Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday 2010 ADVENTURE

The day after Thanksgiving this year(two days ago), Dad, Peggy and I headed towards Sharon Springs, New York. We discovered this town about five years ago and I have returned about once a year to explore. Formerly a HUGE tourist town, it then declined to the point where it was called a ghost town (not sure why, since several hotels were operational during that time), and now it is gradually being revived.

The main goal of this days trip was to attempt to go inside THE COLUMBIA HOTEL, one of the old hotels which closed around 2005. I had taken pictures from the outside during previous and had heard that it was easy to get into now.

Indeed it was easy. We had to do some serious bushwhacking of some overgrown bushes along the side of the building to get to the back door, which was indeed wide open. We walked right in!

We were surprised that there has not been spray paint or trashed items. I think it probably looks much like it did on the day the hotel was closed. You can tell that people have been there (empty wint bottles, etc.). We quickly walked through the first and second floor, but did not go up to the third floor. The KINGSTON LOUNGE still has the piano. At the front desk, keys still remain in their appropriate boxes. After we came out the back door and went around to the front to take pictures of the outside of the building, we noticed NO TRESPASSING SIGNS on the front doors. YIKES!!

It was a cold day and we were shivering when we left the hotel, and Peggy suggested we find a place to eat lunch right away. We went to THE BLACK CAT. Peggy and I shared a Lebanese dish and a Reuben and Dad had Lebanese potato salad and a goat cheese sandwich. I was somewhat surprised that he was so adventurous regarding his order! While Dad and Peggy had desert(Dad thoroughly enjoyed the carrot cake and tried to talk me into making one when we got home). I went to the new mercantile in THE ROSEBORO, owned by the Beekman boys. It was a bit of a disappointment, being small and not offering a whole lot at this time.

We had heard that THE IMPERIAL BATHS could be accessed by an open door in the back, but it appears that door has been sealed up again. That was a disappointment. We drove by THE ADLER, noticing that the driveway/road going up to it is a real mess. A few years ago, we drove right up it to the front of the hotel, but that is not possible now.

The day would not have been complete without finding at least one geocache. We drove a few miles outside town into a backroad area with some farmland and found THE GRASS IS GREENER. Actually, Peggy found it and I did not even get close enough to get a good look since I was on the wrong side of a maze of small trees and bushes, and I had already managed to NOT get wet and muddy in the huge tractor ruts, and wanted to stay clean and dry. Here is a picture of Peggy at the geocache site.

We headed for home, going a different way, Route 20 to 80 to Cooperstown and then the back route through Hartwick to my house.
Dad and I were exhausted and immediately took a nap, but Peggy
went into Oneonta to take a walk and do some shopping. After all, it WAS Black Friday!

It turned out to be a great day, but I still have not seen all of Sharon Springs. I need to return in the spring and drive some of the back roads and see more of the current revitalization.

My pictures for this day can be found here:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MISSING IN ACTION: Doc Branta Adventure

Team-Ducky hid a series of geocaches at Gilbert Lake State Park for their halloween bash. I missed that get together, which is too bad, because it sounds like it turned out to be a whole lot of fun.I think the theme of the series is mythical animal/creatures that have been spotted, but never found.....or something like that.

Anyways, Luckless wanted to do the series so she suggested we go to Gilbert Lake on Friday, November 12th. It was a beautiful fall day and we met up at my house around ten a.m. in the morning and headed for the park.

Once arriving, we attempted to find a good place to start. This took a while, but we ended up on Gilbert Lake Road. We could not locate a trail, but we knew where to go, so we did some bushwhacking to find T-D C.C.U. - Chupacabra. When we got to the area, both Luckless and I headed to the same exact spot where our GPS's were pointing and indeed it was the spot. This is a picture of the geocache, which was hidden in a really neat spot.

Geocaching 11/12/10
Originally uploaded by JuneNY

We signed the log, got the clue (written on a piece of fur) and headed back to my car.

After that we decided to go look for T-D C.C.U. - Beast of Montauk. Luckless had previously found it, but she thought maybe she wrote the clue down wrong and wanted to check it again. This took us to another area of the park but this time we used the trail, which made it a lot easier. The geocache was hidden in an area with a LOT of cut down logs and it took me a while to find it. We retrieved the clue (Luckless had looked at it upside down) and headed on our way.

We decided to try for one more: T-D C.C.U. - Werewolf This one was near the large pavilion. Unfortunately, we did not find the trail ahead of time, so we had to bushwhack up hill about a third of a mile or a bit more. And unfortunately, a half hour or more of searching was not sufficient and we gave up, but we did find the trail during that half hour and were able to take it down to the road. While walking back to my car, I noticed that the lake was a beautiful shade of blue, and I took this picture:

We decided to call it a day and head for home. We took a different route back to Route 23.

ANYWAYS, when I got home, I logged my two finds and then checked the logs for the one we we were unable to find. A previous finder mentioned getting some help from another finder which made it possible for her to locate WEREWOLF. I emailed artfullybare and I was given some interesting information...........that Team-Ducky moved the geocache from its previous spot and I was also given a new clue, which will be very helpful when Luckless and I return to look for it.

THE NEXT DAY, SATURDAY the 13th, we met up at my house again around ten a.m. and headed to the park, with Luckless driving. We took the same route there as we took home the previous day: 23 to Potato Farm Road, and staying straight until we got there. Along the way we saw something very interesting.........kind of a replica of Stonehenge in a field. It was not at all close to the road and it did not appear to have a road leading to it, so we did not stop for pictures. BUT, I will go again some day and try to get closer so I can take pictures.

Once at the park, we returned the Gilbert Lake Road and went to look for T-D C.C.U. - Big Foot. We walked into the woods close to the spot where we started yesterday and kept walking until we found the trail. The trail took us right to the area where Big Foot was hidden. There are a couple of abandoned trailers and outbuildings there (which I saw as an opportunity for urban exploration), but we didn't check them out. Luckless did not want me to tell her the hint from the cache page, so I didn't, but when I saw a certain something that I was sure was in the hint, I asked again and she said OK. I told her and then we both started looking. It took Luckless a couple of minutes before she located it.
Here is a picture of BIG FOOT GEOCACHE. She pulled it out, we retrieved the CLUE, signed the log and we headed back, this time we took the trail all the way to the road. On the way to the next search, we stopped at a tiny fenced in cemetery. It is right on Gilbert Lake Road, close to some campsites. Here are pictures:
I love old graveyards!

Then it was time to look for T-D C.C.U. - Hodag. We drove to a parking area and located a trail and got to the area. Luckless found this one fairly easily. Here is a picture.

We decided to call it a day and headed for home. We will return another day soon and find the last two in the series.

UPDATE: November 22, 2010. It turned out to be a great day to be outdoors, so I called Luckless and suggested we go to Gilbert Lake to look for Doc Branta. We had noticed that some of the caches in the series were disabled due to hunting season,
but not this one. We found it without benefit of the clue that is in the werewolf geocache. It was a great cache, in a neat spot. Actually, we were in the exact spot last week. After that I found GONE FISHING, and then Luckless and I did a bit of what I shall refer to as "backroading"..........hoping to find a way to get close
to something that resembles Stonehenge that we had noticed last week. We found the neatest farm stand named "Foolish Farm" and I purchased some gourds. We saw a woman outside working in her yard at the farmhouse we thought the stonehenge replica might be associated with. We talked to the owner who told us that it is indeed a replica of Stonehenge, which her husband and friends made out of slate. She gave us permission to walk on her property to get closer to it....we will do that another time when I have my camera with me.