I am a proud

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Jamestown Rifle Makers and geocaching

Levin Stack Cabin circa 1800
I grew up on the East Fork of Deep River, part of the region where, between the late 1790's and 1900, a number of long rifle makers lived and worked. A plaque names about 80 men who were known to have their own rifle-making businesses along Deep River from Jamestown headed northwest. Today if you visit Gibson Park, located along the East Fork of Deep River, you can see an old plank house, built around 1800. The original house was a log cabin. It is supposed to have been built by Levin Stack, one of the rifle makers in the area. It is the only remaining house from that era.  Another renowned gunsmith was James Sampson. He lived further north along
Long Rifle makers
the river and the paralleling Mill Road. When I first moved to this area as a young boy the main road paralleling the river was called Sampson Road (now Tarrant).

The greenway runs along the west side of the river and is great for biking and hiking. Throughout this area there are old foundations to homes that dotted the landscape prior to the Civil War. There were a number of mills along the river for grinding grain but some were for turning lathes and were associated with the rifle-making industry. I've looked for at least one geocache near on of these foundations. Rifle production was big until after Civil War. It began to decline rapidly and the numerous mills and homes along the East Fork began to decline.

There are several ways to get at the many geocaches in this area. You can park in Gibson Park and work your way south along the west bank of the East Fork of Deep River until you reach the Jamestown Golf Course. One of Music Pirate (GC1VGYT). It's been out a while but it was a fun one. It took me two tries to find it but when I did, it was well worth the hunt. Another fun hunt is Gigawatt (GC18K3J), one of the older geocaches in the area. It is located near where high tension power lines come through, thus the name.
Batter Up!
my favorite caches is

The rest of the park is populated with picnic shelters, baseball and soccer fields. One of the geocaches I found is called Batter Up! (GC4JA6B). I found it in spite of the muggle animal control officer sitting in his truck taking what seemed like a very long break.

Be sure to bring your bike when you come. The greenway is great and the caches are many.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Quaker side of the lake

The Quaker side of the Lake
My work schedule allows me some flexibility. I worked some long hours this week so I was able to take off early today. I plotted out a few caches on the way home via a workout at the YMCA. The weather was a crisp cool typical of fall and the sun was low in the western sky when I began to explore the south side of the lake. I call it the "Quaker side" because the site of my caching was close to the home of early founder of Jamestown, NC, Richard Mendenhall. This historical site is populated with both brick and wood structures from early Quaker farming days. In those days there was no lake here. The lake is the result of a dam backing up both the west and east forks of Deep River. I was raised on the east fork of Deep River and these were my old stomping grounds. I pulled into the park across from the Mendenhall Plantation and found a parking spot. The sign said I had about half an hour to get in and out. I took off following the needle of my GPSr to Providence Viaduct Bridge (GC4HB6R). The walk was
The dam
pleasant through the fallen leaves. As I approached the dam that holds back Deep River I spotted the likely spot where the cache would be. I nailed it. There was no one around so I had no trouble getting the cache, signing it and replacing it. There are many caches around the lake, particularly on the west side of the lake. Be sure to check out Castor Canadensis (GC3C6XC) and Sciurus Carolinensis (GC3C6X1), two Quaker side caches well-hidden along the lake's edge. These two promote the North American Beaver and the Eastern Gray Squirrel, both of which live along the lake. While you see the squirrel, more frequently we come across the work of beavers and not the beavers themselves.

Quaker Meeting House

        As I walked back to the car I detoured into another section of the park to look at an old Quaker building. I was surprised that it is a church, or more likely a Quaker meeting place. It is over 190 years old. The beautiful brick structure looked like a house from the outside. Another blog entry about the Mendenhall Plantation is in order later.

As the sun was setting to the west the lake looked so peaceful. Geese and other water fowl were the only movement on the lake. I took a few
pictures of the fall leaves and the lake before heading on home. Our area has lots of Quaker history. There are several Friends Meeting Places spread across the area. My 5th great grandfather was married in one such community about 8 miles north of this site back in 1754. There's nothing like mixing history and geocaching and the beauty of the great outdoors in the fall!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Resistance is futile! Earthcaching on a beautiful fall day

Greensboro skyline by wwritter
My pastoral duties include visiting our members when they are hospitalized. While there are several regional hospitals that I frequent, one takes me into the downtown area of Greensboro, NC. I love the parks that surround the hospital area. On this day I had the pleasure of sitting with an elderly husband as we waited on his wife to come out of hip replacement surgery. We talked about everything we could think of during the course of the waiting room wait. I even told him about geocaching. He'd never heard of such. I told him when we finished up I was going to take advantage of a few caches close by the hospital. I had actually arrived at the hospital early and had already found several caches. These were interspersed between medical buildings just off
Resistance is Futile
the hospital campus where all the specialty doctors have their offices. I was able to park at the hospital and walk my route. It was a nice, crisp, clear winter day. The leaves were almost gone from the trees. I picked up several fairly easy caches before heading into the hospital to wait for my friends. After the hospital visit I headed out the north end of the hospital to find earthcache Agents of Change:Resistance is Futile (GC385GX). I wondered what people thought of this guy with a hospital clergy badge wearing jeans headed out with a strange looking swag bag and a device in his hand. I tracked from the exit down the hill and across a small bridge leading to a long stretch of
Ground/water zero
Lindley Park. It parallels a major road, sitting between it and a creek that winds through a small meadow. There's a nice bike path through this open area and lots of green grass. I began to trek through the grass along the bank. To get to ground zero took me into the woods and down to the stream. There it was! Sure enough, there were some rock outcroppings and some tiny waterfalls. I set about gathering the answer to the required questions. I learned about the two principle agents of change. One is weathering caused by the mechanics of water flowing over rock or freezing causing the rock to expand or contract, thus cracking. The other is chemical,
where erosion of some parts of the rock leave pools, holes and channels. The cache write-up taught me all this. In order to get credit for the find I had to determine which of these agents of change were at work and how in the rocks I was standing on. I snapped some pictures and was soon on my way. What a nice place. To think that water has been wearing down and smoothing away these outcroppings for thousands of years. The cache owner is a local high school science teacher. He has several earthcaches in our area. Each teaches an insightful lesson
in geology. Thanks go out to MarkCase for his geocaches. I look forward to finding more of his earthcaches in the area. As for this earthcache, I guess resistance is futile, the rocks will wear away and the course of the stream will change over time.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Geocaching and the Fall Leaves on the Blue Ridge Parkway

sumajhuarmi points out the cache
sumajhuarmi and I set out early in the morning on our 2-hour drive from Greensboro, NC to the high country and the fall colors. We drove up to North Wilkesboro where we took a back road up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I think next week will be peak color for the trees in this area. Nonetheless, we saw some brilliant color and beautiful views along the parkway. Our first stop was to find Southern Sun (GC4FV83), a cache just off the parkway. We turned in a small
The narrows
access road that curved sharply and became a one-lane road traveling away from the parkway. This was a nice cache, even with the difficulty we found in getting the cache down. It was suspended up in the air by fishing line that had gotten hung up. With the help of some old branches I was able to bat it down. No damage to the cache. Unfortunately there was no way to get the thing back up so I left it suspended but hanging out of view behind a small tree.

We headed north along the parkway admiring the beauty all about us. The next cache was just off
the highway in a small community. I apologize but I've forgotten the name of the town. What stood out was their motorcycle motel, catering to bikers and the little think that said it was a jail and wedding chapel. Jailbreak (GC37JGV) was a nice cache but the jail/wedding chapel wasn't much to behold. Hey, who can complain on a beautiful, cloudless day like this!

Doughton Park, thanks to Photomat28
Back to the parkway and headed north to Only the Narrow Shall Pass/Echo Cache (GC46CKF). It was a simple cache. The joy of it was the narrows you had to pass to get there. We drive a Ford Focus Hatchback so getting through the underpass was easy for us. Many wouldn't make it through.

As we traveled north to Sparta we came through the Doughton Park area. What beauty! We made Sparta our lunch stop before heading north and then turning south on highway 221.

Virginia Creeper mural
We pushed on towards Jefferson, NC. Our goal was to get the cache called Virginia Creeper (GCK89Z). While I looked for the cache sumajhuarmi took a photo of the wall mural of this famous train from days gone past. Then she joined me in our failed attempt to find this micro.

West Jefferson is a nice little town! We headed out along the river, coming to an area called Fleetwood. I looked for a cache nearby with no measure of success. This was one of the most beautiful valleys I've been in. The view up and down the river bottom was gorgeous. We even found a picked over pumpkin patch along the way.

So many caches to find, so little time! We had a great time on the parkway and in the area of West Jefferson. We can't wait for next fall to visit more of these caches.

Appreciate to Photomat28 for assistance with one photo. For rights see