Geocaching Alone

After our Cave experience we drove up into the woods to the property we own on the edge of the Blackwater Forest.

The Island King and his brother wanted to do some bush hogging on the property and since the Island King has a new gun they wanted to get in some target practice as well.

The boys wanted to stay with Dad and Uncle T doing "man stuff" and I had a list of caches in the area that I wanted to find so I left a "flight/cache plan" with them and off I went.

I had a list of 7 caches that I was sure I could find before returning at dark to pick up the boys.

Off I went enjoying the silence (I don't hear much of that)and the beautiful woods. It turns out silence is only good for so long and then it gets really quiet.

I've never been caching alone in the woods before.

I've grabbed a few micros while I was out and about in town but I've never just gotten into the truck alone, shifted into 4WD and drove off.

I was confident that I would have no trouble navigating the woods or taking care of myself (I've spent my fair share of time target practicing too LOL)so I was feeling good.

Being in the woods rejuvenates me.

The first cache I was after was Not Among The Living.

I love old cemeteries so I was excited to see this one. It's a small cemetery along a dirt road leading to the Yellow River and apparently most if not all of the people buried here are Native Americans. Several years ago an Eagle Scout troup came in and cleaned it up some and erected 2 wooden shelters in memory of those buried here.

Great! I found cache #1 of the 7 on my list.

It's time to head farther down the road to a boat launch on the river. This cache is Let's Go Fishin and according to the log the cache is down a path and then off in the woods behind the park.

I come around a curve and have reached the end of the road - literally.

There is a small park and a boat launch but you wouldn't be launching a boat much bigger than a canoe there.

It was a really cool spot though. It looks like a small finger of water that must lead out into the Yellow River.

There were several trucks with empty trailers so obviously you can put in a small bass or john boat here.

The water was coal black and there were lots of cypress stumps and huge old trees growing in and around the water.

I wandered down to the water to take some pictures and I came up on 2 men and a woman who were hanging out in the trees around the boat launch.

I was standing quite a ways from them and my camera was not pointed even close to them but the woman yelled "Don't Be Takin No #$#%#% Pictures!" with such venom that it really startled me.

Hmm - I may have been pretty gullible regarding The Cave but I'm not too dumb to understand that these people didn't want anyone with a camera anywhere near them.

The woman was so incredibly hostile that my first thought was that I've found 3 of America's Most Wanted.

Needless to say I didn't need pictures of the water and I really had no desire to go over and explain to them that they weren't going to be in the pictures anyway so I turned around and walked back to the truck.

Now it's time to go and find the cache.

Luckily the trail to the cache was on the other side of the parking lot and behind some picnic shelters so there was a lot of distance between me and the group of photo hating hostiles.

They seemed to melt back into the trees when I walked back to the truck but I was still really conscious of them being there and knowing I was off in the woods.

The trail looked wide and clear so I decided to give it a shot - all the while watching my back.

I got a short distance down the trail and realized that now I needed to bushwack off the trail and into the woods about 30 yards.

I'm still paying very close attention to my surroundings and no one has followed me so off I go into the woods.

Bushwacking is much easier in the winter!

The foliage was so thick I just had to tuck my head in and plow on through.

I was really amazed at the size of the mosquitoes in there. I saw several that were bigger than small birds.

I bushwacked around for quite a while, never really able to get a good read on my GPS. I never could find ground zero and the bush was so thick that in order to find the cache I needed to be able to zero in a little better.

I was also very aware of the unfriendly people down by the boat launch so after 30 minutes or so I decided to chalk this one up as a Did Not Find and head on to the next cache on my list.

As I came back out of the woods I noticed the hostile group watching me. They stood at the edge of the tree line and watched until my truck was out of sight.

I don't know what was up with them and I'm really glad I didn't have to find out.

Whew! I'm safely back in the truck and off to find the next cache on my list - What Power You Have.

Obviously this would be a cache along a power line and sure enough I came to a power line with a trail leading down the side of it.

The GPS tells me I'm close so off the road and onto the trail I go. This cache was actually an easy grab and go. I parked about 5 feet from ground zero and there stuck in an old post was a cammoed medicine bottle.

I don't usually have much luck with caches marked "this should be a quick grab and go" so I was feeling pretty proud of myself until I realized the cache was wedged in the hole in the post so tight I couldn't get it out.

I poked and picked and prodded but that bottle was stuck tight.

There was some barbed wire around part of the post and somehow I managed to slice my finger wide open but I was not giving up.

I was just about to get a knife out of the truck and make the hole in the post a little bigger when the bottle popped loose and I had it.

Bleeding but proud I signed the log, put the bottle back in the post and went in search of a band aid.

So far I've only hunted 3 of the 7 caches on my list and it's starting to get late.

I realized there was no way I would be able to grab all 7 so I decided to hunt one more that was at an old abandoned gas station on the way back to pick up the family.

No Gas Here is another cache listed as quick to find and since I was feeling confident after driving right up to the last cache I figured I would make a quick grab and call it a day.

I drove to the gas station and parked within a few feet of the cache.

The clue was Blue Water and there in the grass was the water valve box covered with a blue metal cover.

Now, I remember as a kid lifting the lids to those things and they were always filled with roaches or bugs of some kind so I stood next to this one for a minute debating on whether I should lift the lid or not.

Desire to find the cache won out and I lifted the blue cover a little bit.

Yuk! Yuk! Yuk!

I guess some things never change because there inside the box were about 8 big black beetles.

I could see the cache but I would have to get past the beetles to get to it. It took less than a second for me to decide that this was one log I wasn't going to sign today.

I'll have to bring the Island King back for this one and let him brave the beetles to get the cache.

The sun had set and so it was time to go back to where the boys were so we could pack up and head for home.

I enjoyed my day in the woods but I learned that caching just isn't as fun alone as it is when you're with someone else who enjoys discovering new places, 4 wheeling down dirt trails and beating around in the brush.

It's also nice to have someone to watch your back when you run into those hostile camera shy people.