Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Nightmare Chasm

I'm pretty sure I heard King Kong and a T-rex fussing in the distance.
In the past year, I have written numerous blog entries about what I call "The Bigfoot Trail" (The Great Blue Heron Nursery, Bigfoot's Library, Return to Bigfoot Country). This past week, I've had reason to hike in those woods numerous times, specifically to hide a new geocache. A couple of weeks back, I headed out to the farthest end of the new, as-yet-unfinished hiking/biking trail and placed a cache that I called "The Nightmare Frontier" (GC3KPWD) — yes, after my novel of the same title. Unfortunately, due to an error I made in taking the latitude/longitude coordinates, I had placed it too close to another cache that had already been hidden but not yet published at, so I had to move it. Then, because of an oversight on the cache reviewer's part, it was determined that the new location was too close to another as-yet-unpublished hide. So, I hiked out there... again... and placed "The Nightmare Frontier Redux" (GC3MNR6) at another location.

Fortunately, this is a pretty big area of woods — many hundreds of acres, most of it totally unspoiled by human encroachment. Unfortunately, photos such as these can't begin to convey the sheer scale of the landforms out there. I do consider my difficulty getting this cache placed and listed a blessing in disguise, since, at the end of it all, I put in many miles of much-needed hiking and came upon some spectacular terrain, most notably a huge ravine, almost dizzying in its depth and breadth. I would have happily risked placing a cache in one of the more harrowing locations along that ravine (probably out on one of the fallen trees that spanned it) had the site not proven too close to another existing cache. I'm guessing the other cache hiders out there missed this area altogether because I can't imagine finding it and not placing a cache there. I could about envision King Kong, dinosaurs, and giant spiders roaming about this primal and serene area of woods — so close to town yet, for now, virtually devoid of human presence. When the trail is completed, there will certainly be a greater influx of human creatures out there... but, generally speaking, the hikers and bikers in this area are environmentally conscious — geocachers above all — and I anticipate them respecting the pristine character of these woods. One can hope....

Today, one of those caches that had been in the way of "The Nightmare Frontier" — "Creaking Trees" (GC3D7DB) — was published on the geocaching website, so I booked my butt out there bright and early and got first-to-find on the thing. Oh, yeah.

Click on the images to enlarge.

A promontory out on the ravine; the photo doesn't begin to convey the
dizzying height of the narrow passage.
A snakeskin on the bole of massive tree; I looked in vain to make
the acquaintance of the skin's owner.
On the edge of the woods: Bigfoot's outhouse.


HemlockMan said...

Looks like erosion from when the property was logged. You see lots of that sort of thing in the Piedmont where the forests are beginning to recover. Before the trees come back the land just gets washed away for a while and you run into these ravines.

Mark Rainey said...

Yeah, there's a lot of these in the area, but this is the biggest I've ever seen. There are several of impressive size in those woods.