Archive for January 29th, 2012

Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike

I was already displaying some symptoms of late Winter cabin fever. Gentleman-Carpenter and I had discussed going after this masterpiece of a cache trail the prior weekend. Fortunately Mother Nature had her own plans regarding our schedule. And so after sending out a call for cachers, eight of us (including four-year-old Ally): loyal sidekick Little Wooden Boy, Allysmom24, Nuggie99, wvmikiepar, jbgrug, Gentleman-Carpenter & yours truly, found ourselves at Clover Fork Church ready to depart on our adventure on the Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike.

For your reference please see our tracklog. But also, you’ll be needing to reference THAT against the zoom-in that will be featured later.

Things started out pretty well. And we were very happy to have Ally along with us since she is just the right size for cache retrieval as she aptly demonstrated early on in our adventure. I suppose this is sort of a spoiler since you can see that the cache is in a stump. But since we are in the woods, there are a lot of stumps. And because I’m super sneaky, I’m not saying which cache this happens to be.

At any rate, we were moving along and doing pretty well despite the crazy town amounts of mud. I’m talking suck your shoe off mud. Fall in and never see the light of day again mud. Splash up and cover your clothing from head to toe mud.  Where was I? Oh right, doing pretty well. Right. Loyal sidekick was doing more of a meander than a hike and had stopped to pick up a handout. He’s so considerate since he knows how I love me some handouts.

We were all enjoying a lovely walk in the woods. The temperature had climbed far above the project 45 degrees promised by the weather prognosticators. The sun came out and the wind was even warm, which was extremely odd. It felt like Spring. So much so that those of us who had over dressed (everyone) were attempting to mash their giant parkas into backpacks of insufficient size.

In fact things were going so well that we felt perhaps we had in fact managed to circumvent the MAGPI Curse of always choosing poorly. There was much merriment and story swapping, cache comparison and mud avoidance.

We crossed a lovely bridge that was most definitely not a swinging bridge of doom and sidekick had to have a spotter in order to retrieve the cache. It was there that we saw a sign that was going to be our undoing. It indicated that the Weston Gauley Bridge Turnpike was UP.  Yes, that is right the one sign we say indicated we should go UP. And since the next cache was called something crazy like On the Ridge Again our merry (but not for much longer) group went up. but not without complaint of course.

After climbing a wicked arse hill and collapsing in the lovely field, some of us enjoyed the view, some just lay on the ground, flopping like fish out of water and gasping for breathe. (No photos of that, that would just have been mean.)

Brilliantly we decided to continue up, despite the cache not getting any closer. Sidekick, jbgrug and I had pulled ahead of the group and I had finally handed sidekick the GPSr (I was using his Garmin as mine has gone missing) when he looked at me, looked at the cache and indicated I was an idiot. Ok, he didn’t really do that, but probably because jbgrug was right there.  It seems that our blind faith in a sign was our undoing as we were not climbing the proper ridge. Yeah, you read that right. MAGPI takes a long walk and makes a bad decision. Game on!

And so after a brief discussion, we bushwhacked (sort of) down to the proper trail and then we were then back on track.Which meant we then had to start back up a different hill. It was much kinder than our wrong hill sidetrack.

The sun was starting to sink low and the warm was retreating so it was time to kick it up a notch and finish this trail off. Also, the idea of re-layering was not high on my agenda. We kicked it up and made a last push for glory….and a car. Because this walking thing, it was getting pretty old.

And so, before I sign off, let me leave you with this warning. Once you have crossed the non-swinging bridge of complete stability, keep low. Do not go UP immediately. You’ll be glad. Just look at the track log of our unnecessary hill climb of doom. See that red stuff? Yeah that was us not focusing. See that space between where there is no track log? You’ll want to walk there.

As always, there are other photos which you may see by checking out the galleries. And I’ll go ahead right now and give you my disclaimer that the photos here are totally out of order. I’m such a slacker.

chris on January 29th 2012 in Geocaching