Monday, December 28, 2020

Can’t Hold Me Back

Thingummies overlooking my parking spot across US 70 at Haw River. Nah, I’ve no idea.

Why, yes I did need a rigorous geocaching adventure for today. There was a relatively new cache — “Can’t Hold Me Back” (GC93Y4W) — along the Haw River in Alamance County, just north of Burlington that looked promising, so I decided to make my way over yonder. The cache listing shows a set of parking coordinates, but they are quite remote, and I knew that legitimate roadside parking exists nearer the trailhead. However, that area turned out to be so muddy I feared I might end up needing AAA if I dared plant the Rodan Mobile there. When caching in this area a few years back, I had parked along US 70, near the southern end of the Haw River Trail, so I drove down to that location to see whether it appeared usable. It did, so I went for it. Across the road, there were thingummies watching me. No idea what they are about. Anyway, parking there shaves a wee bit of mileage off the hike, but what I saved in distance, I more than made up for in terrain difficulty....

Do you remember drought? At times like this, I recollect it fondly. The Haw is running high, fast, and hard, and there is flooding all around the trail. Before I even reached Boyd’s Creek, a fair-size stream that intersects the trail — today quite swollen — I had achieved the rank of Major Muddy Mess. The creek looked to be about waist-deep, so I went upstream a quarter mile or so and found a big log to use as a makeshift bridge. I stayed dry, but given the added distance, I resolved that, on the way back, I would attempt the water crossing. 

My makeshift bridge across Boyd’s Creek

At ground zero, I found the cache in good order. My pen didn’t much want to write, but I managed to get my signature on the log. About the time I started back toward the Rodan Mobile, I saw several deer grazing nearby. Then began the gunshots at frighteningly close range. I hadn’t thought to wear blaze orange (something to consider in this area during hunting season), so I made my egress from the area wildly waving my hiking stick and whistling Ennio Morricone’s “Ecstasy of the Gold” from The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly soundtrack at very high volume.

Back at Boyd’s Creek, I bit the bullet and made the water crossing. Someone had been kind enough to tie a rope across the creek, which is the only reason I didn’t end up totally submerged, for those unseen rocks down there are slickery. Happily, the water was only knee-deep, rather than waist-deep.

Boyd’s Creek water crossing, outbound; nice that someone has tied a rope across the water
Boyd’s Creek water crossing, inbound: chilly!

I was relieved to finally reach the Rodan Mobile, although it was not at all happy to see me, since I was covered in more mud than Lon Chaney as the mummy after sinking in quicksand at the end of The Mummy’s Ghost.

So, this outing proved rather more invigorating than I had expected. Although I did let loose a colorful metaphor or two along my trek, I can’t say I didn’t have fun. So, to the cache owner, all my appreciation for the new geocache and the opportunity for another adventure!

The Haw River: very high, very fast
An awful lot of this...
...and very few of these.

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