We finally found those #*&% rocks!

Today's Geocache

    Hey, Rich!

    Well, you’ve done it again! Summers just wouldn’t be complete anymore without days of squinting through a scope, poring over aerial photos and topo maps, and hiking over and around mountains in order to find one of your infamous #*&% caches. I was honestly looking forward to attacking your latest offering, but due to work schedules and weather (as usual) we had to postpone our explorations several times.

    Last Saturday we finally felt ready to attempt a scouting mission. We had already made several trips to various points where we could view the rocks from afar, and we’d come home with data that would, we hoped, pinpoint the location of the rocks. We weren’t quite so lucky (we really need to buy a surveyor’s transit!) but three particular spots looked like strong possibilities. On Saturday, we hiked toward our first “guess.” All went well until our trail deadended at an overgrown area and rocky cliff with 0.18 miles to go. We backtracked to a slightly more open area, but a bushwhack of 0.25 miles was equally unappealing. Figuring that your #*&% caches are usually easily accessible via trails, we assumed we had done something wrong. We retraced our steps to the main trail and hiked another mile before we determined that this trail wasn’t taking us anywhere near our “guess.” The hike was, at least, a great nature walk: we saw four toads, a woodcock, the mother lode of blackberries, and at least several dozen different types of fungi along the way.

    Today was a beautiful day and we couldn’t resist a try at another of our “guesses,” even though by now we were certain bushwhacking would be involved. We rode in on mountain bikes, which meant we arrived at the bushwhack point quickly, easily, and with energy to spare. And so began the scratching, scraping, tripping, slipping, and cursing everyone has come to associate with Rich and Zhanna when they’re bushwhacking. We found the rocks, all right, but we wanted to be up on top, and we were at the bottom. The view was worth the blood we shed to get there, though! Now, where’s that cache? Oh, I guess we have more work to do.

    Once we located and then worked our way to the general hiding spot (and a very neat one it was) we found the container easily. It was in great shape, of course, with a blank log sheet, a faint scent of perfume, and … huh? No $20 bill? No $5 bill? No $1 coin? No First Finder’s prize of any kind? I suppose we’ll have to live with the satisfaction of being the first to find the #*&% rocks, the beauty of the view on such a clear afternoon, spotting three deer from above, and the chance to spend such a perfect day exploring the woods together. I can live with that!

    Our triumph up at the top didn’t make the bushwhack down any easier. With itchy, bruised, scratched, and burning shins we finally retrieved our bikes and rode slowly back on the trail, stopping just once to fill up a container with blackberries. Later, a Mexican supper and lots of beer made the afternoon complete!

    I wish we’d had more time today to explore the area. If we can find an easier way in, we will return to discover more of the secrets of the rocks! Thanks for providing us with another intriguing test of our wits, sanity, and stamina!

    Zhanna and ~Rich in NEPA~

    PS Do we get bonus points for not using Google Earth? icon_smile_cool

    Found it! More gory details to follow later … after we recover from the ordeal and have something for supper. icon_smile_big

    ~Rich in NEPA~ and Zhanna!

    Back again now, working on the photos. Zhanna will upload them with her log. Just want to add that this cache hunt was a lot of fun and the area is really fascinating. How do you find these places??? Upside: hiking, biking, great views. Downside: short but serious bushwhacking (Ugh!). There must be an easier way to get there.

    ~Rich in NEPA~ and Zhanna!