Sunday, December 20, 2020

Geocaching Is Foundational

So intimated the hints on a couple of different geocaches I hunted this weekend. One in Winston-Salem, the other at Cedarock Park, in Alamance County, just south of Burlington. Yesterday, I went on a solo run around Winston, going more for caches that involved hoofing it than stopping and grabbing. I’ve become rather taken with Adventure Lab caches, which, unlike traditional caches, don’t offer hidden containers to hunt. Instead, they take you to various points of interest, where you must answer questions about specific landmarks while at the location. Usually, Adventure Labs have five separate stages, and you get credit for one cache for each stage of the Lab you complete. It’s a fun way to go after “virtual” caches while discovering cool locations. Yesterday’s Lab in downtown Winston took me to a number of historical points, some featuring statues, that I would have never otherwise discovered — which, for me, rates among the most desirable aspects of geocaching in general.

Statue of a young R. J. Reynolds, tobacco baron,
in downtown Winston-Salem

Another of the many joys of geocaching is finding great places for food and drink. Some time back, I discovered King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar, which I have enjoyed immensely any number of times now. Happily, they’re still open during the pandemic. They have outdoor seating, but as it was rather chilly yesterday, I opted for indoors — which suited me fine because, until I was ready to leave, I was the only patron in the place. A few came in just as I was leaving, but there was plenty of room to spread out, and everyone was wearing masks except when actually dining. I ordered my customary steamed oysters on the half shell, which were, as always, fantastic.

My favorite cache yesterday, apart from the Lab, was one out in an expansive area of woods; a rare commodity in the Triad, I can tell you. I had to hike a most of a mile out a semi-flooded sewer line cut through the woods, and then find an old concrete foundation where the cache was supposed to be hidden. The cache was rated only medium difficulty, but I was unable to locate it — until, just before I was ready to give up, I spied the container some distance away in the woods. Clearly, it had washed out of its hiding place. So, that turned out to be a successful venture, and I most enjoyed having all those woods to myself. Well, except maybe for Bigfoot. I’m pretty sure Bigfoot was lurking back there.

I also hunted and found a couple of caches on the grounds of Reynolda House, which is one of Winston-Salem’s most picturesque attractions. I’ve never actually been into the house, which is now a museum, but I’ve roamed the extensive grounds and wooded trails many times on my geocaching adventures. Yesterday’s visit didn’t involve a particularly long hike, but I did get to check out some beautiful areas around the gardens I hadn’t seen before. So my Winston-Salem outing made for a productive and highly enjoyable geocaching experience, even if I didn’t add a considerable number to my overall cache find count (which currently stands at 12,441).

Strollway Bridge, over US 421, in downtown Winston-Salem
A nice little wooded passage in downtown Winston
Garden House on the Reynolda House grounds
The gardens at Reynolda House
A cottage on the Reynolda House Grounds, where — if you are observant — you might find a geocache.

This morning, nasty weather dissuaded me from joining up with the Socially Distant No-Dead-Weight Irregulars for a typical Sunday outing, which usually involves a full day of it on the geocaching trail. Instead, since the rain let up early in the afternoon, three of us — friend Diefenbaker (a.k.a. Scott) and friend Fishdownthestair (a.k.a. Natalie) — met at a brand new cache, published only this morning, at Cedarock Park. We all found it surprising that no one had logged it earlier in the day, since adverse weather rarely stymies many of the local cachers. As it turned out, we did snag the coveted (read utterly meaningless) first-to-find honors, thanks entirely to Natalie, who turned up the container in a spot I had already checked. Sometimes it is to wonder how I manage to find anything that isn’t right in front of my nose (sometimes it actually is).

After the geocaching, I turned my attention to the second season of The Mandalorian, now playing on Disney+. I had very much enjoyed the first season, and all the recent glowing commentary on social media prompted me to go ahead and splurge on Disney+ again. And boy howdy, am I glad I did. I binge-watched all eight episodes over two days, and I can safely say, this series is everything Star Wars should be. It’s got its whimsical moments, to be sure, but on the whole, it’s gritty, grim, and, most appealingly, made more for grown-ups than little people.

And I am getting down to the final stretch of my latest Ameri-Scares novel, New Hampshire: Ghosts From the Skies. I am hoping to have this one put to bed by New Year’s, if not sooner.

That is all.

A little fixer-upper at Cedarock Park

No comments: