mortonfox: (fox bend)
I missed out on getting the Maker Madness souvenir last weekend, so this weekend, I planned my trips around two Maker Madness events. I was actually able to make it to both events, so the second one was gravy but both were pretty good and definitely worth attending.

On Saturday, I went to Cedar Lane Regional Park in Bel Air, MD, for the "HCGP Makers Madness Event". It was a simple event, just a table set up in an unused section of the parking lot. But it was pretty nice and I got to see some of the Maryland geocachers whose caches I'd been finding on previous trips to Harford County. Only real problem was it was a windy morning so stuff kept flying off of the table. After that, I went geocaching around Bel Air and Fallston, including a short hike on the Ma & Pa Trail, which is actually the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Trail, not the Mama and Papa Trail as I originally thought. :) I know I've complained a lot about Maryland in the past but this trip was quite enjoyable. There was a lot of variety in the area in terms of cache hides and terrain.

I planned Sunday around the "Maker Madness Easter Flash Mob-Bison Tube Exchange" event. It was an Easter-themed geocaching event in the food court of Fairgrounds Mall in Reading, PA. I actually knew more people at this event than at the Maryland event because apparently, the folks going to Berks County events are the same ones who go to Bucks County and Lehigh Valley events. After the event, I headed out a bit northwest to do the "I Love Lucy" series of geocaches. These are all puzzles based on Lucille Ball's TV, movie, and radio career. I skipped part of this series because the terrain in the eastern section looked unbelievably hard, but the western section was a nice hike across a ridge and some dust bowl areas. I ran into a bunch of people doing target practice in the woods but I talked to them and they stopped (for a beer break) so I could find the cache. They'd been firing in that direction the whole day without knowing it!

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
This weekend, it rained continuously for two days. I avoided taking any long hikes because I'd have to carry an umbrella around the whole time. Still, there were plenty of geocaches that weren't far from parking areas and roadsides. On Saturday, I went geocaching in the Montgomery/Bucks area in the towns of Ambler, Lower Gwynedd, Horsham, and Chalfont. As is usual for that area, most of the caches were by Taxman. Two of those, "This Is Goodbye" and "My Farewell Cache", were "goodbye" caches, in which he announced his retirement from placing caches. I think it's a running gag because he was still putting those out as of a few days ago.

On Sunday, I was planning to attend a geocaching event in Collegeville but by the end of the day, I changed my mind because I was wet and muddy, and perhaps a bit too messy for Wegmans. Anyway, I went to Ephrata for the "Well Trained Monkey" series. These caches were mostly puzzles but I knew the solutions all led to easy park & grab cache sites. This cache series was a bit spread out, so I went from Ephrata to Denver, Adamstown, Sinking Spring, Spring Ridge, and Bern, up by Reading. While in those areas, I got whatever other caches that I figured were easy to get to in the rain, and some that weren't so easy. After finishing the monkey series, I hung around Wyomissing and Kenhorst and actually finished a bunch of other geocaches that I couldn't find on previous trips. These caches were the kind that were hidden by vegetation, which fortunately was still sparse after the long winter. In particular, "Three Little Pigs: Straw" was really obvious now that the bush is bare!

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
On Saturday, I went for the SRT Smiley series of geocaches along the Schuylkill River Trail, between Conshohocken and Philadelphia. Once I found all the caches, I ended up with a smiley of smilies geo-art on the geocaching map. The caches weren't actually arranged in the shape of a smiley. Those were all puzzle caches so the map shows the puzzle coordinates but the actual cache sites were arranged linearly along the trail. I think the hike would've been about 4 or 5 miles one way but I changed parking locations midway because of a big half-mile gap between caches. I also took the opportunity to find other puzzle caches, such as "Happy Halloween 2013", "SD³", and "Truncated Icosahedron", since I was in Conshohocken. Those were pretty easy since all the difficulty was in the puzzles instead of the cache hides.

Sunday began with a short detour to Alapocas State Park to tackle "Can You Dig It?" It's near work but I figured I no longer had daylight after work to go for it. So I might as well go for that on the weekend. Well, it was harder than I anticipated. I went to the posted coordinates and saw that the terrain was much higher than the rating. Reasoning that the coordinates were probably incorrect, I went back up the path and checked every spot that matched the description and hint. Finally, I found the cache 1,400 feet from the posted coordinates! It was a hard-won FTF! The cache owner will likely have to resubmit the cache for approval with both Groundspeak and the state park though because it's off by too much. And then there may be proximity issues with other geocaches in the park.

After that, I went to Berks County to do what I'd planned for the day: the ESRT series of caches along the Exeter Rail Trail. That 3.5-mile round trip hike didn't take too long, so I went onwards for more geocaches in Exeter, Mt. Penn, and Reading. "These are a few of my favorite things.." in Reading was a treat because it's near the Pagoda. I always wanted to see that but it just wasn't on the way to anything else in Reading, so I didn't get around to it on previous trips. I think it's the most interesting landmark in that city.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
On Saturday, I went to "Bowling Away the Summertime Blues", a geocaching event at Hamilton Lanes in Hamilton, NJ. It was a very small event. I didn't stay for the bowling though because I wanted to do some Trenton-area geocaches, including an entire series of those along the D&R Canal Towpath. It was a good trip, although the heat was exhausting. In the evening, I found it easier to go home through Pennsylvania, so dinner was on that side of the Delaware River and I picked up a few more geocaches down by the Philadelphia airport.

Sunday's plan was to finally finish the Advent Calendar series of geocaches, so I went to Bernville, Penn Township, and Shartlesville, to the northwest of Reading. I had information from 17 of the caches in the series and needed 6 more. It turned out though that I could already deduce the final coordinates (of the 24th Advent cache) even when I was still missing 2 of them. So I found the final cache before heading over to Hamburg. (One of the Advent caches was in Hamburg, so it saved some 10 miles of driving to not have to come back to Penn Township for the final.)

After taking the fork in the road (well, I didn't literally take that! :) ) in Centerport, I arrived in Hamburg. It's a new town for me, so I had lots of geocaches to do, including a ring of caches around Cabela's, which is one of those stores I was told is a mecca for geocachers. I did take a peek inside Cabela's, although not for very long since it was already near closing time. It's a huge outdoor recreation equipment store, the centerpiece of which is taxidermy animals on an indoor mountain. All in all, that was an interesting trip, although I think Hamburg is at the outer limit of how far I'd be willing to drive for a day trip. I think it took nearly two hours to get home from there!

The caches... )
mortonfox: (gps)
Saturday and Sunday were both hot and humid days with temperatures up to 90°F. I made a final push to try to finish off the Reading area geocaches, including some of the puzzles. However, I couldn't do too much hiking because of the weather, so the pagoda area will have to wait for another weekend.

On Saturday, I went all around Reading, starting to the southeast and working my way counterclockwise. On Sunday, I focused on a group of caches to the southwest and west of Reading. Sunday's set was a bit more interesting, not so much for the caches themselves but for the artifacts in the area. "I've fallen and cant get up!!" is at a horizontal Atlas sculpture outside a gym. While I was photographing it, someone yelled out that I could take it home if I wanted. Uhh... no, thanks. "Birds of a Feather" brought me to a Distlefink. The sculpture is of a stylized goldfinch that appears in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (No hunting)
Saturday was interesting because I went to Blue Marsh Lake for the "Flash Mob - Let's Do the HULA" geocaching event. It was a Hawaiian-themed flash mob so everyone had Hawaiian shirts and dollar-store leis. I had never met with the Blue Marsh geocaching group before but I'd already seen some of them at other events in southeastern Pennsylvania. The park itself was doing a scavenger hunt / informational event and our group had a table to hand out brochures to and educate the public about geocaching. After that, I went geocaching around Blue Marsh Lake, Bernville, Leesport, and the countryside to the northwest of Reading. The most challenging cache of the day was "MegaWheaties". I could see it with a flashlight but getting it out took a bit of ingenuity. I rigged together several tools with duct tape and I was surprised that actually worked in one try!

I had a late start on Sunday, so I decided not to travel out too far. Still, there were some geocaches to do around Spring City, Royersford, and Phoenixville. These were mostly those I skipped over on previous trips because of terrain ratings combined with rain, although I found that some of the 3-star and 4-star terrain caches weren't so bad. I guess the cache owner (Professor Benson, who placed a lot of 60s movie themed caches) was just being careful to warn others about the steepness of the slope. The best cache of the day was "Interpretive Trail at Black Rock Sanctuary". Although it's an 8-stage multicache, it was pretty easy because each stage only needed some info from an educational display along the interpretive trail. Most of those exhibits are simple signs but the best one is the giant bird's nest at the "Bird World" stage.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (gps)
Friday evening was a bit of a bummer because I noticed a slow leak in the passenger-side rear tire due to an embedded screw. So on Saturday morning, instead of going to a geocaching event in Dublin, I had to get the leaky tire fixed. Worse yet, the screw was at the edge of the sidewall, so the hole could not be plugged. Fortunately, there was a road hazard warranty on the tire so the new tire only cost $15! Anyway, that pretty much killed the morning so I decided to do some geocaches locally. What I had in mind was to finally finish the LOTR (Lord of the Rings) cache series. This is a 20-cache series that I'd been working on since August. It took that long because not all the caches came out at the same time, some caches depended on having found other caches in the series, and I kept having other plans throughout the fall and winter months. So when I had the opportunity to finish off the last few, I just had to do it! It is a very good series. The caches incorporate themes from the LOTR story. There were a number of tricks, puzzles, and challenges along the way. Nothing was overly difficult but those were enough to make one think. LOTR #20, the last cache in the series, could have been the most difficult one, but I figured out the trick quickly because of experience with other similar caches. After I was done with the LOTR series, I headed over to Eastern Shore Maryland for a batch of caches on two of the fingers of the upper Chesapeake and that was it for the day.

On Sunday, I went to North Reading and Muhlenberg Township, skipping right past the bad areas (or so I'd been told) of Reading. The goal was to do the No Muhles Allowed cache series on the Muhlenberg Rail Trail but as usual, I did some geocaches around that part of town first while waiting for the sun to go down a bit. I usually don't like graffiti but I thought this "Joy" graffiti, where the rail trail went under a road bridge, was an exception. It looks like whoever did this used a big stencil. I also couldn't resist photographing a box turtle who was right in the middle of the path.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
The holiday weekend started Friday evening with a trip into Philadelphia. I didn't plan it that way but after finding a geocache in Wilmington and continuing to cache towards the northeast, I found myself at the edge of Philadelphia and thought why not go into Chinatown for dinner?

On Saturday, I decided to go to Five Mile Woods in Lower Makefield, PA, because I noticed there were more than a dozen geocaches in that park alone. Most of those were fairly typical but I thought "The Curious Geo-Puzzle: Part II" was interesting. It had 3 riddles I needed to answer to unlock the cache. I knew two of those answers and fortunately, mobile data reception was good enough in the woods there to research the third one. After that, I went to Newtown. It's been years since I last visited that area, so there were lots of new geocaches.

On Sunday, I went to White Marsh, MD, to walk the bike path along Route 43. Most of the geocaches along that path were fairly simple, although one was starting to get really difficult to find because of thick vegetation. That seems to be a common problem everywhere as we head into summer. After that, I went for the HBWLADS cache series in Dundalk and a few more caches here and there on the peninsula until it was time to leave.

On Monday, I decided to hit the last section of the Schuylkill River Trail (the last section populated with geocaches anyway) near and in Reading. As usual, I geocached around town (in Cumru and Shillington) until later in the afternoon to avoid walking in the midday sun too much. The SRT walk was once again the best part of the day. I parked at the Brentwood Trailhead and walked to the east. Then I walked back to parking and walked west to Reading. There was some good scenery where the trail crossed a bridge but most of the walk was about average. The cache series ended at the Looking Back, Facing Forward mural in Reading.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Over the weekend, I did more geocaching to the south of Reading, approaching from the southeast (via Morgantown) on Saturday and from the southwest (via Adamstown) on Sunday. Saturday was a rainy day, so I thought it was appropriate to start the day by finding "I Love a Rainy Night". (day, night... close enough!) There were some quick geocaches on the approach from Morgantown to Wyomissing that I could do in the rain but I still had to stop for some time in the late afternoon anyway because of lightning.

Sunday's weather was a lot better. I started at the Pennsylvania Turnpike / 222 interchange in Denver and went northeast from there, meandering through the countryside of Adamstown, Reinholds, Montello, and Spring. With lots of farms and rolling hills, this area looks similar to Lancaster, except with the curious absence of Amish buggies. "Just a GRM!" was the most challenging cache of the day. It looked like an exercise on the part of the cache owner in how much a part of the guard rail one can make a cache appear to be. I found it only because I happened to touch it and noticed a very slight difference.


The caches... )
mortonfox: (No hunting)
On Saturday, I went to the "WWFM X: May the Fourth in Warminster, PA" geocaching event. It's part of the Worldwide Flash Mob, 536 events in 38 countries occurring at the same time. (1pm here and at different hours in other time zones) I wish the events weren't synchronized so I could attend multiple events within my travel area, but that's the way it was. At the scheduled time, we gathered at Warminster Community Park. Since it was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you :) ), we had a light saber battle. After that, we split up but Gumshoe89, Pitch Black, and I formed a small group to head over to Southampton to hike in Playwicki Park and hit the collection of geocaches there. Gumshoe89 and I continued on to Playwicki Farm. It was good to do those geocaches in a group.

On Sunday, I went to Birdsboro to continue where I stopped last time in the Pottstown expansion. Since there were so many geocaches around Kulpsville, Birdsboro, Exeter, and Robeson, I didn't actually get to the Schuylkill River Trail until late afternoon but still managed to squeeze in a 4-mile walk. The most difficult geocache of the day was "29 Steps Cache". No hints and bad GPS reception but I pieced together as much information as I could from the logs and found it after some determined searching. The most interesting landmark of the day was the large rooster near "Can't Snuff The Rooster".

Sunday's trip didn't end in the evening though. After dinner, my route home took me south through Morgantown so I stopped in that town for "Cache some ZZZZzzzzzs in Morgantown". That geocache previously required a ladder. I figured I'd take a stab at it since I had some equipment with me. Fortunately, someone had moved it lower so it was easier than before. While in Morgantown, I checked the geocaching map and noticed that there was a night cache just a few miles away. "Pigs Fly at Night #1" is on a special trail laid out with reflectors and meant to be found at night. It was already very late by then but I figured since I was in the area, why not? So I took a half-mile hike in the dark and found the cache at the stroke of midnight. I think some of the reflectors were missing but it was not a problem because with a bright flashlight, I could see several reflectors ahead.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Did another Pottstown geocaching trip on Saturday. I didn't hit the Schuylkill River Trail this time but I had many geocaches to do along and near Route 422, from Pottstown thru Douglassville and Birdsboro to Exeter. Plus, I had to return to a few areas to find the physical caches for puzzles I solved since my last trip. So that made for a rather full day. I found geocache #21000 near the end of the day. It was "Bear Hut" next to the Breakfast Hut diner in Exeter. I thought it was going to be another typical park & grab micro but it's actually rather creative. The hardest cache of the day was "Premium Water" at Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Pottstown. I attempted that late at night after dinner, when I knew the parking lot would be empty. I turned over so many rocks and I thought I wasn't going to find it when I finally got the correct rock!

On Sunday, I went to Peaslee WMA to do a few series of challenging geocaches that were published since my last visit. First, I did the "Will The Real Evil Pat Please Stand Up Event" series of geocaches. Those were quite challenging. #5 was the most difficult. I went to that spot 3 times and only succeeded the third time after getting an idea from one of the other caches. Then I attempted the GeoCamp series but by then, I was tired of searching for nearly-impossible caches so I cherry-picked the easy ones and then went off to do other geocaches along Route 49 towards Tuckahoe / Corbin City. The best cache of the day was the Jeep geocache at "Will The Real Evil Pat Please Stand Up Event # 2". It actually took me a minute to figure out that I had to pop the hood to get the log sheet because I thought it was under one of the seats at first.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
Saturday and Sunday were both days with great weather. I continued where I stopped last weekend and geocached to the west of Pottstown, in Stowe, Douglassville, and Birdsboro. I wasn't too fond of Pottstown itself but the areas to the west of it are rather nice. Of course, I may change my mind again when I get closer to Reading but that's for another weekend. A lot of the hiking I did was along the Schuylkill River Trail, which has scenic views, nice wildflowers, and a cat. On Saturday, I also hiked around Monocacy Hill Recreation Area, which has ruins and a mini waterfall.

The funniest geocache of the weekend was a polka-dot chicken. It's from "The Season's Upon Us", a puzzle cache that asks the question about why the chicken crossed the road.

The caches... )
mortonfox: (morton blvd)
On Saturday, I went to Hamilton Lanes in Hamilton, NJ, for the "Happy 270th Birthday Tommy!" geocaching event. It was a small gathering in the party/bar room of the bowling alley. We had a lovely Thomas Jefferson cake and the smiley showed up too. After that, I did a bunch of geocaches around Yardville before heading over to Howell for the Route 9 series of geocaches. Of course, I did a bunch more geocaches between the series geocaches and I also ventured off into Freehold, Georgia and Wyckoff Mills.

Since I went to Wegmans so many times during Fur 'the More, I decided to get a Wegmans breakfast this Sunday morning too. Only problem: Wegmans in Collegeville is about an hour from home! I had sushi and gyoza. I actually did ask them if they were going to open a store in Delaware. The answer was no but here's the ironic twist: one of their new stores will be in Montvale, NJ. Yes, my old place but I'm not moving back there! Oh, well. Can't have everything.

After breakfast, I went geocaching in Limerick and Pottstown (Also Pottsgrove, Gilbertsville, New Hanover, Boyertown, and Stowe.) just up US-422. It was a continuation of my last trip to Royersford, just expanding a bit westward. I'm actually not terribly fond of this area, although there were a few nice locations. The treat of the day was finding "ShinBang", a cache that is more than a decade old. I love finding an old cache sometimes. It's wonderful to see something last a long time and admirable that someone maintained it all those years. It's also in a very rocky wooded area so thankfully, I didn't bang my shins. :)

The caches... )

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Morton Fox

October 2017

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