Make your own free website on Tripod.com
My Blog
Wednesday, 2 May 2007
Kearney Hike & Bike
Mood:  accident prone

     
Link to Photo Album Kearney Hike & Bike

Took another trip to do some geocaching in Kearney on May 1st.  Traced along Kearney's Hike & Bike trail with Google Earth, and fed that into geocaching to list all the caches near the trail.  Came up with 30, but only managed to find 20, for various reasons!  Still, that's the most I've found in one day.

Supposed to be ~8 miles from the Archway to Cottonmill park, and I thought I might walk the round trip.  But with all my hunting, I had 13 miles by the time I got to Cottonmill, and it was about 3 p.m., so I wimped out and took a taxi partway back.  By the end of the day, I had walked 16 miles, the most I've ever walked, as far as I know!

Saw lots of neat things today, this trail is really fun.  High point of the day might have been the family of geese I saw near the Archway.

The low point of the day was about only 10 minutes later.  My GPS died on me within 500 feet of my last find of the day!  Arrgh!  I searched fruitlessly for a while, and got poked several times by some thorns.  Been poked before, but this hurt a lot worse.  Ten minutes later, I had big bumps on my forearms and wrists, and a lot of pain.  I figured it was poison ivy, but now, the next day, I have just a little tingle where I was poked, and it's getting better as time goes on.  WHEW!!

Does anyone know of thorns that create this kind of reaction??


Posted by marshallmd at 12:37 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 May 2007 12:49 PM CDT
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Spelling, Schmelling
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Fort Kearney trip 2007

My schoolteacher of a sister had to point out that it's "Fort Kearny," not "Fort Kearney."

Can't believe none of you noticed that!!  Shame on you!!  J


Posted by marshallmd at 12:15 AM CDT
Sunday, 18 March 2007
I'm baa-ack....
Mood:  happy
Topic: Fort Kearney trip 2007

Wow, it's been a while, eh?

 Just had to get down my thoughts about the great time I had near Kearney Saturday the 17th.

 Was plannning on coming this way this year, the place is loaded with geocaches, just wasn't planning so soon.  Then the World-Herald had an article about crane-watching, I didn't know you could see them from Fort Kearney!  It said there was a bridge out here over the river, and it was a popular spot for watching the birds, and to get here before sunrise.

 I e-mailed Mel first, I knew he had property here, wanted to know if I could find the bridge in the dark!  I also knew he might not be at home, as they were going to spend time with Mom & Dad in Arizona.  Mel got home Friday and replied right away, but I didn't check my mail after Friday morning.

 I found the bridge with just a little trespassing, and had a blast watching the birds.  Got a picture or two, but they were too far for my little camera, there are much better pictures of cranes out there.  Did get a nice picture of the sunrise, though.....

Get back to the car, grab my backpack, but figure I won't need my food or water, since I wasn't going to be gone long.  (See where this is going?)

 The first cache is on the far side of the bridge, and a little path led behind a tree.  As I come around, I see a guy get out of his truck on the far side of the fence.  It's obvious the guy knows where I'm going, the cache was only 20 feet from his fence.  He seems interested in me, so I say "Hi, I'm Mike Marshall from Cozad."  He says "Hi, I'm Mel Wiens!"..................

D'oh!!

It sounds like such a lame excuse to say "The sun was in my eyes," but it's true!!  The sun was right behind him, he had his hat and sunglasses on.......

So, anyhow, we had a nice chat, he says he'll have a cabin in this area someday, which he will rent out.  We watched as a guy walked right through the gate to Mel's property like he owned the place!  I told Mel he'll probably have to put up a sign....  I posted on geocaching.com that the gate here leads to private property, who knows if it will help?

Mel did know where the cache was, he's been watching a lot of people grab this one, so close to his property.  We then said Good-bye, Mel had a lot of branches to clean up from the horrible ice storms we had this winter.

This Hike & Bike trail they have here is neat!!  It leads all the way from the Fort Kearney SRA to I-80, and will soon link up with the trail that goes through town, so you could walk all the way to Cottonmill lake, if you wanted to!  I wondered how it would get over I-80, I never realized there's a way under it here!  I even climbed up onto the median of the Interstate and took a picture or two!

So, I hit another cache, and then another.....I figure I will reach a point somewhere when I will want to head back to the car, and drive to the other caches.  But they're so close together, they just kind of led me along, and I was having so much fun, I didn't really care!  There's a nice mowed trail here, that follows I-80 to the east.  The caches are all south of me, along the river, and I'm having a blast!  Then I see a sign along I-80:

Minden:  1 Mile

Yikes!!  I didn't know I had gone that far!  Well, there was only a few more to go, so why stop now?  I actually hopped the fence at the end and walked south toward Minden for a mile or so, and then headed back to the park.  I'll put up a map of where I walked.  Grand total:  12.29 miles!  Of course, my food and water sat in the car this whole time, so I was very glad when I got back!  I was a bit sore, but grabbed three more caches (from the car!) and was even able to walk five miles around Cozad on Sunday, so I must not be too bad!

So, I hit eleven caches on my walk, and had 14 for the day.  This gives me 110 total, and I left a special coin with my name on it in cache #100 to commemorate the event, and can watch on the Internet as the coin gets moved around.  Yay!!

All I'd had to eat all day was a candy bar and some water, so now it was time to reward myself!  I had coupons for Quizno's, so I had a "Prime Rib on Garlic Bread" sandwich!  MMMMMMMM......Good reward!!

 So, I'll put up a few pictures, and let you go!  Thanks for reading!
       
Link to Photo Album Fort Kearney


Posted by marshallmd at 3:59 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007 12:43 AM CDT
Sunday, 30 July 2006
In conlcusion
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

On the right are several links to different things you read about in the blog.  You can check them out if you want to....

If you really like reading my writing, what's wrong with you?  You should click on "Geocaching" and sign up for a free account.  You can then read my logs for every geocache I've ever found, I'm now up to 60 of 'em!

I shot 219 pictures while in Estes Park, don't worry, you don't have to look at all of 'em!   Actually there's only 28 here, I don't have enough room for them all.  But if you see something you like, I might have some more shots.  (Sorry, not the elk!)

Each entry has a button you can click on to add your own comments to my stuff.  I'd love to see a discussion or two get started, and I'll try to come back often to see if anything's going on, and make changes if it seems necessary.

Of course, you can just e-mail me too, if there's something you need.

Thanks, I hope you see something you enjoy here!


Posted by marshallmd at 4:11 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 18 March 2007 10:57 PM CDT
Thursday: The GREAT day!!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

Thursday is when everything came together.  Thursday is the reason for this blog, the reason I don't want to ever forget this trip!!

The dayhiker's guide said this route would be the shortest way to see the best scenery, and once again, they were right on.  I saved this for the last, because I thought it would be the longest, but after the fiasco that was Tuesday, I knew I could handle this!!  Plus, I was much better prepared:  2 apples, 2 liters of water and some other food in my pack today.  Kind of heavy, but....

The day starts out like yesterday, but no waiting for the sun, I take off immediately on arrival.  Start out with the same route, and I saw the cutoff coming, but my GPS beeped me to make sure I didn't miss it.  God bless my GPS!!

Hiked up to my highest level yet, 10,711 feet!!  I'm up above the snow line now!  Wasn't a real easy climb, but better than Tuesday's steps, plus it was still early, still cool, and I'd had plenty of rest.  Once I hit the top at mile 3, it was easy-peasy downhill all the way to the end at mile 10.

And the scenery!!  YOWZA!  There were spots I just wanted to sit and stare all day long!  The first pretty spot was probably the best, I think someone should change the official name of this place to "God's Easel."  I'm on a little path cut into one side of the valley, and the other side is just amazing!  Slanted back just like an easel, and there is just beauty everywhere!  Snow in different places near the top is melting, forming little streams and waterfalls all over the place!!  I just sat and watched for ten minutes, it was better than TV!

I took a shot or two of the place, which brings me to the day's one bad spot:  My camera started acting up early in the hike, the batteries were going bad.  Hey, I'm prepared, right?  Pop in a spare set, and they don't work!!   ACK!@!!  So, I pop the originals back in and hope for the best, and decide I need to curtail the shooting for the day.  It didn't occur to me that it was still early, and the flash wouldn't be needed much later on.  I probably could have shot all I wanted and been okay.  In the end, that one set of batteries had shot 219 photos and movies!!  Not bad, eh?  Still, I wish I had a movie of "God's Easel."

After that view, I have a permanent smile plastered on my face as I continue on.  What's that??  I figured it was a badger as I tried to get a shot without using too much power.  Shucks, he's gone right over the edge and hid somewhere.  When I got back to Cozad I looked at numerous pics of wildlife, and now I think it was a "Hoary Marmot" that I saw, the pic on Wikipedia is darn close to my memory.

As if that wasn't enough wildlife, just a couple minutes later I see two elk!!  Yay!!  Seen only two all week, and those were both from the car, and far too brief. 

However, I would rather have seen these guys in a nice open meadow or field, not on the side of a cliff with very little wiggle room!  I say "Excuse me, may I squeeze by?" but they just keep going down the path.  I think they were far too big to follow the marmot off the side, and I don't want them pushing me off!  Between my fear of being knocked off and my need to conserve batteries, my two pictures are pretty crappy, but at least I have proof I saw 'em!!  Finally they reach a wider spot where they can climb up above the path and let me by.  "Thanks, guys!"

Not as much excitement the rest of the trip, and the further I go, the more people there are.  I am so glad I got up here early and beat the crowd!

Saw still more pretty lakes, and an amazing waterfall called "Fern Falls." I did get a movie and a pic of the falls.  Boy, all that rushing water was noisy!!

Now it's starting to get pretty hot, and I'm getting pretty tired!  Thank goodness I'm not climbing!  I spy a car through the trees and think "Yay, I'm finished!"  I walk a ways before I see I have another 0.7 miles to go to the bus stop.  Ugh.  Just like Tuesday, the little bit at the end is always the worst!!

A long bus ride back to the car, and I say good-bye to the park.  I do some geocaching in town, and notice a heavenly smell coming from a restaurant.  I mark it with my GPS, go back to the hotel, get cleaned up and into shorts and sandals, and follow the GPS back.  The restaurant is called "Hunter's Chop House," and it was great!!  I'll see if I can find a link.....
             
Link to Photo Album Thursday

QT video of Fern Falls

Posted by marshallmd at 2:17 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006 3:48 PM CDT
Wednesday: The pretty day
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

My dayhiker's guide helped me many times, too bad it didn't warn me about the back way down from Gem Lake!

There was a geocache I wanted to grab at Bierstadt Lake, but the book had a great idea:  Bear Lake is pretty high, so start any hikes in the area there, and you will not have to climb as much.  It was exactly right for Bierstadt Lake.

I'm in the park at 5 again, and this is my first drive to Bear Lake, after riding the bus Sunday.  I walk around to the west side of the lake to watch the sunrise.  BEAUTIFUL!!  I must have taken 20 pictures, it was so pretty.  I found an L-shaped rock, put my pack behind my back, and a towel behind my head.  It made a perfect reclining chair to watch the sun, it was very comfortable!  One other couple walked out the same time as me, but I was completely alone for the show.  This is a very busy place most of the time, but not right now!

The rising sun must have woken up a duck near me, as he quacked furiously for a minute or so, then was quiet from then on.  He swam right over to me, and foraged for food right below my feet for five minutes or so.  Very cute!

After sunrise, I made my way to Bierstadt.  I would start the same way tomorrow, and marked the cutoff with my GPS so I wouldn't miss it in the dark Thursday morning.

The climb up to the lake was pretty easy, much easier than yesterday!!  Bierstadt lake was pretty, of course, but how many pretty lakes can you see before they all start to run together??

Grabbed my geocache, the guy wanted me to doctor a certain sign, and make it funny.  I hammed it up a bit to earn my point!

Walked about 500 feet from the lake, and WOW!!  A sharp drop and several switchbacks down to the trailhead!  I am so glad the book told me to come from Bear Lake, or I would have had to hike up that hill!

Head back to town early, get a lot of geocaches done today.  One is at the top of prospect mountain, which overlooks Estes Park, but this one is different.  1, there is a tram ride that takes you to the top, a lot easier than hiking!  2, there is a deli and gift shop up there, so I have a sandwich at a window that looks down over the city, and buy some more souvenirs.
               
Link to Photo Album Wednesday


Posted by marshallmd at 12:12 AM CDT
Saturday, 29 July 2006
Tuesday: The LONG HARD walk!
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

After seeing the wonder that is Gem Lake, I start hiking down the back way.  I keep watching my GPS, but the map on the screen doesn't jive with my park map.  Screw-up #3!  I have the GPS screen zoomed in way too far, because I have seriously underestimated the hike ahead of me.

Just to make things worse, it rains pretty hard on me near the bottom of the back way.  I get out the poncho dad bought for me, and that makes it stop!  I'll never get it back in it's little package again, but I jam it back into a little pocket on my pack, and cross a pretty little stream at the bottom of the valley.

The miles go on, and on, and on.....I reach 6 miles and am really getting concerned.  1, my GPS says I'm still moving away from my car!  2, I am about out of water!  3, I have begun to climb again!

As you can see on the elevation graph, I actually climb higher than Gem Lake!  I seriously cannot fathom how anyone can say this is easier!!  Perhaps this is some game they play with stupid hikers like me??  I realize now that with my long legs, I could probably take the steps down easier than a lot of people, but it's WAY too late to turn back now!  What also makes me mad is there is no scenery here!  The steps had very pretty, scenic views, the back way has.....trees, trees, and more trees!  UGH....

By mile 9, I am seriously worried.  I am huffing a puffing a lot, exhaling lots of water, and haven't had a drink in miles.  I am pausing to catch my breath almost every 500 feet, but I don't sit down.  I just want to push on and have this over with!  This little four-mile hike is about to be the death of me!

Finally, a time for rejoicing!  I've reached the top, and begin to go down!   YYAAAAYYY!!!  I'm going to live!!  Of course, I still have a long way to go, and my mouth continues to get drier.....

The worst part:  That tiny, little climb at the end to reach my car!  My climbing muscles are completely gone, and I'm afraid I'm going to drop, just scant feet from my car!

THANK YOU whoever put the watering station at the trailhead!  I fill up my liter bottle TWICE and inhale the water!  What would I have done without it?  I don't think I could speak to order anything at a restaurant!
               
Link to Photo Album Tuesday


Posted by marshallmd at 10:51 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 11:21 PM CDT
Tuesday: Screw-up day!
Mood:  sad
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

Lots of screw-ups on Tuesday!  Not much of a sunrise, too many clouds, and the mountains obscured most of it anyways.  Plus, the meeting place for our birdwalk was very hard to find, it was actually on someone's ranch, that they let the park use.  Most of the walkers got lost, not just me.  The ranch was very beautiful, though, and then we saw a pair of coyotes.  Male and female, according to the ranger, I sure couldn't tell!  Too far for a picture, I'm sure I would have missed them altogether if not for the group.  Saw them pretty well through the binoculars, though.

Surprise, surprise, our ranger was born in Lexington!!!!  Long time ago he says.  He had fun remembering the old Cozad/Lexington rivalry, and the 18-county plate on my car.

Birds were pretty sparse again, we were hoping to see raptors on the Twin Owls.  No luck, though.

We met a group that was hiking around lumpy ridge, they asked the ranger about the steps up to gem lake.  He said the steps are very steep, about 1.5 feet each, and lots of 'em!  He said it's almost easier going up than coming down.  Of course, this is where I was going today!  The hikers said they usually go the long way around, and avoid the steps.  This would mean a lot to me later!  We finish our birdwalk, and I swap my 1/4 full water bottle for a full one, figuring that will be plenty for my little 4-mile walk up & down the steps.  Screw up #1!

We all say good-bye, and everybody leaves but me.  I begin to walk the steps up to gem lake.  After 60-70 of these steps, my thighs are starting to ache!  But, there are great views looking out over Estes Park, and an occasional break from the steps.

Then, I meet a guy that was born just outside of Eustis!!  This guy maintains toilets in the park, and is working on one by gem lake.  He has to carry lots of equipment, so how do you suppose he does it?  With LLAMAS!  I'd seen a few llamas before, but never working!  He claimed a horse could climb up the steps, but you'd need a helicopter to get him down.  I'm sure he would know better than I would!  He also says the back way down is easier.....

I climb on to gem lake, and it is incredible!!  I hope the photos do it justice, it is a most unusual place.

As I'm looking around, another couple come up and yes, they too say the back way down is much easier - longer, but easier.  Finally I am convinced.  I look at my map, but don't notice the little 2-mile hike I have done doesn't compare at all to the distance of the back way.  Screw up #2!


               
Link to Photo Album Tuesday

Posted by marshallmd at 10:18 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 10:50 PM CDT
Monday: First Sunrise
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

Monday is my first day getting up at 4:30, wasn't too hard, since I was so excited!

The town is almost dead at this hour!  If I made a wrong turn, it was easy to get back on track with no traffic at all!  This "early to rise" thing could work out well!

Today I had a ranger walk at Upper Beaver Meadows at 7:00.  I get there before 5:30, put my pack against a fence, and watch the sun come up.  It was beautiful!  A hummingbird came 5 feet from my face, as if to say "You're not a flower!"  Then everybody shows up for the Ranger Walk.  We're going birdwatching today!  We had 16 of us today, and they were all better than me!  With so many eyes, we didn't miss much, and the ranger taught us a lot of neat stuff.  Sadly, one bird kind of ruined things.  We could hear a red-tailed hawk calling all morning, and the ranger said this was probably scaring a lot of birds away.

After birdwatching, I walked around Sprague Lake and Moraine Park, and checked out the Moraine Park Museum, and bought some souvenirs.

Walking around Sprague Lake, and who do I meet but the Yocom family from Cozad!!!  The ladies were here anyway, didn't ask where the guys were, probably golfing?

Then I went back to town for some Geocaching, some near the Stanley Hotel, which was a neat place.

I'd seen an ad for a burger place called Penelope's, and it was very good!
     
Link to Photo Album Monday


Posted by marshallmd at 3:24 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006 12:06 AM CDT
Ranger Walk
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006
After getting the pic for the geocache, I went back to the Bear Lake Ranger station for a Ranger Walk.  The park schedules several walks and hikes per week where you can have a ranger go with you.  I think this is a great idea, but it was just me and two rangers!!  I think they use volunteers for most of this stuff, but they also have to be very knowledgeable.  It was an easy walk, about a mile and an hour.  Here is a pic of Bear Lake from Google Earth, and it shows where I walked for part of a couple of days.  The season is all wrong from when I walked, but it's still neat, isn't it??!!  By the way, that parking lot was usually FULL by 9:30 a.m.!  It was full today, too, so I had to ride a bus to Bear Lake and back to my car.  The rest of the week, it was about as empty at 5:00 a.m. as it is here!
Link to Photo Album Sunday

Posted by marshallmd at 2:55 PM CDT
Updated: Sunday, 30 July 2006 12:07 AM CDT
Sunday: The first day
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006
Sunday Morning, I'm already packed, and head out as quick as possible.  Hit a geocache at Julesberg, and another at Merino, these were a great opportunity to stretch my legs, then on up to Estes Park at about Noon.  Hotel won't be ready until 2, so I continue on into RMNP, and pick up another Geocache at Nymph Lake.  That cache needed a picture of me.
   
Link to Photo Album Sunday

Posted by marshallmd at 2:53 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 3:10 PM CDT
One last thing to do
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

I tried something really spacey for this trip.  Two weeks before I left, I started getting up at 5:30 in the morning, quite a switch from my normal 8:30!  I work nights, and so had to go to bed immediately after work.  This was no fun, but got me ready for the trip.  I had three days off while doing this, and was able to get a good six miles in before 7:30 in the morning, before it got hot out.

Once I got to Estes Park, I began getting up at 4:30 in the morning!  Some vacation, eh?  Actually that's the same time, thanks to the time change, and it turned out to be a great idea!  Traffic in Estes Park was almost always very heavy during the day, but not at 5 in the morning!  I was able to drive out to the park almost completely alone, got my hiking in before the day got too hot, beat the bad weather the park almost always has on Summer afternoons, and got some great sunrises in the park!

This turned out to be one of the best decisions I made!


Posted by marshallmd at 2:30 PM CDT
Also very important...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

We had discussed visiting RMNP a few years ago, and I immediately bought "Dayhiker's Guide," which you can see in the links.  It sat in my closet until this year, but I was glad to have it!!  This book helped me pick out which places I wanted to go, and how to get there.  Highly recommended!!


Posted by marshallmd at 2:17 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 2:28 PM CDT
The most important thing...
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

The first thing I wanted was a GPS receiver.  One that interested me was the Garmin Forerunner.  I decided on the 201.  This thing has been invaluable since I got it!  I used it to monitor my walks, and managed to get my speed up to 14 minutes per mile before I left.  While in Colorado, it recorded almost every step I took, including speed, altitude, and more.  VERY, VERY HANDY.

I had heard about Geocaching, and it looked fun, but I figured there wouldn't be much activity around Cozad (WRONG!) and that my little forerunner couldn't do Geocaching (wrong again!)

 So, now I'm a Geocacher!  I hit 15 caches in Estes Park, and would have missed several neat places without it.


Posted by marshallmd at 2:12 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 2:28 PM CDT
Preparing for the trip
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

I knew I wanted to try this back in February or March.  My boss is always talking about how neat Estes Park is, and I had been there, but not much time to explore.

I searched dozens of hotels over the Internet, and found the Peak to Peak lodge.  I was certainly satisfied with it, some seemed surprised I was staying there, and I know it used to have a reputation for being a dive, but I believe it has improved much since then.  Then one couple said they stayed here their first night, but moved!  I didn't ask why....


Posted by marshallmd at 1:36 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 2:27 PM CDT
Here goes nothing!
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: Colorado Trip 2006

Everyone stand back, I'm going to try to create a blog!!

 I had so much fun on my Colorado Trip, to borrow a phrase from Calvin & Hobbes, "The days were just packed."

 I don't have much idea what I'm doing here, please let me know if it will help if I do something differently!

 So, here we go....


Posted by marshallmd at 1:32 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 29 July 2006 2:27 PM CDT

Newer | Latest | Older

You are not logged in. Log in