|On the trail|
|Switchbacks along the trail|
|Historical information at the site of the lodge|
|Rattlesnake Lodge Ruins|
There are two hiking trails that get you to the lodge. The one we took is the gradual 1.4 mile hike. There is one that comes directly from the Blue Ridge Parkway and is just under half a mile but is steep. As we hiked up I wondered if the Ambler family had to make a similar hike every time they visited. Later I read that there was a small road that their automobiles and wagons could travel to get into the secluded mountain getaway.
Now for the geocaches. The first one we went for was downhill from the site of the main lodge building. We found a small creek and followed it down. After a search on the wrong side of the small creek I forded the creek to find Ambler's Ramble (GCE0B6), placed in 2003 and with only 87 finds before us. It had been about four months since it was last found. As I reached into the
|Ambler's Ramble cache|
I didn't have a map but reckoned that our best bet was to go back down the main trail and then when the trail dipped lower angle off in a straight line to the last cache on the mountain. This would take us up on the ridge line. My reasoning was that this would likely be easier than climbing up to the cache from the main trail. Our first hundred feet were steep. Once on the ridge line there wasn't much climbing though we had a little bit of up and down. We were amazed by the large amount of timber that had been blown over. Up on the ridge line the winds must get pretty strong. We were constantly climbing over downed trees. Although we walked on a carpet of grass and weeds, the ground seemed to swarm with small black bugs. We didn't know what they were. There had been none near the trail. By now sumajhuarmi was lamenting out loud my decision to take this "easier" route to the cache. We were on a deer trail part of the time. At the end of the .15 mile trek from the trail we found ourselves descending a steep cleared area down to Mickey's Cache (GC113JD). It took some searching but after about 20 minutes we came up with the cache. Dirty and sweaty, we headed down to the trail. "Surely all our effort must have been worth it", I thought. But no, the cache had been within about 300 feet of the trail on a steep climb. I had turned a 3/3 cache into a 3/5 cache by my decision to go along the ridge line. It would have been 10 times easier to have stuck with the trail. A lesson learned, I think. The hike back to the car only took about ten minutes. What a great experience, even with the less-than-efficient detour! I recommend the Rattlesnake Trail hike and the caches near this historic site.