Sunday, March 22, 2009

Springtime Geocaching

Ah, spring! A time when hope flows eternal. A time for renewal and re-growth. A time for geocaching without ticks, spiders, and mosquitoes.

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Minnesota. The temperature peaked at near 70 degrees, and the snow that fell last November is almost gone.

We decided on one of the nearby regional parks, and like last week, the trails were ice packed and slippery. The ice had melted In places where the sun was able to shine through the trees, leaving slippery mud instead of ice. Some very tricky hiking, indeed!

 Snowy Trails

The first cache we found was guarded by a dead squirrel. Seriously! It was actually a stuffed squirrel - as in taxidermy - and was part of the camo. But upon first spotting it, I couldn't tell. I poked it with a stick a few times, just to be sure.

The second cache we found was a very clever hide inside a great big tree beacon. We almost gave up on that one, when Wayfarer reviewed one of the recent posts describing how they had accidentally fond it.

Big Geocache Beacon

The third was a micro hidden amongst the branches of another downed tree. Again, if not for the logs of previous finders, we may not have found that one. Definitely not winter friendly! On to number 300, which we found - but that's another story.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Massive Geocache Beacon

Here in the upper-midwest, geocaches are often hidden in, what is known as, a beacon.

Beacon:  [bee-kuhn]  a fire lit on the top of a hill as a signal

Okay, maybe a geocache beacon is not a fire, but in geocaching terms, certainly a signal. If you see the beacon, you should be able to find the geocache.

We recently found a geocache in the beacon shown below. If you were the hider, where would you put the geocache in this beacon?


Geocache Beacon

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Island Geocaching

Well, it wasn't like this.

And it certainly wasn't like this.

But we did some island geocaching yesterday. The difference, this time we walked to the island.

I admit, that concept might confuse our faithful California readers. But around here, walking on water isn't an exercise reserved only for the Faithful. The water looked something more like this.

Lolas Lakehouse1

This is a shot of Lola's Lakehouse back on dry land.

And here's an aerial view of the lake. Lola's was our starting point, directly south of the island. For reference, it is exactly 1/2 mile from shore to the island at that point.

Lake Waconia 1

We scored the two geocaches on the island, but the really cool part was the winter walk. (Sorry.) I'm talking about 18 degrees of cool - with a 10 MPH breeze. It was a brisk walk out there. Once in the shelter of the island, though, it was quite comfortable.

The island is hilly and crisscrossed with trails. Once we neared the caches we did some bushwhacking that took us through knee-deep snowdrifts.

in 1886, Lambert Naegle purchased the island in Waconia Lake for $5,200 and built on it a resort hotel. He named his resort the "Coney Island of the West." The name could have come from as many as three sources: 1)It was named after the more famous Coney Island of the East, in Brooklyn. 2)It is a shortened version of the town's name, Waconia. 3)It was named such after the area's high population of "conies," or rabbits.

In 1889 Reinhold Zeglin bought and operated the hotel complex. Legend has it that period celebrities such as Mark Twain and Al Capone visited during this period.

In the 1940s and 1950s, Frank "Shorty" Dvorak owned and operated the dining, dance, cottage, day camp, and launch facilities on the island.

Today, it's all in ruins - the resort cabins, lodge buildings, and homes.

Waconia Ruins 1

Waconia Ruins 2

Waconia Ruins 3

A great day of geocaching!

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