Friday, December 19, 2014

A Snowy Day on the River

Snowy Day in the Coeur d'Alene Range
Munson Creek Trailhead, Sanders County, Montana

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

To hear Michael Bublé sing Let it snow, click here.

Wednesday turned out to be a beautiful day, bright, sunlit, not terribly cold.  The kind of day that should get you outside and active.  Especially since the forecast was for rain and/or snow for the next several days.  I debated whether to stay home and work on chores, or go out and enjoy the weather, but ended up staying home.  I know, the chores will always be there, but still...

Thursday brought snow flurries.  Nothing major, but the skies were not at all conducive to good photography and who knew what the day would bring in terms of temperature.  So of course, I loaded my camera and GPS in the car and headed out toward Thompson Falls with the intent of getting some new smiley faces on my own personal geocaching map.  (A smiley face indicates that you have found a cache.)

My first stop was about ten miles west just off Highway 200 at the trailhead for the Munson Creek trail.  There are two caches hidden here, and I had found one last May.  The second, appropriately named Munson Creek Too (sic), eluded me.  My eTrex Legend had me going in circles and no cache was to be found.  This time, with the 650t at hand, I ended up looking about 30 feet away from where I was last May, and this time there was the cache, almost in plain sight.  I sure do love this new tool.  Now it turns out that the cache owner has changed the co-ordinates, so I can't be sure just how much better the new tool is, since the old one had incorrect information.  But the important thing is that I was able to mark this cache as found.

Back in the parking lot I took a couple of pictures, including the one at the top of this post.  It wasn't a good day for photography, but I had to try.

Down the road a piece was another cache I had been unable to find.  Located at a pull off where there are lots of signs telling about Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, this cache proved elusive yet again.  Before when I tried, I was using the geocaching app on my iPhone, and my phone ran out of power before I was able to locate the cache.  This time, my 650t led me to the same general area as the iPhone, but no matter where I stood, the arrow pointed me into the center of a very large wild rose bush.  I could not see any cache standing outside the rose, and frankly, didn't care to tear myself to shreds on the thorns.  The last time someone found this cache was on my birthday, October 17th, and several people found it then.  My guess is that they were all together.  I'll try this one again sometime.

The Clark Fork River
Sanders County, Montana

Equally elusive was the cache on the river side of the road named "I Found This Cache Humerus."  The cache is hidden along a semi-circular pull out that manages to be dangerous to enter and exit.  None-the-less, I pulled in and almost immediately found two piles of deer bones, one of which, I suppose, could have been a leg bone.  No cache, though.  I did get a new view of the river from the site, and, again, while conditions were not ideal, I'm pleased enough with the photo to post it here.

I drove by my next unclaimed cache, Saleesh House, as the most logical place to park, I thought, was in the middle of the construction zone where the Montana Department of Transportation is building a new bridge across the Thompson River.  I see now on the map, that there is probably a better place to park and access the site, so I'll try it one day soon.

A group calling themselves the Clark Fork Valley Geocachers has hidden a series of caches all along highway 200 from the Idaho line to east of Thompson Falls.  They call these the MOSBY caches, an acronym for Montana's Own Scenic BywaY.  To date there are 54 of the MOSBY caches, and yesterday I found five--the five located east of town.  The cache owners have provided very specific hints for these caches, which make them quick park and grab finds.  I did have to notify the owners that the log for number 54 was so wet that it was almost impossible to sign my name, and when I got to number 50, I parked and found the magnetic container at the base of a stop sign in full view of two Sanders County Sheriff's Department vehicles.  I just know that one of these days I will be arrested by Homeland Security officers who will have absolutely no concept of geocaching and no sense of humor.  Fortunately, this time I seem to have escaped unnoticed.

I missed the cache hidden by the grocery store on the east side of Thompson Falls, but found another down the road hidden by the same cachers.  I had never driven down this road before, and thus was able to add to my knowledge of Thompson Falls.  Back on Highway 200, I began searching for another series, this one called Summer Fun, which was placed in an effort to teach young people how to use GPS units.  What a great way to indocrinate, er mentor, young people.  I was able to find caches 1, 5, 8 and 9, but had no luck with 2, 6 or 10, caches others have not been able to find either.  I didn't try for 3, 4, or 7, at least not this time, as 4 would have me crossing the grounds of the high school and I'd rather do that on a Saturday.  Maybe tomorrow.

David Thompson Memorial
Thompson Falls, Montana

Summer Fun 8 and 9 are near the monument to David Thompson, a location I thought would be perfect for a cache.  Indeed, someone else had that same thought and the cache located there is called Pioneer Geographer.  Unfortunately, I was not able to find this cache, and I heeded the owner's request not to dismantle the memorial in looking for it.  I talk a lot about Thompson so I'll just note that the plaque on the memorial reads:

"Koo-Koo-Sint"  The man who looked
at the stars
Built Salish House Near the Mouth
of Thompson River 1808
I missed the next four caches I sought, and my GPS was beginning to act up--probably due to a need to be fed some more electricity--so I called it a day, turned around and headed home.  I did get the cache hidden on the pedestrian bridge leading to the island in the middle of the Clark Fork near the Thompson Falls Dam.  I also got one more picture of swans on the river.  All in all it was a good day, with eleven caches added to my "Found" list, and more than a few that will still be waiting for me on another day.

Swans (yes they're there) on the River
Thompson Falls Dam
Thompson Falls, Montana

No comments: