Nathan had hurt his ankle a little bit, so I asked Levi if he just wanted to do some geocaching. He agreed, and I decided to just look for a place on the map it seemed like it had a whole bunch of geocaches that we could easily get to and still walk around without needing to expect a “hike”. What I ended up finding was a golf course that is now owned by the town of Penfield, Shadow Pines. It’s entirely undeveloped; that is, it’s just basically been let go from being a golf course and has been minimally maintained, but there are no real new facilities. Penfield apparently has a new master plan to develop the site, but no work has been done yet.
It was really cool! It was strange to turn into a facility that looks like it has all the trappings of a (very empty) golf course, but as soon as you move past the parking lot, is immediately apparent that it was overgrown grass was all over the place, and concrete paths would just go for a while and then disappear. We just walked for a bit, going this way and that, watching frogs jump into a pond, cutting across things that must have once been fairways and greens, meandering along paths in mowed grass, and successfully finding five caches. It was a warm day with lots of bugs whirring and clicking all around us and was just a pleasant walk; it felt like being in someone’s very large backyard, sort of loosely overgrown but not fully the wild yet. I’m really glad that I went, and I think it will be fascinating to see what it becomes there over the next few years, while having had the opportunity to see it in this in-between stage.
It only closed four years ago, so a lot of the features seem to make it a golf course are still slightly present, clearly the wide open between the trees, and there are findable sand traps if you take a moment to look for them. We did find a one area that was clearly a putting green, and you could see how much more compacted the earth was there, with weeds growing only very sparsely, where they were just bursting everywhere else.
We were also very fortunate to see many monarch butterflies. As we were leaving, we did go visit the small pioneer cemetery located right near the parking area, where a Revolutionary War veteran and his two wives are buried. The fenced cemetery space is a much larger area than the three graves take up, leading one to wonder whether other people are buried there, whether they were planned to be and weren’t, or whether it’s large for other reasons entirely. Overall a fun day, and Levi found a cheap 1990s beast wars transformer toy in one of the geocaches, which absolutely made his day.