I am a proud

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Five Terrain Cache on Fuller Island near Ocean Isle, NC

View from Fuller Island towards the causeway

My son-in-law and partner-in-crime today

sumajman after the find!

Ready to return home
My grandchildren were getting antsy to do something more than go to the beach. My grandson has a cast on his arm so he can't go in the water. He's really bored at the beach. He might be a touch lazy too because when I invite him to go caching he prefers to sit and play computer games. My son-in-law took off with my granddaughter to rent a kayak today. Soon the two of them were kayaking up and down the causeway. We are renting a house with a dock so we have good access to the water.

After coming back from the beach this afternoon my son-in-law and I took off in the kayak to find The Cache on Fuller Island (GC3GDZ2). My GPSr indicated that the cache was located .58 miles from our dock. Off we went, me in the front and he in the back. The tide was coming in as the sun set over Ocean Isle. Everyone else stayed behind at the house getting supper ready. Our plan was to grab this cache and get back before dark and before supper was served. As we headed north along the causeway speed boats and fishing boats created a pretty sizable wake for us as they passed in both directions. We just paddled through it. It took us about 20 minutes to paddle down to Fuller Island. We found a narrow beach where we could put in. I tried several ways to get up the bank and into the trees. The cache page said that I should follow the trail but in the fading light I had a hard time determining where the trail was. My son-in-law, sitting in the kayak, was able to spot it. I couldn't see it for the being too close to the trees. To get to it I had to wade through eight inches of brackish water. I had my eyes open for snakes and any other creature that might not like my presence. So far so good. I climbed up the bank easily and head up a slight trail under the canopy of trees. It was near dark in the open so it was pretty black in the woods. The area where I found the GZ was dry. It was obvious that it floods at times. I'm fortunate to come at this time. The cache was right where it was supposed to be. I used my headlamp to find the cache and to sign the log. I snapped a few pictures and headed back out to the kayak. The sun was setting as we launched off from the beach to begin our return trip. I wore my headlamp to mark us for the several boats that plied the waters this evening. Paddling was a little more difficult returning as what current existed seemed to be against us. We made it back in about 25 minutes. With sweat pouring off of us from the exertion and a smile on my face we pulled up to our dock. My daughter met her husband and I at the dock, thankful we made it back in before supper and just as the last light left the sky. This was my first ever level five terrain cache! It also got me to my 2390th cache!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

On the way to the beach....Sunset Beach, NC

Nice place Sunset Beach 
It seemed like it would never get here! Finally the big day. My parents (in their 80's), my wife, our three daughters and their husbands and children, all headed out of High Point and Greensboro, NC for a week at the beach. Most years we get together and share the cost of a house at the beach. We stay for a week at a time. This year we decided on a house in Ocean Isle, NC. Just about two weeks before the trip we learned that Ocean Isle doesn't allow tents on the beach, only beach umbrellas. We are a big group and have two large pop-up tents that give good shade from the sun. It was too late to get our money back so we went to the house anyway and planned to go to a nearby beach during the day. I'll probably not come back to Ocean Isle because of the inconvenience of having this restriction on us. Second,
Ocean Isle house: good on the outside, not so good inside
the house far from lived up to the advertising. 87 Fairmont Street is not the place to stay.

On the way to the beach I stopped every hour to grab a cache along the way. There were several nice ones in Rockingham, NC and along Highway 74 headed east. I particularly liked Burmuda Triangle (GCMA7V) near Rockingham, NC. It was an easy roadside cache in one of those triangles of woods made between the highway exit ramp and the highway. Likewise Two / Two x Two / Two (GC44070) was a nice, wooded, roadside cache that was easy to find and filled with nice things.

Nice view from the dock
We all arrived within a half hour of each other in the three separate cars we were driving. Our youngest daughter and her husband met us there. They had just finished their honeymoon week at Myrtle Beach and drove up to spend a night with us before heading back home to work. Come evening and after the dishes were washed several off us drove down to the beach access. We walked on the beach with flashlights and entertained our three-year old grandson, Littleman2010. He was enjoying splashing in the water, exploring every crab hole and grabbing up seashells. On our way back I plugged in the coordinates to a nearby geocache. Interestingly, it was located only feet from where I parked the car. Along with Littleman2010 and MasterYoda1 I found Visit Our Community (GC134RG). It was an easy night cache as the streetlights were good and bright.

The next morning we drove south to Sunset Beach, NC. It was only a five mile trip to a beach that allowed us to use our tents. We got set up and had a great day. I got a way to find Sunset Beach Cache (GC5631), a multi-cache. After gathering the required information off of a sign I head the 1/3 mile to the cache location. It proved to be an easy walk and an easy find.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Waldensian Geocaching Experience

Arrowhead Monument in Old Fort, NC
We had a great trip into the North Carolina Mountains. On our way home we made several stops to see sites of interest and to find some geocaches near the Interstate. One place we liked was featured on Roadside America. I was surprised that there was no cache associated with this site. Thanks to Roadside America for bringing me to Old Fort, NC to see the monument to the Indian population that used to live here. The giant arrowhead monument sits beside the railroad that gives life to this small town.

Further east along Interstate 40 we came to the town of Valdese, NC. This is a beautifully developed and maintained small town. The
Downtown mural depicting Waldensian origins
shops along Main Street are inviting and the people were warm and friendly during our visit. The story is as follows. In 1893 several scouts for a group of Waldensians from northern Italy came to Burke County, NC. This area is located in the foothills just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These scouts came in order to secure land for a large group of their people who, for economic reasons, wished to settle in a place that would allow them more land and opportunity as well as in a place that would allow them religious liberty.

The Waldensians trace their beginnings as a religious group to the 1170's in Lyon, France. There Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant, began to practice the radical teachings of Jesus. He sold his
Left side depicts the Italian Alps; the right side: Burke Co.
possessions, gave them to the poor and began to preach the gospel of salvation. One of the tenants of the Waldensians was an allegiance to Scripture over the traditions of men. In fact, the followers of Peter Waldo became some of the first reformers.

The Waldensian insistence on the above result in them being perceived as a threat to the Roman Catholic Church. As a result they suffered persecution, often resulting in the loss of property and martyrdom at the hands of the church. Periods of peace alternated with periods of persecution. When the reformation began in the 1500's the Waldensians joined the movement, eventually becoming an Italian branch of the
sumajhuarmi makes the find: Peter Waldo's Legacy
Calvinistic evangelical church community. In the next century Roman Catholic persecution had the goal of eradicating the Waldensians but this failed.

By the time these Waldensians left the Cottian region of the Italian Alps to settle in rural Burke County they had lived in peace and virtually religious freedom for some time. Nonetheless, their move to a rural section of Burke County brought many things to the county. In addition to many French names, these French speaking Italian Waldensians brought their agrarian customs and traditions. Most Wadensians became participants in the Presbyterian Church. Today the town of Valdese, NC is a testament to their resolve.

We recently stopped into the town of Valdese to see the Waldensian Heritage Museum. I highly recommend it. For only $2 per person you can tour a nice exhibit of Waldensian artifacts and history. You can visit the Trail of Faith -- a section of land where Waldensian buildings have been moved for preservation or where replicas have been assembled. If you come during the summer months you might want to see the outdoor drama, From This Day Forward, depicting the heritage of the North Carolina Waldensian community.

While in the town we made sure to find several geocaches. While most caches were not of a Waldensian theme, one was. In fact, it was my favorite. We stopped at a small urban park which included a small garden with fountain, monuments and a giant wall mural depicting the Waldensian Italian Alps homeland on the left side and the Waldensian Burke County, NC foothill landscape on the right. Each part of the replica depicted key buildings and communities from Waldensian history. We stopped to get photos and then tracked to the GZ. After a few moments we had the cache in hand, signed the log and replaced the cache as we had found it. Peter Waldo's Legacy (GC15H72) and the opportunity to see the mural is worth the time.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee geocache

We recently visited Athens, Tennessee. It was great to see my uncle and aunt after a four year absence while we were overseas. My uncle had sent me the story of the Battle of Athens while we were out of the country and it had my interest. I wanted to learn more and to see where the fighting took place. It was even more enjoyable to discover that a geocache is located nearby. The Battle of Athens (GC1EWHB) cache is hidden in plain sight near the historical marker that tells the story.

In brief, after a several years of political corruption in the McMinn County electoral process, veterans recently returned from World War II decided that they must stand up for democracy at the local level. Having defended that right overseas they wanted to live in a real democracy at home. Veterans accused the current sheriff and his staff with vote rigging and with other abuses. Veterans charged that an incentive program paid deputies more money if they issued more tickets. Abuses reported included wholesale ticketing of all the riders on buses for drunkenness  whether the riders were drinking or not; just to run up the number of tickets and arrests. Veterans organized to oppose the election once again of sheriff Paul Cantrell. They even fielded their own candidate. On election day there were some major irregularities. There was one shooting just outside a polling place. When the polls closed deputies seized the ballot boxes and took them to the jail. Veterans raided the National Guard Armory for weapons. Between several hundred to several thousand, estimates vary, descended on the jail. The jail was barricaded and many deputies defended it. When the veterans demanded that the ballot boxes be returned the deputies refused. A gun battle ensued. Finally the veterans breached the barricade with dynamite and the deputies surrendered.

As a result of this heroic stand by local veterans an accurate count of the ballots revealed that the GI part had won several seats. In the aftermath of the uprising laws were changed to cap deputy pay and remove the incentives that created the atmosphere for abuse.

Today many point to this incident as a strong argument for upholding the 2nd Amendment protecting American's right to keep and bear arms.

I won't say much about the cache as it was a fairly easy park and grab. Yes, there's good parking nearby. You'll be able to see the knoll where the Veterans set up an overwatching fire on the jail house.

The cache is nearby
Athens is also home to the Mayfield Dairy. It you are from Texas Blue Bell Ice Cream would be famous. In the southeastern US Mayfield Dairy is big. We took a tour of the dairy operation and enjoyed some of their ice cream. We also took advantage of a park and grab nearby called Peace, Love and Dairy Cows (GC2XG2Y). I couldn't resist finding this one.

Come check out the caches, the cows and the conflict that took place in Athens, Tennessee when you get a chance!