Earthcache Day 2014

Symbol for an EarthCache

Earthcaches feature geology. There is usually no physical cache. Instead, the cacher is asked to answer a series of questions about a geological formation. The coordinates of the cache lead to an example of the geological formation in question.

Earthcache Day is usually in August, a blazingly hot month in Texas. To log our find for Earthcache Day 2014, Sweetieheart and I left home at 6:30AM; we left the site by 10:30AM when temperatures were already in the high 90s.

We had to find examples of North Texas fossils and answer some questions about the bed where we found these fossils. We made our find!

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A Favorite Walk: Waxahachie

I first walked Waxahachie three years ago. Since then, I have returned in the summer and the fall.

We finally found the faces in the carving! For further information, check out the legend of the courthouse.

Ellis County Courthouse

The 5k is a lovely walk through neighborhoods lined with houses from the early 20th century and historic markers. Volksmarchers pass by the Catfish Plantation, a notoriously haunted restaurant, before looping through the SAGU,  Southwestern Assemblies of God University, campus.

I may return someday just to do the prayer walk.

Prayer Walk Marker on the SAGU Campus

Waxahachie residents take pride in their homes. Their homes are decorated seasonally. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, residents were out taking down the fall decorations and putting up the Christmas decorations. Children and adults raked fallen leaves.  A friendly cat asked for a petting (while a not-so-friendly cat huddled next to a house).

This is not the offical founding year of the campus

SAGU: 1901 AD

The walk begins and ends at the police station. Be sure to identify that you’re a walker to the nice admitting officer.

The gargoyle is on the corner of the building.

Gargoyle at the Fire Station

Geocaching Adventure: Emory

It’s a Twofer!

I dragged Sweetieheart and my husband to the Emory, Rains County, AVA walk. I used the same bait for both: an antique car show. For Sweetieheart, I added the lure of new geocaches.

There were three geocaches on the route we’d be walking. Of the three, we were only able to log one cache.

However, I got my husband to walk and Sweetieheart and I earned another Texas county for geocaching.

Sweetieheart Signs the Log

Sweetieheart Signs the Log

Navajo Chant

Happily may I walk.
Happily, with abundant dark clouds, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant showers, may I walk.
Happily, with abundant plants, may I walk.
Happily, on a trail of pollen, may I walk.
Happily may I walk.
Being as it used to be long ago, may I walk.

-Navajo Chant

Library Break

It was a dark and stormy night…

Not really…

It was kind of the exact opposite. It was a bright and sunny afternoon and Sweetieheart and I were headed to the library. Unfortunately, we’d read the wrong time (library hours vary) and had about 45 minutes to kill. So I pulled out the cell phone and opened up the geocaching app.

Well, what do you know? There’s a cache located less than a mile away. I thought I’d found all the caches in the area but I guess I was wrong. We parked next to a cache we’d found in summer 2014 and began our hike to this place:

 

The Community Garden

The Community Garden

We’d discovered our community garden! I’d read about it our newsletter but I’d never actually set eyes on it. Plots are available for members of the community who have more free time than I.

Community members can garden in a plot for themselves or charity.

A Garden Plot

And planted somewhere in the garden is a lovely cache, just waiting to be discovered.

Our neighbors have a plot!

Our Neighbors

Geocaching…

Geocaching turns a two-hour trip into a nine-hour trip.

– Geodancers

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

In August, I received an email from the Tarrant County Walkers asking for help. Bill Wigton, the new president of the club needed people to help with leading the group. In particular, building membership.

I was cocky. It was still summer. Sure, last year may have been rough but this year’s students were different. Right? I could pitch in. After all, I believe in this group. I believe in supporting what I believe in. I volunteered.

I just received the membership list. It’s a bit of a mess.

Our website is a bit of a mess.

Our Facebook page is a bit of a mess.

Which job will I undertake first?

Logo

Tarrant County Walkers

Travel Bug: Discover Me!

In 2011 I released a travel bug. It was my first travel bug and I really didn’t know what to do with it. So I sent it out at my first CITO in Plano, TX, with a general mission statement:

I would like for this coin to visit as many federal and state parks as possible.

There have been a few times when this coin has gone inactive for a while (no reports on it) and then it appears to travel in a blaze.

I thought it would stay i the US. Instead, it’s been to Canada and, as of October 2014, is currently in Switzerland. (Is it wrong to be jealous of an inanimate object?)

It’s time, I think, to change it’s mission statement.

New Mission Statement:

I would like this geocoin to visit as many parks in as many countries as possible. It would be wonderful if it visited every continent.

A Geocaching Adventure: Mineral Wells Fossil Park

polar vortex struck Texas in July. Temperatures during the day dropped all the way into the 70s and 80s during the day. Temperatures at night dropped into the 60s. Texans learned how those crazy northerners survive their summers.

I’m a nerd. In October of 2013 I attended Fossilmania in Glen Rose and learned about Texas’ newest park: Mineral Wells Fossil Park.

Visitors to Mineral Wells Fossil Park may hunt for fossils from the Pennsylvanian period for free. Visitors may keep their finds. I don’t think I drooled in anticipation but I may be mistaken.

Symbol for an EarthCache

Paleontologists are just as nerdy. There’s an earthcache here! A geocacher may choose to either answer a few questions about the area or may post a picture of his or her fossil finds.

The Road to Mineral Wells Fossil Park Is neither Long nor Shaded.

My advice for those choosing to visit the park:

  • Plan to stay only 1-2 hours.
  • The road isn’t paved all the way. Drive in a low gear and slowly once you leave the pavement.
  • Bring water and a cooler filled with ice. There’s no water available.
  • Wear close-toed shoes and jeans.
  • Bring sunscreen. There’s no shade.
  • Bring a hat. There’s no shade.
  • Wear sunglasses. There’s no shade.
  • There’s a port-a-potty if you absolutely need to go. Personally, I’m terrified of finding a snake, spiders, or scorpions basking in the shade of the port-a-potty. Go to the restroom before visiting the park.
  • Bring plastic baggies to store your finds.
  • Bring knee pads. You may spend time on your knees.
  • Be aware of the wildlife (see bullet above).
  • Read the information board. It’ll help you identify your finds. (We found lots of crinoids.)

A Geocaching Adventure: Black Jack Ketchum

I rediscovered Black Jack Ketchum in Rusk.

Black Jack Ketchum is a legend. Born in Texas and dying in New Mexico, Black Jack was a train robber from the turn of the 20th century who operated in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona (where he joined the Hole-in-the-Wall gang).

But that’s not what made him legendary.

My mother grew up near Clayton, NM, the scene of his death. Black Jack was captured in Folsom, NM, and brought to trial in Clayton. He was sentenced to hang.

What the people of Clayton lacked in experience in hangings, they made up in enthusiasm. The hanging was botched and Black Jack lost his head in the hanging. Black Jack was buried in an extra wide coffin in an extra wide grave in the Clayton Cemetery to accommodate his head which was laid to rest under his arm.

That’s still not what made him legendary in this neck of the woods.

Almost a century later, teenagers still visit Ketchum’s grave and recount the legend that at midnight Black Jack rises from his grave to seek his head. Fortunately, most teens have an earlier curfew so they miss his appearance. But that doesn’t stop boys from daring boys to stay in the cemetery to await Black Jack and it doesn’t stop boys from trying to make time with girls with the legend. So the legend of Black Jack lives on.

There’s a wonderful little hotel and restaurant in Clayton. It’s been restored to its turn-of-the-century glory. The Eklund is a popular place to eat a nice dinner, talk about old times, and hear the legend of Black Jack Ketchum. You can even see pics of the Black Jack and the hanging.

And there’s a geocache hidden near Black Jack Ketchum’s grave to bring in out-of-towners to hear the legend.

Clayton is proud of its legend and his grave.

Here Lies Black Jack Ketchum–the legend.