|"Have you seen the cache? Where's that confounded cache?"|
Why, yes, I could become accustomed to spending whatever retirement might lie in my future geocaching the days away, as do numerous retirees of my acquaintance (he said with a little dash of envy). Lord have mercy, it's so nice to have a day off work that's not a national holiday, as such things are pretty rare for me. (I have a fair bank of vacation days to take each year, so no complaints on that count, but that's a whole 'nuther story.) Because I do have some time off available, I opted to take an extra day after the Fourth of July holiday, and things worked out such that I was able to get in some quality geocaching with my friend Bridget (a.k.a. Suntigres) over in Chapel Hill and Apex, NC, a few miles east of here. "What kind of quality?" you ask. The not-quite-run-of-the-mill-climb-the-fucking-Great-Wall-of-Death kind of quality, that's what kind — as you might deduce from the upper left-hand action shot that Bridget took of the old dude.
Damn, that was fun.
|Ah, there it is!|
I spent my 50th birthday — oh, a good many years ago — climbing a big old retaining wall not unlike the one you see here, and in the years since, I've enjoyed going after any number of "extreme" caches. Many of them look more dangerous than they really are, though every now and then you do run into one that might kill you if you're not careful. Still, I tell you, there's a lot to be said for getting the blood pumping and facing some little fear or another so you can get your signature on the cache's log sheet. For me, geocaching has been the best means of getting over a couple of phobias, most specifically, arachnophobia (see "Face Your Phobia," May 18, 2015") and acrophobia. It isn't necessarily that the fear itself is diminished, only its power to influence choices. There are healthy fears and then there are irrational fears — and, I suppose, those that lie somewhere in the middle. I think it's that midrange where caching is the most psychologically beneficial.
Then we have caches that are just plain cool, such as a trio of hides we found today, which require the finder to go to the coordinates listed on the cache page at geocaching.com, find a QR code somewhere in the environment, scan it, and then seek the final cache container based on the information the code inputs to your smart phone. There were three of these on our route today, hidden by master "Nittany Dave" Coffman. Our favorite was one where the QR code downloads a video to your phone, and you have to find the cache container by following the route that the video reveals.
|Bridget and some weird-looking fluff|
One of the other joys of geocaching is finding great restaurants. I mean, after a hard day on the caching trail, one works up an appetite bigger than Berwyn, IL, and today was no exception. Our find today was MacGregor Draft House in Apex. It's an unassuming little compartment in a shopping area off U.S. 64, with pretty much zero in the ambiance department, but they do have a bison and brisket burger on the menu. Read that again. They have a bison and brisket burger. How does one go into a place with a bison and brisket burger and not order one? So I did, I got one. I shall wax poetic here and tell you that this was one motherfucking good burger. To cancel out the effect of all that dead animal, I got as my side item a cucumber salad, and it was so-so — plenty of cukes and vegetables in there, but they were swimming in vinegar and thus too tangy for my palate. But they have a bison and brisket burger, which they prepare to order, and I would be hard-pressed to recall when I've had anything better in the realm of burgers. Recently, Hop's Burger Bar, here in Greensboro, was voted the best burger place in North Carolina. Well, I've been to Hop's, and to be honest, compared to MacGregor's bison and brisket burger, their burgers are kind of like clumps of old cat hair that came out from under the couch. So while I can't speak about the other items on MacGregor's menu, I can say that the bison and brisket burger is one motherfucking good burger. You should probably get one.
All righty then. Thank you for your time.