Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Greensboro Urban Adventure

Just the ticket for when one is on the rebound from the covidz but can’t yet gather safely with others: a new, multi-stage, physically challenging geocache that one can hunt all by one’s lonesome, courtesy of Ranger Fox (a.k.a. Christopher). Happily, this one, called Greensboro Urban Adventure, lies just down the road a piece, with six stages at various locations within a couple of square miles of territory. Each stage offers its unique challenges, with most requiring some measure of physical strength and dexterity. Fortunately, I still have a modicum of each. Ranger Fox recently challenged us locals with Nogitsune, a novel hide that required a coordinated team effort to spy, retrieve, sign the log, and re-hide as found. This one turned out to be just as challenging, if in an altogether different way.

Greensboro Urban Adventure posted on the geocaching website yesterday morning, and I set out shortly afterward to see if I might find at least the first stage, and more if time allowed. Stage 1 resides somewhere in the setting pictured above — a crumbling old railroad trestle over North Buffalo Creek. I’d have to classify it as moderately dangerous, as the structure is somewhat less than sound, and it’s a fairly long drop into the stream below (sure-footedness here is a virtue). I had no problem tackling the structure per se, but... holy cow... it’s one helluva target-rich location, and I spent a full hour getting to know every nook, cranny, crevice, bar, bolt, nut, beam, spike, and crosstie on the thing... except for the one that concealed the cache. Finally, I cried “uncle” and resolved to come back some other time.

Naturally, last night, friends Night-Hawk (a.k.a. Tom) and Cantergirl (a.k.a. Jeannie) went out there and not only found stage 1 but completed the entire multi. Well, two heads are better than one — or in my case, a half — but I figured that, this morning, I’d give it another shot on my own. So, bright and early, off I went, back to the trestle, where that distinctive sensation of deja-vu soon settled upon me. Where else could I possibly look that I hadn’t already? Well... hey... what do you know... HERE is the dad-blamed, bloody, ding-dong-blasted devious little stage... in a spot I had already searched with excruciating thoroughness, or so I thought. Apparently, not so much thoroughness.

At least I now had the coordinates to get to the next stage.

Stage 2 was a very traditional hide, easily located. But the coordinates I procured there led me to a location that had to be the one for which the cache description indicated a flashlight would come in handy. And did it ever. Fortunately, thanks to Sir Fox’s typically precise coordinates — even in a location where the sun never shines — I found the stage remarkably quickly. As in I walked... well, duck-walked, for the ceiling is low... straight to it. I took a few photos (below), recorded the next set of coordinates, and moved on.
I ended up taking a more roundabout route to the next stage than was really necessary, but I got myself where I needed to be with only a marginally taxing physical challenge or two. Here, I found myself peering up a steep, sheltered incline — (insert Red Hot Chili Peppers song title here). Quickly enough, way up yonder, I saw what I thought might be my quarry. Turns out it wasn’t, but it did put me right where I needed to be to spy my quarry lurking nearby. It also put me at eye level with a thing that, at first, caused me some confusion followed by consternation. It was about ten inches in diameter. Odd ceramic pot or bizarrely precise hornet nest? Before even stopping to think that, if it was the latter, the results might prove singularly nasty... I poked it. Yep. Hornet nest. Happily for all involved, no hornets came streaming out. This, I will add, might be called getting caught up in the heat of the moment, damning the torpedoes, allowing one’s enthusiasm for the hunt to overwhelm one’s good judgment. Or just plain dumb-assedness. Take your pick.
Okay, two stages left to go. It wasn’t far to the next, so I hoofed it to the location. Though much smaller in scale, this stage’s setting struck me as mighty reminiscent of the first stage’s. Well, yes and no. Spying and acquiring the necessary coordinates involved less actual danger but required far more agility to keep from tumbling into a creek and getting soaked. Happily, I ended up not soaked and in possession of the coordinates to the final stage.

Reaching the final required a short drive to what is likely to become a future leg of the downtown Greensboro Greenway. As yet, it remains undeveloped. So much the better — just a deserted cut through a stand of woods where the old rail line used to run. An easy hike out to ground zero... and thar she be: a by-now familiar-looking structure, which I knew concealed, somewhere somehow, the final container, which was listed as “regular” size — something around the size of a typical .30 calibre ammo can. No direct spoilers, but I will say that acquiring that container required more acrobatics than I had yet performed at any previous stages. Not particularly dangerous, but — again — the result of carelessness or mishap would be a pretty thorough soaking, if not injury.

No soaking, no injury. And my signature on the log.

I think, after all this description, this caching experience can be summed up with just a great big “WHOA!” Sir Fox has indeed earned another favorite point with Greensboro Urban Adventure.
A rickety road ahead!
Where the heck am I?

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