Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm Not Sure When I Became a Masochist....

Actually, yes I am. It was about the time I discovered that with a hand-held GPS, I could go out into the woods and find cool little boxes of crap. Since yesterday, I'd been feeling none-too-swell—headache, lethargy, somewhat feverish. Figured it might be a bug coming on. Well, by late this afternoon, I started feeling a bit more spry, so what did I do? I went out to Mackintosh Park in eastern Guilford County and hiked the three-mile loop trail. With all the side trips and backtracking to hunt the thirteen caches out yonder, it was easily four miles plus.

It's pretty hot and humid out there; no big deal. But as I near the farthest point, the sky darkens and thunder begins booming in the distance. I walk faster. After a time, the clouds break and the sun comes out again—ever so briefly. Then the thunder returns with renewed vigor. Mercy! Quite the artillery battle going on upstairs—and getting constantly closer. Sky turning darker. It's like night in the woods, and by now, I'm hustling to one cache after another, finding them lickety-split, and frantically signing the logs, hoping that maybe...just maybe...I might beat the nasty storm all too evidently on the way. Ah, well; I have a poncho in my backpack. I can at least keep my phone, GPS, camera, and most of me dry. So I press on.

Finally...down to one more cache on the list. But the most recent logs indicate that several hunters couldn't find it. Then, within a tenth of a mile of the target...oh, hell...the bottom drops out. Rain comes down in sheets and buckets, with a sound like a tornado. Lightning flashing and thunder booming. I'm so close to the parking lot now—less than a quarter mile—breaking out the poncho seems pointless.

Fortunately, I manage to stuff my electronic gadgets into the backpack and close it up before anything is ruined. Me, though...well, by the time I see the Rodan Mobile in the distance, I'm doing my all-time best impersonation of a drowned rat.

Well, at least I grabbed an even dozen geocaches, which was what it was all about anyway....

And an afternoon like this one prompts me to count my blessings that I can come out of the rain and into a nice dry house. A house filled with cats.

But...oh, God. I'm very late getting home, the missus is asleep, and the cats haven't been fed.

I have almost recovered from the stampede....


Three miles or one? Come on, don't be silly....


A nice view across the lake


Shortcut? (Snicker)


One mile down.


Near the midpoint.


Two miles down.


Getting dark and kind of eerie.


A nice little fellow.


Quarter mile to go. Almost there....


At last...the drowned rat reaches the end....

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