May 6, 2018

 Boone Pond

  • 2.68 miles
  • 2:55 duration
  • 3 geocaches found
  • 3 geocaches visited (previously found)
  • 1 DNF (did not find)

After spending several nights at the hospital sitting with a loved one, I was ready for some fresh air and exercise. RudeKoolaid (Angela) mentioned that she was planning to kayak on Boone Pond (formerly Boone Lake) on Sunday afternoon, so I asked if I could tag along. Also joining us for this outing were her husband John Wayne (Billy) and daughter Lost Guide (Savannah).

We had planned to meet at the boat ramp at 1:00 pm, but when I checked the weather radar late in the morning, it showed that the rain showers that had started the night before would not move out until about 1:30. We pushed our meet up time a little later hoping to stay somewhat dry.

When I arrived at the boat ramp it was still raining, but within a few minutes it stopped. I went ahead and unloaded my boats, trusting that it was finished. I had brought along my Liquid Logic kayak, Huck, for his first outing of the year. I had also brought my green recreational kayak for Savannah to use since she hasn’t bought one yet.

Billy, Angela and Savannah arrived just after I moved my truck up to the parking area. They unloaded their boats at the ramp, and then we all got our gear ready. Signal the Frog® jumped aboard Huck with me, and Angela climbed in her boat with Pete the Porcupine.

I hadn’t remembered to bring a paddle along for Savannah to use, but fortunately she had brought her guide paddle that she uses when white water rafting. It is a single blade, rather than double bladed like a normal kayak paddle, but at least it was something.

Soon after we hit the water, Billy traded paddles with her because he was planning to stay near the boat ramp and beach. He had brought along a magnet to “fish” for metal objects in the water.

We paddled along the shore toward Boone Dam, stopping so that Savannah could find a cache that I had found on my trip two weeks ago. Angela had also found this cache on a previous trip. We then paddled across the lake next to the floating barrier that prevents boats from wandering into the construction area around the dam. Our target was two caches near the dam that Dori and I had passed up on my last trip. To read more about this construction project, you can visit the post from my last trip.

The first involved exiting your boat and climbing up a steep, rocky bank to the previous waterline. I disembarked with my usual grace (insert eye roll) and managed not to get too wet in the process. The rocks along this piece of shore were very interesting. Each was layered with rings alternating in tan and gray.

I climbed up the bank toward the cache location, while Angela and Savannah waited in the boats below. It took me a good bit of searching to find the cache. I had read the hint before heading up, which suggested it was near “ancient signs”. I kept scanning the area for signs, but couldn’t see them anywhere. Finally, Angela called to me to look for a marker on a rock that read “I-34A”. She had taken time to read the cache description while I was searching – always a smart move. I moved up a little higher and suddenly spotted a small metal disk embedded in rock. Looking more closely, I discovered that it was what I was searching for, and under that rock was the geocache.

It was what BackWoodsAng (the cacher who had hidden it) likes to call a “dirty tube” – a pvc pipe with a cap on one end and screw top on the other. I groaned when I saw it, because I often have difficulty unscrewing these lids. But, then I saw that he had rigged up an extra appendage to the screw top, which gave me more surface area to grip and leverage to get the lid started. I was able to get it open with only a little bit of effort, and soon had signed our names to the log sheet.

I replaced the cache and then headed off on foot to find the next one. It was only .10 mile away, and at the same elevation as the one I had just found. If the lake had been at full pool, the cache location would have been an island in an inlet. However, with the level of the lake drawn down for dam repairs, it was a walk on dry ground all the way to the coordinates.

Once there, I checked every evergreen tree in about a 50 foot radius. The hint had said it was hanging in an evergreen tree. I wasn’t able to locate it hanging in any of them, and then began searching the ground beneath each tree in case it had fallen. I still couldn’t locate it. I was texting LakeBum (the cache owner) and he confirmed it should be in one of the smaller trees hanging at eye level. I finally had to give up my search and return to where my comrades were waiting with the boats.

Once I had gracefully (tongue in cheek) climbed back into my kayak, we continued on our  way. They decided to forego climbing up the bank to find the next cache. Dori and I had made that climb two weeks prior, and it was very treacherous. Angela said she always likes to leave one un-found so that she has a reason to return. Sounded like a pretty good excuse to me, since I was returning after not finding everything on my previous trip.

We followed the shoreline to the next cache site. This was a cache that Angela had hidden last year. Dori and I had logged it on our previous trip, but since this was Savannah’s first time on the pond, she needed it. Because the water was higher today than on our previous trip, she was able to reach the cache from her boat, unlike Dori and I.

The next cache was also one that Dori and I had found, but Angela and Savannah needed it. Angela climbed out to find it. While she was logging the cache, she was visited by a beagle that wandered within about 15 feet of her. It never barked and soon disappeared. Perhaps it lives at the nearby house and was just coming to check on who was wandering on his shore.

Once she was back in the boat, we paddled a little further to reach a take out point for the next cache. This is one that Dori and I had searched for unsuccessfully. It is hidden 15-20 feet up in a tree. We had climbed three different trees to search for it, but couldn’t locate it.

Ang had come to check on it earlier in the week, had shot new coordinates, and had built a rock cairn near the correct tree to help us find it. We still wandered a little before spotting it, and then realized this tree was going to be a tough one to climb. Unlike the ones I had climbed on the previous trip, the lowest branch of this one was just a bit too high for me to get a good start.

Angela suggested we find a stick long enough to retrieve the cache. I found one, but it was about a foot too short. She found one, and as she was reaching with it, it broke. I found another and the same thing happened, making it just a few inches too short. We finally found just the right stick, and I started trying to dislodge the cache container from where it was hanging. I was not having any luck so Angela took over and soon had it in hand. The girl has skillz!

When she opened the container, she found a wet log sheet, despite the fact that it was inside a baggie. I had left my life jacket in my boat, and the gel pen I had brought along was in the pocket of it. Angela had a ballpoint pen, and it would not write on the damp paper without tearing it.

We spent several minutes taking turns blowing on the paper to dry it, and I was finally able to barely etch our names on the log. She then showed me Billy’s special technique for replacing this type of high-hanging cache, and soon had it back in its original spot. We then attached Signal and Pete to the end of the stick and raised them up into the tree for a photo opp. Once home, I wrote in my log for this cache that they had climbed the tree to retrieve it for us.

By the time we returned to our boats, Billy had paddled across the lake to join us. Since it was getting late in the day, and I needed to return to the hospital for my night shift, I suggested we call it a day. We paddled back across the lake, pausing halfway so that I could replace a cache that had gone missing.

Dori and I had searched for this cache on our trip. I knew what to look for, because I had found a similar hide by the same cache owner – LakeBum (Rob). Knowing that we were planning to make this trip, I had contacted him and gotten permission to replace it, along with tips on how to secure it. Before we had started our paddle today, I had signed the log sheet and had Savannah sign it as well. Angela had already found it on a previous trip. Then, I “thought” I put it in the pocket of my life jacket.

When I reached the cache location, I reached in my pocket for it, but couldn’t find it. I started to panic, searching both pockets of my life jacket several times, willing it to appear. I finally decided to check my pants pocket, and thankfully it was there.

Once I had placed the cache in its hiding spot, Angela, Savannah and I spent some time taking photos while Billy continued toward the boat ramp. When we were ready to continue, I paddled over to retrieve a plastic bottle that was floating in the water. We had all been pulling such items out of the water during the trip – practicing CITO (cache in, trash out). Imagine my surprise when I tried to scoop it up, only to find it was tied to something very heavy that was resting on the bottom of the lake. I tugged at it, and pulled up a large rock. Savannah produced a knife from the pocket of her life jacket, and cut the rope so that we could complete my CITO mission.

We then paddled to the boat ramp, arriving just as Billy backed his Jeep to the bottom of the boat ramp. He had a trailer attached which he had used to haul their boats to the pond. Once he had loaded their boats, he suggested I throw mine on top and then ride up to the parking area with them. I was happy to accept his offer.

Soon, I had the boats loaded in my truck and was ready to head home. In the course of the three or so hours since I had arrived, the skies had cleared and the sun had come out. It turned out to be a great day to be on the water.

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