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Riding Run

A cache by Arby Gee Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/19/2008
3.5 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

Located on the Riding Run Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this EarthCache is a scenic hike to the summit of a glacial feature called an end moraine. The hike is 4 miles round trip. Along the way you'll cross a covered bridge, walk alongside a rocky stream, and hike through spectacular woods. (It is a bridal trail, however, so you might also encounter some mud and ... uh ... worse.) In order to complete this EarthCache, you'll need a GPS capable of measuring altitude.

Note: This cache will NOT be doable during periods of snow cover or extremely high water levels.

For most of the past 2 million years, much of Ohio has been covered by massive ice sheets, called continental glaciers, that extended down from Canada. These ice sheets ranged in thickness from several hundred to several thousand feet and dramatically changed the Ohio landscape. The glaciers advanced south during intervals of global cooling and retreated north during intervals of global warming. During other intervals, global temperatures were just right to hold the glaciers in place for extended periods of time. Records of these intervals can be found in the rocks and soils of northern Ohio.

When a glacier advances, it scrapes the surface beneath it like sandpaper passing over a piece of wood. Some of the rocks and soil scraped up become embedded in the ice itself and can be carried extremely long distances. When a glacier retreats (i.e. melts), it leaves the embedded rocks and soil behind as debris called till. Many of the rocks left behind in Ohio by these glaciers are Canadian in origin. Examples are granite, gabbro, quartz, schist and gneiss—many more than 500 million years old. These rocks tend to be older and more varied in size, shape, and color than the gray, angular sandstones and shales that are native to northeastern Ohio.

An interesting phenomenon occurs when a glacier's advance is halted for an extended period of time. During the winter months, the southern edge of the glacier advances short distances, carrying rocks and soil with it. During the summer months, the glacier melts back to where it started from, leaving the glacial till behind. Where this cycle repeats itself over and over again, a build-up of till occurs at the glacier's southern edge, much like a pile of stones would build up at the end of a conveyer belt. This huge pile of rocks and soil is called an end moraine.

A melting glacier can also have the effect of dramatically changing the drainage of a region. The large quantities of water rushing out of the melting glacier can carve out new streams and change the direction of existing streams. Two such streams in Cuyahoga Valley National Park are Furnace Run and its tributary, Riding Run.

This EarthCache takes you on a hike alongside Furnace Run and Riding Run to the top of an end moraine. Along the way you'll see examples of the rocks left behind by the melting glaciers. The hill you'll be climbing is just a small part of the end moraine, known as the Summit County morainic complex, which was formed about 35,000 years ago and sprawls across the width of northern Summit County.

Please stay on the designated trails at all times and do not remove any specimens from the park. (Feel free, however, to pick up any trash you might encounter!) The trail is clearly marked, but you can also download a park map that includes the trail, if you wish. Your journey begins at the Everett Road Covered Bridge parking lot on Everett Road. See the coordinates above.

> Follow the path to the covered bridge at Waypoint 1 (N41° 12.245 W81° 34.998) and take an altitude measurement. You are standing at the edge of the end moraine where Furnace Run, below you, and the Cuyahoga River have cut a valley through it. Notice the direction of water flow in Furnace Run. (You will need to answer a question about this for the logging requirements.) Also notice the wide variety of sizes, colors, and shapes of the rocks in Furnace Run and that some of them are rounded. This is characteristic of glacial till. Most of these rocks are Canadian in origin; there is very little native shale or sandstone here. Note that the soil component of the till has been washed away.

> Cross the bridge and follow the footpath at your right as it threads its way between Furnace Run and the road. Along the way you'll have several more opportunities to observe the rocks and water flow in Furnace Run. Continue on this path as it turns right and follow it until it crosses the road to the Riding Run Trail loop at Waypoint 2 (N41° 12.490 W81° 35.223).

> At Waypoint 2, follow the Riding Run Trail loop to the left (west). Although you've been climbing the end moraine ever since you crossed the bridge, you'll really start climbing now. From time to time along the trail you'll see the rocks that compose the hill. Although you'll occasionally encounter some local sandstone, most of what you see will be Canadian in origin.

> At Waypoint 3 (N41° 12.476 W81° 35.509) take a moment to enjoy a magnificent oak tree. This is one of many beautiful trees along this trail.

> Waypoint 4 (N41° 12.470 W81° 35.688) is at a footbridge. Standing on the bridge you can get a good look at some of the rocks that make up the hill. You will have to answer a question about these stones for the logging requirements.

> Cross the footbridge and continue along the trail heading southwest. Eventually you'll begin climbing to the top of the hill and the footpath will end at a narrow dirt and gravel road. Follow the road to the right heading northeast across the summit of the end moraine.

> As you walk the dirt road, keep an eye on your GPS and record the altitude AND coordinates of the highest elevation you observe. You will need these for the logging requirements. From time to time you'll see a deep valley to your left. This is where Riding Run has carved its way through the end moraine.

> Continue to follow the Riding Run Trail as it loops around clockwise and descends back to Waypoint 2. Follow the footpath from here back to the covered bridge parking lot.

To claim credit for this cache, you must answer the following questions:

  1. What is the altitude at the base of the end moraine (Waypoint 1)?
  2. In what general direction does the water in Furnace Run flow? How does this compare to the direction of water flow in the nearby Cuyahoga and Rocky rivers?
  3. What do you think caused Furnace Run to flow in this direction?
  4. Describe the rocks at Waypoint 4 and compare them in size, shape, and color to the rocks in Furnace Run.
  5. What is the altitude, longitude, and latitude of the highest point you observed on the Riding Run Trail?
  6. How high is this section of the end moraine, and how does this compare to the height (thickness) of the glacier that formed it?

Do not include your answers in your log entry! Instead, geo-mail them to me within 3 days of your visit. (EarthCaching rules require me to delete your log if I don't receive your answers in a reasonable timeframe.)

Thanks to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and MetroParks, Serving Summit County for permitting this Earthcache.

If you are interested in creating a new EarthCache in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, please contact Arrye Rosser at (440) 546-5992 or about becoming an EarthCache volunteer. Note that the national park does not permit geocaches at this time.


Additional Hints (Decrypt)

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Decryption Key


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