Sunday, 10 May 2009

Highland Park & The KidScience Caches

Sounds like the name of a cheesy seventies artist :)

Anyway... today's adventure was into Highland Park. Having spent this morning trying to choose a green space to explore and then plotting the boundary of the PAT bus zone on Google maps, I grabbed some lunch in my suite before catching the 500 bus to Highland Park. Before I left I checked the park out for geocaches in the hope that this would be a good start for exploring the park.

(for Hobnob who likes Elephants and MG who likes giraffes -
just a tiny part of a big, long, animal excitement near the zoo entrance)

Arriving at the park I missed my stop because I hadn't pulled the string hard enough (so it didn't make enough of a noise) and so ended up getting off at the zoo, not a disaster - it was only a few minutes walk and at least I now know where the zoo is :) Wandered into the park from a corner not terribly far from the first of the KidScience caches I was hoping to find. Found the cache pretty easily in a really nice hiding place - I do like it when the finds themselves are straight forward, the less scrabbling in the dirt the better :)

Grabbed the cache and went to sit in a nearby tunnel to complete the log. Nothing too exciting in the cache (well, there was a travel bug but I thought I'd leave it for someone else), so left the contents as they were and replaced it in the hiding place. Saw some pretty yellow flowers so took a picture before wandering on in the direction of the next cache.

The second of the KidScience caches took me past a bunch of students having a BBQ and playing some sort of ball game. It looked like English football but it may well not have been. Then around past a memorial to Alexander Negley - presumably the same Negley from which the street on which I am currently residing takes its name - and his wife. The monument apparently marks the centre of a burial ground on Negley's former homestead.

Made it to cache two which was another obvious hide (but only if you were looking) and then to find cache three. Took a picture of the third KidScience cache because I'd never seen an ammo can before. Picked up a fair amount of litter at the place I took the photo (just above the cache site) - it had clearly been the location of someone's birthday party.

And then, on to find cache four. I never did find this one, found a few likely locations but either someone had it or I was looking in the wrong places. It was found yesterday though so should be worth another go in the future. Still, on the way to this cache I passed by what I assume to be the main entrance to the park with a nice gardeny-type section and a fountain. I seem to be quite into flowers this year having never really paid too much attention to them before. I quite liked these cool blue ones but I've no idea what they are - answers on a postcard and all that:

Also took some pictures of some fungi and the fountain:

Having given up on the last of the KidScience caches, I wandered on towards (or at least I thought so) one final cache in the Highland Park area. From here, I enjoyed a fantastic set of 'nature trail' moments spotting first a squirrel and then a rabbit and then, most excitingly a deer! (Oh, and then some ducks).

(the rabbit - no picture of the squirrel, sorry)

(the deer!!!)

(and the ducks)

It turned out that the final cache 'Wear Yellow, Live Strong' was some distance below where I had initially wandered and there seemed to be no good way down. Cut through a load of trees, the floor was slippy and caked in autumn leaves making the whole thing a bit of an adventure in the mud. Managed to avoid landing on my bottom more than once, but only just. Finally found the coordinates and it turned out to be a nice easy find. Picked up a travel bug (which I'll photograph and post separately) and a scout patch (boys, not girls) and dropped in a magnet I got as a swap at Peak 2000!

(on the left - the way I chose to approach the cache,
on the right - the way it was probably intended to be done)

So, having dropped down some distance below the bits of the park with nice paths, I spend a few minutes getting my bearings and watching these two young ladies (I guess) hitting each other with sticks (and some men shooting crossbows) - not too sure what that was about but it was fun to watch all the same. Also took a photo of another of Pittsburgh's bridges, the Brilliant Branch RR Bridge (ooh look Hobnob, trains!), I'm not putting the photo up because it's lousy.

Eventually found my way back to the park entrance (some weird statue things with naked breasts) via the reservoir (lots of blue water). Caught the bus half-way back home after some confusion trying to find a bus stop (I watched the bus I wanted drive past me having spent the preceding five minutes trying to find a stop). Not quite sure why I got off the bus where I did, but it seemed like it might be a good idea. Turns out that bus went quite a lot nearer my suite than I originally thought :)
Wow, what a picture-tastic post. Maybe every Sunday should be a green space day.

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