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Sunday, May 19, 2013

101 Dalmatians series in Montreat, NC

Welcome to Montreat
Montreat, NC is a nice year round retreat area. The Presbyterians have a conference center in the heart of town near Montreat College. After climbing to the top of Lookout Mountain overlooking the town we headed to the Walk Jones park north and above Montreat so we could work south picking up caches, mainly those of the 101 Dalmatian series placed by Laineybug and now maintained by OzGuff. Our first cache attempt (unfortunately we could not find it) was Walk the Jones (GZ1388X). We pulled into a parking space at the Greybeard Trail Head. The GPSr indicated a short walk of about 100 feet up a path leading up a small knoll. What we saw on the top of the knoll was gorgeous! The cache page said it would be near the water and very low. I checked all the spots, even crawled up under the wooden walking bridge and getting down to the waterline on the creek and the small lake. Nothing! A muggle hiker walked up and
Walk the Jones...where are you?
wanted to know what I'd lost. I explained what I was doing. He works with youth in the camps during the summer and immediately saw and application for geocaching. I gave him the website, encouraging him to try out the sport and then introduce it to the youth. He had pass experience with Orienteering so he saw geocaching as a fun twist on a familiar sport. I guess the two are in the same general sports family. Well, no cache but we did get to promote geocaching.

101 Dalmatians #054 -- Cassie
The remaining cache finds were along Flat Creek descending into Montreat. In most cases there were good pull off locations to park and then under 100 feet to walk. In one case we drove up to the end of a small side road. The road ended at a gate blocking our way into a park/camp. We parked and headed to the large rock that dominated the landscape. The cache was somewhere around the rock according to the cache page. We began a search of the large rock, then we moved out to smaller rocks in the surrounding area. Still no cache. Then sumajhuarmi returned to the large rock and reached way back into a crevice at ground level. Out came the cache. We had 101 Dalmatians #054 -- Cassie!

We hopped back in the van and headed further down the road paralleling Flat Creek. The rhododendron completely obscured the view of the creek in most places. Between it and the rocks, there were lots of great hiding spots for sizable geocaches.  #059 in the 101 Dalmatian series was a fun one too. We parked in a small pullover, then we headed back into the rhododendron. We could see a slight geo-trail which assured us we were on the right track. Soon a large rock with a nice crevice covered by another rock, obviously placed by human hands, informed us that we were there. Sure enough, a nice regular size cache.

sumajhuarmi at Lake Susan
A short distance further put us into the Montreat College and Conference Center area. The next cache was a micro and purported to be a 3.5 difficulty. We parked and walked into the little park alongside Lake Susan. This man-made lake is surrounded by beautiful stone buildings for the Presbyterian Conference Center. The GPSr tracked to a gazebo near the lake. We began the search and soon had the micro in our hands. What was to be a difficult hunt was, in fact, a quick one. 

We grabbed another cache in the series at the local Post Office. Then we stopped for the last in our series. It was described as "Kebbler-ish". I pulled into a side road and parked. There were some muggle workmen nearby but they seemed unconcerned as I headed north on the walking trail that descended to creek side. Up the trail I found the place that elves would choose to live...and I found the cache! 

Flat Creek
Montreat is a nice place and the 101 Dalmation series provides a variety of cache sizes and difficulty ratings. They are well-hidden and allow you to see some beautiful scenery. There's nothing like the North Carolina Mountains! Ya'll come see us.

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