I am a proud

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Smith River Fieldale Trail

Smith River Fieldale Trail near Martinsville, Virginia
Just a week ago today I was riding the trails at the Bear Cabin, the subject of my previous post. Yesterday and today I had the opportunity to do it again. The pastors of our church gathered at the Bear Cabin for a short retreat and for a time of looking to the future. Add to this some time on the ATVs out on the trails. It was fun. We wrapped up today in order to head back to North Carolina. One of the pastors came with me in order to see what geocaching is. We headed over to the Smith River Fieldale Trails, hosting a collection of riverside geocaches of various sizes.

On the Smith River Fieldale Trail
We parked at the first parking lot (not the recommended area) so as to work the caches from west to east and then return. The trail runs along the Smith River for 2.4 miles. We found 7 out of the 8 caches on the trail. As we walked I answered all my friend's question about geocaching, how it was started and where, how it works and I demonstrated how to find a cache using the GPSr. From there it was his job to make the finds. Several caches were good enough for me to give them a favorite status. These were Snow Bank (GC23XVP) and Cachefishing (GC1PA13), both by the same cache owner. The first took us up a steep embankment. Because of signal bounce I ended up going
Learning about caching
above the cache and then being surprised to find it down the hill about 50 feet. That was 50 feet of huffing and puffing I didn't need to do. It was a large ammo can with lots of swag. We almost tumbled down the hill to move on to the next cache. It was the other favorite cache mentioned above. I knew it had to have something to do with fishing by the title. Sure enough it did. I found the tell tale sign that it was and followed that to the cache. After signing these logs we were off to further adventure, sweat and dirt as we worked our way to the last cache on the trail. It was a great caching afternoon with my muggle friend. He got to see the different types of caches and to experience a terrain 4 cache at the same time.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Hermit Story

Along the Basin Trail

Boardwalk along the Basin Trail
We love our summer beach vacation. This year because several family members are taking a Christmas vacation out of the country and needed to save up vacation, we cut our beach trip down to three days instead of a week. We found a nice condo at Carolina Beach, NC within half a block of the Sea Ranch Motel, where my wife always stayed with her family growing up. It was like old times for her. We enjoyed the sun and the surf for several days.

I broke away from the family for a short while one day to go down to the end of the peninsula to visit a series of geocaches called the Hermit's Hangout Series. It was located along the Basin Trail in the Fort Fisher Recreation Area. I parked at the designated parking, just 100 meters from the trail head and the first cache. It was 5 p.m. in the afternoon, sun shining and a nice sea breeze blowing. The trail began in the tall shrubbery and trees that grow in the sand along the coast. It then broke out into the open and followed a sandy road for a while, then darted into the marsh grass. At two points I was traveling on a raised wooden boardwalk over swamp but out in the open sun. The trail ended at the inlet. Along the trail there were several geocaches. I'll post one that was typical of them all. For instance, Hermit's Hangout Series: "End of the Trail" (GC4P01A). The caches were mostly micros and there was nothing particularly special about them. What was special was the walk, the wildlife (I saw several bucks), the hermit crabs, and the Hermit Hang Out. When I first started out on the hike I thought that the series was named after the numerous hermit crabs that scurried along the path as you approached. Not the case. There is a story here.

Back in 1973 some teenagers found Robert Harrill's body in his makeshift home. Robert had become famous, even known as the state's #2 tourist attraction for a time. He had moved from the hills of western North Carolina at age 62 back in 1955 to get away from it all. For the next 17 years he lived a hermit's life, at least in the sense of leaving behind a job, a home ownership, a vehicle, and other normal responsibilities. He found an old World War II bunker and turned it into a home on the North Carolina coast. He lived off what he caught and what was given to him by visitors. One of the caches dropped me off right close to the bunker. At the bunker there was a plaque left by the Hermit Society and a large information sign telling about Harrill's life. Check out the following link for more of Robert Harrill's history. When I got back to the condo and told my wife about the experience she said she remembered as a child hearing about the hermit. This is just another example of how geocaching takes you places you don't expect to go to but are blessed to learn about!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Bear Cabin

August, just before school starts back, is a great time to get away. Most of our family broke away from routine to visit a cabin in south central Virginia. We call it the Bear Cabin as the dominant animal in the cabin and in the mountains around the cabin is the wild Black Bear. We departed home in High Point, NC on our journey stopping periodically to grab a few caches along our route. I stuck with simple Park and Grab caches. The area we went to was so far back in the countryside that there were no caches anywhere close by. Most of the land is private and mountainous. We stayed at a beautiful cabin big enough for our extended family. The main activity for the vacation was something we'd never done before: All Terrain Vehicles and mountain trails. We hit the trails and spent hours riding them. It was great! We saw deer, wild turkey and most impressive, one wild black bear. The owner puts out corn for the deer. Bears go for the corn too. Fortunately bears are as afraid of us as we are of them. He took off as soon as our jeep came into sight. He could really run!

Running low on fuel for the ATVs gave me an excuse to get back out to civilization and hide a couple of simple caches nearby. I was glad to see that several people found the first one published quickly. My coordinates were off so thankfully the second finder provided a better set of coordinates from which I made changes. There's nothing special about these two caches, just that they are in a an area that is beautiful and will remind me of our wonderful stay there every time someone finds them.. I hope we can go back again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

I've been off the blog way too long. I'll try to ease back in so the blog will be short on words and bigger on photos. Chimney Rock State Park was a great visit. We found the several geocaches at the park, climbed the rock and walked to the waterfalls. Afterwards we followed our daughter's advice to go to Hershey's Ice Cream down in town. That was a treat. Check out the caches at this park if you get the opportunity. They are: Chimney Rock Park Geology (GC1H7EB), Chimney Rock (GCG0PP) and Hickory Nut Falls Earthcache (GC2AWG2)