me that we'd be doing something outside today as a family my interest was piqued.  When I was told that it was decided we'd go for a bike ride along the Cannon Valley Trail, I was elated, and tried with all my might to keep from showing my excitement.  This wasn't going to be a geocaching trip but it was the next best thing.

I've been on the Cannon Valley Trail before but only in short fragments while exploring around.  If canoeing the Cannon River was any indication of the views and scenery I could expect, I knew I would not be disappointed.  And I wasn't.  The trip today made clear to me that the required trail pass for this excursion is well worth the $3/each we should have paid.

The Cannon Valley Trail is a privately owned, paved bike trail, along a former railroad bed.  It stretches from Cannon Falls to Red Wing which is roughly a 16 mile ride.  Nene, Sheila, Anna, Laura and Matthew rode the first 3 miles of the trail and then headed back for a 6 mile round trip.  Molly, Ryan and me continued on and rode the trail to the Welch station for a ride of 12.25 miles.  While Molly sat and rested, Ryan and I continued another mile down the trail to grab a nearby Hybrid Letterbox (geocache).  The total distance for Ryan and myself was 13.75 miles.  Nene and Sheila drove around to Welch where we all met to make our way home.

Click thumbnail for larger view
The 13.75 mile route we followed along the Cannon
Valley Trail
Click thumbnail for larger view
A graph of the elevation profile along our route.  I'd like
to point out that the first 3 miles were all up hill.  The
little ones peddled that distance on their own using their
training wheels.

After a family dinner at Famous Daves, I called on my own mother to wish her Happy Mother's.  It was only by coincidence that a brand new cache had just been published in Farmington.  I picked her up and attempted to score the FTF on the cache.  Not only did we score FTF, but we managed to score a FTF on another cache published in the same area yesterday.

So, all in a days work, an extended bike trip, dinner at Famous Daves, geocaching with a pair of FTF's to boot..  it really is, Happy Mother's Day to me.  Thank you to my beautiful family.

2009 - Wildwood Bike Trail, Woodville, WI

The Wildwood Trail is bike trail which originates in Woodville, WI and runs about 8.5 miles to Spring Valley, WI.  The trail is managed by St. Croix County and is well groomed, composed primarily of packed gravel, and is very pleasant to ride.  On the north end, there is a short stretch of trail that is grass.  As the trail crosses into Pierce County to the south, you will be riding on what is essentially of collection of private property parcels that follow the old railroad right-of-way.  This section of the trail is not managed and is quite brutal to peddle.

The Wildwood Trail is also considered one of the very few geocaching power trails that exist in the country.  There literally is a geocache hidden every 600 to 1000 feet, with approximately 46 geocaches hidden on the entire trail length (see photograph #1 below).

On Saturday April 18th, 2009, a small group of avid geocachers joined me for a bike and geocaching trip along the Wildwood.  Our group included my geocaching mother, Norvina, TecGeoJim, MinnesotaBrad and myself.  We managed to score all 46 geocaches along the trail and the finds seemed to be fairly balanced between the group.  After completing the bike trail, TecGeoJim headed home and the rest of us continued caching for another couple of hours.  My numbers for the day totaled 58 finds which is my new daily record.  The two most memorable caches for me were not on the power trail, but two caches on the north end of Eau Galle Reservoir (GCV8EQ and GCTPZV).

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

Highslide JS
Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
A view of the geocaches along the Wildwood Trail.
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
Norvina sporting her brand new "girly bike".
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
MinnesotaBrad, TecGeoJim and Bflentje.
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
A view of the trail looking south.
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
Norvina got her finger caught in the mouse trap.
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
TecGeoJim signing us into the log.
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Geocaching The Wildwood Bike Trail
Norvina & MinnesotaBrad taking a break.