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Archive for April 8th, 2009

A Little Water Never Hurt Anyone

I’d put out a call for intrepid souls to take on wvcoalcat’s Maxwell Run & Close Mountain pretty much as soon as they were published. They sounded perfect and I was having a severely wicked case of Spring Fever. I tried to be smart about this, as Maxwell Run had 6 required stream crossings and a pixie deer trail. I watched the weather, I made sure everyone knew to bring extra socks and shoes <ok, so I hit nag level about the socks & shoes> and then it POURED rain on Friday. Not a heavy storm. An all day wicked rain that left a small stream for me to cross in my basement. I could only imagine what it had done to Maxwell Run itself.

I checked MAGPI and everyone was still on. And then around 8 p.m. or so, I get a call from a concerned cacher. I see my reputation has preceded me. After assuring wvangler that I would be careful and would be with several other cachers that would ensure I was using my brain (or at least make sure my carcas was waypointed) I hoped that the stream would be manageable and I would not get in trouble for insisting we still go.

Stuffed happily in the backseat of the AquaJeep and full of dramamine  I curled up on my 4 bags as a very nice pillow (yes, I had four bags. sue me) enjoyed the lovely drive to our traditional ‘coalcat assault rendezvous point. As fate would have it we were one man down before even getting on the road. Rock_Rat was feeling under the weather which left us with one Jeep and 4 people. Oh yeah. After a little rearranging (goodbye pillows!) and some serious contortions, Gentleman-Carpenter piled in and we were off.

After all this fuss and carrying on we were shocked to find that our GPSes implied we were only 30 feet from the cache upon arrival. How odd. Was wvcoalcat being tricky? We were puzzled. Until we looked across the street and saw it…Could it be? A ‘coalcat GG?

Unfortunately this hide seemed to have been muggled as Aquacache came up empty despite a thorough inspection of the guardrail. The next nearest reference point appeared to be GC1F07E, so we hit “Go To” and so off we went.

We weren’t far into our hike when we realized that we had a bit of a delima. Maxwell Run was running high and unless someone in our party could either fly or hurl the rest of us across, the theme for today was no doubt going to be soggy feet and squishy boot and a whole bunch of unhappy waterlogged toes. After pondering the possibilities, sidekick noticed a log hanging out nearby. That, he said, would be the perfect way to stem the tide and get us to the other side….oh sure it would.  It couldn’t possibly be THAT heavy, he said as he tried to move it. Oh yeah, this was going to end well.

LWB: it’s light, really. See?

Aquacache:  Uh-huh.

And then things went wrong. So, our best hope for dry feet now laying nowhere useful, sidekick decided to go for it. He rolled up his pants and waded across, leaving me with the very precious digital camera and no room in my backpack. Have I mentioned how clumsy I am? Ok then.

Despite our very nice cajoling and bribing, sidekick insisted that we all join him on the other side of the stream. Because, NO. He was not getting the cache for us while we waited. It’s so hard to find a good sidekick these days.

With not much recourse left, the rest of us rolled up our pants <avert your eyes! Pasty White Winter Legs everywhere!> and waded across.  Note to self, running is not helpful! Despite rolling my pants up above my knees I was still soaking wet up to the middle of my thighs. Oh yes, I’m that smart.

After a brief stop where we wrang out our socks and emptied our shoes <except Gentleman-Carpenter who conducted an experiment by only wringing out one sock and emptying one shoe. This would later come to be an important moment in our hike.> we headed out for the cache and stream crossing #2.

It soon became apparent that despite the perils of having to cross a fast-running Maxwell Run 24 times, the preceding day’s rain had given us some excellent scenery. We paused to take photos every 30 yards or so, often scrambling around the muddy banks and trying desperately not to fall <or get shoved> in.

Somewhere around stream crossing #35 (they all started to blend into one big sloshy mess),  and well after we’d figured out that stopping to empty shoes and wring socks was an act of futility (thanks to G-C’s early experiment) Aquacache suddenly decided that he had HAD ENOUGH. And he began to look about for an alternative crossing. So there the rest of us were, on the correct side of the stream at that particular moment, when his eyes locked on this particular log.  So I did what any concerned cacher would do, I snapped a photo and then pushed record on my camera. Hey, you never know.

There’s no accounting for common sense in this group, that’s for certain. (please note for those who were probably assuming I’d be the one to try this stunt, you were wrong.  I shall mock you later. ) It was touch and go there, our group expressing great concern for his safety. No because we are nice, but  because, quite frankly, Aquacache had the key to the AquaJeep. If he went downstream we were in trouble.

Eventually we finally made it to the cache location. While Aquacache & I pondered if we’d made one too many stream crossings and sidekick wandered around taking photos, Gentleman-Carpenter gave the victory whoop. Thank God. Then it was time for one of the most important rituals of the day – heavy snacks & group photo.

That accomplished we had little to do but head back to the parking coords. This was accomplished in a much swifter fashion being that A) we were already soaked B) we were full up on photos and C) we were hungry still. After speed walking / stumbling / tripping / wading back to the parking coords we were a sorry sight indeed. And I have evidence…

We did manage to recover enough to go after Close Mountain & then Cathedral Cache before heading to our traditional post-‘coalcat reward of delicous Cool Springs food.

It was an awesome day.

chris on April 8th 2009 in Geocaching