September 23, 2017

Erwin Linear Trail

  • 13.14 miles
  • 5:05 duration
  • 326 feet elevation gain
  • 21 geocaches found

Since I couldn’t find anyone to paddle or hike with me on this beautiful Saturday, I decided to take my trusty bike to Erwin and explore the Linear Trail. There are several caches along and near the trail that I wanted to log.

I parked at the Erwin City Park and opened my car door to get out. Before my feet hit the ground, I spotted it: a heads up penny on the pavement. I knew right away it was going to be a lucky day.

I unloaded my bike and started out by grabbing the three caches that are hidden in the park. I then headed toward the beginning of the trail which was about 3/10 mile away. The first three caches along the trail were pretty uneventful. The fourth cache was a little more challenging. The clue was “look up” and the cache description indicated that some climbing may be involved. Fortunately, I’ve been honing my tree climbing skills lately. Unfortunately, I sustained a bit of an injury in the process. Just a little blood was shed, and after cleaning and bandaging it I moved on down the trail.

The fifth cache along the trail was a tough one. I spent about thirty minutes at this location, searching high and low. I texted my friend Mrs. Jack (Dori) to ask if she remembered it, and she told me what she could remember. The hint was “Is it real?”  I did come across one item that was so big it didn’t look real. It was some kind of insect, as big as my hand. It was pretty creepy looking. 

 Eventually, I sniffed out the cache, and by the time I had signed the log realized that I really needed to find a restroom soon. I knew that there were fast food restaurants and a gas station at the next interstate exit, about 1 mile away, so jumped on my bike and rode directly there. Even though I had to pass up several caches, I knew I could search for them on the return trip.

After taking care of necessary business at the gas station, I continued along the trail, grabbing caches. Most of these caches had been hidden by my friend Reis’s Pieces (Scott). Along the trail were two puzzle caches and a multi cache, but I decided to save them for another day. The cool morning was quickly changing into a sunny, warm day. 

The caches were fewer and further between on this end of the trail. When I finally reached the end at the Temple Hill Road exit I targeted my last geocache in this direction.  As I was signing the log, I heard someone yell at me. I turned to find a very handsome muggle watching me from the field nearby. He trotted in my directions, so I made my way over the fence for a chat and to rub his neck. Oh. Did I mention he was a horse? 

I was quite warm and thirsty by this time, so I rode another .3 mile to the nearest gas station where I utilized the facilities and bought a drink and a snack. Then, it was time for the trip back. 

I realized that I had forgotten a cache on my way out, so stopped off to look for it on the way back. It ended up being my only DNF (did not find) of the day.  I am pretty sure that it was while I searched for that cache that I came in contact with the poison ivy that is causing me to break out now. Maybe not, but I have to blame some cache, so it might as well be the DNF.  

I rode back to the exit where I had made an earlier pit stop, and then began stopping for caches once again. I was able to skip one cache on this stretch that I had found previously. In fact, I was the first to find (FTF) that cache three years ago. It is on a tiny island in the middle of a pond, and techniqually a “boat required” cache. But, I found it by wading out to the island. 

As I made my way to the first one past that island cache, I noticed that a group of muggles was stopped on the trail nearby. I stopped my bike and spent some time looking at my phone, and waiting for them to move on. Eventually they did, and I was able to quickly find that cache. I made my way towardthe next cache, and there they were again! I stopped and took some pictures of the pond, and again they moved along. Fortunately, they finally picked up the pace and I was no longer catching up to them each time I needed to stop for a cache. 

My last cache to find on this trail took another long period of time. I spent quite a while searching on a wooded hillside for a pile of rocks at the base of a small tree. So many rocks and so many small trees here! I consulted the cache page on my phone, and read some of the previous logs. Apparently a previously hunter wasn’t successful in finding it so replaced it with a drop cache. At last I found the original cache, so then I made it my mission to find the replacement cache as well. Within moments I had located it just feet away, so I placed that smaller container inside the original container. 

My timing was perfect, because by this time I was down below 10% capacity on my cell phone battery. I quickly rode back to my car where I could plug in my phone, turn on the air conditioning, and relax. 

I had found a total of 19 caches, but decided I wasn’t finished for the day.  As I was driving home, I decided to stop off for a very tricky cache that I had on my “need to find” list. It was in a very busy location at a major department store parking lot, but I was fortunate enough to snag the parking spot right next to the cache location. This gave me thetime and freedom to search as long as I wanted without lurking around someone else’s car. I also used a favorite technique for avoiding suspicion. I found a plastic shopping bag on the ground next to my car, and used it to collect trash that was on the ground around the cache location. This allowed me to poke around in bushes as if I were just looking for trash. Finally, I found the cache, was able to sign the log, and head on toward home. 

But wait! While I was out and about, I decided to go find one more cache. This was one that I have had on my to-do list for several years, but the terrain rating has deterred me I had read many logs written by people who have gone to find this cache, and most described the difficult and painful route up a fence line through a gauntlet of bushes with stickers. Most have come back out bloody. 

I have spent a fair amount of time doing recon and studying different possibilities , so had a good idea of how I was going to attempt  this cache. I approached from a different direction from what was described on the cache page. This meant that I avoided the thorny gauntlet, but the route I took was much more steep. At one point, I was sliding backward a foot for every two feet I advanced.  But, I finally made it to the top, crossed a barbed wire fence and made my way through a field with very high grass and wild flowers. Once I arrived at the right location, the cache was very easy to find. It was just a difficult journey getting there. I was very happy to finally get it off my list. I then had to make the tripback down the hill to my car, which was equally challenging. 

Once back at my car, I just couldn’t resist going to find two more nearby caches. These were quick and easy finds that I just HAD to look for. This geocaching thing is an addiction you know. 

By the time the day was over I had found a total of 25 geocaches. That is quite a successful day in my book. 

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