Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Spooky Trail!

Actually, it's not terribly spooky, at least in daylight, but it sure does have some atmosphere. The new Fieldale Smith River Trail, just northwest of Martinsville, VA, has just become one of my favorite places anywhere. The grand opening of the new mile-plus stretch was yesterday, and today, I walked out to its end and back—twice. Oh yeah, a little sore. (But it's a good kind of sore.) Hid three new geocaches out there—a couple with spooky themes, since the sites overlook the old Koehler warehouse on the Smith River, which used to double as the Jaycees' haunted castle at Halloween. I got to work it several times during my teens and early twenties, designing some of the chambers of horrors and playing the roving monsters that scared the poop outa the patrons. Good times, those.

Now I figure if cachers are out yonder hunting and hear a bunch of eerie howling commencing, it's probably because they've disturbed the evil, hungry living dead that frequent the area. (Or maybe it's just somebody's dog. But who'd want to take the chance of finding out?)

Some of the biggest, oldest trees I've ever seen are out on that trail. Several islands parallel the banks (I hid a cache on one of them). And near the trail's end (at least until it is extended farther), I found what appears to be the place where old gas grills go to die. Yeah, for real; it was a clearing filled with several old gas grills (one of which was apparently used to cook golf balls—see photo below), some camping chairs, a fire pit, and a mason jar of what appeared to be peach moonshine (possibly older than I am).

So it was a really neat afternoon. Got in four-plus miles of hiking, found some caches, and planted a few. Plus the writer's instincts got a good workout. I foresee a new tale in the works in the very near future...
A special shout-out to the Pritchetts and the Albaneses for their hospitality this weekend. Couldn't do without such excellent folks. Thank you.

1 comment:

Going with the flow said...

Did you manage to stay dry hopping over to plant your island geocache?

You've got yourself a great shot for a new Facebook profile, with your geocaching cap. You even look a bit scared there yourself, or confused.

There's lots of big vines along the trail that are very impressive evidence of the sort of strangling that a grapevine or honeysuckle vine might accomplish if left to sapping life, as evidenced by mangled trunks and treetops clipped by the weight of the vines.

I haven't gotten to the end of the trail yet, but hope to soon. Thanks for posting the pictures.