Thursday, August 9, 2012

Geocaching at Princess Falls! And some Mountview Falls.

I take no responsibility for how we signed the logbook - we don't actually call ourselves that. Just so you know.

I'm pretty excited right now - We were finally successful at geocaching! My friends and I have made a couple half-hearted attempts, but this was the first time we decided to really try with a gps - and it's pretty fun! It can be hard to tell whether you should give up or not, but it's a nice little thing to add onto a hike, especially if the waterfall you are seeing is less than spectacular (is that possible? I don't even know...)

We chose a geocache location near Upper Princess Falls, which is off of the Chedoke Radial Trail. There are a ton of waterfalls you can see off of this trail (Chedoke Falls, Cliffview Falls, Westcliffe Falls, Mountview Falls, Princess Falls, and Scenic Falls) so it can make for a great hike if you want to get a taste of what's in the area, and it's an easily bikeable path as well. It's also nice because it doesn't have to be an intense hike, since the rail trail is pretty straightforward, and many of the falls are close to the trail.

If you start at the parking lot of the Chedoke Golf Course and head right (looking at the escarpment), the first waterfalls you would come across would be Westcliffe and Cliffview Falls. Keep following the Chedoke Trail, and you will come across a large metal bridge and you will see another waterfall to your left! This is Mountview Falls, and even though it may not be the most scenic of waterfalls, it is actually pretty interesting!

We kept walking down the trail for probably around ten minutes, until we reached Upper Princess Falls. It is on the lefthand side of the trail, and you can also see Lower Princess Falls on the other side of the fence, down the escarpment. I don't think it's possible to get to the lower falls from the trail...we got to the other side of the fence and looked for a way to scale down, but no such luck. 

Upper Princess Falls

I love how happy we are with this extremely tiny waterfall...
This was near where our geocache was supposed to be, so we got out our gps and started searching! There is an app you can get that is specifically for geocaching, and you can search for any nearby, or search for particular coordinates - pretty nifty! I should add a spoiler alert - I will be including photos of where we found the geocache, so if you want to check it out, stop reading!

I won't bore you with the details of us walking in circles following the gps - although it was hilarious seeing our wandering trail marked on the app. Usually a geocache has a little code that you can decipher to give an extra hint to help you out, but I thought for sure we weren't going to find it. Not that geocaching is particularly difficult in principle, but sometimes it can be just as easy as not looking in a certain place even if you are standing right next to it. I did some awesome maneuvering to hang over the side of the "cliff" by the river and found a little container nestled in a little nook - success!

Needless to say, we were extremely excited at having found it!

Extreme joy

Signing the teeny logbook
One of the fun things about geocaching is that each one usually contains a little trinket or two, and you take something out of it and replace it with something around the same size. Sometimes it's random stuff from the dollar store, but I propose that if you go geocaching, you should put something in there that you yourself would be stoked to find! We took out a little bear toy and replaced it with something pretty cool that I will keep a secret. But it's awesome. If you want to try out this same one, here is the link to the coordinates!

After a granola bar to celebrate our victory we headed on down the trail to Scenic Falls. It is about ten minutes down on the righthand side, where you see a blue marker for the Iroquoia Heights Trail. It was a beautiful location, but there was not a lot of water, so I'm going to hold off on posting about it until I can do it justice!

There are a lot of geocache locations in Hamilton (or wherever you are!) and of course so many natural areas to explore - leave a few good treasures for me to find!

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