Friday, May 24, 2013

Subterranean Salem

I've never been claustrophobic, but back when I first started geocaching, going into underground culverts, storm drains, caverns, etc., tended to give me a moment's pause. Conversely, climbing big trees, grain silos, old radio towers, etc., didn't really cause severe acrophobia to kick in. Oddly, the situation seems to have reversed. These days, significant heights are more problematic; the depths less so.

To kick off the Memorial Day weekend, I left work this afternoon, hopped over to Winston-Salem, and went down into a nice, relatively dry, easy-to-negotiate tunnel beneath Old Salem. I was thinking I might get first-to-find on the new cache in there, but as I was heading toward the entrance to the underground, I got a notification on my phone that someone had just logged a find. Interestingly, they indicated they were logging it from ground zero.

Sure enough, I had only gone a few hundred feet into the culvert when I saw lights dancing in the distance and heard voices echoing through the darkness. Yep, the first finders, on their way back toward daylight. My initial inclination was to scare the shit out of them, but anyone who knows me knows that I am too nice a rat bastard to do anything like that on a Friday afternoon. As it was, we had a brief but enjoyable exchange in the darkness. Two very pleasant young women, going by the team name Birdray, who had only taken up geocaching as of last weekend. Quite an initiation, getting first-to-find on an underground cache after having been at it only a week. I was happy to lose out on a first-to-find for that; I bet it's an experience they'll remember and enjoy for a long time to come.

Along the length of the tunnel, I occasionally encountered graffiti, indicating muggles also have their fun in the underground. Fortunately, the cache is pretty well concealed from non-geocaching eyes. Once I had my moniker on the log, I made my way back out toward daylight, only to encounter two more young women — these from Charlotte — about to head in after the cache. Kind of funny, a new cache sitting idle for a week, and then three separate bunches of cachers hit it within a few minutes of each other. Good stuff.

Anyway, sushi from Asahi rounded out the evening. For the rest of the long weekend, more caching, lots of writing, gathering with friends, and maybe a spot of caching just for good measure.

Off with you.
The Droid doesn't take very good pictures in the underground, but the effect
is kind of interesting in its own right.
In addition to a bunch of errant geocachers, I'm pretty sure there are shoggoths down here.
A nice view of the interior taken by Ranger Fox, from the geocaching website

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...


I have never...not at any time in my entire life...had a job that gave me a normal weekend. Not when I was self-employed (when I often worked seven days a week), not when I was a lowly laborer working for private firms, and not as a Fed working for USPS.

It has to be nice to count on at least two days in a row off every week.