Archive for October, 2008

Clover Run to Mail Route

I think it must have been a little pre-emptive self preservation earlier this week that lead wvhunter to casually mention to me that he “might be going on a maintainence run with ‘coalcat” in the Mon National Forest. Because who the heck am I to turn down an opportunity to go after two (or possibly four) wvcoalcat caches  (with the cache owner) on a beautiful Fall day?

There is something about a ‘coalcat expedition into the Mon National Forest that also causes my loyal sidekick to perk up and say, “I’m in!” Guess he must be a nature boy at heart, although I suspect he wanted to see about taking some nice outdoor shots before all the leaves gave up and flung themselves to the ground.

So it was around 9:22 a.m. on Sunday that we found ourselves at the Rt. 38 / 92 split (in what we later discovered to be downtown Nestorville). This is amazing for one reason – we were early. We figured we were in the right spot because there was a Jeep there with moneytastesbad. The odd thing though, was that Captain OCD was not there. Nor was his esteemed brother wvcoalcat. Hmmm.

Upon consulting the map and re-reading wvhunter’s directions we decided that although the gas station where we found ourselves was not in fact an Exxon, it was clearly not also a Uhaul or Bait store. And that could mean just one thing, we were at the wrong Rt. 38 / 92 split. Coupled with the fact that it had been 50 degrees when we left Morgantown and was now currently around 35 meant it was starting out to be a banner day!

A quick jot down the road proved to be the correct split where the rest of the group was waiting. Properly assembled, ordered and organized, we headed off following the mighty catspoloder to the parking coords. Which was good, because this is often the part that involves driving aimlessly around the mighty forest.

All bundled up (cold, it’s cold in the woods) we headed out on the trail.

It’s days like this that I’m completely thankful that I ponied up for the nice outdoor gear. Now just to make sure I hold onto the sunnies and not make the same mistake I made at “Slopping at the Trough” and “Loki’s Quest for Zombie Hobos”.

Clover Run was a completely pleasant stroll in the woods. Contrary to what ‘hunter would have everyone believe, his brother was not trying to off him when placing this cache. We did have a slight surprise when the pleasant view touted by the cat was obliterated by a thick field of wild cherry saplings. I can say with authority that those saplings were of the wild cherry because that’s what Mr. Surveyor said. Me, I don’t know my Ash from a hole in the ground.

Upon successfully finding the  tupperware in the woods and going through the ritual log signing, token collecting and re-hiding we headed back to the vehicles. I’ve often been accused of keeping a forced march pace, so this time around I mixed it up a bit hanging out in the back and middle of the pack before surging ahead. I think deep down I just miss Purple Monkey Dishwasher’s insane pace.

Back at the parking ‘coalcat assured us that Mail Route was an even easier hike than Clover Run.  This is where wvhunter assures me we went wrong. Personally I think he just has a persecution complex since the trail was clearly marked with plastic blue diamonds and was WAY wider than the pixie deer trail of “The Project” fame.

  I should know, I’ve hiked both and this was a walk in the park compared to the other. Even the creek crossing was easy (says she who recently went sliding across a water fall in a moment of poor decision making). Hard to get the water in over top of the ol’ gortex shoes when the creek bed is dry. Now that’s my kind of water hazard!

After retrieving the gnawed upon cache container, replacing it with an ammo can and taking a break it was by unanimous consent to take the 89SC way back out. You know what? It was easier. I know this may come as a shock, but really, it was flat and easy.

More pictures of us walking around in the Mon National Forest, enjoy!

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chris on October 27th 2008 in Geocaching, Links


My youngest cousin Molly was in town for a few days.  It’s always great to catch up with her and after a little technical difficulty we got some pics to commemorate the weekend.

As my Mamaw was taking this picture she pointed out that all the recent pics she has  of Molly & I together involve alcohol. Hmmm, I have no idea what she could mean by that! Because we certainly did not go out both Friday & Saturday nights with Molly. Nope, not at all. We did not visit Firkin Fox, play some pool and play “____ Spot the Difference” .

Or go to Babs’ sports bar to watch the Red Sox vs. Rays ALCS game on Saturday.

Nope, we stayed home, drank tea, ate biscuts and discussed the state of the economy and how the world markets were all in chaos. That is exactly what we did.

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chris on October 19th 2008 in Family

Long Range

Overnight temps were near freezing. The sun doesn’t really come up and warm the fine city of Morgantown very early this time of the year. And that begs the question of why we were at Pedlar WMA public shooting range around 9:15 a.m. Officially it was to get there before it got crowded. Something tells me the cold kept a good number of folks at home until noon-ish. Silly us.

The standard characters of me, Chad and Keith were joined by Mike, who brought along a nice selection of rifles and a shot gun. Combined with the glut of AR-15s (uppers & lowers) and pistols that Keith brought (and my poor lone ACP) we had a buffet before us. So profuse was our equipment, we managed to take up 4 or so of the bays at the range….oops.

My rifle experience is pretty much limited to the AR-15 and maybe two rounds out of Keith’s .308 whereupon I had my head smacked by the scope and my shoulder beaten to death. None-the-less I was way overstimulated at the possibility of enjoying the spread before me.

Just like I do at a food buffet, I tried a little of this and then a little of that. Of course somehow I always go back to my favorite the AR-15 that hates me and always jams (I’m such a glutton for punishment you know). I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to try the shot gun, even though I was unable to hit anything. Yes, that is true. I was unable to even nip the poor yellow plastic jug. How this is possible I have no idea as everyone else was able to hit the darn thing.

I didn’t let that failure get me down since I did pretty well with some of Mike’s guns. Helped out of course by the totally mack’d out scope which made it seem as if the target was being held right at the end of the barrel. I was smart enough to keep my eye away from the scope which completely eliminated an embarrassing repeat of getting smacked on the recoil. See, I do learn after all!

There was much time spent sitting and aiming and trying not to shiver from the cold so you could actually hit the target.

The ultimate problem of letting me sample so many delicious goodies is that now I have developed additional expensive tastes for expensive things. And, as usual, expensive things that require specialized tools and so forth – which is so totally in my wheelhouse it’s scary. I see a really bizarre Christmas wish list forming here. Good thing my birthday is coming up too. Heck, I could have my own arsenal by the New Year! (kidding, totally kidding…it will at least take into the Spring and me using up my anniversary wish list!)

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chris on October 19th 2008 in Galleries

Caching Wrap-Up

I turned around and realized that September is long gone. And that can only mean one thing – well it could mean I have amnesia, but most likely it means that I was extremely busy doing fun things. And fun things tend to leave behind photographic evidence. And those delightful shots should be up on this website. But it all rolls back to me being busy having so much fun that I couldn’t be bothered to download my camera(s) let alone write up a post.

The simple solution to that is to have one giant post crammed with unrelated photos where I ramble on about how much fun I had. But then I thought that would make me look like an even bigger slacker. So I’ll post a million small posts with pictures and hope no one notices.

First I managed to put over 4,000 miles on my new car between August 7 and September 30. Which pretty much tells you how many week days I spent driving up and down I-79. That in and of itself was not fun. Not even nearly. Bleh. But once at my destination (or even better once I dragged my sorry carcass home) I did manage to squeeze in some geocaching here and there.

I love this particular container, it’s at Tygart Lake. As you can tell, the little girl who decorated it loves ducks. In addition to the duck ammo can there is a sweet pig container. It is even more brightly decorated. Which is amazing that it can stay hidden at all. I understand that the trifecta is completed by a hand turkey. And some day I will go out and hunt the mighty hand turkey.

Along with CLCombat & Aquacache, I cached in Grafton where I nearly lost my hand to a skirt lifter cache at the Rite Aid. After applying first aid to my wrist and the soaking wet cache log (dried out on the AquaJeep hood), our merry little band then went to Tygart Lake. Once there we made some poor decisions about how to reach a few caches, cleaned out a bunch of spider webs and generally traipsed around the woods for several hours. From there we headed out to Moats Falls where it was spectacularly dry.

The place was nearly empty which is a small miracle since it was a pretty nice day out. I wish I’d taken the onus to bring the big digital camera, as it was my photography was kinda limited and I was getting a little hungry (ok, I could have gnawed on my arm at that point). Not to mention the sun was getting low and we were quite a ways from home.

With the water down so far, you get a good idea of why the area is so dangerous when the waters are flowing high and fast. Those are some nasty rocks there. Fortunately for us, all we had to worry about was who looked best in the festive orange sunglasses. I lost out since they didn’t go with my outfit for the day. I don’t look so good in blaze orange anyway.

Since we were all reaching the arm gnawing level of hunger we left Arden and headed back to gorge at Rio Grande in Sabraton, because when I think about stuffing myself, I think Rio Grande. Right!

And later, much later….like a week or maybe two it was time for Geocoinfest 2008.  I’d pretty much gotten over being an icon hound, but GCF was a mega event and just happened to be right up I-79. How could I resist? I was nice and invited Aquacache to go with me and even let him drive. Which was for the best because by that time I had exactly ZERO working GPS receivers. Yes, zero. Which makes geocaching rather difficult.

At any rate we had a fun time at the event, ran into a ton of old friends and met some new folks – which is always the case at these things.  Saw a small child stick his hand into a shark’s mouth

and won stuff! Yes indeed, I finally won something! Woo hooo! Which gave me anxiety because there was this giant table full of stuff and I had to choose. And I was the first person to go up…Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. So I did what I normally do when stuck in such a situation. I stuck my hand out and grabbed the thing nearest me. It just so happened to be a geocoin (whew…with so many people around it could have gotten dicey).

The day finally over, we participated in the post-event  tradition of caching our way home. Which started out  in a park in ride and ended up in a cemetery in the dead of night with only two maglites to guide us. I need to work on my decision making skills.

In Summary (because I remember the lesson of the closing paragraph)…lots of time flew by. There was geocaching. There was meeting other geocachers. There was little water at Arden and zombies in the cemetery. Oh no wait, I think there were zombies in the cemetery, but didn’t see any. I’m sure I heard them though. At any rate, a glut of geocaching.

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chris on October 19th 2008 in Geocaching, Links