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Everything posted by NorthWes

  1. ArtMan - that CityLab article is terrific. Thanks for posting it here! Airway Beacon GR1900, located off the north side of I-15 just east of Moapa out northeast of Las Vegas, is adjacent to a concrete arrow. I visited the site back on 12/13/2007 and was stunned to find the concrete arrow intact at the site, as yet apparently undocumented by the area's well-known benchmark enthusiasts. There's now a geocache on-site aptly-named GC4RQH8 Beacon Hill Arrow which I may hunt on my next visit to Las Vegas. The concrete airway marker was in excellent condition seven years ago. The concrete center box in this photo is ten foot by ten foot, demonstrating how difficult it is to sense the large size of these markers from photographs without anything to scale them against. I posted photos of the arrow with my log on GR1900.
  2. Those were some stunning ridgetop photos, Yeah_meoW! Most visitors don't get too far off the beaches - we did some hiking around the interior on our last visit, and I'm looking forward to doing more on our next visit. Breathtaking (more ways than one!) Haven't been out much this summer (hottest/driest summer in memory here in Southcentral Alaska, and I've been working six days a week supporting road construction all over the state). We did get away for a weekend to camp down at USFS Trail River Campground, on Kenai Lake. I'd been itching to look for a couple of adjusted marks along the highway/railroad corridor near there. I found all three marks I was looking for, but to my disappointment one has to be logged as destroyed thanks to landscaping work related to resurfacing the Seward Highway. UW7677 MUSK (named after the then-nearby village of Muskwa - now a memory found only on maps and old census records) was found where it had been tossed aside atop a road cut through the mark's low hilltop site. The disk was in place atop the concrete plug. Nearby, RM2 was found in like condition. It's pretty sad to find marks like this, and it's happened to me 4 times now. I relate some of the mark's purpose and history on my 'destroyed' log. Just a few hundred yards down the highway I found TT0371 A12, a mark date-stamped 1923. Certainly one of the prettiest settings I've seen - giant moss-covered rock in a tree-shaded strip between the highway and the railroad. Quick and easy find too, as it's an adjusted mark. A few of this 1923 series have been recovered between Seward and Anchorage along the Alaska Railroad, but most lie quietly with ninety years' worth of forest litter covering them. Last find of the afternoon was TT0376 Q 76, a relatively mundane C&GS disk on a bridge wingwall - mundane, except for its history. This mark is set on the replacement bridge for one of the few road structures totally destroyed in that 9.2 magnitude 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. This area was hard-hit during the 3 1/2 minutes of ground motion, with long stretches of the Alaska Railroad sloughing off into Kenai Lake. So many of southcentral Alaska's benchmarks are date-stamped 1964, and it's intriguing to research the history behind the geological work that occurred in each area where you find them. Almost all the '64 marks are related in one way or another to that Good Friday earthquake!
  3. I agree - history is one of the reasons I like benchmark hunting. I've only found two station structures over the years - both here in Alaska. UW7731 QUARTZ - a 1964 mark placed during reconstruction work in the wake of the 1964 Alaska Good Friday Earthquake. Kenai Lake, covering over 13,000 acres, tipped about three feet downward at its western outlet into the Kenai River during the earthquake. This station (located along the highway on the north side of the lake) was part of an effort to tie in structure and geography across southcentral Alaska in the quake's aftermath, so any future damage could be better measured (some marks near Anchorage moved horizontally more than 3 feet in the '64 shaker!). Anyhow, I took a Saturday afternoon to drive down from Anchorage and search for this mark, which appeared undisturbed since its placement. I was excited to see the structure around the mark - something I'd only seen once before at UV4379 BRIDGE - another 1964 benchmark near Palmer AK. UV4379 BRIDGE (above) was placed in part to be a critical measurement point for the new highway construction across the Knik River and Palmer Hay Flats. The mark was in an area which had subsided during the 1964 quake enough that the 'hay flats' were inundated and turned into tidal wetlands. It sits atop a rock dome right alongside the Knik River with a commanding view of the entire valley where two glacial rivers spill into upper Cook Inlet. When I popped up on top of the dome (after struggling through cliffs and devils club) and saw the structure I was elated. Is it relatively common to find the old tower structures like this in the lower 48?
  4. Nice shots! I especially like the 'FENN' photo looking across the Eagle River estuary towards Mt Susitna (Sleeping Lady) on the horizon. Your close-up photo of the disk on your log shows off one of the nicest 'custom' city marks I've ever seen; R&M did a nice job with the rendition of Captain Cook's sailing vessel and the anchor. I see you went hiking on one of the only clear days we had this fall...
  5. Imagine my delight when I climbed to the top of Fort Scaur and looked down to see this at my feet: Here's a view looking north across the mark. The lovely Mrs NW is at left center, and our ship the Explorer of the Seas is on the horizon. We were hiking the Railroad Trail on Bermuda on October 17th. It was pretty neat to 'stumble across' this Bermuda mark here on top of the Fort.
  6. Stopped at 8pm Saturday night to eyeball the marker at the base of a witness post seen alongside the Knik River, near Palmer AK. When I stepped over the guardrail two eagles burst into flight from a perch below me on the river bank. They swung out in a big orbit over the river, then turned and swept past low above the water. One pulled up and did a complicated aerial in the 20mph breeze which brought him to a perch just a few feet beyond where they'd started from. The witness post was for a cadastral marker, but the wildlife encounter made the stop well worth my time! Landing Eyeballing me Taking another look Moving into flight so fast the little pocket camera couldn't keep up...
  7. When fellow geocachers ask me why I'm a nut about benchmarks, I open this thread and take them on a scenic journey across America. Benchmarks interspersed with scenery (and lichen!) from coast to coast, north to south; how could one NOT like benchmarking? I'm delighted (humbly) that Harry Dolphin & kayakbird liked the camera angle at Ft Sumter's flagpole - thanks for your kind remarks. EdrickV and UMainah's recent posts make me want to return to the East Coast for more explorations... keep the pictures coming, folks!
  8. Professional surveyors aren't going to find miniphotos useful at all. However, my own angst comes over the scenic location photos that have become a signature item for many many benchmark recovery enthusiasts. There are arguably more scenic photos on the benchmark side of the site than on the caching side of the site, and those photos help shape my desire to visit a particular area and hunt both caches and benchmarks. Moun10bike appears to be seeking a solution - in fairness I'm reserving any other comments until he's had a chance to sort out an answer. I'm sure he's as interested as anyone, as he too likes to post scenic location photos with his benchmark recovery logs.
  9. I was asked to do what GeocacheAlaska! Inc. (our state geocaching organization) calls an EduVent about Benchmarks. Here's the link to the handout I used, in PDF form. The actual powerpoint presentation is not currently available on the GeocacheAlaska website, but that will be reloaded soon. You're welcome to use anything from the presentation. Hope this is helpful. GeocacheAlaska Benchmark EduVent Presentation My challenge was two-fold: 1) convey the sense of excitement I enjoy in benchmark hunting, and 2) convey the need for accuracy in logging finds. With only 45 minutes to do this presentation, those two points were enough to try and cover. I had an additional powerpoint presentation which featured nothing but "eye candy" shots of terrifically beautiful or significant locations I'd visited while benchmarking, and that ran on the screen while I answered questions from attendees. It's just scratching the surface to put this information across in 30 minutes of speaking and then taking questions for another 15 minutes, but I tried... GeocacheAlaska! Inc. presents EduVents monthly on a wide variety of topics during the off-summer season. The evening meetings are hosted at a central location, and sent real-time using WebEx to 'remote' locations. EduVents reach across a state one-fifth the size of the lower 48, responding to member requests for 'how-to' information with interactive live-action presentations. Existing EduVent presentations can be seen on the education page at the geocachealaska.org website.
  10. Guano Rock Blvd... I am rolling on the floor laughing over that one! Only thing better would have been Guano Creek Parkway... Good pictures of the lair of the rivals... well done!
  11. Well done in remembering your friend - you'll always anticipate Murphy leaping up to go, or racing back to you from a squirrel chase down some trail on the Tillamook. It's obvious Murphy lived the best possible life a dog could have - as a treasured and close companion who shared the best of each day. He journeys on with you in your heart, and on your avatar... truly well done.
  12. When folks have taken the time to send me a message, I reply. It's good etiquette, and it builds up the educational concept involved in EarthCaching. Courtesy is never out of style...
  13. Spent some time exploring along Chugach National Forest's Portage Pass Trail, and managed to traverse the rough high ground atop the pass to reach UW7413, a 1914 triangulation station named "BULWARK". It was an invigorating hike on a unusually clear and dry summer evening. These pictures were taken at about 8pm. Looking NE over the mark towards Passage Canal & western Prince William Sound. The seaport of Whittier lies out of sight just to the right along the Canal. Looking SSW over the mark (lower right) to the namesake 'Bulwark' on the end of the ridge, with Portage Glacier and Portage Lake peeking out from behind. Seven glaciers are visible from this location. Shakespeare Glacier lies to the south about 3/4 miles beyond the mark. The sound of running water is constant here on a summer day. This site averages 197" of rain and 241" of snow annually, with the pass only snow-free from mid-June to mid-October.
  14. "Bollard" - pipe set on end (usually in concrete) to protect gas meter, building corners, fire hydrants etc. One of those parking lot obstacles often found covered by a bright yellow plastic cover, to help you see it better just before you back into it. They range in diameter from 4-6" commonly, and are occasionally seen in massive sizes up to 12" in diameter. Body shops love 'em!
  15. Several photos from a gorgeous April 9th journey across southcentral Alaska with CallawayMT... View east across tidewater from UW7512 INGRAM to the headwaters of Turnagain Arm, south of Anchorage Alaska. One of the massive original bearing trees at the Seward Meridian initial point, Seward AK. A close-up view of the commemorative marker set at the Seward Meridian initial point, Seward AK.
  16. When CallawayMT contacted me with an inquiry about looking for the Seward Meridian, my first reaction was 'no way will the snow let us get up on that hillside'. We ended up with a one in a million day for our hunt - warm sunshine, lowest snowpack in twenty years, no wind - all of which contributed to his success at walking out into the woods straight to a piece of Alaskan history. I was intrigued with the notion of finding the initial point for the Seward Meridian, from which all of southcentral Alaska's property surveys originate. I was even more interested in meeting the guy behind the 'CallawayMT' moniker! I wasn't disappointed on any score. It's always fun to show off Alaska to visitors, but Kurt's already been across more of our state than most Alaskans ever visit. Still, we were able to poke around a few spots most visitors never see, and I had more fun than I could possibly imagine. I echo Kurt's comments about how much delight we can find in actually meeting up with the folks we see and respect here in the forums. My thanks to Kurt for inviting me out to come along on a special quest, and for being so much fun along the way. Here's a few photos from our day's journey. My apologies in advance to Kurt for putting a face to his online persona! CallawayMT looks across Portage Lake from the berm alongside the parking area while we wait to drive through the several-mile-long Anton Anderson Tunnel enroute to western Prince William Sound's seaport town of Whittier. CallawayMT gets a closeup photo of UW7512 INGRAM. The view is east across tidewater to the head of Turnagain Arm, just south of Anchorage AK. Arriving on site, CallawayMT stands in the center of the area bounded by four huge bearing trees. One of the massive bearing trees, showing the 1911 blaze. Kind of surreal. This is one of the prettiest special marks I've ever seen... after CallawayMT excavated it from under several inches of snowmelt/groundwater ice. CallawayMT at Earthquake Park, with Anchorage's high-rises reflecting the 9pm sunset onto the waters of Knik Arm. We had a great day of conversation and sightseeing, and I was treated to this kind of smile all day long!
  17. One of my best 'disguises' for urban caching is my safety vest and hardhat. I work for a sign company - put on that gear and suddenly you become 'background' to most folks (except property owners where you might be strolling - they usually don't like unannounced 'construction worker' visits). I'm helped by my 'mature' looks (read: gray hair and smile-lined face...), as folks who know construction take one look at my age, clean vest & white hardhat & immediately make the next assumption - "engineer" - and pointedly ignore me as well. Great stuff. Add a magnetic yellow blinky light and it's good camouflage. However - don't think it makes you any safer alongside the road at all - any construction worker will tell you it only makes you a more visible target. Special note - do not think this disguise will get you out of trouble with police if you're stopped where you shouldn't be - play by the rules!
  18. TU0339 BLOW RM 1, set in 1931, exhibits the same 'donut' pattern you've described. The center remnant contains a portion of the arrow bar (pointing the wrong way, per recovery notes) The first geocacher to find the mark felt erosion had caused the disk to disappear. Shorelander's recovery comments from 2009 state the damage is more likely from vandalism than erosion. I have to agree, having seen many disks at shoreline settings where erosion hadn't damaged the disk to this extent at all. And - anyone who's seen Shorelander's exquisite photos from around the Hawaiian Islands of disks in this sort of setting show they hold up quite well in a saltwater environment. Here's an area view of TU0339 BLOW RM 1, looking SSE over the unique setting in a volcanic boulder:
  19. Of course, some of the elevation stations were more noteworthy than others... Few locations are as lovely as TU1008 Makapuu Point Light. There were several other marks we found nearby as well while up top. This point is in a rain shadow, with cactus all over the crest of the ridge. It was eerie to walk down the ramp in front of the hangars on Ford Island, where the concrete is still pockmarked from that never-forgotten event in December 1941... The Pearl Harbor Ford Island Control Tower was a witness to the attacks that day, and is now a part of the Pacific Aviation Museum (and due to be fully refurbished). This is adjacent to the Arizona / Oklahoma / Missouri Memorials, and all are a part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Truly a 'benchmark' with history... My father & I spent the better part of a morning here at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The Punchbowl, Honolulu's most-visited attraction, is a sobering place well-deserving of a lingering visit. TU1251 Honolulu Nat'l Cemetery Flagpole watches over this place of eternal rest. So many marks, so many beaches, so much sunshine - and so much history!
  20. CallawayMT inspired me to go back through my Hawaii week photos (I left Alaska to spend the first week of the year on Oahu...) Waikiki is flush with elevation stations and those lovely little bronze disks - here's a few... TU0305 Waikiki2 - my 1,000th 'found' log... TU0307 Blow - a tri-station apparently named after nearby Halona Blowhole Looking SW across TU0307 Blow (and Sandy Beach Park) towards Koko Head... TU0339 Blow RM1, on a volcanic rock at Sandy Beach Park
  21. Welcome to the Benchmark Forums! Sounds like you've accessed a reference mark (DY2781) for DY2749 VERDES 1963. I'd be interested in seeing your log of this mark, with your photographs. Many stations were set as part of the "Ring of Steel" Nike Missile System around Los Angeles atop the Palos Verde hills back in the late '50s and early '60s. This location had fire control radar systems nearby. Perched a mile and a half or so west of VERDES is the PALOS VERDES ARIES series of stations (see DY1020 and nearby marks) which appear to be set as horizontal control marks for the Nike Launch Site which once sat atop Point Vicente. The launch site is now the maintenance yard for the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and the administrative site is used as RPV City Hall - an excellent example of 'recycling' obsolete Cold War military installations into parklands. Los Angeles' Fort MacArthur Museum has an excellent webpage about the Nike sites around LA, with maps and links to learn more about this period of Cold War history. Kincaid Park, on the south side of the airport here in Anchorage Alaska, was once a Nike Missile Site too. Today it's a Nordic Ski Park by winter and a beautiful pristine example of what the land looked like pre-European contact by summer - a terrific 1,400 acre trail-laced park for geocaching!
  22. I echo Shirley's thanks... we enjoyed browsing the exotics and the usuals - a welcome change for this time of year to be looking at flowers. Wes
  23. Rats... here I was, hoping to see some lovely new flower photos - or great desert scenic shots... so I'll just go back and look at them all from the beginning again. Happy New Year to all!
  24. MALPAI looks warm & lovely... that's a fabulous scenic shot from the top of the mesa.
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