Thursday, October 30, 2014

OH/PA Adventure: Amazing Earth Caches

I will be the first to admit that I’ve been less than enthusiastic about Earth Caches.  In fact, after a few bad experiences, I’ve pretty much avoided them unless a souvenir is involved.  My friend Ben of theGrundalows is shocked by this – he and his wife adore them – but how many vernal ponds can I suffer through?  He says I just haven’t visited the right EarthCaches. And the verification questions….. so vague they go against my nature. 

However, things have changed a bit and the glacier ice has cracked. 

The first crack was the Geocaching Podcast episode 350: Earthcaching with Firennice.  Firennice did an excellent explanation around the nature of those verification questions.  The part that stuck with me most was the “mountain” example.  You can’t create an EarthCache about a mountain in general because what would the verification of completion question be?  Describe the mountain?  It’s big.  EC Reviewers work with the cache creators to select questions that prove you (and not Google Earth) were actually there.  I can see that.

And what else helped “break the Earth Cache ice”?  These awesome EarthCaches in Cleveland! On our adventure, we visited 3 of them and they were my topper caches for the trip!

President James A. Garfield Monument GC234RG

This was a Ratspazum recommendation.  They visited last year but too late to tour inside.  Located in Cleveland’s historic Lakeview Cemetery, this is the final resting place for President Garfield, his wife, daughter and son-in-law. 

The 180-feet tall mausoleum is made from the famous Berea Sandstone, quarried nearby.  The structure combines Romanesque, Gothic and Byzantine styles of architecture.

Upon climbing the grand steps and stepping into the foyer, you have the option of crossing the tiled floor into the domed room circled by stained glass windows representing the 13 colonies plus Ohio…..

….. or taking the really cool (and wonky) steps down to the crypt.

The Garfield casket, draped with an American flag, is the only Presidential casket on full display. 

For the brave, wind your way up 5 flights of stairs to the outdoor landing where, on good days while wobbling on loose tiles, you can view beautiful Lake Erie or grand downtown Cleveland.

Squires Castle GC1F6R3

A castle, you say?  Yes, a castle.  But, to coin a phrase from Ratspazum, “It was more ‘aw’ than ‘awe-inspiring’”.  Built by oil pioneer, Feargus B. Squire, in the 1890’s, the site was originally planned for an entire castle.  Instead, only the gatekeeper’s lodge was constructed and Squire used it as a lodge and weekend retreat.  Eventually the property was sold and acquired by the Cleveland Metroparks in 1925.

Again, this structure was built with the local Berea Sandstone. It’s a neat site and the cache write-up included a ghost story.  How could we resist?

The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek GC1956H

Fate played a hand here.  This stop was added at the last minute.  As time rushed by on Saturday, we rescheduled this for Sunday morning.  Instead of “just another EarthCache stop”, we arrived after sunrise Sunday morning to have this entire glorious park to ourselves! And we explored every inch of it!

TaGeez and Ratspazum

The Viaduct (as seen from above)

The Millrace
The Arch and the Viaduct
TaGeez and Scrapcat
Near historic Bedford and accessed via Viaduct Park, Tinker Creek, the Gorge and the Great Falls are the results of the Wisconsinian Glacier as it retreated thousands of years ago.  With its combination of soft shale and harder sandstone, the water flow over time has created a mini-Niagara Falls.

Great Falls at Tinkers Creek

Again, it’s the history and architecture that thrill me: The Viaduct and the Arch, the Millrace, the foundations of the former mills, and all the glorious historical markers. 

Ratspazum, TaGeez and scrapcat
SOURCE: Ratspazum


I do notice a common theme here (besides the Berea Sandstone)….. I love these EarthCaches because they are a combination of history, architecture and geology (in that order). Maybe that’s the key for my EarthCache happiness.


  1. Waterfalls,good, you're progressing into the realm of real earthcaches...

    We've seen a lot of cool sandstone:

  2. You should check out the Quechee Gorge Earth Cache in Quechee, Vermont. Very beautiful spot and easily accessible.

    1. Cool, Jim! We're going to New England in the Spring!

  3. Great blog post and interesting reading.
    Now onto the next adventure
    firennice :)


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