Waterfalls galore!

by Christine on October 2nd, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

Thatcher Park

Need smaller coat

waterfall

Behind ze waterfall

Dudes! There's two waterfalls!

Hold on tight! I'm going off the edge!

Man, I live in a GORGEOUS area of the world. Appreciative!

Didn’t eat enough yesterday, but I’m doing better. Off to scrounge food right now. This afternoon: party up on Lake George. Woot!

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Hiking Kaaterskill Falls

by Christine on August 29th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

1 hour drive south
1.5 hour hike
550 calories burned
260 foot waterfall drop, 2-story drop

Right at the street:

Going up the path….

What’s that we see through the trees?

Oh, that’s the falls!

Let’s climb higher!

One last look before we head out…

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Adventure hiking leads to calories burned and good fun!

by Christine on June 29th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Exercise

GeocachingI reached the top of the trail and looked around. A mile of steep terrain was in my wake, and I was 4,000 feet high, just above the tree line. My navigation system blinked over the bullseye indicating that I had arrived at the destination. I looked around, searching. Nothing stood out to me.  I picked up a stick and started poking at the ground, stirring up leaves and overturning rocks. Nothing.

To my right hand side was a stone ledge, about eight feet high. The craggy ledge smelled faintly of moss and mildew from yesterday’s rainstorm, and it was comforting to me. I noticed that the right hand side of the ledge jutted out in such a way as to resemble a crudely-cut stairway. I climbed up.

Geocaching ContainerI looked at my notes again. I was looking for an ammo container, camouflaged green, of substantial size.  The contents promised to be “sports-themed,” with a “take an object/leave an object” rule. Using my stick, I poked at the leaves and stones. Clunk!  Success! I squatted down and brushed the leaves away. Sure enough, there was the ammo container. Like a child on Christmas morning, I unhooked the clasp and eagerly opened the container.

What a treasure! Trading cards, dice, a small baseball, a soccer trophy, and other items cluttered the box. I picked through the items and found a glittery ice skating shoe in the form of a keychain. I pocketed the keychain and slipped an old leather golfing glove into the box. I pulled out the pad of paper and pencil. A lot of people had been here, I noted, flipping through the spiral-bound notebook.  “First to Find” (FTF) was some guy named “PluckyDucky” and was four years ago. Usually the FTF prize was something fairly substantial. I wondered what the prize was.

Geocaching made hiking and getting exercise fun. I discovered it about a year ago, when a friend took me out on a hike. He had pulled his portable navigation system (the one you use for driving in your car) out of his pocket and plugged in some coordinates that he had scrawled down on a piece of paper. That day the hike took us about a half mile to the edge of a river. The “micro-cache” was a teeny tiny little container hidden cleverly in the crook of a pine tree. If you weren’t looking for it, you never would have found it. There was no prize in that cache; it was too small. There was only an old rolled up piece of paper for signing your name.

Geocaching is totally free; it only requires that you sign in with a username and password. To get started, just go to www.geocaching.com and type in your zipcode and click “search.”  The website will bring up all the caches nearby. The first time I searched, I was shocked to discover that there were two caches on my street!

If you are just starting off, you want to search for caches that have a single green brick as its icon:  That indicates that it is a traditional, one-cache adventure. (The two yellow bricks indicate that the coordinates will lead you to another set of coordinates, and so-on. It can get lengthy. The question mark usually involves a riddle that you have to solve to find the next set of coordinates.)

Once you find a good “green brick” cache that sounds interesting, click on the name/description of the cache. You need to be logged in to see the coordinates, which are located at the top of the page.  Also at the top of the page you will find the difficulty level in finding the cache (how hard it’s hidden) and how hard the terrain is to get to the prize. If you scroll down you will see a description of the cache, perhaps a little history. There is usually an additional hint that you can click on that gives you a cheater of where to look, such as “in a big pine tree” or “Under a rock.”

When you find the cache, it’s nice to log back onto this page and leave a note at the very bottom of the page.  It’s fun to look at other peoples’ comments – sometimes they leave photos of their hunt!

Geocaching is great for kids. It’s free, it’s outdoors, it’s exercise, and it usually involves a prize f some kind. Who doesn’t like a prize?  Look for themed caches for even more fun. I’ve even found caches that are just for dogs and recommend leaving/picking up a treat for your dog.  These sometimes even have toys and special smells so the dog can help you find the cache!

Geocaching can be educational, too.  One day I looked up a cache that took me to a very remote trail that local Native Americans used  and where arrowheads are commonly found. Another cache took me to a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr., who had given a speech in my town (I had no idea)!  Caches are terrific tools for learning about local history.

The best part about geocaching? It burns calories! It’s basically hiking and exploring. The day I searched for the sports cache located on a medium-sized mountain, I burned over 1200 calories!  Not all geocaches are hard to find though. There are about 10 geocaches located in my mall parking lot.

A note about GeoBugs and Geocoins:

On the search page, you’ll find some curious looking icons, representing Geobugs and Geocoins. These are special objects that have a purpose. For instance, I found a Geobug once, in the form of a small gorilla statue with attached dog tag. I went to the website and discovered that this Geobug had come from Germany and whose goal was to make it to the top of the Empire State Building in NYC, then return to Germany.  I was able to take it from my cache to, a few weeks later, a cache a few miles closer to NYC.  It was on its way! I found another Geobug once in the form of a martini glass keychain. The goal of this “bug” was to go to parties and have its photo taken with groups of party-goers! The website had a bunch of photos of merry-makers with the keychain!  Look for Geobugs and help them along their journey!

Many thanks to Heather, from Heather’s Banded Journey, for reminding me about the fun and benefits of geocaching! Visit her blog today! http://heathersbandedjourney.blogspot.com/

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