Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Does anyone really know what time it is?

    So I was heading to Virginia to see my son and granddaughter and of course since I was going to be there for a couple of days I checked out what little Geocaching was in the area. There was one, a virtual (Vita Abundantior GC546D) that really caught my attention. Located on the campus of beautiful Randolph College in Lynchburg Virginia. The name of the cache, 'Vita Abundantior' is the college's motto and means, 'Life More Abundant"

    As you can see the cache is a Sundial. Not only is it a sundial but it is a beautiful one as well. From the stone work surrounding it's base to the intricately designed Gnomon casting it's shadow on the time of day. It is a functional work of art. It was a gorgeous fall afternoon when I stopped to get my smiley for this Geocache and as a result I was immediately inspired, I was looking for a new topic for this blog and here it was. By the way, as most if not all schools have, Randolph College has a student run newspaper. Anyone want to guess the name of the paper? Come on you know it. It is right there in front of you. That is right, The Sundial. I love stuff like that.

    Ok so I get home and I am eager to learn more about sundials. I am one with Google so with few key strokes I popped in my query. Just as with my last blog about Labyrinths I quickly find that almost anything has a web site.

The North American Sundial Society,

    A sundial is of course a device that tells the time of day by the position of the Sun. In common designs such as the horizontal sundial, the sun casts a shadow from its style onto a surface marked with lines indicating the hours of the day. The style is the time-telling edge of the gnomon. Gnomon is an ancient Greek word meaning, "indicator", or "one who discerns", or my favorite "that which reveals". The gnomon is often a thin rod or a sharp, straight edge. As the sun moves across the sky, the shadow-edge aligns with different hour-lines. All sundials must be aligned with the axis of the Earth's rotation to tell the correct time. In most designs, the style must point towards true celestial north (not the north magnetic pole or south magnetic pole). That is, the style's horizontal angle must equal the sundial's geographical latitude.

    The NASS website is full of good information about what makes a sundial a sundial and all the varieties of design as well as a locator feature so you can find some near you. I did just that and compared it to local geocaches for my purposes. Now just as a disclaimer, unlike Vitas Abundinator which IS a Geocache the rest will be NEAR caches. I will note the GC code of the nearest cache in the event you want to check out the sundial.

    Now I was fortunate to find a wide variety of sundials from small to large, horizontal to vertical and even one made of flowers.

    This sundial is near Seaworld and  is quite large and can be found near GCB3AB. I went up to the top of the parking garage to take the second picture. This one has suffered some damage as it is in front of an unoccupied building.

    This next one is located at Eastbrook Elementary School, in Winter Park, Florida. A visitor pass is required from the administration office before visiting. It is a bronze dial, 12 inches in diameter and set on a fluted base. Is is a memorial for Ashly Nicole Oliver. Visit, to learn more. Although this one is just a memorial, this dial is actually designed to hold cremated ashes

 This is a Topiary Sundial and features a spiral sheared Arborvitae gnomon which casts it's shadow on the dial plate. The rays, formed of sheared Japanese Boxwood, are precisely spaced to allow for the sun's movement across the sky. Each ray is terminated by a conical sheared Eugenia. The rays mark each hour as read from right to left - 8am to 5pm. the background or "dial plate" is planted of colorful annuals which are rotated four times a year to reflect the changing seasons.

This one is an obelisk sundial. It is made of Bronze and at the noon hour it will cast a shadow on a noon plaque located on the ground. Located off Orange Ave in front of the Sun Trust tower in Orlando and near GC1JANT. How appropriate that this one is dedicated to William H. Dial a long time director for Sun Bank.

    I was just about to put the finishing touches on this blog when completely by happen stance I came across two more sundials. One is unique in relation to the ones shown here and the other is similar but more ornate in it's design. If you remember earlier the one that was a memorial to a young girl that was actually a holder for cremated remains. This one below is not designed to hold remains but it is in a family plot in a cemetery. Unfortunately as seems to be a common occurrence the gnomon is damaged. But look at the beautiful ornate carving on the side of it.

   This next one I noticed as I was driving to GC2KJRZ the cache called Monkey Butt. I do not know what made me look over but I am glad that I did. A simple equatorial sundial, The unadorned rod casts its shadow on the curved surface. Now I have to mention that the sundial was WAY more interesting than the cache.

So it is time to go ( and yes the pun was intended ). But I will leave you with a quick quote from the Beatles because, Tomorrow may rain, so I'll follow the sun.

More discoveries await...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chasing the Minotaur

A while back I was over in Ormond Beach geocaching and while I was looking for a place to park I saw something that caught my eye. I parked the car and wandered over to see a beautiful walking labyrinth. This one is called the Harmony labyrinth and it is located in Central Park on the north side of Hammock lane. The style is Medieval and it is an eleven circuit labyrinth (eleven circuits refers the eleven paths that lead to the center or goal) on a concrete pad in the style of Chartres without the rosette in the center or the ornamentation. It measures 50 feet in diameter. Chartres refers to Chartress cathedral where one of the most well known medieval labyrinths is. Even though it is the most well know medieval style of labyrinth, the pattern has been in use long before being constructed at the cathedral.

Now I have not seen a walking labyrinth is many many years, since I was knee high to a Minotaur. So I was quite pleased to run across this one and of course could not resist the urge to walk the labyrinth. As it would turn out this would not be the only labyrinth I would find that day. Later on I was over closer to the coast in Ormond Beach and while geocaching in the Memorial Garden I found this walking labyrinth. Now this one is different form the first one in an obvious way. The maze is painted on the surface.

This beautiful "Peace Labyrinth" was created by artist Joan Baliker and painted on the floor of the garden's gazebo by Joan and fellow artist, Carol Bertrand.It is done in the "Classical" style. Visitors are invited to walk the labyrinth and record their experiences in a book kept in the museum. Memorial Garden is located at 78 East Granada Blvd. Ormond Beach, Florida

Now as strange as it was to find two of these in one day it would get even more odd. Two days later, while I was geocaching, I came across another one in Orlando at ORMC on Orange Ave (ORMC#1 GC241F9) . With my interest now officially peaked, I needed to check into this and see how many others were around and delve into what makes a walking labyrinth what it is.

So I found my friend Google and before I knew it I had some information. The first thing that I hit upon was this really great web site called, The World Wide Labyrinth Locator. ( It is a very user friendly site that in addition to being able to search for labyrinths by entering a city or state it also has explanations of what a labyrinth is and the types. The site lists 87 labyrinths in the state of Florida.

There appear to be four basic types of labyrinths. classical, roman, medieval, and contemporary.

Now you are probably looking at this and saying to yourself, Self, that is just a maze. Now although there is some debate and discussion about the differences between a labyrinth and a maze there is one basic difference. For the most part, consensus indicates that labyrinths will have one pathway that leads inexorably from the entrance to the goal, albeit by the most complex and winding of routes. With mazes, a design must have choices in the pathway.

In prehistoric times, labyrinths are believed to have served as traps for malevolent spirits or as defined paths for ritual dances. In medieval times, the labyrinth symbolized a path to God with a clearly defined center (which would represent God) and one entrance (which would represent birth). Labyrinths can be thought of as symbolic forms of pilgrimage, people can walk the path, walking it at their own pace as they ascended toward salvation or enlightenment.

Now I would be remiss if I did not mention the most famous labyrinth of all. I am of course talking about the labyrinth in Greek mythology which was built by Daedalus for King Mino of Crete. It's function was of course to hold the mythical Minotaur. (which I think was just guarding the world's first geocache).

The labyrinth below is in Macon Georgia and is at Rose Park. Now as you know my blogs are about the places we go and the things we see while Geocaching. The Rose Park labyrinth happens to BE the geocache. Rose Park Labyrinth GCB256 and it is a virtual cache.

A little further up in Georgia in Lawrenceville is this next labyrinth.

This one is my favorite. Unlike the first one that I found this is a seven circuit labyrinth and it has the rosette in the center. I like the way the designer put a wall around it to box it in and then added benches so people could relax and enjoy the solitude. This labyrinth is in Ocala, Florida at the Munroe Regional Medical Center. There was a geocache here ( Innert Piece GC1GVF9 ) but it has been archived. In addition to that if you read my blog, "Horse Fever" one of the Ocala horse statues is here as well. The horse,"Royal Harlequin" is at the entrance to the hospital.

Now just as Geocaching has done, whenever I travel I will use the labyrinth locator to see if there are any labyrinths at my destination. I know there is one in the town where my brother lives so I will be checking that one out next time I visit. It is almost like a hunt within a hunt.

So unlike the Minotaur in Greek mythology who was trapped in the labyrinth, I know the way out and it is time to take it. But fear not I will be back because...

More discoveries await.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


In my last blog I showcased the Ocala's horse fever sculptures. Lakeland, Florida, which is well know for it's swans has a similar themed artwork based on painted swan sculptures. Swan sculptures are placed all over town and seem to be the mascot of choice. Even the city logo has a swan incorporated in it. Lake Morton and Lake Mirror are in the downtown area, and are home to hundreds of swans (real ones not the painted ones).

I have not been in Lakeland in a very long time, so when I heard about the painted swans I knew I would get there eventually. I also knew that Geocaching would be the reason I went. I knew where some of the swan were located but there were some that I discovered because there was a cache nearby.

Now this first swan is, just like the Ocala horse with the similar theme, one of my favorites. I really think the American flag is very user friendly with art. As long as it is use well.

As I said earlier Geocaching was the reason that I was in Lakeland and I was doing the power run down south of the city on Hwy 37.

There were around 100 caches in that run and I wanted to get as many as I could so I divided my swan hunting to some before and some after.

The swan dressed as a doctor was the first one of the day. As you can imagine it was in front of a hospital as it should be. The swan in the lower right I did not know about. I stopped at the Walgreen's in the background to use the restroom. When I cam out I glanced across the street and saw it. I found a couple like that and it definitely added to the fun of the hunt.

I thought the swan in the fountain was a natural fit. Definitely one of my favorites.

Now at this point I was off to do some Geocaching. Hwy 37 proved to be long and I have to say kind of boring. The main purpose of a power run of course is to just get your numbers up. Nothing special about the hides and I did all the ones on the right side of the highway on the way down and then did the same on the way back up.

I should mention that this was the first real test of the new camera I had gotten for Christmas. A Nikon D3000. I love my camera and take it with me whenever I go Geocaching because you just never know what you will see and now I could get really good pictures. I was especially glad to have it on highway 37. On the way down I came across several wild hogs that were feasting on some form of road kill. With out my new camera I never would have been able to get this picture.

I had to go through Lakeland on my way back home and even though it was soon to be dark I still had time for a couple of more swans. The Publix swan was one of the ones I knew about but I thought it was going to be somewhere else. I got lucky that it was closer to downtown. Lakeland also has another art project that is associated with butterflies. This one I added to this blog because as you can see there is a swan painted on it's wings. I was also very close to the Publix swan.

As the sun was going down one more swan beckoned me. I think that this one actually looks better as the light was fading because I needed to use the flash. Somehow I think it enhances the picture.

The day was over and to tell the truth I had barely scratched the surface of both Geocaching and the painted swans here in Lakeland. There are still many things to see and do and I will be back soon because,

More discoveries await...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Horse Fever

Recently I was up just south of Ocala doing some caching and the last cache of the day was, LAC21 Don't speed here (GC21KPC). Just up the road was something that caught my eye. This statue is called “Old Glory” and can be found at the entrance to the Padua Stables on U.S. 301, in Summerfield.

I immediately recognized what was in front of me. This statue and others just like it were created by the Marion Cultural Alliance in 2001. The series was called “Horse Fever” and included 52 life-sized fiberglass horses decorated by area artists. They were displayed around town for months before they were sold at an auction that raised $1.2 million for charity.

So when I got home I looked up the locations of the other statues and checked to see if there were any caches nearby and set my mind to have some fun on my next caching trip. Now some of the statues have caches very near them, and some have them on the way and close by. You can go on line and find a map that will show you the locations of the horses. Most are still right around Ocala, some are just a short drive away.

The four horses shown above can be found in the Ocala Downtown Square and they are Travels (top left), Scenic Wonder (top right), Life Force (bottom left), & Aggie (bottom right) The geocache, Downtown Ocala - GC25TC9, Is right across the street. If you plan your trip well you can use this area as a place to break for lunch and visit one of the local eateries that are in the area.

Now this trip was really quite fun and I would definately suggest it to any Geocacher who wanted to do some side trips while caching. It was almost like two treasure hunts in one. Finding the cache and then finding the Horse.

(left) Brick City Fever Futura Fury (right)

Of course while I was in Ocala I did do some other caches as well and in doing so came across a nicely hidden gem. Hole In The Wall - GCA8EA, is a virtual cache and like most caches of that type are worth going to.

Ocala is very big and there are lots and lots of caches there. I discovered a wide variety of styles and in two trips to the area I have just scratched the surface. So take some time and go up to Florida's horse country and see what you can find.

More discoveries await...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Parks large and small

Recently I had the opportunity to cache in an area that I seldom find myself in. we were heading down to St. Cloud. On the way there was a potential first to find just off Co Rd 530 down near where it meets the 417. Amazingly enough the cache was still unfound and we scored the FTF. Great way to start the day. There was a few nearby caches that we would grab before leaving the area to get to St. Cloud. One I was excited about because it was in an Environmental Protection Area (Over the hills and through the woods...Storybook GC23FG9 by Coasterfreak11) and it looked quite interesting.

We followed the obvious path down to where the coordinates were leading us. We came to a break in the fence right about where we needed a break and went in. The ground was quite wet in placed but not so bad that we could not continue.

The day was still young and the weather was cool so the short hike was enjoyable. We worked our way through the trees twisting and turning as we needed to all the while following our GPS never knowing what lay in store for us just ahead.

Now let me tell you that this picture does not do what was in front of us justice. That was the Rio Grande down there and our choice was to turn around or cross that make shift bridge. Use your imagination to picture the two little beings on my shoulders. One a little devil with a GPS unit telling me that the cache was worth it after all and well, it was just over there. The other, a little angel reminding me that I recently fell out of a tree while retrieving a cache and at least that time I had the ground under me. After much waffling it was decided that more study was needed and away we went. Sometimes the better part of valor is to chicken out.

So we continued on our way to St. Cloud one less smiley but at least we were dry. When we arrived we did some caching around East lake Tohopekaliga. We only intended to walk a little way and then reposition the car and finish the rest. Again the day was so good we just walk the entire distance. Only after we got the last one did we regret doing that. Could not do all that walking in the summer. Whew. Now the first park was the big one. One of the last caches for the day was in a park in the older section of St. Cloud. This one, Year of My Birthday GCMV7G by Loadbank, was in a micro park. This park dedicated in 1947 to the veterans of all wars from St. Cloud was not much bigger than my living room.

I love parks and it has become customary that we visit at least one when we cache. Obviously that is not hard. So another great day of Geocaching comes to an end. This stuff never gets old.

More discoveries await...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

North bound on Highway 17

They say on the seventh day God rested, I think he went Geocaching. So if he can do it on Sunday so can I. I got up earlier than usual today and met up with a friend so we could head up to Palatka. There were a few caches on the way so we got those. One of them ( Quickie GC23KMF ) was across the highway from an old abandoned warehouse that used to ship oranges. This warehouse was in the book Weird Florida by Charlie Carlson. It is a great book and I know at least a few of the locations mentioned in the book have geocaches nearby.

The reason Palatka was chosen was not only because there were caches there but as it turned out, the Azalea Festival was going on this weekend. Also Ravine Gardens State Park in there also. Either of these would be ample reason to visit. This was the first time I had attended the Festival and except for the gyro that was made with something that was NOT Tzatziki sauce ( darn those fake Greeks ) it was a great day.

Ravine Gardens State Park has only one cache in it and it is an Earth Cache (Ravine Gardens State Park EarthCache GC13KM9 ) This was the first time we had ever attempted an Earth Cache and I would love to tell you about a happy ending but I am not the Brothers Grimm so no smiley on this one. However it is NEVER a loss visiting the Gardens. Although you can drive around the park, occasionally stopping at an overlook to see what there is to see, If your up to the very long walk I recommend the hike.

Palatka is a very nice place. It has beautiful churches, eerie cemeteries, ( for those of us who just can not stay out of that sort of thing ) waterside parks and a historic downtown filled with quaint shops and interesting eateries. Check out any side street to see some magnificent murals that have to be seen to be appreciated.

I love cemeteries. The only thing better than a cemetery is one that I have not been on or perhaps did not know was even there. Now I know this sort of thing is not for everyone but add a cache to the mix and now we have a party. We did two cemetery caches today one was in Palatka ( CacheGravedigger GCRE0Z ) and one was on the way home. ( Resting Place GC1NT5D )

What a day! Too bad, just like this blog, it has to come to an end. Oh well you know what I say...

More discoveries await.