I am a proud

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A fun cemetery cache in ArkLaTex - Longbranch, TX

Long Branch cemetery, Longbranch, TX
Natural Gas well seen along the walk
Old Hamilton Home place along the walk to the GZ
More sightings along the way
 Our journey began in High Point, NC. We drove to the Raleigh-Durham Airport early in the morning to catch our flight out to Houston for a series of speaking engagements in the East Texas Baptist Area, made up of several counties like Shelby, Rusk, Panola and others. Upon arrival in Houston we were met by two very kind Baptist gentlemen who drove us the three hours it took to get out into the countryside between the crossroads of Clayton and the small town of Mt. Enterprise, TX. These fellas were muggles and the time didn't really offer and opportunity to make stops along the way. We were safely delivered to the home of our hosts (we did not know them before) but were given the warmest of welcomes. The next day my host and I set out to walk over to a local community cemetery. There is a local east Texas geocacher who has a series of caches in cemeteries. The walk was only about 1.5 miles one way so we walked and talked. I was intrigued by the history of the region. I learned a lot. ArkLaTex is the term used for the socio-economic area made up of the location where the states of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas meet. It is also an area rich in oil and natural gas production. My new friend told me about his wife's family's connection to this land. We passed her great grandparents old house, an old abandoned truck in a field, and numerous natural gas pumping stations along the way. The cemetery we were walking to was in fact his wife's ancestor's cemetery. As we approached the GZ we slipped into the front gate of the Long Branch Cemetery. There were about 50 feet left to reach the cache. At first I thought that the cache would be outside the cemetery but now it was obvious I was wrong. Now if I were hiding a cache here where would I hide it? I began to look in several possible locations but could not find the cache. Several of those locations consisted of plant life but the life had gone out of the plants. I began poking around but with no luck. My friend called me over to show me his headstone (and that of his wife). This made me aware that this was also his cemetery and future resting place. I thought for a second that he might think placing a geocache in a cemetery to be disrespectful. He never did, showing interest in this sport. After looking at the headstone he had chosen and after looking at the headstones of other family members, we were ready to go. I'd not found the cache and had decided it was gone. I turned to take one last longing look at GZ as we were going. I saw a tree coming up out of the area I'd been searching. I'd not really looked close enough right around the tree. I returned and within seconds had the cache in my hands. As my friend watched me sign the log sheet he was commenting on how he had no idea that people were doing this all over the place. We had found Lone Branch (GC18MWX)! The walk back was as informative as the walk out. I was hoping that as I traveled around the area to visit the churches the rest of the week I'd be able to pick up a few more caches. I love east Texas. The rolling hills, the trees and the geocaches. I hope I can come back.

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