I am a proud

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Visit to the Home of Bush's Baked Beans....and Duke, of course

I tried to get to the recipe but couldn't
We enjoyed our recent trip to Tennessee. Of course, this meant looking for geocaches along the way. We decided to visit Pigeon Forge for a while before continuing on our trip to Athens, TN to visit family. As we were headed south off of  I-40 we suddenly came upon the town of Chestnut, TN. Suddenly there was the sign and a huge factory. It was the Bush's factory. We just had to stop along the way. There's a nice little museum, gift shop and a restaurant. Up and down the road are some nice caches worth your visit. I didn't see one dedicated to this famous site nor to the dog that wants to sell the secret family recipe. The closest cache to Bush's was JCPS Chestnut Hill 4 (GC39MRJ). We tried to get the secret recipe but gave it our best shot.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Claustrophobia Anyone?

Welcome to the Big Water Bottle
One of my favorite local caches is Grande Garrafa de Agua (GC5300Q), located near the Palladium Shopping Area in eastern High Point, NC. This is located close to where I live. When I read the cache description I thought I might be getting into a tight situation. When I drove into the area my GPSr almost zeroed out, signifying that I was almost over the GZ. But this is open fields and a road. I'm looking for a regular size cache. How could it be?

This is pretty much one way right now
It was what it was. The GZ was near a rain drain along the road. It had to be one of those claustrophobia caches. I head for the lowest ground around. Sure enough, the drain pipe. Out with the flashlight. I didn't want to bump my head nor did I wish to crawl and get my knees wet. Hunched over I could probably make it. There was a little light at the end of the tunnel. Or was that really the end of the tunnel? I set out after storing my GPSr so it wouldn't end up in the water. After about 100 feet I came out into a box-like area with a manhole cover over head and a little light. There were several options now. Straight ahead or off at an angle to the left or right? I chose to go straight ahead. I pushed on, even with the pain in my back. Finally, another box-like area with a drain overhead. I could hear a vehicle pass overhead at times. What if I were to get stuck in here? What if I were to pass out and no one knew where I was? May this wasn't such a good idea. No one knows here I am. Maybe I should re-think this. But then, I'm almost there. On I went, just a little further and there it was. I found my pen, got the container opened, signed it and began my trek back to the open world. I must admit, it's better to have this one off of my cache list and behind me. Thanks to the cache owners for the adventure! Now what?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Garden City Beach, S.C.

Man, it's been a while since I've posted. Here's another run at recording my geocaching adventures.

On the hunt
Street Fishing
This summer's family beach vacation was fun. We went to Garden City Beach south of Myrtle Beach, S.C.. Littleman2010 announced he wanted to go caching. He hasn't been interested in it in a long time. I guest being at the beach and wanting to do something different got a hold of him. He and his uncle took off with me to find a few caches in the area. We had a good, hot, sweaty time just south of Garden City. One cache that he liked a lot was Le Petit Nichoir (GC2JF38). The picture shows you just how obvious the cache was and how easy to find it was. We hit several more easy caches so that Littleman's attention wouldn't wane.

A fun thing happened to us. We were staying in a rented beach house a block from the beach with a backyard backed up to the inlet waterway. The tide would rise and fall. In the evening the water would come up, flow back through the street drains and then flood the street up to six inches. Littleman2010 took advantage of the opportunity to do a little fishing. Note the clothes pin as a hook.

Better off geocaching. More catch there!

Our view from the back at high tide

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alamanace Battleground, North Carolina

Alamance Battle Monument
Today I went to a special event. It was the 243th anniversary of the battle of Alamance. Here the forces of the British colonial government engaged in battle the of local farmers in what is called the Regulator rebellion. In 1771, just a few years before the Revolution began, the first shots for independence were fired here in this battle involving about 3000 men. The British forces won. Yet, many of those who fought on the British colonial side would join the American revolutionary forces six years later.

Today hundreds of school children from all over the county were here for reenactments and demonstrations in colonial handcrafts.

There was one cache just off the state property. It is called Just Hanging Around #8 (GCMECZ). it was located in a tree near parked school buses. I know the drivers were wondering  what I was looking for. I finally found the cache and was on my way.

The Battleground

One of the executed Regulators

50th Anniversary cache/cake

Wedding Chapel

Alamance Monument
Driving back to High Point through the country I found more caches. My favorite was 50th Wedding Anniversary (GC4AGMX). It was hidden pretty open and in view behind the wedding chapel. I couldn't have asked for a better day off weather-wise.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Rattlesnake Summit

Rattlesnake Mountain Trail (shown in red)
One of our favorite get away places is Ridgecrest Center in Ridgecrest, NC. It sits right at the continental divide. As you climb up the mountain along I-40 West bound you crest the ridge and there it is over to the right side of the Interstate. We took a trip to Tennessee a few weeks back but planned to stop off at Ridgecrest for a night on our way back. We cached our way up to Ridgecrest, checked in and then took a few minutes to consider whether the weather was going to hold or not. The last 30 minutes of our drive put us in a steady drizzle. It had been my plan to climb Rattlesnake Summit to find three geocaches on the ridge connecting to the summit but with the weather looking menacing, I was reconsidering. Fortunately the weather looked like it might clear
The Cross thanks to Jessica
up so off we went. We drove up to the tennis courts, cutting half a mile off of our hike. From there we grabbed the trail head. The hike consisted of a gentle climb along a well prepared trail. I got a little turned around on the trails at the lake. Once I got straightened out there (don't always trust the signage) we were again on our way towards the first cache. As we climbed we were ever cognizant of the threat of bears. Just that morning there were reports of bears rummaging around the retreat center after garbage. We made noise and talked loudly in hopes that any bear in the area would hear us coming and leave before we ever saw it.

We climbed to the ridge line where the trail took a sharp 90 degree turn to left allowing for a more gradual ascent towards the summit. The closest cache was just above us some 60 feet so I couldn't resist climbing up to look for it. sumajhuarmi stayed on the trail and kept checking on me. I was just beyond her view. I couldn't find the cache but found another trail above the cache. I gave up, came down to where sumajhuarmi was and we continued up the trail. The summit was only about 600 feet up the trail. The last couple hundred feet was rock outcropping but it was easy. We made it to the top but couldn't see anything for the clouds. We set out to find. Rattlesnake Mountain Summit (GC4ERVJ). We searched the area until finally sumajhuarmi pointed out a reference that might help us. Sure enough, it was there. Just as I was kneeling down to sign the log sheet I heard from maybe 15 feet above me at the summit (also beyond some bushes) a loud hop like a wild animal. At first it startled me, then I realized it was another climb. I hollered back, probably surprising her as much as she'd surprised me. It was one of the camp counselors at the girls camp below. She'd taken off on her own to climb the summit and thought she was alone on the summit. Surprise! I managed to hide the cache without her being any the wiser. We talked a few minutes, then headed back down the trail. We thought we'd look for the cache I had not found. As we walked down we found the intersecting trail that passed just above the missing cache. Within no time sumajhuarmi had My Left Foot (GC4J3XR) in hand. We pushed on up the trail a short distance more to look for the other shoe. That's right. The next cache was Get Off on the Right Foot (GC4J1K9), placed by the same cacher. Again, sumajhuarmi came up with the cache looking through the rhododendron. All done. The sun broke out and we started down the mountain back to Ridgecrest.
Laural Bluff Lodging at Ridgecrest thanks to Jessica

Ridgecrest from I-40 thanks to Zepfanman
When we got back to the room I logged my finds and out of curiosity checked to see how far we were from some previous caches we had found on this mountain. I posted that adventure on April 7th 2013 entitled Geocaching the Lookout Mountain Trail, Montreat, NC. I was so surprised to find that I was practically at one of the key caches in that March 2013 climb. The climb from the Montreat side was significantly harder (and provided some vistas making it well worth the climb) than the Ridgecrest climb. I also noticed that some fellow cachers have populated the area with some new caches. Anyone wishing to find these caches should contact the Ridgecrest Retreat Center to climb from their side. They might let you. I don't know. For no questions asked, check out the April 7th post and go from the Montreat side. It's all public entry from that side and gets you to the same area. Happy caching!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fort Fisher, some history and a geocache

Fort Fisher, thanks to Suess
Carolina Beach is one of our favorite beaches in North Carolina. My wife was raised going there every summer for two weeks with her family. We continued the tradition for a while but now kind of hop around to different beaches when family can arrange to go and rent a house. This year we made it back to Carolina Beach and all the fun that goes with it. We hit Big Daddy's Seafood at Kure Beach, the boardwalk at Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher.

Fort Fisher is a place that has always captured my attention because family tradition is that my great-great-great grandfather Henry Stephen King was a Confederate soldier there. In a history produced by Sampson County, NC the family of Henry Stephen King is featured. Apparently family members claimed that he was there for the fall of the fort in January 1865.

Fort Fisher thanks to Suess
My research over the years does indicate that he enlisted in the Confederate Army in Company C, 5th Cavalry of the 63rd Regiment of Confederate NC Troops. Muster rolls say that he was discharged due to a disability within a few months. This was actually before the unit finished its boot training and was officially organized and deployed. I can't just ignore family tradition so I continue to believe that he could be among men conscripted or who volunteered late in the war to fill vacancies. I don't know.

Fort Fisher still stands with its sand dune defenses. Some are washing away into the sea through erosion. There is a nice museum worth your time. For more information on this battle click here.

I pushed on from the museum area up to the end of the peninsula, out to Battery Buchanan. This was the artillery battery located close to the mouth of the Cape Fear River, positioned to defend that river against invading Union ships. I found Fort Fisher Cache (GC37C) placed in 2001. You can tell from the short number that it is an early cache. I sat out from the public parking at the end of the peninsula and tracked right out to the cache with no muggle interference at all. The find was straight forward and easy, just a little poking around in the prickly bushes. It was an easy find on top of the overlook and behind the gun positions. What a view of the scene of some pretty serious fighting so long ago. Thanks to the cache owner for bringing me here.

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.