We had a couple of firsts today. This was our first geocache outing of the season for my daughter and myself. Yes, I know you die-hard “cachers” are saying, “What season is he talking about? Geocaching doesn’t end. It’s a year-round activity.” Well there is a season for me.
Another first was that my wife joined us for the first time. And she was the one that found the first cache of the day. We all had a great time.
North-east of Oshawa there is a small part (almost 400 hectares / 988 acres) of the Oak Ridges Moraine called the Long Sault Conservation Area. The rolling trails we hiked were a mixture of ice, snow, mud and dry earth. On the way to the ticket dispenser to buy a parking ticket for the day, an older woman, whom I believe was a hike leader for a group getting ready for a hike, warned us that since we didn’t have “icers” it was best to stick to the north-east trails, as the north-west trails were icy. So north-east it was. The sun was spotty and there was a bite in the air, which made it a great day for hiking; a great day for geocaching.
We ended up hiking two of the five trails which total 18 km: The Cottontail Rabbit Trail, a 2.9 km beginner trail, and the White-tailed Deer trail, a 3.7 km intermediate trail. Part of the Oak Ridges Trail joins these two trails together.
Along the White-tailed Deer Trail as it bends and turns; goes up and down a few small hills, we came around a thick section of trees into a small open area, where there was a flock of Black Capped Chickadees thrashing among the brushes and trees. They didn’t seem to mind our being there as they foraged for food, so we paused and watched for a couple of minutes. The GPS eventually beeped, indicating that we were close to our first cache, which was aptly named, “Spruce Meadow”. At the top of a small clearing, with a bench at one end, surrounded by Spruce trees, my daughter and I circled and searched. It was my wife that finally spotted the cache out of the shadows from a distance. The cache contained the usual geo-swag, and it also contained a trackable geocoin. A trackable geocoin is a coin which has a unique ID number, allowing it to be tracked on geocaching.com. This particular one has clocked over 20,000 km (12,427 mi) since May 2010, mostly traveling around the west coast, mid west and D.C. areas of the U.S; Southern Ontario, Canada; and what seems to have been a vacation down to Play Del Carmen, Mexico this past February.
We took a short break on the bench and had a snack before we headed off to the next find. Once back on the Cottontail Rabbit Trail we headed north to find our next cache of the day. This one had all kinds of treasures inside a large ammo case. After deciding which geo-swag to trade, we called it quits, having set out for our adventure fairly late in the day. Returning along the Cottontail Rabbit Trail we noticed a tree that we had passed earlier, on which were hung, various Christmas decorations. Travelling in the opposite direction now allowed the light to reflect back off of them, allowing us to see them. Even though winter is over, it was still a very scene to see. Thank you, to whomever hung the decorations.
On our way to the parking lot, in a large clearing, my wife saw a raptor circling above. As it disappeared over the tree tops, another came towards us. It was then joined by the first one and they circled a few times before flying away. The brochure for Long Sault Conservation Area lists the Northern Goshawk as one of the many birds that are seen on their property. I wonder if that’s what it was.
Besides hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and snowshoeing, did you know Long Sault Conservation Area offers dog sledding as one of their activities?