I am a proud

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Blowing Rock: highland North Carolina geocaching

Depiction of the legend

sumajhuarmi with grandfather mountain background

The Blowing Rock

sumajman and The Blowing Rock

Park in the town of Blowing Rock

sumajhuarmi in the park

It was great to be able to get away for a time just the two of us to celebrate our 36th wedding anniversary. This year we decided to go back to our college stomping grounds. While there we visited the scenic attraction called Blowing Rock. We enjoyed visiting the little town that gets its name from the large cliff that has the same name. We followed the signs until we arrived at The Blowing Rock. We enjoyed the museum and bookstore for a while, then we paid a few dollars and went out on the rock and into the little park area that is also accessible. The views from here are spectacular. You can see grandfather mountain in the distance. No, it's not because they named a mountain after me. One of my younger friends has his day coming but for now he likes to kid me about my being old enough to be a grandparent. I'm proud of it and love my three grandchildren very much.

Legend is that an Indian brave was in love with a young Indian woman. Being torn by his duty to return to his people and help them in the defense of their territory and that of staying with the young maiden caused him to throw himself off the precipes. The maiden prayed for his return and her prayers were answered. He was blown back up onto the cliff to her. Every since the winds have been said to blow this way. As you stand on the rock you can feel the force of the upward bound wind.

We also took a walk in the city of Blowing Rock. What a beautiful little town. In the park we found a cache entitled The Wind Blows Through Time (GCB2E6). It is a time capsule designed to be opened one hundred years after its placing. I can't say much more without giving too much away. Further down the street we found the Kilwin's Fudge Store. We enjoyed a hot chocolate and fudge to warm us up after the time out in the cold.

You'll want to visit the North Carolina mountains when you can. The Appalachian Mountains are beautiful year round. It was fun to visit just before Christmas time though the wind can be brisk. I hope you'll come see our great state!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Noria: A Mountain Valley Virtual Cache: Southwest Virginia

sumajhuarmi @ Noria

There was a cache nearby

Freezing while feeding my addiction to geocaching

DNFing with sumajhuarmi
While looking over a map of an area where I plan to cache if I see the little ghost symbol for a virtual cache I automatically check it out. Since virtuals are no longer allowed most of the ones I've come across take you to interesting places where a physical cache container cannot be hidden but where something of significance is or has occurred. Noria (GCAE7E) is like that. While traveling from Lebanon, Virginia on our way back to High Point, NC we pulled off Highway 19 into a parking lot where Christmas Trees were for sale. When we got out of the car the salesman for the trees got out of his car where he was keeping warm. I had to tell him we wanted to look at the interesting machine just behind his trees instead of purchasing a tree. What an interesting name. A little research told me that a noria is a machine used for lifting water from one source into an aqueduct, usually for irrigation purposes. We completed the requirements for the cache, took a few pictures and sought shelter from the wind in our car.

In addition to the Noria cache and just a few miles up Highway 19 near Lebanon, Virginia we also found In the Bushes Along Highway 19 (GC15YF1). It was a fun, simple regular-size cache with easy access for travelers and a little muggle problems. One cache that was either muggled or better hidden than we were prepared for was A Clock in the Falls (GC1284X). Sumajhuarmi and I stopped to look for this one. While the threat of muggles was there, the cold weather seemed to give us the privacy we needed. I checked everywhere, both high and low and around but came up empty. Cache or no cache, the hunt up and down this beautiful valley was fun. As usual we thanked the cache owner in our log for the opportunity to visit this place.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Cache #2000 @ Hanging Rock State Park, NC

Hanging Rock
View to the west
View southwest
Underneath the Hanging Rock

The big day!
We set out from home at 9 a.m. Our track took us north from High Point, NC and northwest past Belews Creek, Walnut Cove and Danbury before arriving at our destination: Hanging Rock State Park. When I left home I had a count of 1998 geocaches so I stopped to grab a "park and grab" micro along the way. We arrived at the park after one hour in the car. The day was a cloudless day with blue skies and sunshine. The temperatures were already climbing into the 50's. We stopped in the visitor center to get a map, get a photo of ourselves in front of the building to satisfy a virtual cache requirement, filled our water bottles and with our walking sticks hit the trail up to the Hanging Rock. The ranger told us it would take an hour to get there. We held a moderate pace.  The trail wound through rhododendron up to a long ridge line heading east to the tall cliff that is Hanging Rock. There was no one on the trail so we had nothing but the birds, the occasional squirrel scurrying through the leaves in the woods and our own conversation to accompany us. The last phase of the hike took to the base of the cliff, circled around the south side of the mountain and in a counter clockwise move we wound our way to the top of the mountain, arriving in 35 minutes. With a bright sun to our back and the wind in our faces we moved out onto the huge grooved rock, some of which hangs over the cliff. Out came the small sign with the numbers 2000 to commemorate my 2000th find. We then took the required photos and recorded the coordinates of the photo shot. We then took some time to snap some great pictures of the valley to the south where sumajhuarmi's pioneer German ancestors settled in the 1780's. The trip down the mountain was quicker. On the last leg of our return we ran into the first hikers of the day, all headed to where we'd been. Hawk 15 (GC56B8) is a great virtual cache. That means it has been a round a while. To claim the cache the main task involves hiking to one of the key terrain features in the park. Since there are ten separate terrain features listed, you can log this cache ten times as long as you send the required photo of you and your GPSr at the location and send the coordinates from where the photo was taken. Today we were able to log two of the ten. Maybe we'll get another chance to come back to Hanging Rock State Park to do the rest. Now to push on for a cache count of 3000!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soul City: A Social Experiment during the Civil Rights Struggle in North Carolina

Welcome to a dashed dream
Soul City is both interesting and a little sad. While traveling through Warren County, NC I took the opportunity to stop in to find Soul City (GC15HBT). This gave me the chance to look around the actual town of the same name. I learned that this community was the brainchild of Civil Rights Activist and Pastor Floyd B. McKissickHis vision was to create a community in which people from all races could live in harmony. He wanted to intersperse industry with residential areas. Where were the funds to come from? Some donations supported the project but largely government grants supported this endeavor. McKissick broke with most of his activist colleagues in the late 1960's to become a Republican. Some accused him of becoming a Republican in order to gain financial support for his Soul City vision. The community started out with a bang but then, after failing to attract jobs to the area, fell into disrepair. There were also charges of money mismanagement; a charge that was later discovered to be unfounded. The dream was to have a community of 50,000 by the year 2000. Instead the community was in great decline by the end of the 1970's. There are only a few hundred inhabitants of Soul City today. Today the biggest enterprise in Soul City are the county and state correctional facilities. They are surrounded by large areas separated off with barbed wire to keep the prisoners from escaping. McKissick died in 1991. By then the dream was already fading. If you get the chance to look for this cache do so. It's just a short detour off of Interstate 85 at the Manson Exit. Just turn right at the end of the exit ramp. When you reach Highway 1 turn left and proceed until you see the Soul City sign. Turn right and make your way to the cache and the city that was a dream lost.