Archive for September, 2012

Dolly Sods

ARGGGGH! I had this really nice post written up about our adventure to Dolly Sods and KABLEWY! It’s gone. Gone, gone, gone. At least from here. Oh sure, it probably exists in the shadowy world of the googletubs seedy underbelly. But not here. And here is where it is important. I’m sure it’s my fault, not the fault of the computer or the internet or the web server or whatever else I could attempt to lay blame upon. So, instead of that. I’ll just grab some bits from the geocaching logs, toss in the photos and voila! New post.

On September 30, MAGPI set out for Dolly Sods. This is our story.

Part 1: Dimple Rocks & Dolly Sods

We had a pretty good gaggle of MAGPI by the time we met up at the designated parking. Those of us coming from Morgantown arrived pretty much ahead of time which is so unheard of that bards will be singing of our accomplishment for years to come. CLCombat was already there, waiting on us. But then again, he tends to be early. We were about to give up on 3_Dogs who had managed to get stuck behind several minivans driving 5 mps on the gravel/dirt road. Just as we were about to set out, what should appear on the horizon but a red jeep and a huge dust trail!

As usual on a hike such as this our group started to splinter.

We had some slow going due to the bog.

Then some slow going due to losing the trail. Then some random wanderings.

By the time the back group saw the bear I was up with the front group pretty close to ground zero. Shortly thereafter I found the cache which was pretty easy since my GPSr was dead on the money! it showed 0 feet as I stood in front of the can.

Our trek back was more of an adventure we we got all sorts of split up, me going with the group following loyal sidekick LWB. That was…interesting.

From there we headed out to Dolly Sods cache, which, should the cache page and previous cachers be believed, involved going over a ledge. I wasn’t sure how keen sidekick was going to be about me getting this cache. While I’m not a fan of heights, he is seriously not a fan. We headed out to the area where one should drop over but ruanwv was ahead of me and by the time I got there, he was already making his way down.

It wasn’t like I was going to shove him out of the way to have my turn, so instead I grabbed the cache as he handed it up.

And not long after sidekick too the above photo he tried to break himself by falling in a hole or a crevice or something similar which resulted in him flopping around like a fish (I’m exaggerating…a bit) and saying all kinds of bad words. Also, he scared me to death.  Fortunately he was more or less fine. After all, what’s a day of caching without at least one injury?

Part Two: Bell Knob Fire Tower & Bushwhackers View (Yes I’m skipping over a few caches)

So after knocking off a few other caches we headed towards Bell Knob Fire Tower. The walk was pretty easy and not too far. The cache itself was super easy to find. A visually impaired person could have found it. After all, an ammo can hidden at the base of a sapling…well, you do the math. After signing the log and concealing the container a few of us went up the tower to check out the view. Fortunately this tower wasn’t near as high as Olson Tower.

Very cool seeing Chimney Rock across the way and knowing we’d been up there a few years ago. WOW.

Even Ping got in on the act. Must be nice to be carried to all these cool places.

And Gentleman-Carpenter was nice enough to stay down bottom while we climbed the tower so we could get a nice perspective shot.

And so, from Bell Knob we headed out towards our date with destiny Bushwhackers View. Although we did first make a quick grab where sidekick found these awesome sunglasses. He’s cooler than you.

This is the first part of the cache description: The cache is at a rock scree area accessible only by bushwhack the last 0.3mi through spruce forest,over & around large rocks. From the gate of Forest Rd 70 it is 5mi. to the cache. Excellent offtrail, backcountry skills required. The view is magnificent. The cache is hidden under a rock (where else?).

Now we did not actually have a 10 mile round trip hike because the gate to Forest Rd. 70 was open. I checked. Trust me. I’m not hiking when we can get there by car/truck/jeep. Still, that’s not to say it was an easy hike.

And we’ll not discuss the bushwhack, except to say that we lost the rock cairn trail as soon as we entered the tree line and managed not to find a trail or more cairns until we were almost at the overlook. So we soldiered on with ruanwv leading the way and us trying to keep up. Eventually we stumbled upon the last cairn and soon found ourselves presented with a spectacular view. Which we all enjoyed… (Also we enjoyed the respite from bushwhacking.)

3_Dogs & ruanwv did a little cache maintenance while we were there.

That done and tidied up, we had no choice but to bushwhack back to the road. We did our best to follow the cairns, but once again managed to lose them. We were getting tired and hungry and losing daylight which made for a less than stellar return bushwhack. The only saving grace was the tracklog on the GPS.

Dolly Sods, been there, done that. Let’s go eat!

 

chris on September 30th 2012 in Geocaching

WVU Stripes the Stadium

It only took until September 28 for the first Big XII football team to step onto Mountaineer Field. In honor of such an auspicious occasion the powers that be decided that it would be super fancy for the fans to strip the stadium in blue and gold. I was a bit dubious that folks would follow directions: odd sections Blue, even sections & student sections gold. I myself was a bit fussy since almost all my WVU gear is gold. With a little digging I came up with an old school blue shirt (thanks Mom Matlick) and Chad grabbed his Metropolitan Billiards Parlor shirt before we headed out to the tailgate, which was delicious just in case you were wondering.

After fortifying ourselves with plenty of hamburgers, kielbasa (Chad, not me), baked beans, cucumber salad and cookies, we plodded up the hill to our gate.  And I was amazed to see that the WVU faithful had pretty much followed directions.

Ping was also amazed

It was a nailbiter of a game, quite literally in my case, but the Mountaineers were able to hold on and post a 70 – 63 victory!

chris on September 28th 2012 in Blogroll

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Redux

Some areas have legendary locations. Some have legendary cachers. Some have legendary caches. If you happen to be in the market for a legendary set of caches placed by a legendary cacher, then The Good, The Bad & The Ugly might be for you. Or you might be an idiot. If you are a really big idiot or a really nice person (guess which one I might be) then you might go after the wvcoalcat trio twice, just so you can drive your own jeep down to the river so that your fellow idiot-friend-cachers don’t have to undertake terrain that  “varies from mild to strenuous” that would otherwise be required to hunt down and kill find the caches.

So on Saturday loyal sidekick and I (idiot-jeep-owning-cacher) found ourselves at Snake Hill WMA awaiting the arrival of wvhunter (idiot-friend-cacher #1),  Gentleman-Carpenter (idiot-friend-cacher #2) and Aquacache (idiot-jeep-owning-friend-cacher who, much like yours truly , had already found these caches). Once the gang arrived, we headed out for the relatively easy The Good. Or at least most of us did, Aquacache had other caches to DNF at the time.

Loyal sidekick did the honors of cache retrieval, mostly because no one else was willing to go into the shrubbery after the ammo can.

Although wvhunter was plenty happy to give advice from his perch.

And Gentleman-Carpenter had was all over the signing and recording the first set of the coords for The Ugly. As usual, with this group, it’s all about teamwork. Roughly defined teamwork, but teamwork none the less. And so back to the parking area we went to rendezvous with Aquacache.

That accomplished (Score: 1 Find, 1 DNF, 1 I got nothing ’cause I’ve already done this) we took Gentleman-Carpenter & gave Aquacache the pleasure of having wvhunter in his Jeep as we headed down to the Cheat River. Now last time I was out this way the road was crazy overgrown with vines and small trees and other such non-sense. So much so that it took us 2 hours to get down to the river because we had to clear the road as we went. I was pretty much expecting the same thing today. But no! As luck would have it the road was free and clear! Not that it was a walk in the park, but as jeepin’ roads go, it wasn’t too bad. Then again I wasn’t sitting in the back seat getting flung all over the place while rhody tried to smack me in the face. After all, sidekick and I had our windows rolled up. Sorry G-C!

No wonder he decided to get out and walk!

We were happily able to get past the previous parking area thanks to some heavy duty ATV use and trudge onward a bit. Oh sure it was slow going and the jeeps were getting one heck of a pin striping, but really, why walk that extra .25 of a mile if you can drive it? We were doing pretty well when lo and behold, a tree lay between us and another precious .25 of a mile of trail. The tree, which was quite dead, lay at an angle that just prevented Aquacache’s Rubicon from passing under. Or so it seemed. But wait! He had a chainsaw for just such occasions.

Oh sure, it sounded like the electric carving knife my parents used to use on Thanksgiving. And sure it was not the longest chainsaw you’ve ever seen, but eventually it got the job done.

So while Aquacache chainsawed, the rest of us just watched and waited and hoped that when the tree fell, it didn’t land on us or the lead jeep. (My jeep was safely out of tree’s way.)

As I said, the baby chainsaw eventually got the job done, after a fashion. What it really did was drop the tree, now shorter, back down in the road. But with much might G-C, Aquacache & my loyal sidekick Little Wooden Boy manhandled the tree trunk into submission. Take that, Mother Nature!

 

Sadly, we finally hit an impasse that was…impassable. And so had to set out on foot to reach The Bad and The Ugly. It mostly went like this: Trudge, trudge, trudge. Look a boat! Trudge, trudge. Rest. Look a Boat! Trudge. Are we there yet? Trudge. You get the picture.

Even the GPS agreed that perhaps we’d not thought our plan through very well.

Eventually we got The Bad. Which was about the time some folks started questioning their decision to go after these caches. What were they thinking? Too late now, gentlemen. Too late now.

Actually what loyal sidekick was thinking was, “What’s going on in college football right now?” instead of “Why did I decide to undertake this horrific walk in the woods?”

And so onward to The Ugly, which wasn’t really all that horrific. However, we didn’t have to wait too long for it to reach UGLY as we started back towards the main trail. Yeah, I had the track log from April 2010. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to do us an awful lot of good because: Mother Nature. Oh she is such a witch. Seems there had been an awful lot of nature growing between us and the main trail. An awful, horrible, ugly amount of nature. So we did the best we could, used the dry but slippery stream bed as our trail until we could reach the trail and trudged onward. It went like this: Trudge. Slip. DAMNIT. Trudge. Slip. Grumble. Trudge. This sucks. Grumble. Slip. Trudge. After an eternity we made it back to the main trail and only had….a scant 2 or so miles to hike back to the jeeps. Yes. 2 or so miles or more hiking. De-freakin’-lightful!

At long last, the jeeps appeared on the horizon. Oh glorious, cushioned seats! Oh the luxury! I offered up the keys to loyal sidekick and told G-C he could have the front seat. I would pay my penance and sit in the back and deal with the attacking shrubbery.

The ride up was about as smooth as the ride down and a lot quieter because we were hungry. I spent most of my time trying to decide what I was going to order at BW3 when we finally got back to civilization.

 

chris on September 17th 2012 in Geocaching, Vehicles

Chestnut Mountain Mudder

5K is only 3.8 miles. Theoretically I could run that. But I hate running. And it is boring. But wait, there’s going to be mud? And obstacles? So really it wouldn’t be just running. It would be short jogs in the mud before say, climbing a wall or going through a culvert? Well heck yes, sign me up.

And apparently Bj & Chad too. Because we are idiots.

So here we are getting our pre-race caffeine. Clean and a little looney I’d say.

And here we are after 3.8 miles on rugged terrain, going over walls, through the pond, army crawling through the mud and getting stuck in a terrific downpour. It was horrible and AWESOME! We will be back next year.

You can see more pics of the mess over at the Chestnut Mountain Ranch website.

And a short video or the long video. We are in both videos, clearly because we are awesome!

 

chris on September 8th 2012 in Family