Saturday, August 22, 2020

First-to-Find in Goblintown

Yesterday after work, I headed up to Martinsville to deal with some pressing affairs following Mom’s passing. Nothing too taxing at this point, at least. And afterward, friends Stephen & Samaire Provost came over to have a few drinks and some stimulating discussion — everything from writing, publishing, memorable days from the past, and current events. We were very conscientious about social distancing — we sat outside on the front porch, about ten feet apart, each with our personal supplies of hand sanitizer. Stephen even wrote an excellent blog that grew out of the event — “What If We All Drove Drunk?” No, none of us drove drunk. And we didn’t behave carelessly, even after a few drinks.

This morning, I awoke to notification of a brand-new cache having been published — just up the road from Martinsville at Fairy Stone Park. The timing was propitious. Fairy Stone is one of my favorite places to hike and hunt caches, and the morning turned out to be just right for it. Well, except for the extraordinarily high humidity, which made me feel like I was breathing mayonnaise on the hike. It wasn’t too far (just under two miles round trip) or too rugged, but it made for some good morning exercise. And I got to see a section of trail I’d never been on before: the dam on Goblintown Creek, which is one of the tributaries of Philpott Lake, where Fairy Stone is located. There is a huge, carved granite Fairy Stone on the lake bank there, which can be seen from some distance. It makes for an unusual and striking landmark.

At ground zero, I struck gold quickly — a little too quickly, as the cache container was sitting out exposed and very close to the water’s edge. I think all our recent rain helped the cache migrate somewhat from its hiding place. I put it back so it will hopefully remain both in place and out of sight. I did, in fact, dirty up the pristine logbook with a most gratifying FTF (first-to-find) signature. First-to-finds don’t really mean much, as it’s not like you earn anything extra for the effort, but they’re fun enough to snag when I can get ’em.

A while back, writer/editor Holly Kozelski at The Martinsville Bulletin had reached out to me because she was putting together some stories about the personal impacts of COVID-19. She asked if I might contribute an editorial since Mom passed away due to complications from the virus. So, I performed some serious surgery on my blog entry titled “Wildfire” from some weeks ago and submitted it to her. The piece just came out in the Bulletin. (You can generally snag a freebie or two before they ask you to subscribe.) ’Tis here: “My Mother Is Gone...”

Together with Stephen’s blog linked above, the two form a pair of interesting companion pieces. Makes me think we might be onto something.
A lovely morning on the trail — except for trying to breathe in that freaking monstrous humidity.
Dark clouds over Goblintown. They didn’t hang around long.
A big honking fairy stone
The Terrible Old Man

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