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Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Wolf Cave: Geocaching around Abingdon, Virginia

Passing by Pilot Mountain

Abingdon Visitors Center

Wolf Cave Art

Wolf Hills

At the Wolf Cave
I love the mountains. It's just that simple. Give me some terrain relief on a map and let me go there and I'll be happy. When we were invited to come speak in Bethel Baptist Church in Lebanon, Virginia we were ready to go. Some of the prettiest country is the I-81 corridor running from the Shenandoah Valley southwest down to Knoxville, Tennessee. From our High Point home we traveled up past Pilot Mountain, through Fancy Gap over the Appalachian Mountains and south down the corridor. We picked up geocaches along the way. My favorite caches were in and around the beautiful southwest Virginia town of Abingdon. We stopped in at the Abingdon Visitors Center, a beautiful, old home from the late 1800's. It was a sunny, cold and windy day as we parked the car in the parking lot and started our search. The clue kind of through me on Thanks for Stopping By (GC2Z6G6). We looked around and finally sought shelter from the wind and cold in the visitors center. The place is beautiful. Be sure to stop in. Once warmed up and thinking we'd move on to the next cache, we went out and with sumajhuarmi's encouragement, gave it another shot. Within minutes we had the cache in hand, signed it and were back on our way. Probably my favorite cache inside the city of Abingdon is earthcache Wolf Cave (GC1X71W). It was mid-afternoon, sunny and windy when we pulled into the narrow alleyways in an older residential area of Abingdon. As we drove by the GC we realized that parking in the alleyway would block the road completely so we backed up to a vacant chiropractor's office parking lot nearby. We were only 100 ft from the GC so we walked past the muggle walking her dog. As we approached the GC we saw a piece of local art that confirmed that we were at the correct location. The cave is located underneath an old building with lattice work around the basement-like area. The lattice work affords the opportunity to see the cave entrance and gather the answers for the earthcache. Construction around the entrance leads me to believe that someone is developing the Wolf Cave for commercial tourism soon. As always with earthcaches you learn something about the formation of caves. For me the historical connection to Daniel Boone was most intriguing. Tradition has it that in 1760 while on a hunting trip Daniel Boone and his friend, Nathaniel Gist, were camping near a spring when wolves attacked their dogs during the night. They discovered that the wolves came out of a nearby cave. For this reason what became the town of Abingdon was first called Wolf Hills. By whatever name, this town was the first English-speaking settlement west of the Appalachian Mountains. There is a craft shop in the Cave House, which sits at the front of the city block on the same property as the Wolf Cave. Be sure to check it out. They have a number of wolf statues and other crafts. Abingdon is a fascinating place!  Thanks to ucumari for the photo of Pilot Mountain.

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