Friday, June 25, 2010

Grandma's Marathon - Caching Duluth and a Few State Parks

Kris: Last weekend we were up in Duluth to run the Irvin 5k on Friday night and then watch a handful of friends run the Grandma's Marathon the next morning.  Friday we walked through the expo and there was  a discount on registrations for the Rock 'n' Roll races so we are now officially signed up to get married at the Las Vegas R 'n' R Marathon!!

The 5k went ok but the weather was hot and very windy.   So we both missed our goal times but I managed a new PR and Mark won his age group (yay! my wonderful speedy man! :)  It was a ton of fun cheering on our friends along the marathon course.  Mark: After the 5K we drove about 14 miles to Fon Du Lac to attend a Geocaching get together, it was a nice chance to meet up north geocachers but at the same time we saw a few familiar faces. After the gettogether we found a very challanging cache, had to follow a trail deep into the woods and then navigate to the bottom of a rack wall/cliff.

Kris: Mark did one of his infamous "in action" photos when he went out on the course to run a few steps and snap a picture with his buddy Steve.

After the marathon was over and the marathoners were showering and napping, we took off to cache out to the Minnesota Point and back.   It's such a beautiful little hike.  We were snapping nature photos along the way.


There was also an abandon building and remains of a lighthouse that we stopped to take photos of.  

Mark: Technically we are not supposed to be able to get to the lighthouse, there is a chain link fence surrounding the ruins but someone at some point tore down a big hole in the fence and it looks like people have been in and around the light house for years. Take a look at the names that have been scratched in the bricks.

Truth be told, I have been wanting to get back to see this lighthouse (remians) for several years. Last time I was here was not as good as an experience. ;)

Kris: There was a cache at this location called "Ah, sweet relief".  Yes folks, that's an old outhouse :-P

We picked up a virtual and an earthcache that I didn't have before leaving town and also snapped a photo of our friend Steve by the Grandma's Marathon logo stamped on the ground by the finish.

Congrats again Steve on becoming a Marathoner! :)

On the way home we picked up our Passport Club, Hiking Club and Safari Challenge caches at 3 more state parks.

The first park we stopped at was Jay Cooke and this is probably one of my two current favorite parks!  Granted we were there hiking and TIRED after about 3 hours but the paths were great, the scenery was beautiful and they had this great swing bridge.  There was the park multi, a traditional and an earthcache that we picked up. Mark: I loved this park! Everyone should take the time to stop on there way to or from Duluth and spend some time at Jay Cooke.

Kris: Second park was Moose Lake.  This was a simple park but well taken care of.  Unfortunately I think we picked up a tick or two here (hate them!!  freak out over them actually.....).    Took a couple pretty pictures and unfortunately missed the Virtual Cache since the office was closed but we got the multi. Mark: I think we have started a new tradition of taking a picture with every state park sign. We have gotten really good at balancing the camera on the car to take these pictures.

Kris: Last park was Banning and we did NOT like this park at all. It's the first one we've been too that we were very disappointed by.   We got stage one of the multi and couldn't figure out how to get to stage two without going through a largely muddy, tick-infested area.   After Mark pulled about 20 off himself and the same off of me, I was thoroughly unhappy and we decided that I would go for the Hiking Club word while he braved the trail to the second stage.   Both of us ended up going along muddy, wet trails that had tall grass growing on them.   And the second stage of the multi was in the absolute opposite direction of the high points of the park.   I just couldn't wait to get out of the park. Mark: I honestly think that this was a case of the park ranger really did not understand the point of the Safari caches (Family friendly) and really didn't care either. The final stage was .8 miles from the first stage and was at the intersection of two trails, laying on the ground with just some birch bark laying on top of the cache "hiding" it. Very disappointing and a gurentee that we will not be visiting Banning again.

Kris: Luckily as I was stomping my way back to the car, there was a deer on the trail that actually let me walk up to within about 10 feet of him (or her...not sure).   That was the high point of the trip through Banning.   I took a picture, thanked the deer for brightning my horrible experience in this park and got the hell out of there.

We stopped for dinner and I was having a horrible time NOT freaking out as Mark plucked another 5+ ticks off of me and another 4 that were in my hair and probably 10 off of himself. 

DON'T GO TO BANNING STATE PARK!!  I'm hoping the complaints in the log will get them to change their coordinates.  That is not family friendly nor does it highlight the parks better features at all!

On another topic, we finally found a few moments last night to plan our veggie garden...



So that's all I can think of for now.  Tonight we have a meeting with our Ragnar team and then tomorrow morning are competing with my boss, our friend Jeff in the Tri-Loppet.  Jeff is paddling, I'm running, Mark is biking.  And then on Sunday we are doing the Lake Waconia Tri as a relay too.   I am swimming, Mark's brother Michael is biking and Mark is running.  

Should be a fun-filled, tiring weekend :)

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