Who are we? We are two wacky artists from either side of the country who have discovered that we are kindred spirits- in fact, elf sisters. We both like to be outdoors and exploring, so we've created the blog to share our adventures!
Note: Here be spoilers. Well, sometimes, but you may find photos or info about the location or description of a cache. You've been warned!

Geocaching in strange ruins

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | | 0 Comments »

After about three months, finally had the opportunity to go geocaching again. Hooray! And after snagging 14, I found that I'm not rusty. ;) Snagged a neat one this past weekend that I'll share a picture of later (it's on Josh's phone so I don't have the photos), so I'll share some of the fun ones from geocaching with my dad yesterday.

Mostly I want to share pictures from one of the more awesome locations. My favorite, hands down, was Italian Water Gardens Ruins. I have no idea if this was once part of someone's estate or if it was a sort of park, but I LOVE old ruins and architecture, so this was awesome! It was neat because it was so overgrown that unless you know it was there, you would just keep walking down the path right next to it. This is the view from near the top; you can sorta make out the round walks circling it:

Walking down to the level of the walls, you can see where I'm assuming there was once a large fountain in the center (the path/walking trail is only a few feet from this, at the level of the top of that archway).

Here's a view very much downhill; this location was very much on a hill. Looks like that was once the outer wall with stairs leading down. In PA there's lots of old stairs leading to nowhere and if only there was a way to know what these places once were!

Here are me and dad in front of the center arch:

Here's one of the carved pillar things on either side of the arch (this one was clear- the other was covered in ivy). Clearly a lot of work went into this place, so what was it?

There were pipes halfway up in the wall next to this... so was the entire ground floor once a pool of water? Or were there separate pools, like how that stone this is under the arch?

Here's a look at the archway thing from behind a fallen tree. Once this all would have been clear, I'm assuming.

And this huge pine tree on top of the wall- was this just a tiny tree when this place was used? Or did it grow since then?

I wonder if there's a way to find out what this place was originally built for? Curious Meri is curious.

Here's the creek as we were leaving the Water Gardens- very peaceful if not for the fact that a highway was directly above us!

We found a bunch more caches that day, so I'll just share some pictures quickly rather than ramble about the locations. The other pretty location was Pom Poms Cache- or, rather, it would have been pretty if we hadn't had a hurricane earlier this month, so the area was very sandy (from the creek overflowing) and there was driftwood all over the place. The benches looked creepy! Luckily there were workmen there cleaning up the fallen trees and such.

This picture is much prettier:

Although when I went to sit down on a bench to sign the cache log, I almost sat on a helicopter! This must have been put there recently because it had a flower sticking out of it- and the recent storms would have washed it away. I think this entire area had been under water.

And for some random pictures, we found a cache themed off the fear of cats- it had kitty stickers on it. Yay, kitties!

Another was inside a gazebo:

And one that stuck me in my natural environment: a tree. I'm really good at locating these parking lot ones. ;)

Most of the rest were simple caches, so I won't get into those here. This post is long enough! ;) Hopefully I'll be going caching again soon. I'd missed it!

Caching around Main Street in Exton - green elf and blue warrior face burgers, foxes and rock walls

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Sunday, June 26, 2011 | | 1 Comment »

Yesterday Josh and I decided to take advantage of the great weather and the fact that I needed to pick up some stuff at Michaels- we looked for a bunch of caches located in Exton. Art supplies acquired, we wandered around Main Street looking for the answers to the different parts of the Stroll Along Main Street cache. This was really enjoyable and a lot of fun! I really like puzzle/mystery caches. :) I didn't want to take pictures as we were walking, though, because that would have been really suspicious!

While putting together the numbers we needed for this one, we hit Main Street Cache, the only one I personally found that day. I've gotten pretty good at locating magnetic caches and spotted this one right away- after first crouching down and pretending to tie my shoes at the bus stop. ;)

Since we were right next to it, we hit Blown Circuit:

Josh spotted this one quickly (it probably helped that he was holding the GPS!) and snagged it as I poked around in all the wrong spots. Turns out I should have been trying to tie my shoes again. ;)

We took a break here to grab dinner at the convenient burger place that we'd walked past a few times; Josh and I were turning this adventure into a game of Gauntlet, so we kept saying things like "Green elf needs food badly!" and "Blue warrior has acid breath!" (he'd eaten the spicy burger, of course!), then Josh poked me in the arm and said "Green elf is It". This is why I love Josh- he's as dorky as I am. Love is quoting video games, right?

While eating (green elf did not shoot the food for once), we finished doing all the math we needed to locate the first cache. We didn't do that one right away since it would have involved backtracking, so we set off to find 1750 Zook House-Colonial Cache #2, located near a historical house next to the Exton mall. Josh says they do tours, so I'd like to see more than just peeking in the window.

And here I am outside it:

Here we struck out majorly. We poked around in the greenery where the cache is supposed to be for probably close to 45 minutes, but couldn't find it. I was getting so frustrated that I told Josh "There's too much green! We should just come back in the fall", shocking him greatly. I've never made that complaint before since green's my obsession and I love wooded areas. Someone in the logs on the site said that the hints are off, so maybe that was the problem?

Starting to run out of light, we drove over to complete "Stroll Along Main Street", which was on the same paved trail as Commerce Trail Rocks. I was really disappointed here. Apparently the cache has decoys around it, but Josh spotted the real cache so fast that I didn't even have time to poke around and find fake ones! ;)

Here I am reading the logbook paper:

And here's Josh in front of that rock wall:

And a picture of both of us since we hadn't gotten one of those yet:

We continued along the trail to the actual spot of the "Stroll Along" cache and spotted animals up ahead. At first I thought they were two cats, but as we got closer we saw that they were foxes. I love foxes! They scampered away before we could get close enough for a good picture, but you can sorta see one here:

Foxies gone, we finally reached the end of the trail and the cache. I didn't want to go in too far since there were sticker bushes and I wasn't wearing long pants (although I did pick up a hitchhiking tick at some point that day), so Josh spotted the cache while I pointed out that hollow logs are always suspicious. ;)

I adjusted this photo, but it was actually a lot darker than this by now:

We made a run for Fun at the Park, which was nearby, but couldn't beat the sunset. We have a good idea of where it is so we'll stop by in the daylight. There was an awful lot of people and kids still around at 9pm, though! But it is summer, so no wonder.

Oh, and today was the first geocaching day I was wearing my new KangaTek Sling. (I LOVE this thing! So much better than a purse for walking and caching!) This meant that my geopatch attached to it came along, too, so I was able to mark that it visited the caches. Maybe someday someone will spot me wearing it (it essentially turns me into a travel bug), but I'm just having fun logging it as visiting caches. :)

Even for some park and grabs, that's an awful lot of trees!

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Friday, June 24, 2011 | | 0 Comments »

My dad and I did a few easy (well, pretty easy) caches earlier this week. Most were park and grabs, but I did take a few pictures anyway. :)

First we looked for Who took my sign?, which definitely lived up to its name. ;) But it was in a LOT of weeds and bushes and I was wearing shorts, so my dad grabbed it and brought it back to the car so I could sign the log... only we couldn't because it was soaked, so we added a piece of paper. Luckily I carry one of my writing notebooks with me everywhere!

I have NO idea why this one was so wet, though, since it hung in the once-signpost upside down... Maybe someone had once opened it in a rainstorm or something? See- it's upside down from the hook:

Next we found HBTM, located just off a parking lot of a pizza place. My dad was paranoid and stayed in the car, trying to think of a way to look without being suspicious, but I realized no one was at the window of the pizza place. I darted over to where I thought it was and made a quick dash back to the car to sign it.

Aren't these things supposed to be filled in, though?

Signed the log and continued on our way:

Next up was Happy Feet, located near a dance studio. Dad found this one so quickly I was barely out of the car:

The next one I beat dad to- yay! This one was Olde Ridge Cache. While my dad got stuck in greenery he didn't have to, I found this one without getting poked by any trees. Mwahaha! He was looking under while I went in from above to snag it. Can't really tell, but there's a hole near those dead branches.

Then we headed to Twin Towers. This one apparently used to be a location with two random, strange stone towers, but alas, now only one remains. I kept calling it a "gnome house" because I had no idea what the heck it was:

And here you'll see that I made a mistake in clothing- I always wear shades of green and/or brown, which means I blend in well with trees. But not this day. No, this day I wore red. Smart, me.

(I'm also squinting at the sun like crazy. Should have just left the sunglasses on!)

And here's dad:

The next cache we hit was Gimme Shelter. Alas, my dad found this one while I stayed behind in a convenient gazebo, picking seeds and bushes out of my shoe. See all that knee-high stuff from the last cache? Yeah, that entire field worth of plant ended up in my shoes. ;)

And you know that D&D story about the Dread Gazebo? I couldn't help thinking of that, especially when I saw one of the names graffitied inside: Elan. Elan is the adorable but moronic character from Order of the Stick, so the dumb story about the gazebo reminded me of something he would say. Yeah, really random, but that's my geekiness in a nutshell. ;)

Sufficiently geeked out and now having gotten most of the plants out of my shoes, the next cache on the list was Baby Steps. Dad found this one, too- I was looking in the tree rather than by the side of the road where it was. Whoops! But hey, it was shady, and on a hot day, that was good.

We struck out on two caches, but did find the last one we looked for, Little Gunn. This one was located on a Vietnam memorial cannon- just off a parking lot of an old bank. Why a memorial would be next to a bank, I have no idea, but it was nice. :)

Fortunately it wasn't in the first place I looked (inside the cannon) because I'm an arachnophobe and that was WAY too many spider webs for me to stick my hand there. Luckily the next place I put my hand a) didn't contain any webs and b) did contain the cache.

The next day (I think?) Josh and I were out near Claddagh, a cache I couldn't find last week. This one I was ready for, though! I'd gotten hints in emails from two geocachers, and when we pulled up, the property owner was pulling out, so she gave me hints, too. We wandered over and I found it in about three seconds. Sheesh, turns out I was actually poking in the right spot last time, but my short attention span had caused me to wander away before I found it then. Took some poking around to get the cache in hand, but we did it. :)

Terrible picture, but here I am next to the farm's sign. I'm Irish, so I liked an Irish-themed cache:

And I had to document the log because I got a cache without my dad signing it, too. ;) It's hard to see, but my name is the green one on the end:

Caching near Hobbiton with an Irish faux fox (err.. something like that, anyway!)

Blog post by Meri Greenleaf
Saturday, June 18, 2011 | | 1 Comment »

Nice weather again this week meant a bunch of caching. Yay! Friday I went geocaching with my dad and Saturday was a quick trip out with my fiance- and my dad surprised me this week with an early birthday present. A paid premium account for geocaching.com. Yay, upgrade! :D

First up, my dad set out to find the first half of Hidden Trails, a cache near our house. While walking to the first half, I remarked to my dad that the overgrown back road reminded me of the road in Hobbiton where they first meet the ringwraiths and Pippin finds mushrooms. Yeah, I'm a dork. ;)

My GPS was WAY off and was telling me to go far beyond the hint given on the cache page, so the hint actually served me better than the GPS. Wasn't up to trekking to the next part of the cache because my asthma was bothering me too much to walk far, so I'll get the second half later.

Next we headed off for some easier ones- I say "easier" because the terrain was simpler, but we only found one. LOL! First was one outside a church we've driven past a gazillion times, Holy Sh??. Here's the church:

My dad found this cache so quickly I barely had time to get out of the car. lol!

Feeling lucky, we tried the next one, Sleeping at the Beech, a micro in an old cemetery. Here our luck failed. My dad had found this one a while ago, but couldn't remember exactly where it was. We both poked around the large tree for a while, climbing up on it to look around, but came out empty handed. I hope the storm this week didn't dislodge it!

But hey, at least the tree was neat!

Finally giving up, we headed to the next one, Claddagh. This one appealed to me because I'm Irish and know about Claddaghs (I just gave my claddagh ring to my sister last week, oddly enough!), but despite being Irish, my dad and I couldn't find this one either. I've since got some hints, so I'll use those to look next week- I'll get pictures then, too.

We then struck out again with garratt mill park. The coordinates we had were off but forgot to put the new ones in our GPSs. My dad had found this one months ago, too, but it was so overgrown this time of year that he had no idea where it was. So we'll look for this in the fall.

Next up we did actually have some luck! Dad had found these Campus NSQ caches earlier, too, but tagged along while I did them. And they involved my most hated nemesis- math! I finally got the coordinates calculated right, though, and found both of these caches and the bonus. Here I am avoiding the sudden burst of rain near the first part:

This was an office complex, but had once been a school and dormitory for girls in the last century, so there were lots of old buildings. Here's one of them:

Driving past, we saw a really neat thing- a fox decoy, I'm assuming to keep birds away. I love foxes, so I took a picture:

The third part of the cache involved a lot more bushwhacking- here's a view near the cache:

Here I dropped off the geogem travel bug I'd picked up last week and my dad also dropped off a travel bug, too (his was a pirate).

I really loved the cache log. Monkey in a hat!

Bonus cache found, we called it a day because I had to head over to my best friend's house for dinner and geeky gaming.

Saturday Josh and I didn't have great luck, either. First we set off to find Don't Take The Speaker!, a cache we'd already looked for twice. Turns out we were making it WAY harder than we had to, and I spotted it in about fifteen seconds. LOL!

Here I am squinting at the sun near the cache location- and I'm holding the cache, although you can't see that in the picture:

And here's the cache log:

Happy to finally find one we hadn't before, we set off to try to locate Ye Ol Watering Hole. Again. This one totally needs to be a 5 difficulty, not 4! ;) Josh was getting frustrated by the fact that the GPS app on his phone kept bouncing him all over the place, so we gave up again. Someday we'll find it!

We struck out once again with the third cache we looked for, NY Giants. This was in a park and after walking very very much uphill, we found the spot where the cache was... but gave up. I logged this as a "did not find", but it was more of a "did not want to go into the underbrush wearing shorts while being swarmed by bugs"; in other words, we chickened out and decided it would be better to look for in the fall- or at least when equipped with long pants and bug spray.

So lots of geocaching fun times! Hopefully my asthma will calm back down so I can do more hiking ones, but I'm just glad to knock one long-time "did not find" off my list!