Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of Buckwheat, Catalpas, and Geocaches

Mrs Death and I, along with our friends, the Albaneses (a.k.a. Team Alb), said the hell with economic crises, hit the road a good hour before dawn, and set out for Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, VA. For us, it's been a longstanding annual October tradition to go up to the mill, have buckwheat pancakes for breakfast at the little restaurant, wander about enjoying the beautiful mountain setting, and grab our Halloween pumpkins from a little produce stand on highway 58. We did all these things, and this year we had the added bonus of hunting several geocaches.

One of our stops was near the little community of Critz, at the R. J. Reynolds family homestead. There's a cache there named "The Old Catalpa," a reference to the rather imposing tree that stands next to the Reynolds' house. It's a gnarly old beast that could just about stand in for the mean tree in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, and while we were fortunate enough not to encounter it, judging from the photos taken by other cachers, it's also home to one of the biggest wolf spiders ever to lumber across the face of the planet. Big, big freakin' wolf spider. We ignored the piles of human bones strewn around the base of the tree and went on to find the cache, but when we heard trees falling in the distance, we got out of there fast, just in case the eight-legged freak was onto us.

I started going to Mabry Mill with my family (and sometimes other friends) when I was a wee young 'un, and I always enjoyed it; in my teenage years, it became just another boring family activity; but now, we really look forward to going every year. This outing was particularly enjoyable, as geocaching really do make everything mo better.

Even economic crises.

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