Sunday, February 1, 2015

Caching Historic Bethabara Park

The old writer at The Stranger's Graveyard
in Bethabara Park

The usual Sunday geocaching crew — Rob "Robgso" Isenhour, Robbin "Rtmlee" Lee, Scott "Diefenbaker" Hager, and I (signing logs as "Team Old Fart") — hit northwestern Winston-Salem this morning for a day of it mostly around historic Bethabara Park. I've done a limited amount of caching over that way, but today we covered the better part of the park on foot. There is lots of history to be discovered in those woods — not to mention quite a few caches. The park is on the land settled by the first Moravians in North Carolina, who walked to the area from Pennsylvania in 1753. (The Moravians are German Pietists, who trace their origins to the Bohemian Priest, Jan Hus, who was burned at the stake for heresy by the Catholic church in 1415.) The western reaches of Bethabara (meaning "House of Passage") are mostly wetlands, with precarious boardwalks providing passage through extensive dark marshes. Among one of the marshes, we came upon the remains of Bethabara Mill, from the late 18th century. Here, there was evidence of zombie incursion (see photo below), but we did escape unscathed, or at least damn near. Within the park boundaries, we also found the original Moravian graveyard, known as God's acre, still well-maintained, where the men and women are buried in separate areas — absolutely no after-death cohabitating allowed here. Also, just outside the park, we came to what is known as "The Stranger's Graveyard," where visitors and non-Moravian settlers were buried. While we didn't actually encounter any of the walking dead — well, apart from Elder Rob — at times we did hear rustling and sloshing in the nearby marshes, indicating that something, possibly Bigfoot or a relative of the Boggy Creek monster, had taken note of our presence and was keeping pace with us, just beyond our line of sight.

After claiming all the caches in the park that remained for us to claim, we headed to several other locations, including the underground lair of "The Hook Man" (GCYTYW), which we all somehow survived and counted as the day's favorite cache. We found a treasure chest amid a dense grove of bamboo. (Ms B: "Was it filled with silver and gold?" Me: "No, but it had a logbook!" What can I say? I have simple tastes.) We risked life and limb (or at least getting a little wet) by traipsing over broad streams on pipes and fallen logs, offering us some enjoyable physical challenges. Robgso and I finished up by going after a brand-new cache, near downtown Greensboro, which was published as we made our way home. We took a little detour and made the first-to-find, moments before some other local cachers arrived on the scene. A fittingly satisfying ending to a satisfying day on the caching trail.

Till next week, I expect.

P.S. No, I'm not watching the Super Bowl.
One of the dreaded undead, staring out at me from behind the old Bethabara Mill millstone
Yoda Rob, keeping an eye out for marauding swamp monsters
The Stranger's Graveyard. There were at least four strange beings wandering amid the stones this afternoon.
An old cabin back in the woods — we didn't explore it because we became aware of unseen
but distinctly baleful eyes watching us from within.
Yarrrr! We found the treasure!

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