- 6.29 miles
- 5:00 duration
- 8 geocaches found – 2 FTFs
- Cache maintenance on 1 geocache
After a great day on moving water the day before, porknbeans (Jane) and I decided to extend the fun another day. When discussing what we might want to do, LakeBum (Rob) reminded us that there were still a couple of new caches on Boone Pond that had not yet been found. We asked him what would be the best place to put in to paddle to these caches, and he suggested the new Sugar Hollow boat ramp.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, Boone Pond is our nickname for Boone Lake. The water level of this lake has been lowered drastically in order to complete a multi year project to repair structural issues to the dam. Since this project started, geocachers in our area have taken advantage of the new real estate gained by lower water levels by hiding a whole series of geocaches. The two new caches we had in our sights are numbers 44 and 45 in the series.
We met at the boat ramp at 9:00 am. Jane has a Liquid Logic Remix XP9 like my Huck. After unloading our boats and getting our gear ready, we hit the water at 9:20. The two new caches were a little over a mile away as the crow flies, but we could see on the map that there were several bends to navigate around, adding distance to our journey. Our plan was to paddle to the new caches first, and then stop off to log additional caches on the return trip.
The day was overcast but warm. I assured Jane that the weather radar showed the rain would miss us, but she brought her rain jacket along just in case.
We had been steadily paddling for 45 minutes when we decided to stop and log a geocache that Rob had hidden last year. My tracking app showed that we had traveled 1.6 miles and were just a little over half way to the new caches. When we landed our boats, we saw that the dry lake bed leading up to the cache site is now covered by beautiful black-eyed susans.
We walked up the bank to the cedar tree mentioned in the cache page and searched its branches for the cache with no success. We knew that it had last been found just three weeks before by our friend Reis’s Pieces (Scott). I suggested we begin checking the ground around the tree in case it had fallen, and Jane soon spotted it in a rock crevice. After we signed the log, I found its hanger high in the tree, and reattached it.
Back in our boats, we paddled on toward our ultimate goal. It began to sprinkle rain, causing Jane to mock my weather predicting skills. It soon stopped though, barely dampening us.
One hour and thirty minutes after beginning our journey, we finally arrived at the first of the two new caches. This was also our furthest point. We had paddled 3.06 miles. As we neared the shore, we saw a flock of vultures standing around near the cache site.
They stayed nearby as we found the cache. We were happy to see a blank log sheet which meant that we were First to Find (FTF). After signing the log, we spent some time taking photos of the vultures. By this time, the sun had begun to burn through the clouds, and they were spreading their wings as if to dry them in the sun.
Jane picked up some trash, loading it into the storage hatch in the back of her boat. When we had arrived at this spot, we had to climb up a small bank, dragging our boats behind us. There was not a good way to climb back in our boats if they were in the water, so we decided to board them on dry land and then slide down the bank into the water. This technique worked great, as seen in this video:
We paddled a short distance to another shoreline occupied by vultures. Here we found our second FTF. Near the cache, Jane found the skull of a large fish that she took home to add to her skull collection. We then both picked up a good bit of trash as we made our way back to our boats.
Having met our goal of reaching and finding the two new caches, we made our back toward the boat ramp, stopping along the way to find several more caches. Most were part of the Boone Pond Series, hidden by either Rob or Back Woods Ang. In addition, we found one older cache that was hidden in 2012. Jane also found the carcass of another large fish, but it was too stinky to take home. At one stop we saw a cute baby snapping turtle.
As we made our way back toward the ramp, it was evident how much lower the water levels are from normal by looking at the height of docks and decks along cliffs that are now high and dry.
The day became hotter as the sun beat down on us, and our arms were growing tired of all the paddling. Finally, we reached our starting point exactly five hours after setting out. My tracking app showed that we had paddled 6.29 miles. This was less distance than the day before, but that was on moving water with much less paddling involved.
After loading our boats, we went into the woods next to the boat ramp so that Jane could find a cache I had hidden there two years ago. It took us several minutes to locate it, because I could remember absolutely NOTHING about the hide. There was also quite a bit more vegetation now than two years ago, making my hint of “At the base of a tree growing from rock” not quite as obvious as it had been when I hid the cache. I took a spoiler photo to post on the cache page and increased the difficulty rating on the cache when I returned home.
Jane and I agreed on a couple of things during this trip. A). Some folks might say a day paddling on the lake is boring but we disagree. We saw so many different things during this trip from flora to fauna to unusually shaped rocks and interesting artifacts that have been uncovered since the water level was lowered. B). One cannot see all of the beauty we experienced during this outing and not believe that there is a supreme being that created all of this.
I arrived at home sunburned, mosquito bitten, and bone weary, but grateful for the opportunity to experience such a great day.