Friday, February 20, 2015

Lake Frances Lighthouse GC5MV6B


Okay, it’s not a very big lake, but I did it!  In -11° weather! How crazy is that?!?

I saw this publish late Sunday night. 

With the following as a cache description:
scrapcat, consider this our formal Thank You for placing You Might Be A Geocacher If… #6 (TheGrundalows) (GC575TH). It should have a little bit of everything you love (minus TaGeez, but feel to drag bring him along): a mystery cache in a nice park, in Detroit, centered around quintessential city landmarks - with a Grundalows touch.
Lake Frances - Source: Unknown

It was after dark and bitter cold – the park was already closed.  But it ate at me…. Because Ben knows how to push my buttons.  A puzzle.  In a nice park. Near a dear piece of Detroit Golden Age history. Just down the street from me. A possible FTF and a D/T grid filler. Ah, there’s the rub! Even before solving it, I knew the challenge that had been placed before me.  I could just imagine the Cheshire grin when he hid the cache.

Lake Frances Lighthouse

Monday wasn’t possible – TaGeez made me promise I wouldn’t attempt it without him.
Tuesday was out – my brother and his family were hosting their first event.
Wednesday was out, also – we would be on the other side of town for RayQix’s birthday event.
Thursday?  Impossible.  It’s supposed to be the coldest day of the year, breaking records.
Friday? It’s supposed to be colder.
Saturday is the events in Windsor and Southfield.

So I watched this and bided my time.  TaGeez had a good chuckle as he watched me searching for the history of the lighthouse, the lake.

Actually, I knew quite a bit about the Palmer cabin and the Palmer Park Merrill fountain. 

Merrill Fountain in Winter
I did my reading when I visited both in 2011 right after taking up geocaching.  I was trying to figure out the differences between a geocache, a waymark, waymarking, and benchmarks.  I am surprised how little there is about the Lake Frances Lighthouse.

A man-made lake dotted with small islands and anchored by a miniature red-and-white lighthouse that was once lit with an oil lamp.  During the home’s heyday, (the lighthouse) could be accessed via a small flight of stairs. It was created at Senator Palmer's behest and named for his mother-in-law.  Palmer once observed that Lake Frances was ‘a perfect breeding ground for goldfish,’ and children used to feed them with bread crumbs – and sometimes fish for them.  These days a blue heron, some turtles, and a couple families of ducks call the little lake home.

So today rolls around, bitter cold, and I’m home sick.  I suffered a severe allergy attack, and this was the first time I’ve ever called out of work for allergies.  Late this afternoon the pills finally took effect so TaGeez asked me if I wanted to grab my cache-a-day.  The stipulation was that it had to be somewhere close as Detroit broke a record for winter low temps.  No sense in endangering ourselves to reach my 3-year milestone, right?

So, before I knew it, we were at the parking coordinates.  Technically, this is one of my closest unfound caches.  We were here just to take a look – to scout it out for a warmer weekend day.  Just a look. I promise.  I couldn’t imagine crossing the ice-locked lake – frozen or not, I have a fear of water.  But the cold air felt good against my raw eyes, and the sun came out.  So close. Right there.  Still unfound.  But it was that darn lighthouse!  I wanted to see it a little closer. But walk on the lake?  TaGeez watched my face, waiting for the inevitable.  He was waiting for me to come to the decision he knew I would make. He knows when it comes to history and photography I can pretty much talk myself into anything (look at last year’s Power Island trip).

How about just a look? We don’t have to cross over.  With all the foliage dormant, I should be able to see the lighthouse clearly.  Come on!  We’ll just walk up the path and snap a few pictures.  We’ll come back later, right? 

TaGeez is a very, very patient man.

TaGeez on the steps leading into the lake

We trudged through knee-high snow, the cold not as bitter as expected, but each footstep exhausting.  Silently, without acknowledgement, TaGeez veered towards the steps and onto the ice.  I only hesitated once – not out of fear but because I had to feel out the steps buried beneath the snow.  He walked across and I followed, a huge grin on my face.  What an awesome view of that little lighthouse!  I’m not sure I actually set foot on the island – I was too focused on skirting the protruding branches to get a closer look and take some pictures.

Lake Frances Lighthouse

Palmer Cabin
And I snapped merrily away until my phone shut down due to extreme temperatures and TaGeez was standing next to me, telling me he signed a clean log.  With a promise that we would come back this weekend when my camera could function in this weather, we returned home after this awesome adventure!

I did it!

Shared {FTF} with TaGeez – Favorite point for location and experience!  Thank you to TheGrundalows for such a fabulous all-around experience!  


  1. See Elisa? You are the combination of the Energizer Bunny and a US Mail Carrier. Neither sleet, nor snow, nor subzero temperatures, nor sickness keep you from your daily cache.

    I admit I was a bit shocked that neither of you were wearing hats when it was so darned cold out! (Thick heads?) :-)

    1. That's a good point. I'm not sure where our hats were 😜


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