Friday, August 14, 2009

Highest Points Visited

Here is a list of the Highest Points I have visited. It will be nice and easy to keep track of them here! I'll add a few pictures as well. Here they are in order by date:

04/09/2009 - Maryland - Hoyes Crest - 3,360 ft above sea level

07/22/2009 - North Carolina - Mount Mitchell (also the highest point east of the Mississippi River.) - 6,684 ft above sea level

08/13/2009 - District of Columbia - Point Reno - 409 ft above sea level.

12/05/2009 - Delaware - Ebright Azimuth - 448 ft above sea level

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Okay I think I have been officially been bitten by the "highpointers" bug. While geocaching back in early April of this year, my friends, Mrs SeeKPeeKRs, VinceHayter, and I got a chance to climb to the highest point in the state of Maryland - Hoye Crest - to find a cache. Since then I have been looking at the Highpointers website to find out where some of the other "highest" points in various states are located. Well with my trip to western North Carolina this past week I was able to check off another state. Not only that but Mount Mitchell is also the highest point east of the Mississippi River. We didn't have much of a view, due to clouds, but it was still a lot of fun. Where next?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

July 5th - 12th (Across Pennsylvania)

Now that I am pretty well rested from the week that was - let me tell some of you about it. My wife and I had decided that we were going to spend some time in Pennsylvania. One of my good friends from growing up lives in the Chambersburg area and one of my colleagues has property in north western PA in Clarion County. That coupled with the fact that my wife's cousin was getting married at the end of the week in the Poconos, in eastern PA, made this a great opportunity go out and have some fun. Sunday morning, July 5th, we loaded up the Highlander to the gills. Two kayaks, two bikes, sleeping bags , enough clothes for a week and other assorted stuff we couldn't have fit a flea in there if it wanted to stow away.

We decided this summer that we would try and have the family participate in "THE HUNT for Abraham Lincoln" put on by the M-NCPPC. I had visited one site the previous week with the boys and we knew that we would sort of "pass by" a couple of others along the way. We decided to stop in Antietam at the PRY HOUSE Field Hospital Museum. President Lincoln was said to stop there and visit with General George McClellan. My oldest son seemed a little more interested. So he and I paid the very modest admission fee to take the tour. The home had been used as a field hospital, as mentioned in the name, and several officers had been treated there. Over 500 enlisted men had been treated in the barn just outside. A humbling experience that I don't think that my son will fully grasp for a couple more years. From there we drove up to Gettysburg to visit the National Memorial Park and the location of the Gettysburg Address Memorial as well as the David Wills House, the site where President Lincoln stayed overnight the evening before his famous two-minute speech. After that we drove on to Chambersburg for a visit with my friend and his family. He and I even tried to take out one of the kayaks that evening with one of his four daughters but alas the river where we put in was way too shallow.

The next morning we drove to our friends in Clarion. They own quite a piece of property in the area and have set up their summer camp there. We stayed there three nights and enjoyed every minute of it. The weather never got above 78* and in the evenings we needed sweat shirts to stay warm even with a small campfire. Our kids played well together with lots of games of hide-n-seek, ladderball and just good clean running around and having a blast. One evening we drove into the town of Clarion itself for dinner and our boys remembered that they enjoyed the park just across the street from the restaurant. The kids loved yelling "FIRE" as they sat on the various old cannons there.

Having the kayaks with us we had to take them out for a little ride down the Clarion River itself. In years past we have canoed other parts of the river, and an image of one trip you can find in an earlier post from last year. But this time we had our own and wanted to try a different location. Well to say that the first trip was hard would be an understatement. My friend and I hadn't even put the kayaks on the ground before my oldest son says "Hey look a snake in the water." That set off my friend's children screaming. If people had gone by they would have thought that we were torturing the kids. We tried for a little after they settled down but it was no use. But the next day was 1000 times better. We put in at the Mill Creek boat launch with my wife and I in one kayak and my friend and his son in the other. My two sons wanted to be towed in inner tubes behind us. My friend's daughter ended up in the front of her father's kayak. And oh yeah - his wife was on shore waiting for us four miles down the river. She was our ride back to the car. It was fantastic! A bit on the long side for the kids, but I had a blast. We were on the water for two and a half hours and I enjoyed every bit. (Well towing the boys was hard at times - but it was worth it.) We even spotted a bald eagle, in flight, about 40 minutes before the end of our journey.

Now I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I had a couple of nice chances to go out and find some geocaches while in the area. I had learned from a friend earlier in the summer about the Allegheny GeoTrail. Similar in nature to other geocaching adventures, this program has geocachers finding caches within the various counties of Pennsylvania, particularly those along the Allegheny Mountains. Each county has a set number of geocaches within it and a finder must find only six within that county to earn a trackable geocoin.While in Clarion County, I was able to complete the necessary six caches, as well as a few more for extra measure, to earn my coin. The nice thing about the coin: the one for Clarion County has on its back a person in a canoe as well as a bald eagle. Could it get any better than that? The fire tower pictured here is located with in Cook Forest State Park and one of the caches in very close by.

Thursday morning we packed up and started our drive back across the state. But not before another stop at Beartown Rocks. We have visited the area before with the kids and always like to stop by and allow the kids to climb around. My oldest son loves climbing and I hope that he learns to be a little more cautious soon since he likes to jump from one to another. And I can't quite keep up as easily anymore. We even paused for a moment for a family portrait But please forgive me it was taken with just an iPhone with no zoom of course. After that it was lunch and heading on to Scranton. Our stop for a couple of nights before we hit the Poconos.
Now while in Scranton for a couple of days we wanted to use our time well so we thought that it would be neat to visit the Lackawanna Coal Mine. Once a working mine, it now serves as a tourist stop to learn about how the mines once worked and how the people of the area made their living. The mine tour took us down a shaft which, as we were told, was 520 ft below the surface. We got a chance to walk the shafts, see and feel how the ventilation worked and even at one point the lights were turned off so that we could see how dark it was. Amazing that the workers were able to get their jobs done and support a family if you ask me.

That afternoon we visited Nay Aug Park. What a neat place! There children's playgrounds, hiking and biking trails, two pools and a water park and a David Wenzel Treehouse. To see it built with in the trees and the trees coming through the roof was spectacular. An amazing feat of craftsmanship! Our family even took to one of the hiking trails for a little while so that we could see some of the waterfalls there. Maybe not exactly Niagara Falls but just as pretty within the wooded area.
Saturday morning we packed back up and headed the rest of the way across Pennsylvania to the Poconos. My wife was attending the wedding of her cousin and I got the chance to take the boys to our next night's stay. The boys, including this 40 year old boy, love staying at the Great Wolf Lodge. It is the kind of place that you can just relax and have a great time. While my wife was at the wedding my sons and I spent our time riding the water slides, especially the one that the boys thought that they were being "flushed" down the drain since you ended up going around a basin a couple of times. All totaled we spent probably 5 and 1/2 hours in the water park itself before calling it a night.
The next morning the family went down to the water park for a little more fun. Who am I kidding? A lot more fun before making the 5 hour trip back to southern Maryland. People, who care, have asked since I got back did we have a nice time last week. And my answer has been NO we had a GREAT time!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

June 29th My summer so far.

Man has it been a very long time since I have posted here, considering that the last post involved a SNOW DAY. Well what has been happening you may ask? First the school year ended just fine. With the exception of one senior prank, nothing too exciting happened as the year came to an end. My sons participated in their school talent show and as a proud father I will say that they did quite well. Maybe I'll edit the video and load it up sometime for others to see.

Currently summer is in full swing and I am having a great time. The boys spent a week at "Summer Fun Camp" in Salisbury, MD. It is a Bible based rodeo camp put on by the Salisbury Baptist Temple. They enjoyed it a lot.

After that we spent a week with my family at the Corolla Light Resort in Corolla, NC. Private pool and hot tub, a chance to relax and go crabbing, kayaking and spend some time with family is always a GREAT time! While down on the Outer Banks I, in fact the entire family, tried our hands at hang gliding. Taking off from the top of the dunes at Jockey's Ridge, we flew about 100 ft or a little more. The boys loved it and would have done it all day but my wife and I got a little tried. We also spent some time on the beach itself, having driven onto the beach just north of Corolla at the beach access. There the boys loved playing in the ocean and watching an occasional horse, or horses, wander by.

But alas we are home, back in Maryland now. But when I think about it - the summer has just begun. Let's have some more fun!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Geocaching Adventures Part 12

March 2, 2009 - SNOW DAY!

First let me say that I didn't even know it was supposed to snow. My wife mentioned over the weekend that we might get a little rain, maybe even a little bit of freezing rain and a flurry or two. But by the time came around for the Sunday forecast, our area, here in southern Maryland, was expecting to get hammered! It has been quite some time since we have had even a couple of inches of snow but to get close to 8 or 9 inches was such a surprise! I spent the morning watching the snow still come down. And while checking the email I received notice that a new cache had been published about 14 miles from the house. Should I try it? Our road hadn't be plowed really so why chance it? I went outside with the family and enjoyed sledding and throwing snowballs. Then we headed in for lunch. While eating the snowplow went by. I could see the road surface... Was it time?

I called a good geo-friend and asked if she wanted to head south and try for the new cache. It always seems when I ask - she says "Yes" no matter the conditions. I picked her up and we made our way down to St. Mary's State Park. The area was gorgeous! The snow on the pine trees was sparkling like diamonds. We got out of the car a little discouraged since there was another car in the lot and many people had been here before us today. Had we missed the First To Find? The trail was magnificent even though we followed tracks for most of the two-tenths of a mile. But as the needle on the Magellan began to turn we saw NO tracks. We made our way to a likely hiding spot about 150 ft away and began scratching around. Again there was 9 inches of snow on the ground. But we finally came up with the cache. Upon opening it we found the log book and knew that we were indeed the FIRST TO FIND! We signed the log happily and rehid the container as best we could. We then walked around a little to try and cover our tracks and not give away the true location of the cache. And then we headed back to the car. After warming up a little we decided to hit one more cache that we hadn't done yet. That one entailed a quarter mile walk across a field and then into the woods again through thick snow. We found it and signed the log and headed back to the car, exhausted!!

To be completely honest about the day I don't think that my joy came from being the "First to Find" at the first cache of the day. But I think it came from being able to enjoy our world in a way that I don't get to very often. Yeah sometimes snow can be slippery and dangerous. But you have to admit that it can really make the world a beautiful place!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Geocaching Adventures Part 11

For those who might not know what those four letters mean, well you probably didn't read the last post. But anyway - CITO stands for "Cache In Trash Out!" With the hobby of geocaching I get to enjoy the outdoors a lot more. But walking in a park and seeing bottles, cans and other trash on the ground bothers me. So as I mentioned in the previous post I have a renewed desire to pick up as much as I can each time that I am out. The first part of today's adventure was specifically designed to do that. Go out and pick up litter. The place I picked was one of my own cache sites. I could definitely tell from the area that people have used it as a dumping grounds and today I took part of it back. It is going to take another trip, too much for one load. But I can't say that I was alone. I had some great help today. A good geo-friend spent some time with me doing what I wanted in picking up the stuff. Thanks you very much to her. All totaled we picked up close to three recycling bins full of things today as well as other plastic bags and trash. As mentioned elsewhere - every little bit helps!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Geocaching Adventures Part 10

I decided last evening that I was going to take the day off and get some rest for my ailing throat. It was kind of scratchy the day before and I thought that I could use the not having to talk. So I took the opportunity to go out and grab a few caches today. I, along with some friends and a whole lot of other cachers, have begun work on the Maryland Municipal League Geotrail. 11 districts across the state, try and find at least two caches in each district and use your passport to prove that you were there. If you are successful - you could be awarded with a geocoin. While I am interested in the geocoin, I have to say that it has been fun visiting the various locations around the state that I have visited so far. With having today off I decided to head back up to Prince George's County and grab the last two in that area. Neat locations, espeically the one at Bladensburg along the Anacostia River.

But with all of the being said - that isn't what has prompted me to write this evening. While out today visiting the various locations I picked up a couple of recyclables, bottles, cans etc. And while I visited other caches as well I noticed several other things that I could pick up. In fact while walking back to the car from one cache I spotted a hallow in a tree when contained quite a bit of trash. Thankfully I was only about one hundred yards from the car and I could run back to it and grab a bin for all that I pulled out of it. All totaled today I filled three-quarters of a recycling bin with things that people had thrown out. So now I have decided on my New Year's resolution for geocaching - a renewed effort towards CITO - Cache In Trash Out! I want to make sure that I pick up as much stuff while out this year each time I am out just to clean up the playing field. Anyone want to come along??