Sunday, May 14, 2006

A walk in the rain

It was drizzling on and off this morning, but Ben and I decided to go out geocaching while Gail went to the Paul Smiths College graduation. One of the things that I love most about geocaching is that it takes me to places I have never been to before, and most likely would never have was that kind of day.

We drove out to the far side of Lake Clear, and parked near the entrance to the Girl Scout camp to find the first geocache. We found it in short order, and the prepared for the 1 mile hike to the next one. Ben hiked most of the way in, and some of the way back out on his own; the rest of the time he increased my cardiovascular workout by riding my shoulders.

We found a spotted salamander under a log, and from that point on Ben was looking and listening for wildlife the whole time. We heard and saw a pileated woodpecker, got yelled at by a red squirrel, matched our feet to deer prints, and discussed why the coyote poop we found had fur in it.

Under another log further down the trail, we found a tiny redback salamander that Ben also loved, and was wonderfully gentle with, even returning it to its original spot.

The trail to the geocache took us by a number of small ponds that can only be reached by hiking in on this trail, yet we saw some people fishing in a canoe that they must have portaged in on the same trail that we took...Meadow Pond is a gorgeous little pond that must have nice would have to in order for me to want to carry my boat in...

We eventually found the geocache, not too far from where we saw the fishermen; we signed the log, made our trades, and left a traveller in the cache as well. It was a fun hunt in the tangled woods, although the heavy tree cover scrambled my GPS signal a bit and had me looking for the cache container for a few minutes before finding it.

Before heading back, we sat down to drink some water from my hydration pack and snack on some cereal bars. Hiking with Ben is a little like hiking with a dog, he was so excited and curious that he covered tons more ground than I did (mostly looking for more salamanders). He was pretty wiped out on the way back, and mostly rode on my back in the rain that fell steadily (but not unpleasantly) on us the whole way back.

It was a great morning of geocaching, a great walk in the woods, and a great opportunity to visit with some wildlife. We had a great time, and will likely be back out to this pond-filled area later this spring or summer.

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