Geocaching turns a two-hour trip into a nine-hour trip.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
My advice for those choosing to visit the park:
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.
Yesterday, Victor and I attended the Historic Rusk Walk in historic Rusk. To be honest, I had never heard of Rusk before the event was published. However, I am into geocaching and volksmarching because they take me places I’ve never been before.
I forgot my camera/phone so I haven’t any pics. However, I have accomplishments to post.
I’ve learned a bit from this walk.
I’m glad I went to Rusk. It was well worth it.
I needed a pick-me-up, something new. I wasn’t in the mood for a new dress or even a new book. Instead, I wanted a new walk: the Dallas Downtown walk.
Our weather this week has been amazing. In the low 90s, the strong south breezes have ameliorated the humidity (79-85%). Partly cloudy conditions prevailed in the morning. By lunchtime, the clouds had cleared, leaving the bright sunshine.
Victor and I took the TRE to Dallas Union Station ($10 for an all-region ticket), the location of the AVA box and the beginning of our 5k. We walked to the counter where we were greeted by two friendly DART employees who handed us the box and watched us check in.
We left Union Station to begin our trek. We were on familiar territory. We have geocached Downtown Dallas before but construction changes Dallas and transforms landmarks regularly.
We walked past a historic federal building (if you walk this, check out the architectural details of the building! I love the bronze lamps.) We passed Dealey Plaza (I’ve never really paid attention to Ol’ Man Dealey’s statue before) and crossed over to the Old Red. We crossed to the fountains at Founders’ Plaza (love the pedestrian crossing!) before heading north again.
I have never approached the historic West End from the angle we were led. It was nice to be in the shade again. We stopped off for breakfast at the Corner Bakery (only one restroom!) before continuing on our way. I was looking forward to encountering the Historic Marker where North and South Texas were joined via Preston.
Having never approached West End from this angle, the tribute to music passageway was unknown to me. I stopped to read several of the plaques before we crossed under the highway through the musical archway.
It must have been shift change for the downtown police station. Cops and cop cars were everywhere! I felt quite safe.
I reminisced with Victor about Tricky Dick’s and the House of Blues. They’ve moved about since I was in college in the 90s.
We walked past El Fenix (Closed, alas! Too early for lunch.) up past the Perot Museum. We had to cross the street because of sidewalk construction. Green stripes and directions have been added to the sidewalks to direct pedestrians to the Perot and the new park. We passed several families on their way to the Perot. Lots of up on this leg of the walk.
The directions for the park were a bit confusing. We weren’t too sure how far we were supposed to go counterclockwise before circling back to the entrance to the park. It was Victor’s first visit to the park. I pointed out several of the features, including the misting park and the free reading room with games. We’ll be bringing nieces and nephews here on their visits.
Our next landmarks included the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) and the Museum Towers. It was the first time I’d walked past the Museum Towers. What an interesting building!
We noted that the Crowe Asian Art Collection appears to be either moving or expanding. Either would be appropriate. It’s a great little museum.
School buses lined the streets around the DMA. The drivers wisely parked in the shade. We approve highly of the trees shading the sidewalk.
We walked through the DMA lot, passing the familiar statue and mural. At the corner, we faced a dilemma. The sidewalk was temporarily closed as workers cleaned up the fountains and gardens. The workers indicated we could walk around them so we continued to Fountain Place. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cut through Fountain Place because the fountains were being worked on.
On Field Street, we saw a woman enter a building through an obscure entrance. Above the entrance was a small sign indicating that this was an entrance to the Dallas Underground Tunnel System. Score! I’ve been telling Victor about the Dallas Tunnel System for years but I couldn’t remember how we got into it when we used to explore the system back when I was in college. We entered.
We luxuriated in the air conditioning and shade (it was reaching the 90s by now) as we road down the escalator. We began following random turns in the tunnels. We passed restaurants, shops, ATMs, and office workers in our explorations. We found the restrooms and freshened up before finding an exit back to Field Street and continued on our walk.
We arrived back at Union Station with 20 minutes to spare before the next train. (It would be almost two hours before the next TRE train would arrive.) We signed back in and boarded our train.
I wish I’d taken more pictures. We’ll take more in November when we return for the longer walk.
I grew up in South Texas. We learned in school the signs of heat exhaustion, heat rash, and heat stroke. Now that summer has begun (6 hours ago!), I’d like to remind you what to do for the heat.
I live near a walking-friendly mall. It was built with a softer-than-normal floor. It is a mile-around.
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