April Fools! Walk

The day began beautifully. The sun was already shining and the birds were kerthumping.

“Kerthumping?” you ask.

Yes, kerthumping. I’d never heard a sound like this before. As I stepped off the stoop, something kerthumped on the roof. The kerthump was soon followed by a bird call.

“Kerthump,” I heard again. Then there was another bird call, but this time it came from the tree, not the roof.

Looking up in the tree, I spotted the bird. Our temporary neighbors were back! A breeding pair of yellow-crowned night herons have laid eggs and had their babies in the neighborhood for the past three years. The herons were a local celebration of spring. They were checking out our yard as a nesting site.

Kerthump! The other half of the pair had arrived in a neighboring tree.

I greeted them, pointed them out to Victor, and we headed off to the car to head to Denton for our walk.

Denton boasts a popular photo spot: a bluebonnet field.

Visiting a bluebonnet field in Denton

It was truly a lovely day and a lovely walk. The April Fools! Walk was held in Denton. We walked by several historic buildings (someone in Denton’s historic crew is doing some excellent work!) with checkpoints that featured fun puzzles and food!

A view of the north-facing courthouse.

Denton went all out when it had its courthouse built.

I had two favorite points. Both occurred at the courthouse.

Some of the band in front of the courthouse.

This little boy was rockin’ out with the band.

There is a tradition in Denton that began several years ago. The legend goes that once upon a time a man began drumming at the courthouse on Saturdays. He invited other musicians to join him. Eventually they did. Weather-permitting, they continue to jam on the Square every Saturday.

We arrived in time for the jam session. It was great!

A historical marker to teach us more about Denton's history.

Historical Marker at the Denton County Courthouse

As we listened to Rocky Top,  I saw a bit of a ruckus. I turned the corner where a group of people were gathered. It was a courthouse wedding! The bride wore a short white dress sprinkled with sparkling rhinestones. The groom wore his military uniform with pride. They were surrounded by joyous friends and family. It was a beautiful sight.

An eastern view of the courthouse with a wedding party waiting for the big event.

The Wedding Party

I haven’t lived in Denton since the 90s. I graduated from UNT but it wasn’t until this walk that I found the building where the first UNT class was held (northwest corner of the Square).

I learn something new every walk. That’s why I continue walking.

 

First Cache

For 2017, Sweetieheart and I went for a first hike at Fort Richardson. We met up with a group of people interested in hiking and history.

In that group was a nice lady with her dog. She came with her son, husband, and another dog but we only interacted with the lady and her dog. They had spent the night at Fort Richardson. Her son had planned on sleeping in a hammock tent but storms overnight had brought him into the tent of his parents. He was spending the morning drying stuff out while she took the dogs for a morning walk/hike.

At the end of the two-mile hike, she noticed Sweetie and I peeling off from the rest of the group and consulting my phone.

“Are you doing that treasure hunt thing?” she asked.

“Yes. There’s one less than a 1/4 mile away. Do you want to come with us?”

She handed the dog off to her husband and then came along with us.

We stayed on the marked trail. The cache was a bit off-trail but I’m uncomfortable with disturbing the wilderness (and any sleeping snakes) so I try to stay on-trail for as long as possible.

We chatted and learned about the storms and her family. She was interested in geocaching because she has grandsons who are getting old enough to geocache. She thought it would be another family activity for camping trips. (Apparently camping is a favorite family activity for them.)

We described what we’d be looking for and she was the first one to spot the cache! Sweetie signed the log as we explored the contents of the cache.

Will she become a caching grandma? Maybe. I hope so. She seems like a nice lady who loves her family. Anything that keeps a family together is good.

Happy 2017!

Our new lady friend explores her first geocache.

The Lady and the Cache

First Hike

Many Texas State Parks sponsor a First Hike for the new year. We had a beautiful day scheduled for January 1st so Sweetieheart and I went for it: we drove to Fort Richardson to celebrate the new year.

Rain and storms were forecast for later in the day but the morning featured clear blue skies with a light breeze from the south.

Fort Richardson offered a guided hike. We had a park ranger and a volunteer to wrangle our group. The hike covered slightly over a mile of park and about a century of Texas and American history.

It was, in my opinion, the best way to spend New Year’s Day.

Earthcache at Texas’ Newest National Monument

Symbol for an EarthCache

EarthCache

I love dinosaurs. I’ve never outgrown my fascination with fossils (and rocks in general) so I was enthralled to learn that Texas would have a national park based on finds made in Waco.

On July 10, 2015, President Barack Obama designated the Waco site as a national monument. On July 9, 2016, Sweetie and I went to explore the site, celebrate the monument’s birthday, and find an earthcache.

Normally, visiting an outdoor park in July is an exercise in cooling but we had an abnormally cool July. It would only be in the low 90s so we set off bright and early. We were the first car at the entrance (although there must have been another entrance because we were nowhere near the first car in the parking lot).

There’s a small visitor center and gift shop. There’s a short trail which is mostly shaded although you should be on allergy medication if you’re like me with allergies. There are several opportunities for wildlife watching and viewing of native flora. The bone/fossil site is air conditioned.

Huge hint: There’s an earthcache here! Pay attention to your ranger guide and you can find it easily.

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LaGeek at Texas’ newest national state park

 

First Badger Meeting in the US… kinda

I’m participating in the #1000 mile challenge for 2017. Last year there were only three walkers in all of Texas participating. This year we’re up to five walkers in the Metroplex alone. I’m jazzed!

In the UK, participants in the challenge receive a badge to sew on to their clothing or backpacks. (It’s not an option for participants outside of the UK.) While on the trails, they look for people also wearing the badge. This is called a “badger meeting.”

Buddy the Bison is my mascot so when I met with Patricia, a challenge participant from Arlington, I brought Buddy along. Our goal is to get together with other #1000 mile challenge participants in Texas for social events and walking.

We don’t have a badge but we still met. It counts, right?

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The first “badger” meeting in the US was held at a Starbucks in Bedford, TX.

Ye Olde Traine Cache

Sweetieheart and I arrived early to the ballet. What could we do while we waited for the show to begin?

Coincidentally, there is a park across the street from the historic theater in Plano. It’s a lovely park with a bridge, a train, and a geocache.

My father retired from the railroad nine years ago. He started with Southern Pacific Railroad in 1966. He was nineteen. When SP was bought out, he switched to Burlington Northern. I grew up playing among the trains. I love that I got to play with a train for this geocache.

Even though this is rated an easy cache, it took us a while to find it as we avoided muggles and Sweetieheart avoided spiders. The photos posted on the site provided us with the necessary hints we needed.

We had really good seats.

The Russian Dance

Historic Texas: One of the Smallest Parks in the US

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A Crockett Family Grave in Granbury

While we were visiting Granbury, we learned that the smallest state park is located in Acton, only a few miles outside of Granbury (that’s right–Granbury has a suburb!). We just had to visit the gravesite of Elizabeth Crockett.

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The Gravesite of Elizabeth Crockett, Davy’s Second Wife

In case you’re wondering, there’s also a geocache in the area.

Geocaching Mount Capulin

One of the problems with geocaching in this part of the world is the lack of phone signal. Right now I’m using my smartphone to geocache. I could have brought my GPS unit but that wasn’t the focus of this particular trip. The focus was my mom and I didn’t want to lose focus, even if I did spend a day on Capulin.

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Sign of a geocache?

There are four geocaches around Capulin. I thank most earnestly the lovely and dedicated geocachers who hid the caches in this remote part of the country.

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Pile o’ rocks

I’m usually afraid of legless creatures in these kind of geocaching areas. Thank heavens we found a cache and not a snake!

 

 

Historic Texas: Jesse James

Legend has it that Jesse James died and was buried in Granbury, Texas, at the advanced age of 103.

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Who’s in the grave?

In any case, there’s a cache here!

They don’t come much softer than me!

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Stolen off the web…