Sunday, October 30, 2011

Geocaching Adventures: The Furnace

My in-laws were in town last week and we had Saturday plans to drive 1.5 hours east to Huntersville NC to check out the Renaissance Festival.   Me being me, I decided to drive by myself, leave early, and grab a few caches along the way.  I'd meet everyone else in the festival parking lot.

 I didn't have  a great deal of extra time so I looked for quick and easy "park'n'grabs" to find.  However there was one cache that kept catching my eye and getting my geosenses tingling.  It was called The Furnace. However it has a high difficulty and terrain rating, and the description spoke of "trailblazing through the woods", so my first inclination was to skip it in favour of easier hunting grounds.

Since this cache was just 500ft off my route, and the first one on my list, I decided to drive by and check it out first hand before rejecting it outright.  I could always keep on driving if it looked like it will take too much time.  Once I got to the parking coords I immediately decided to give it a go.  I am glad I did.  This turned out to be the quintessential geocache experience.

From the parking area you can immediately see why the cache is called The Furnace.  300ft away in the woods, down a steep embankment, you could just make out the remnants of a really old large stone furnace.  The ground was slippery from heavy rains the night before but I managed to climb down without insult or injury (thank you trusty hiking boots and trekking pole).  From there it was just a few yards of flat wooded terrain to navigate before I got to the furnace.

This sucker is big. It is at least 50ft high, and just as wide.  It is made of many many stones laid on top of each other, without the use of motar.   When you walk around it you can see several inset areas which I assume were workspace areas when the furnace was operational.

The GPS said I was 120ft away from GZ, but since I clearly know more than satellite technology in geosynchronous orbit, I decided that the cache container must be on the furnace somewhere. I began my hunt, looking under rocks, and moving loose looking stones and bricks.

After a while I started to doubt myself and trust the technology.  I am glad I did, as it lead me to another pile of rocks 100ft in the woods.   There I quickly found the cache container - a pelican case - and signed the log.

I spent a few more minutes checking out the area before I climbed back up the embankment.  I got into the car and drove off to the festival with all the confidence of knowing that whatever else happened that day, I had already had the perfect caching experience.

(As it turns out, the rest of the day was awesome too, but that is another story for another post... stay tuned)