I've been geocaching in Danville, VA, countless times; in fact, I've cached out the town more times than I can remember, only to have a wealth of new caches pop up, bringing me back again and again. Whereas I once took Danville to be a rather drab, uninviting place, I've taken quite a shine to it— all thanks to caching, which has introduced me to countless locations I would never have otherwise experienced.
Like all too many southwestern and south central Virginia towns, the industries that were Danville's lifeblood for at least a century — textiles, tobacco, and railroads — in the 1980s and 90s, packed up and left, thanks in large part to NAFTA. Though it hasn't completely bounced back from its hardest times, based on everything I've seen over the past few years, the city is well on its way to becoming a thriving center of commerce again. To me personally, above and beyond all things, Danville has an appealing, multidimensional character. There are several great parks with lots of hiking and biking trails; the beautiful Riverwalk along the Dan River, which extends from Anglers Park, east of town, into the heart of the city; a sizable, picturesque old warehouse district that is in the process of being redeveloped, with cobblestone streets, scenic river views, shops, bistros, offices, and historic sites; and — only minutes outside the city limits — countless miles of beautiful countryside that embody Piedmont Virginia's classic rural charm. Danville does have quite a rich history. It was, briefly, the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. If you listen to The Band's original recording of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (not Joan Baez's inexplicably reworded version), you'll hear a reference to General Stoneman's cavalry destroying the rail line that was the main supply line between Danville and General Robert E. Lee's forces in Petersburg. You may also have heard the song "The Wreck of the Old 97," about a hellish train wreck that happened in Danville in 1903. (There is also a geocache commemorating this event.)
|There's someone at the door....|
Today, I had to head to Martinsville to offer my mom some physical assistance, and I did so by way of Danville, where several new caches awaited me. I'm happy to report that today's haul pretty much exemplified what caching is all about. There was a challenging tree climb; a hike in pouring rain through some mighty rugged woodland terrain — which I ended up making more rugged than it should have been, thanks to my GPS getting ornery and leading me all over the hills and hollers before settling on a stable ground zero; and a little trek through the old warehouse district, where I found a cache called "Forgotten Door" (GC5PKJ2) because, well...see the photos for yourself. It's pretty much an old, forgotten door in a secluded, all-but-unseen alcove in a section of warehouses along the riverfront. I don't know whether this particular building is fated for total refurbishing or what, but I have a feeling no one ought to mess with it. From the noises I heard on the other side of the door, I started looking for a sign reading "Abandon all hope, ye who enter," but I couldn't find one. I'm guessing it must be around there somewhere.
To end my all-too-brief run through Danville today, I stopped at Tokyo Grill for lunch, where I've often had some pretty decent sushi. Today's was absolutely awesome and though the place was jam-packed for lunch, the service was impeccable. Then it was on to Martinsville. I will say this — there are a number of highly skilled, enthusiastic geocachers in Danville who have done bang-up jobs on their wares. I hope there's plenty more to come from them.
|Do you see the cache? I wish I could have had a photo taken of me up in this tree. I would look pretty small.|