Monday, December 15, 2008

Finally Catching Up!

I am finally going to catch up on all of my blogging tonight by writing about all of the caching I've done over the past nearly three months. First up is this tube. It's part of a cache I started looking for back in September. This picture is from September 21, 2008. This was one of two decoys or red herrings that I found for this cache. I was worried something was wrong here because I found the tube laying out in the open.

The only problem was, for this cache, there was only supposed to be one decoy. Two months later, I found out from the cache owner that this tube was part of an original decoy that had been presumed lost. Where this had been discarded or placed, I could follow its instruction to look "a bit west" all the way to the Pacific Ocean and I would not find any cache because I found this clue already west of where the cache was. The cache owner provided some generous hints and I was finally able to locate the cache. I have no idea how many hours I spent crawling over every square inch of the plot of land west of the second and erroneous clue. Easily more than 10 hours; maybe as much as 20 hours.

You do get to find the oddest things crawling all over an area. This sticker was on the underside of a cover for a guy wire (that's what is in the center of the picture) for a telephone pole. Who stuck it there? What were they thinking? Who knows.

This picture was taken October 5. I was still looking for that cache. It wasn't here in this tree, but that would have been a good spot!

I found these mushrooms on October 18. But I did not find the cache. I was about one month in at this point. I had to introduce myself to a man who lived in a house nearby and explain what I was doing hanging around a patch of woods right outside his back yard for hours on end every weekend. I believe these mushrooms are Jack O'Lantern mushrooms (Omphalotus olearius), according to what I saw on the web site,

On October 26, I took a break from the other cache to try to find some in downtown Hagerstown, after having lunch with my friend Dan at Cici's. Dan joined in the hunt for the caches with me. The first stop was this Masonic lodge in Hagerstown. Apparently, judging by the next picture, this building is 110 years old this year. We found the cache here.

Next door is the Schmankerl Stube. They've got some tasty food there, although it is expensive. They do not have any caches, though. At least as far as I know.

Believe it or not, this sign is a clue that is part of a multistage cache involving the parking deck in downtown Hagerstown.

This cache container is also part of the hunt. That's the parking lot a few stories below. You can't be afraid of heights and do this cache!

Eventually we wind up on the top of the parking deck. Way out in the distance you can see Black Rock, which has been featured multiple times in my blog, and doubtless will be again.

There, see the rocks?

Dan and I enjoyed working our way up to the final stage of the cache, but this day was not our day, and we did not find the final stage. I thought it might have been secreted away in here and lost. That was not the case. When I returned weeks later to look again, I found the final stage. This cache was great fun.

The gray skies of November--November 2, to be precise--have arrived and are behind this sign which proclaims "NO DUMPING."

Likewise, so says this sign affixed to this fence.

The Cachemobile, parked beside the fence. Let's wander back there and see what we can see. And oh yes, there is supposed to be a cache around here somewhere.

I walked behind the fence. I can't take a picture of how things smelled, but it wasn't good. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't good. One of the first things I noticed was this bone, laying on the ground. It had been cleaned up pretty good.

Next was this tire.

Then there was this trashbag, blowing in the wind. This would have been pretty spooky if I had tried this cache at night.

More bones. This is kind of explaining the smell I smelled, although these were way too clean to be associated with it. This appears to be some sort of leg bone, maybe, and a rib.

And, of course, the dump where the sign said "no dumping." In some respects, throwing garbage onto a mulch pile isn't such a bad idea. But it is when the garbage includes styrofoam containers, plastic packaging, plastic bags, foam padding, and, not shown, a sofa.

This pile of mulch and garbage presumably belongs to The Mulch Man. I'm sure he doesn't haul that garbage to his customers. I'm not sure how his neighbors feel about it, though. Of course, there aren't that many at this particular spot.

Oh yeah. Up next to this fence, there were these discarded plastic pots. Let's just say I shouldn't have walked by them without paying them any special attention and I would not have had to spend nearly as much time wondering what the smell was behind the fence, or if I would accidentally step in it, whatever it was.

This is part of a plaque for the Washington Confederate Cemetery. There are almost 2500 Confederate dead buried here. The vast majority of them are unknown.

This monument watches over them.

And this is the only marker they get.

I wandered around the cemetery a bit. On this day, I happened to note a couple of dogs that were part of peoples grave markers. This one was pretty elaborate.

Here's the other one.

I was actually hunting this grave marker, which I noticed driving in. Kind of sends a mixed signal, huh?

I know it kind of looks photoshopped in there, but trust me, it's not.

Several of the markers were for people who weren't dead yet. Like this guy. He's 93. Who would have thought that after seeing all of that action in the pacific he would still be kicking around at 93?

These folks are younger but they're getting ready for them just the same. The metal plate confused me. I do not know why it is there. So I took a picture.

Going back further for a military officer. I don't know if this guy is the highest-ranking dead person here or not. He didn't make it quite as long as the navy guy has.

"Breath is just a clock, ticking . . . ." Some new stones, waiting to announce someone's departure.

I guess this one was delivered already carved. And shrinkwrapped. Shrinkwrapped?

These look like they are ready to go. The owners are in no hurry to use them, doubtless.

These larger stones were also there, waiting for attention. And also shrinkwrapped.

Also in the cemetery is this tree, commemorated as the Remembrance Tree. The plaque says once a year, the tree is lit in remembrance.

And this mass of tangled wires and electrical boxes is what does the job. It's kind of amazing this whole thing hasn't gone up in flames. I'm sure people would remember it.

The Memorial Boulevard Memorial. There was a cache near this marker, but because I didn't have the cache description with me, I could not make the adjustments to the coordinates necessary (and present in the description) to find it. I looked around a little bit, but missed finding it this day.

I did find this tiny little ad tacked onto the back of the memorial. It's very small. Who did they think were going to see it? But you never know!

There are also these cool doors behind some trees. They're not really used. But somehow, old wooden doors into a cemetery are just cool.

Defeated and with daylight running out, I went to go back to try another cache that I had spent a few hours on earlier in the year. The coordinates are off, which doesn't help. Nevertheless, the cache is in this picture.

And it's not in this one.

The last thing I did this particular day was go find a benchmark. These are survey markers that are everywhere. You can hunt them and log your finds, kind of like geocaches. I took this picture when it was dark. All my daylight was gone. I had a busy day that day.

The following week, on November 8, I came back to try to find the cache in the cemetery, which I did. You can't see it in this picture, because I have it, signing the log.

There. I put it back. See?

I also hunted down the cache in the parking garage that we couldn't find from before. Then I went to City Park, where I took this picture. I was not far from where a cache was supposed to be.

Only there was not a cache here. When I spoke to the cache owner later, he told me that the cache had been found dislodged and in the stream that runs by these rocks. So I still have to get back there to find that one.

There was a train, though.

I didn't find the cache, but once again, I found a mushroom. This was an interesting spot for it to be growing.

Here's a closer look. I'm not sure what this one is.

I also found this Anthony Smith CD. It's got a picture of a hound dog on it, so that's a good thing. But other than that, I have no idea who Anthony Smith is.

As I mentioned, I was in the park. It was another dark, gray, November day, so there was not a lot of light to take the picture of this duck. I used the flash, which is why the duck's eye is glowing, and you can't see the duck.

There are also fishes under the ducks.

I didn't find the cache that was near the ducks. I did find the cache shown here, which is also in the park.

I also found the cache hidden here, where this pedestrian bridge crosses an aquaduct for no good reason.

There is no cache in this phone booth. I just took a picture of it because who knows how much longer these will be around.

For the record, this one is a model KS-21716 Telephone Booth; No. 587258, to be precise.

I'm not sure what happened to the rest of November. Weather, maybe, and also searching for that cache that I had been looking for since September. This isn't it, by the way. This is a picture of the cache I found on Thanksgiving Day. It's the one closest to the home of my aunt and uncle, whom several relatives and I joined for dinner that day. I'm glad they invite us. It's always a good time.

A couple days later, I found the cache I had been looking for since September. Nearly two months I had been searching off and on--in the wrong spot. Now, this is a picture of a sign for a very small memorial park, in which, yes, you guessed it, there is a cache.

I also took some time to explore an abandoned (more or less) quarry operation near where I live.

What did I find? Bones, of course.

It looks much more fierce turned up this way. I think it was a opossum.

I also found this old tin can, which looks a lot like what I am normally searching for!

And the obligatory No Dumping sign.

That brings me up to today, December 14, 2008. Today I decided to drive along Maryland Route 77 and do some exploring. The first stop was, of course, a cache, near this sign. Cunningham Falls Park is on one side of the road (this one).

Catoctin Mountain Park is on the other.

Here's a picture of the cache. Also pictured is my GPS, telling me that the cache is 44 feet north of here. This is what makes finding these things a little more difficult sometimes, eh?

The interesting thing about this spot is that a tornado went through here several years ago and tore up all these trees.

These trees are blown over. I had to hike a little bit off the road to take these pictures.

What a mess, huh!

I took these last two pictures from the road. The trees used to be as dense here as the ones you see behind the clear area.

Same here.

I traveled on down the road a little bit, parked, and hiked down through the woods a little bit to this spot. Nobody was on the beach! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the water is freezing over? Could be! So that's it. My camera is now empty. I'm all caught up on my blogging. On to whatever is next!

Monday, December 15, 2008 

Category: Life