Sunday, April 28, 2019

Cachin' Passion in the Parks

Team Deadly Serious at old graveyard near my Lair of the Mothman (GC855TA) geocache,
placed for the Cachin' Passion in the Parks event
Several weeks ago, longtime geocacher and (retired) forest ranger of my acquaintance, Ranger TracksAll (a.k.a. Susan), contacted me about a big geocaching event she and her husband, Ranger WillKetchum (a.k.a. Danny) wanted to put together. It would take place at Philpott Lake and Fairy Stone State Parks in Virginia, near Martinsville, and include a considerable number of geocaches placed around Philpott Lake. I thought this was a grand idea. So, a few weeks back, I put out three new caches on the Dogwood Glen Trail near Philpott Dam in preparation for the event, which took place yesterday, April 27, 2019.

The event, Cachin' Passion in the Parks, drew about 25 attendees, mostly from Virginia and North Carolina. On the way up, I snagged three individual first-to-finds, and several more with a big group over the course of the day. The event proper opened with nice introductory remarks by Rangers TracksAll and WillKetchum and Fairy Stone Park manager John Grooms. There were prizes aplenty handed out to attendees, including an autographed copy of West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman, won by Honeychile (a.k.a. Vickie), who—quite coincidentally—had been kind enough to host a Fugue Devil–themed event in Winston-Salem back in 2015 (see "Equinox Devil, Part Deux).

The rest of the day, I hiked along with a sizable bunch of geocachers, all quite nerdy yet rugged. We snagged a fair of number of caches here and there, and we finally headed up the Dogwood Glen Trail, where my three hides in wait for the unsuspecting hunters. Me, I wanted to check the accuracy of my coordinates, which, happily, proved quite good. And our old friend Robgso became the lucky recipient of a copy of West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman, inclued as the first-to-find prize in my cache called (not coincidentally) "Lair of the Mothman."
View of Philpott Dam from overlook
View of Philpott Lake from overlook, facing west
View of Philpott Dam from near the Dogwood Glen Trailhead
Today, I was up bright and early for another caching outing, this time to Salem Lake, on the near side of Winston-Salem. Team No Dead Weight, consisting of Diefenbaker (a.k.a. Scott), Fishdownthestair (a.k.a. Natalie), Robgso (a.k.a. Bloody Rob), and Old Rodan (a.k.a. me), set out primarily to pick up seven new Paul Bunyan–themed hides, placed by the ever-creative Honeychile, mentioned above. Diefenbaker, Ms. Fish, and Old Rob went after a few additional caches that I had already found on previous excursions. At the end of the day, we had put in around six miles of occasionally rugged hiking. On our way back to Greensboro, the team stopped at my office so they might snag first-to-find accolades on my newest hide—"Rodan's Roost Redux"—which I had placed some distance up a tree beside the parking lot on Friday. It was published yesterday, but to our surprise, no one else had yet claimed the FTF honors. Team No Dead Weight dirtied up the log real good, so they are number one, and everyone else is number two, or lower.

Now there be tired. I tired now. You come again some other time.
Team No Dead Weight at Salem Lake
A loverly little stream at Salem Lake.
A Great Honking Blue Bird who remained in place just long enough to pose for a photo.
Shortly afterward, a speeding bicyclist on the trail scared him off.

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