Vengeance is Ours: Bear Run

Failure is not an option, which is not true. Failure is always an option, but that doesn’t mean I like it. I might be good at it, but I…DO….NOT….LIKE….IT

Today my friends, Vengeance is Mine.

 

I spent a good bit of the early spring and summer nursing my wounded pride from the epic failed assault on  Wanna Go to the Can on Bear Run? It rankled and picked at me, like a nasty rough wool blanket. So it came as no surprise to anyone that I eagerly answered Country_Rat’s call for volunteers to tackle this cache for his 200th Find. No one ever said I was very smart.

The day dawned early, very early. And after a wretched late night of watching WVU play what passes for football these days, I wasn’t really what you’d call in prime hiking shape. None-the-less I stood glassy-eyed in the foyer, grasping my travel coffee mug amid gear and superfluous gear when Aquacache rang our wicked-loud doorbell that morning.

After making sure I had all my gear (and superfluous gear) sidekick patted me on the head and shoved me out the door, happy to let someone else be subjected to me all day – I suspect sidekick was eager for some peace and quiet to nurse his WVU football related anger before heading out to watch the Steelers play in Pittsburgh.

Running behind as always (my fault) the mighty AquaJeep sped ahead to the familiar meeting triangle of Rt. 50 / 92. And although Captain OCD was not to be joining us this fine, overcast, chilly morning I called ahead to let Rock_Rat, Country_Rat  and Gentleman-Carpenter know we were en route.

Since Aquacache had already been to the high clearance parking twice, he was elected to lead the small convoy (do 2 Jeeps count as a convoy? I’m kinda hazy on the number of vehicles required) to our destination.  We arrived at the low clearance parking to find the creek shockingly low. So low it barely even splashed as we drove across. Since Rock_Rat’s Jeep is the four-door variety, there was some discussion and scouting before a decision was reached to trudge onward and hopefully cut off some more distance (in hindsight this proved to be our best decision all day!). After finding a nice large, flat parking spot we tumbled out of the vehicles and set about putting on our gear.

And so here I have a happy little off topic paragraph about how in love I am with all the new fancy outdoor gear that is thin and lightweight but yet amazingly warm. I had on layers and layers (like a good little hiker) and by most outward appearances I seemed to still be a normal sized person in normal clothes, not some abdominal snowblob waddling up the trail. Yay for science!

Back to our story. This began much like the typical wvcoalcat cache does, walking on a trail / tram road / fire road and watching the distance between you and the cache go up while the arrow swings wildly around taunting you. At one point I (despite my experience) opened my mouth and the following words emerged, “Are we going the right way?” I just couldn’t help it. There is always something unsettling about getting further and further away from a ‘coalcat cache while walking down hill. Inevitable we were going to have to go up, up, up and then after finding the oxygen tanks stashed for any cachers brave enough to come this way, continue up, up and more up before reaching our goal.

And so we did. We climbed over downed trees, slid on loose leaf litter, stumbled blindly into holes (that would be me, mostly) and took lots of breaks. At one point we lost the trail. Finding it again was not so exciting since it went straight up the side of a smaller hill. Oh boy! My favorite, UP! Eventually we hit that point where we could continue on the trail as it (hopefully) wound slowly up to the top of the hill or just go for it.

Much like he did at Tater Knob, Country_Rat led the pack with a pace that seemed to indicate that he was on a pleasant stroll in the woods. I suspect he is insane. At any rate, the final ascent was not something that was enjoyable or pleasant which is why I forged ahead, looking down at my feet and thinking “well at least it isn’t icy”. Gasping for breath and wondering about my propensity to do stupid things, I crested the hill as Country_Rat said nonchalantly, “You see it?” to which I replied “Why yes I do – it’s over there.” (it was probably more like, ‘uh-huh’…gasp….point with hiking stick in general direction of cache…flop down on fallen tree).

A little while later, after my heart had returned to a normal beat and my legs had regained some feeling, Gentleman-Carpenter, Rock_Rat  and Aquacache arrived, stumbled toward us and the relief of a nice comfy tree to sit upon. Bless ‘coalcat for his consideration of such things when placing his cache

We signed the log book, took photos, enjoyed delicious food (yum, Twizzlers!), some “Vitamin I” and tried not to think about the descent, which was definitely going to include sliding, slipping, stumbling and possibly rolling if we were desperate. After enough time passed that our muscles were now good and cold and quite unhappy, our merry crew (delirious most likely) donned our packs and faced the inevitable walk / stumble / roll back to the Jeeps. Suffice to say, the trip down was much faster and before we knew it (delirium I’m telling you) there we were back at the parking. After debating different things such as the wonders of ice cubs that are not cubes but cylinders, different types of personal protection devices and the wonders of Twizzlers and banana flavored food bars, we unanimously agreed it was time to head to Cools Springs for proper post-wvcoalcat-cache-food.

In sum – awesome hike which we probably could not have accomplished in the ice and snow of February 2008. Great company as always. And hearty CONGRATULATIONS to Country_Rat for not only choosing a wvcoalcat cache as his 200th, but beating the rest of us to the top of the hill! That is one insane Rat!

Follow the link below more photographic evidence that we survived.

chris on November 13th 2008 in Geocaching, Links

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