Earthcaches

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Banner Elk, NC -- mountain beauty and a little geocaching

Our cabin in the woods

Our view to the west!
I am now serving as the pastor of discipleship and evangelism in my home church. Last week the pastors of the church went to Valle Crucis, NC for a retreat. It was a great time for getting to know each other (since two of us are new to the staff), for praying together and for recreation. One of the members of our congregation has a log cabin on the side of a mountain with a westerly view of the sunset down a beautiful valley. Looking down the valley made by the meanderings of the Watauga River we were blessed to see such beauty every morning and, at sunset, to see the powerful colors across the sky.

I mentioned to the other pastors our little pass time called "geocaching". One thought he'd heard something about an electronic treasure hunting game but knew little else. The other two pastors gave me a quizzical look. They had nothing. So when we headed out to Banner Elk to see the sights one day, I told them we were going to find a couple of geocaches. They were all for it.

Of the course of the three-day retreat we had the opportunity to visit Banner Elk, Blowing Rock and Boone at least once. We started our sight-seeing in Valle Crucis. There isn't much "downtown" to this little community. The highlight of the place is the Mast General Store at the Back in Time (GCXRRF) is worth your time.
Thanks to SeeMidTN.com (a.k.a. Brent) for the photo of Mast
General Store in Valle Crucis
crossroads that define the center of the community. There are several other Mast General Stores, one in Boone, that I've visited. The original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis is worth the trip. It has maintained its look and feel. Started in the 1883, this store has served the community a long time. In Boone it is the name brand that attracts folks. My only problem with the Boone store is that it is more a department store than a general merchandise store. I recommend a visit to the original. Check out the geocaches nearby. In particular the multi-cache entitled

Up the road in Banner Elk we found another one entitled, Dugger's Crooked Creek (GC3FGAV). I took along my muggle pastor friends. One stayed in the car, exhibiting a low level of interest. The other two got out and helped in the search. Right away one of them came up with the cache. We signed the log and headed for the second cache, situated beside a large duck pond where we'd had lunch the day before. This one was called Just B.E. Yourself (GC1RXAM). It beat us. Our friend who was a little less than interested was driving and seemed to be in a hurry so we didn't feel we had the liberty to keep the search going as long as I would have. I hope someday to get back to this one. I love caches in mountain rhododendron.

The mountains around Boone, Banner Elk and Valle Crucis is full of geocaches. The area is a great get away from the heat this time of year. I hope you'll come visit.
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