Monday, August 10, 2015

Crosswind Marshland Meanders: a mid-Michigan Adventure!

Often we are asked where is a good place to take the family caching.  I have a new favorite answer: Crosswinds Marshland, a part of the Wayne County Park System!
Crosswinds Marsh is one of the largest man-made wetlands in the country. It was built to replace the wetlands that were paved over to expand Wayne County's Detroit Metro Airport (the McNamara terminal). Wayne County, together with Sumpter Township, purchased over 900 acres of farmland that believe it or not, was once wetland that had been converted into farm fields by draining the a process that took over a year.   They flooded former farm fields, planted new wetland plants and transplanted endangered species from metro Airport.

There have been over 240 species of birds identified at the marsh. Additionally there are nesting bald eagles visible thru-out the year. Boardwalks were built to give the visitors an intimate view of life in the wetlands. The marsh offers year-round activities including trails for hiking (over 6 miles), horseback riding and cross-country skiing, and areas for picnicking and fishing.  [From the event cache page]
How did we happen here? After work Friday night I told TaGeez I needed a long walk - preferably a caching adventure.  We saw an event/potluck posted for the Crosswinds Marshland Meander  GC6XH86 and plans were made.  The event was part of the Crosswinds Marshland "Hobby Days" and hosted by Hooked On U, Stan&Ruth, and the Seed Spreaders.

What a hoot!  The moment we arrived Mrs. HOU said seven new caches had just pub'd in the park!  HOU had released them, hoping to draw more geocachers to the event.  Luckily, however, TaGeez and I were already there.  Grabbing KathieH63 and her grandson, Gavin, we headed out to try out luck!

Two fist-to-finds! Gavin, KathieH63, and TaGeez
At the first cache, a Multi, we saw DougPeterson and clan heading North so we decided to target the West caches.  Score!  First to find on a Multi and a Traditional!  Best part?  On the way to Eagles and Beavers and Caches OH MY! GC60HJR, we spotted an eagle flying overhead! He was leading the way!

Gavin and KathieH63
Time for the actual event.  Boy, this was well-thought out.  There was a raffle to claim FTFs on the 12 additional caches publishing in the park.  Although exciting to claim an FTF, there's a downside to winning one.  Normally you have to take off in the middle of the event, hoping to grab it before the rest of the pack is set loose.  This time, however, the FTF was guaranteed.  If you won, you could stay and enjoy the potluck. Then, at your leisure, you could claim your prize while caching the rest of the park.  TaGeez and I each won one!
June17, TaGeez, scrapcat and Freckles
After socializing over hot dogs, grapes, and chips, we plugged in the coordinates and headed out.  
TIP: When I realized there was no GPS loading at the event, I created 12 dummy caches in my Geosphere app.  When we received the very well done handout, all I had to do was edit the coordinates and off we went!  Later, when the caches published, I updated the GC code and uploaded my logs.  Piece of cake! 
This time when TaGeez and I took to the horse trails we were joined by June17 and afishoutofwater.


June 17 and TaGeez

TaGeez and afishoutawater and one LARGE duck

We lost count of all the wildlife.  Over a dozen swans, redwinged blackbirds, sparrows (with baby birds peering over their nests in the eaves of the pavillion), a blue heron and that glorious Eagle.  Dragonflies, butterflies, toads, and snakes.  Wildflowers, lily pads, and cattails.  

It was a lovely day with 24 finds including 3 FTFs over 6+ miles along well-tended trails and beautiful boardwalks.  To celebrate our success, dinner!  All-around perfect day!

TaGeez, scrapcat, June17 and afishoutawater
Roundhouse BBQ in Trenton

You might be a geocacher if... this bugs the daylights out of you!  Doh!  We knew we were leaving one behind - it was off the beaten trails, high terrain and buggy.  Hooked On U said they're hiding more caches in the park, and we will avenge it when we come back!

A thank you to Hooked On U, the Seed Spreaders, Stan & Ruth, and the Wayne County Park System for such a fabulous day!

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