Sunday, August 3, 2008

Geocaching at French Creek Preserve

This post may contain spoilers.

For those of our loyal readers who may plan on geocaching in the west Minneapolis metro area, this post may contain spoilers. Either don't read, or don't complain.

Wayfarer and I took advantage of the lovely weather and ventured out to score five geocaches at the nearby French Creek Preserve. French Creek Areal The location of the caches are shown in the photo. The center smiley on the bottom is a Mystery Cache, and clues from the other four lead to the mystery.

French Creek Preserve encompasses a seven acre pond and a four acre restored prairie which are the cornerstone of a large wetland complex. The wetlands ultimately drains to Crystal Bay in Lake Minnetonka and is home to many land and water species. The restored prairie was planted in the fall of 1993, and is now a flourishing wetland.

After an earlier experience with TICKS (!) we liberally applied the 40% deet to our shoes and ankles, and started down the trail. Only then did we realize our folly. There was no tick problem - just mosquitoes. The good news is... we didn't get bit on our ankles!

We hiked the trail that circled the lake, spooked a murder of crows, found the geocaches, and generally enjoyed the day. And where do you suppose the final mystery cache was located? Out on the Luce Line Trail. Cool!

The geocache was on a section of trail where we had never been, and finding the right access turned out to be the biggest challenge of the day. During the search, we drove into a neighborhood cul-du-sac that did not yet have homes on it. And there, just 20 yards away, stood a "family" of white tailed deer - a buck in velvet, two does, and three spotted fawns. They seemed to have no fear of us and continued to frolic and play while we watched.

Note to self: Always keep camera up front, within reach. We didn't get pictures of the deer. But here's some other photos we took that day.

A shot of French Lake through the willows.

French Lake Willows

A view of the large wetlands complex.

French Lake Wetlands

False sunflowers along the trail.

False Sunflowers

Nice hidey hole for the final.

LL Trail Hide

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