Monday, April 1, 2024

Jamison Mill Firsts, Farts, and Friends

Team Old Farts and Friends: Old Rodan, Less Old McTwin, Old Skyhawk, REALLY Old McTwin
How nice it was on Saturday evening to hear my phone gonging over and over to notify me of a passel of new geocaches being published somewhere near me. How much nicer to discover they were at Jamison Mill Park, not far up the country roads along Philpott Lake, which I consider one of my favorite settings on Earth. So, yesterday morning, I got up with the sun and headed out to see if I might manage at least a few first-to-finds before lunchtime, since I had an Easter dinner engagement with old family friends. I hadn't hiked at Jamison Mill before, and what I discovered on my arrival was an extensive, beautifully maintained park and trail system — now populated by 19 new geocaches.

I knew I couldn't conquer the lot in swell foop, so I figured I'd hike and hunt until I had to head home in time to clean up for Easter lunch. I logged my first find at 0830 and my last at 1200 on the nose — a total of eleven first-to-finds and a hike of just about four miles. Not sidewalk miles... rugged, rocky, very steep miles, so suffice it to say that I worked up a pretty good tired and came home with slightly sore feets (the cushioning in my hiking boot soles is worn out in the extreme, so I think it's time to replace them). I managed to get home in plenty of time to make myself presentable and enjoy a wonderful Easter lunch with longtime friends/second family, the Wickliffes. Ms. B. had also intended to go, but she caught the crud I'd suffered last week and so stayed home to avoid infecting anyone else. She's nice that way. Sometimes.

Then, last night, friend Tom (a.k.a. Skyhawk63) hollered at me and said he and friends/fellow cachers, Daniel and Dustin (a.k.a. 2McTwins) planned to go after those caches I had not to see if they might pick up some first-to-finds this morning, and would I care to go along? I cared to. So, again, up early and off to Jamison Mill with the team, which we dubbed "Old Farts and Friends." I'm not sure who came up with that; I think it was one of the McTwins. Anyway, how very apt.

Today, since all the caches I hadn't picked up yesterday resided farther out in the park, we had a long hike ahead of us. To our surprise, we'd just begun our first hunt of the day when friend & fellow cacher Todd (a.k.a. Tbbiker) wandered over the hill. He'd started even earlier than us and was just about finished for the morning. He too had left a few first-to-finds unfound, so we managed to snag those before finishing our outing. We had one disappointment, which was failing to find one of the caches — which, of all things, Todd had found; we suspect that, in our zeal, we ended up displacing the container without realizing it and burying it in the thick layers of leaves. It wouldn't be the first time.

Anyway, such disappointment demands another outing that I might make a clean sweep. Maybe next week. Today, we put in over five miles on the trail, and so, between my two days of geocaching, I've hiked almost every inch of the trails out there.

On our way home, Tom and I stopped for lunch at The Checkered Pig, a Martinsville BBQ institution. It were all kindsa good.
Early Easter morning at Jamison Mill Park
Nice view of Philpott Lake from the trail
All that remains of the Bob Carter House along the banks of Philpott Lake
Trail along the lake bank
Looking upward from the center of a massive, ten-trunk sycamore tree
Trail map of Jamison Mill Park. Between two days of hiking and caching, I covered almost every
inch of those trails — about nine miles

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