The Jasmer Challenge

15 11 2012

The Jasmer Challenge (Northern California Edition)
This is one of the most difficult challenges to complete because of the rarity of the earlier caches, therefore, I was relieved to see that I could pick up my three remaining qualifying finds on my road trip this summer. The penultimate cache was Mingo, the oldest existing geocache, and the final one was placed later that summer in one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been.

I drove from Colorado Springs to Durango, and took a long detour to the Spanish Peaks. Several miles up a graded dirt road, I got to the trailhead and parked my Prius at 11,200 feet.

The cache is only about a half mile from parking, and the trail is mostly flat, so I knew I could accomplish the hike, even with no acclimation to the elevation.

I signed in at the trail head and struck out through the tall trees.

It was not just the scenery taking my breath away.

My goal was not to ascend the peak, but it was always in view.

The colors of some of the flowers were vibrant blue…

… and purple…

I’m glad it was a cloudy day, as the temperature was perfectly cool.

The cache was surrounded by ducs, but I’m not sure if they all were put there by geocachers.

THIS is the view from the cache.

A photo is clearly not sufficient.

I spent about a half hour up there, enjoying some salami and cheese and the surrounding spectacularness.

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Mingo!

8 11 2012

Mingo is a small town in Kansas. It’s also the oldest original active geocache. (The first cache ever placed now has a plaque there, and a replacement cache nearby.) As many before me have done, I planned this segment of my trip to pilgrimage to this famous cache, both for its historic longevity, and as one of the finds I needed to complete the Jasmer challenge. (More on that next week…)

I was surprised and curious as I entered the state, and still wonder where the fish are:

My first find in KS:
QUICK PIT STOP

After several days of flat, flat, flat, I found myself missing the mountains that I’m so used to in California.

Even small side roads seem to stretch out endlessly.

Corn fields and old buildings still make for striking scenery, perhaps more so without any distractions on the horizon.

Quest achieved! Here’s where the Mingo cache is located:
Mingo

Mingo and Me

A closer look at the container

Here’s the log!

The town has only a couple of streets, and not all of them paved. Here’s a quick tour.





Malibu Views

1 11 2012

Believe it or not, I’m STILL not done posting all of the stories and photos from my summer road trip, but I wanted to take a break and just let my subscribers relax with some the beauty of Corral Canyon. Not much to say about these, but I hope they serve to soothe what may be a stressful week for many of us for a variety of reasons.

Cache list:
Corral Canyon creek and trailhead
Hutch Canyon Trail Cache
Topanga
Thornhill Broome
Surrounded Foo
Foo's Ocean View
Cage Canyon Trail Cache
180 Degrees
Squeezed In – or Not?
Foo up around the first bend
Coop Canyon Trail cache
Bric-a-Brac
Puerco Pig Pole: GSM H-a-D #76
Dante's Inferno: Level 9
Malibu Canyon park-n-grab
Zuma

Trail

Weeds

Mansions

Clouds

White Flowers

Pretty crimson…. uh… poison oak!

Creek

Old Fireplace with bougainvillea

Pipe?

Lizard!

Boat

Ocean

Peace and quiet….





Iowa and Nebraska

25 10 2012

From Missouri, I took a long detour to the north in order to get caches in Iowa and Nebraska before heading back south and west. There are only a couple of caches in the southwestern corner of Iowa, and I ended up driving several miles out of the way to accomplish my goal. The first one was on the outskirts of the little town of Hamburg.

L&C "Chauvin"-Hamburg-McKissock

Main St.

The cache was up on a bluff, so I actually had a view!

The next two were bonus caches as far as getting the state was concerned, but since I’d come this far, I didn’t want to skip them. I’m glad I didn’t, as I really enjoyed the opportunity to be out on the scenic country roads.

The two caches were in a couple of very large front yards of farm houses across from endless fields of corn and other crops.

Hercules
Das Muhle die klein rot Henne
I thought there might be a significance to the German cache title, but it was just hidden in the kitschy yard decor. No one came out to greet me at either house, so I made quick work of the hides, and headed for the next state.

I grabbed my first Nebraska cache at a little picnic area near a large museum dedicated to Lewis & Clark. They had traveled a similar trajectory as they explored these areas for a way to get to the Pacific Northwest.

Lunch with Lewis and Clark
The view from the cache:

I was running out time (as usual), so I didn’t see much inside the museum, but a sign outside honored a very important member of their team, Hunter, their dog!

My other find in Nebraska was in Kearney.
Gateway to Kearney Cache

I saw the gateway monument mostly in the dark, as my arrival in Kearney was late in the day. Of course I was curious about it, so I did a little research to see if it was worth backtracking 10 miles to check it out in the daylight. It looked to be way too kitschy a tourist trap for my taste.
Archway Monument

Instead, I made good time the next morning heading homeward through the flat, flat mid west:





Missouri

18 10 2012

Right next to the St. Louis Arch is the Mississippi River. It would be fun to take a riverboat cruise upon it someday.

Another option is a helicopter cruise. The heliport is behind the tree in the middle of the photo.

My geocaching destination du jour was one of three I had researched to complete the Jasmer Challenge, which entails finding one cache placed in each month since geocaching started in 2000. The older ones are scarcer, and harder to come by, but I managed to find my last three qualifying caches while on this road trip!
Missouri's First – Watts Mill
It’s a classic:

It was located right by a curious creek that curled around through and over the rock formations. I enjoyed watching the creek for awhile.

… but the really LOUD insects creeped me out. That and the muggy weather drove me back in to the haven of my Prius in short order.





Gateway to The West

11 10 2012

I hadn’t planned on stopping at the St. Louis Arch (silly me!!), but as I approached it, I knew I had to take a closer look. It’s right across the mighty Mississippi River, and it did make me feel welcome – and impressed!

It’s a spectacular structure. From the right angle, it looks like an obelisk.

It’s BIG. It would not fit in my camera frame as I got close to it. This is the base:

… here’s the top. The angles almost make the air underneath it look like glass.

My video gives a better perspective.

Since I hadn’t done any research ahead of time, I had no idea what to expect. I discovered a vast underground museum and breezeway. I was glad to get down there, as it was literally over 100º outside.

From here, I could buy an expensive ticket to ride up to the top, but I opted not to, rather I spent the time I had on a history-seeking, multi-stage virtual that had me scouring the museum for clues.

St. Louis Arch Virtual Cache

After finding the clues in the various displays, which included walls and walls of dates, history, animatronic figures, and artifacts, I put together the final coordinates, and headed back outside to find the cache. I went down these new steps:

… and back up these old, crumbling steps:

I was glad that the final was easy to find, and it was even back by the garage where I’d happened to park my car!





Indiana

4 10 2012

In order to get from Kentucky to Missouri, I found myself driving for a lot of the time through Indiana. I spent the night in the Louisville area, but not really in Kentucky. The best hotel deal ended up being just across the river in New Albany, Indiana.

I like how each state greets its visitors.

One associates Lincoln with Illinois, but he spent much of his childhood in Indiana. I didn’t get to the National Park in his home town, but read some signage about him at the welcome center.

Of course, I looked for easy ones to find at rest stops. It’s not fun to DNF, especially when you’re way out of town!
I-64 Rest Area
The path to the cache:

… and the view from the cache, such as it was. Being out in the flat, flat mid-West confirmed my identity as a mountain girl.

This rest area boasted a natural sink hole. It was curious, but not all that impressive.
Hoosier CaCO 3 Sinkhole

This classic McDonalds was an impressive bit of American history, though.

It’s just hilly enough to get expansive views of the farms and farmland.

Reminder: you can click on my photos to get larger versions and see more details. Cache titles and other things underlined are links to their respective pages.