Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Geo-ing We Will Go

Happy Belated Halloween!

After my long, drawn-out woe-is-me-fest of Friday, Joel hijacked Ann and I for a little adventure on Saturday, a Halloween Geocaching Event.  He seemed to know I needed a break from gardening, building ruins and feeling sorry for myself, not necessarily in that order once again.  (And also because his girlfriend had to work, lol.)

The weather on Saturday was just gorgeous, just the right touch of cool and crisp and yet warm and sunny and with a slight breeze.  Wonderful weather for working in the garden, too; I had a moment's trepidation about it, do I want to go and have fun in the sun, or stay home and deal with the mess here?  And yes, it was a debate, believe it or not.  Carl, saint that he is, decided to stay home and work.  That added to the guilt factor, but in the end, you know what I did.  Ran away.

The adventure, if Ann and I chose to accept it, was to go along with Joel to the far away land of Fond du lac County and geocache our way along a trail strewn with caches leading to the grand finale of the day.  There were a lot of people drawn to this event from all over.  I am not a registered geocacher, but go along for the ride and love to take pictures, so this worked out great.
We all met at a park which is part of the Niagara Escarpment,  and after a search, found the instructions on what coordinates to locate that led to the final destination.
Joel and Ann are in the lead walking along the trail.  I'm either lagging behind, because I saw something I just had to photograph:
 Check out this mushroom......ok, 'mushroom' is probably a bit too generic a term, I'm sure it's has a proper botanical name, but I'm not a Fungi Fanatic, so have no idea.  I just thought it was amazing.  (And a little creepy.)  Oh, and by the way, there is my cellphone in the photo, too.  Isn't it photogenic?

I usually catch up to Joel fairly easily since it takes time to locate many caches.  That's why I don't worry about holding up the show too much; geocaches are not placed to be glaringly obvious, especially to my untrained eye, and take some time to find.
And sometimes that means going places I would rather not.
Carry on, Joel, I'll watch from here.
There were all age groups at this event, from very young to even older than me.  I was following a gentleman and his probably seven year old daughter for awhile and was amused overhearing her constant commentary on the day's events.  She was so excited to be on this trip especially since it was Halloween themed.

"Daddy, look at those trees.  Don't they look kinda scary?  I'm glad we aren't out here at night, aren't you, Daddy?  This would be too scary at night, don't you think, Daddy?  Would you want to walk through here at night?  I wouldn't, Daddy."
The little girl was right, some of the trees really did have Scary written all over them. 
Outstretched arms, waiting to nab an unsuspecting passerby.  Walking this trail at night would be unsettling and downright dangerous.  Joel and Ann were on another trail along the field searching for caches while I cut through the woods.  Just as I rounded a corner after ducking some overhanging branches, I looked up and saw this about five feet in front of me:
Whoa!  The first step is a doozy!  Right beyond the grass is nothing but air.   
 I looked across the chasm (cool word, eh?) and saw Joel and Ann on the other side.
Our next mission was to figure out how to get to the floor of the quarry.  People were wandering around in circles, trying to figure out how the man in the lawn chair at the bottom got down there. You can barely make him out in the photo below, but there's a guy seated down below, waving to all of us.
I headed off on my own, up and over a small rock ledge and found myself on a trail that was getting boonier and boonier the further I went along with downed trees and big rocks littering the trail.  Finally I came across a crevice (boy, I'm just full of the fancy words tonight) and thought maybe this was the way to the bottom of the quarry.  But then I remembered what Joel said, this was supposed to be a walk 'for all ages'.  Well, that didn't look too 'all ages friendly' to me.  I was going to call Joel to see if he'd found the way down yet and that's when I noticed my cellphone was not playing nice.  
I hate to admit it, but when I saw my phone wasn't receiving a signal down in the hole, I was a little uneasy.  And that uneasiness is so silly.  For 51 years, I did not have a cellphone.  How did I survive that long without being in constant connection with the outside world?   (Since there is no 'sarcasm font'---I think we need one, don't you? ---I'll tell you that I'm kidding here---) I was a little ashamed of myself because, really, I'm unnerved because I can't contact anyone right away?  Wow.  Time to hitch up the big girl pants and calm down the heart rate, I'll be fine.

I was a little disappointed in myself,  I find it amazing how fast I became addicted to technology.  There was plenty of wood all around me, I could always start a bonfire and send up smoke signals if I absolutely had to.  Except I forgot matches.  I never did master the art of starting a fire by rubbing two sticks together; I have problems starting our campfires at home with a propane torch.  Wow again.  Better find my way back to the rest of the herd, apparently I'm not cut out for roughing it.

After a ten minute walk I was back to the edge of the quarry again.  There's the other folks, signing the log books and visiting.  I knew there had to be a better way to get down there than the way I had been trying....and finally I found it.  (No, I didn't jump, either.)
Joel and Ann had already found the trail and were down there waiting while I was wandering around in crevices a half-mile away.....Lewis and Clark wouldn't have liked me for a guide back in the day. 
I was amazed there was no water in this quarry, but I suppose the bedrock has so many cracks in it that it can't pool. 
The final cache was behind this big rock, ain't it a beauty?  Joel told me to go take a look at a beautiful geode that was on the backside of the rock, so I dutifully climbed up to take a look.  I wear trifocals now, so I have to watch my step and was looking for a good place to put my foot.   When I finally looked up, a guy in a skull mask and black cape jumped out of the space in between the big rocks.


Aaargh?  I thought, huh, how did he know about Castle Aaargh?  Must be a Monty Python fan.  (Or maybe he reads my blog?)

If it had been dark out, I may well have peed my pants, or been needing a jump start for my heart but for some reason he didn't scare me as much as having a dead cellphone had earlier, so I just said, "Hi," and then tried to look past him to see the geode.  That was when I heard Joel laughing and realized there really wasn't a geode.  Darn.  
I should have asked the Aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh ghost guy to stand next to me by the big rock, but he had to go back to his post, scaring the next people to wander back there.   
Isn't it amazing how trees will sprout and grow in the most unlikely areas?  When was the last time you ever thought about planting a tree between a rock and a hard place?

It was time to leave the quarry and I reluctantly did, but it was difficult.  I was sad that Carl hadn't come along, but he and I are going to go back there very soon, when he heard about it, he was rarin' to go.  I know, we're weird.
 In the picture above, you can see Joel's reflection on the stone wall of the quarry as he takes this final picture of the quarry that day.

Back to the car we went:  Joel and Ann had other geocaches to find in the area and I was sitting in the front seat with the camera at the ready, looking for interesting stuff.
We were zipping down the road when I saw something.  Turn the car around, Joel, there's an interesting thing right there...another stone house ruin!
Oh, boy, isn't this one pretty, too?  I really liked the architecture on this home, it has good lines.  It's smack-dab in the middle of an encroaching industrial park, so it probably won't be here for long, but at least we have some pictures to remember it by.
Switching over to the higher-powered lens let us get much closer, but once again, how fun it would have been to poke around in this ruin.  The stories this one could tell, too.  Look at the size of the stones over the windows. 
I really liked the roof line and peak, too.  The stonework itself looks very good yet, what a shame it was abandoned.

I know it's hard to see from this picture, but look at the thickness of the wall of the house where it's exposed near the peak.  (Wouldn't you know I didn't think to use the zoom lens for that shot?)  Hard to think about this home being torn down.  Couldn't you just imagine this place being part of a haunted house tour?  Hmmm.....wandering around in the old house at night......bats swooping......missing floor boards......guys jumping out and yelling Aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh........
The little girl on the Halloween Walk was right.....this trek would have been too scary at night.

At least for little old ladies like me.



Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a great time with Joel and Ann. The quarry looks very interesting but that big rock just will not fit in your trailer!Love all the trees to. The old house must have been an amazing home once. Its so sad to see places like this go.
Have a good week.

FlowerLady said...

Karen ~ Your posts are always a delight. That quarry is really amazing. What a bummer that there wasn't a gorgeous geode under that rock. It really looks like you had a great time, and no doubt came home refreshed and now you and Carl have an outing planned to go back there yourselves.

I loved that stone house and really liked the huge stone lintels over the windows. ~ Lintel came to mind and I had to look it up to be sure that was the word I wanted. :-) ~

Have a great rest of the week.


Anonymous said...

Your trip was very interesting. I am so intrigued by the Niagara Escarpment, and it originated in your area. Do you find it a nice place to hike amongst all the history? I think it is such a pretty place, and from your images, is very similar to here. The Quarry looks like our gorge walls a bit, but not as high. You are right about water not pooling. The fissures allow water both in and out here.

Tufa Girl said...

The tree after the little girl's conversation was especially scary. How fun you had a quarry on the tour. I imagine Carl was a little disappointed he had not taken the time to go also.

We had a geocache at the nursery I worked at down south. The staff always forgot we had it and would see people under the little walkway bridge "What are they doing under there?"

Enjoyed your photos, as always.

Pamela Gordon said...

Wow, I love this post! Your photos are beautiful. I've heard of geocashing and there was one in our area recently. It looks like fun. Walking out and finding that quarry drop off was kind of scary and dangerous! I'm glad you didn't fall off the precipice! (another good word LOL) I feel sad for old houses like that. What a shame. Someone could use those stones to build a new castle couldn't they? Thanks for sharing your adventure today. I enjoyed it.

HolleyGarden said...

That is one scary drop-off! Funny that you weren't scared of the guy jumping out at you. Guess he should have been told to yell "Boo!" instead of "Aaarrgh!" ;)

Nell Jean said...

I don't know where my comments went. Just in case, I'll try again and see if Blogger gets in the way again.

Awe-inspiring, your adventure and your gardens. I looked all the way back to when the MG group visited.

Rosemary said...

What a fun day , and of course the best part a quarry..... Sometimes it is good to have a play day.. recharges one..... at least that is what I tell myself...... escape from day to day It's a good thing!