Monday, March 30, 2009

Geocaching in Whitlock Preserve and, Wanna See a Deer Tick?

I debated and debated whether to post this here, or at my geocaching blog, but I decided on here because we were mostly just leisurely hiking and enjoying the day.  The geocache we found was fun, but almost a side note for the day.  Anway, here in upstate NY we finally had a nice day of warm weather and we decided to check out Whitlock Preserve in Stanford, NY.  It's one of those places that if you didn't know it was there, you wouldn't know it was there.  There is a geocache in there though, and that's how WE knew it was there. :-)

 
  
There was a small parking area and a kiosk with some very interesting info about how the preserve came to be, what wildlife one might come across, and a map.  There were two loop trails.  The geocache we had come to find was a "multi" - meaning, there would be at least two parts to find.  The first part of the multi would likely be a small container with just coordinates to the next "stage" inside.  
  
 
  While it is common in our area to see signs like this, indicating that you need to take your trash with you, they don't usually refer to it as "debris".  I guess they're not taking any chances - that should pretty much cover anything else you might leave!
   
The GPS pointed to the left, so we found the trail and started out.

 
  
It's pretty obvious spring has definitely not arrived yet, huh?  We found stage one of the multi-geocache along this first, short loop.  It was actually just laying on the ground - it either fell out of it's hiding spot, or somehow the last geocacher did not replace it properly in it's hiding spot.  We opened it and got the coordinates, then rehid it as best we could.  
  
 
  We saw some nice shelf fungus, if you like that sort of thing.
   
Seemed to be a very wet landscape. It was probably good we came here in early spring before the mosquitos and snakes really become active.

Not surprisingly, the second set of coordinates led us to the other loop trail, which we were glad to explore.  I knew from reading the kiosk we were going to pass through a few different ecosystems - swamp, forest and pastureland returning to forest.  Here is a shot of some leaves in the pond at the beginning of the other loop trail.


Hi Bloggy Friends!!

 
One of the very few things we saw growing was this weird, flower-ish sort of plant. Sort of reminded me of what that "feed me Seymour" plant from Little Shop of Horrors might have looked like as a baby.  DD said it smelled like onions.  We have no idea what it is.
Edited to add: Thanks to an Anonymous comment, I now know that it is the beginning of a Skunk Cabbage - all you'd ever want to know about it is here

The peepers were really loud in this swampy area, which was welcome evidence that spring really is coming.  As we walked on, the trail led us into a very forested area with tall trees.  We came upon an old stone wall.  Stone walls are really, really common around here.  It was how people marked off their property in the "olden days".  We even have remains of a stone wall on our property.

   
 
  This stone wall has more recent additions of fence posts and barbed wire.
  
Though we were on much drier land now, there were still some small streams and wet areas.  This is the first of a few small "bridges" we encountered.
  
      
 Some lucky animal had a nice cozy burrow this winter! 
  
In the next part I'll show you the geocache we found, the rest of the trail, a little unwanted stowaway and a very funny picture op...
   
To be continued....
     

16 comments:

  1. I finally looked up that geocache thingy. Sounds like a fun hobby :o)
    It's a photo blog post today at my place as well ;o)

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  2. Wow - it's been so long since I've been geocaching! Maybe I'll have to get back into that now that my health is getting back together :) Looks like you had a fun trip!

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  3. What a great way to spend the day. I have no idea what that plant is either. I've spent most of my life wandering in the woods and that's a new one to me. If someone identifies it please let us all know!

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  4. I came here via your Twitter mentioning Geocaching. My cousin and her husband do it and I wanted to see what it was all about! Thank you - now I understand :)

    Very interesting blog - love your pictures and your writing is excellent!

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  5. Ivanhoe & Rose Works Jewelry - Yeah, it is a LOT of fun - it brings us so many interesting places - I would encourage anyone to get out and go geocaching. Plus if you hate exercise like me, it's a great way to get out in the fresh air and burn off a few calories. :-P

    Cedar - yeah, I am really curious what that plant is, so I will definitely mention it if I find out,

    Heather - thank you for stopping by, and thanks very much for the compliment!

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  6. the unknown plant is the beginning of a skunk cabbage plant. they are found throughout New York state in swampy areas, which is what this area appeared to be.
    hope this helps.

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  7. Why thank you Anonymous! Yes, that is exactly it! http://www.bedfordaudubon.org/seasons/spring/skunk_cabbage01.html

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  8. Hello Carole, I am here quite by accident after hitting the "next blog" button at the top of my blog screen. It appears that your blog was snuggled up next to mine (Adventures of Mr. Slug and Friends) this morning! I simply must comment on the plant you found. We have those here in Oregon too, the skunk cabbage is also called a "Swamp Lantern" here because of the bright yellow color. The skunk cabbage where you are appears to be a mottled red and white. Ours are in full bloom right now, I saw quite a few of them this morning as I drove through a place called Beaver Creek just south of Newport Oregon. They seem to like the edges of the boggy wet areas. From all of us here at "Slug's Rest", we hope you have a fun and productive week ahead. Love from "Mrs. Slug".

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  9. Carole, I have lots of skunk cabbage on my property and more across the street. The New York State Canal Corp. owns the land across the street from me. It is a very wet area in the spring and after it rains. The land borders the Hudson River and the river is especially nice here in the Schuylerville area. I always like to see the new skunk cabbage plants because they are a sign of spring!
    Thanks for the link about the plant. Here is a link to the Nature Institute in Ghent, New York and a story about skunk cabbage. http://www.natureinstitute.org/pub/ic/ic4/skunkcabbage.htm

    I think this is somewhere in your area.

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  10. Thanks for the great information! I thought that's what it might be when I saw the picture. I was reading about letterboxing in a park nearby, and there's a location on one of the trails that's got a tremendous amount of skunk cabbage.
    I'm looking forward to the next installment!

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  11. It's really the ideal hobby - you get to see neat places and hike with a purpose. Those shelf fungies totally look like clams.

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  12. Dear Carole, Looking forward to the rest of the story. Very interesting. I've heard of Skunk Cabbage but I have never seen it before. Love, AM

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  13. Oh, Carole...you've got me longing for the day when the snow has all melted away and I can go out hiking again. :)
    Between the ash fall from Mt. Redoubt and the snow fall that we are currently experiencing...I really wish Spring would hurry up and arrive here!! :)

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  14. I haven't been this way in awhile (I haven't been much anywhere in awhile) and I am glad I stopped by. I think for Father's Day I will get my hubby a GPS and start geocatching he would love it and we need a hobby. Plus babble above is from my neck of the woods.

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  15. I love lots of pics! These are great. I like to see how early spring looks in different states, we still have about a TON of snow, but melting fairly quickly. Of course, the volcano is still erupting and ash fall is expected again.
    I cannot wait for us to do our next geocache. I have not visited your other blog yet, because I know how anxious I will get to get going again! We have our GPS, and we did one cache last summer.
    Great post!

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  16. this looks like a realy nice spot. lots of wildernes and interesting life. i love that kind of thin. much like it is here in australia
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I read each and every comment, and though I don't always get a chance to respond, I enjoy reading (and pondering) what you have to say. Thanks for your 2 cents! :-)

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