Saturday, August 24, 2013

Geocaching Asheville

For reasons that I will not mention I have not been on a proper geocaching trip in over two weeks.

(OK fine, you talked me into mentioning it: I go geocaching mainly on weekends as my week days are filled with being an employee, a father, and a husband.  Last week my wife went camping and took the Geovan of Destiny, leaving me without a motorized vehicle.  I did have my bike, but there are no caches left nearby that are within biking distance of my house... all this means no caching trips. I've come to terms with this, and hopefully you will as well.)

Today I changed all that.  I woke up before dawn, piled into the Geovan of Destiny, and headed west to the mountains of North Carolina, and the town of Asheville contained within, a mere 1.5 hours drive away. I came armed with a list of the best caches in the town, and a rough plan on how to cover the city as much as possible. 

I spent the entire day exploring Asheville, but didn't even scratch the surface.

My day was dominated by three things:  beautiful mountain views,  urban art and sculptures, and Thomas Wolfe.  Thomas is an author and, (as near as I can tell based on the plethora of Thomas Wolfe stuff in the area), the personal Jesus to the town of Asheville.

The first cache I did was hidden on this sculpture made out of old auto parts.  It was the first of many caches to be based around artwork.  I made quick work of it, and it set me up for success for the rest of the day.

The next cache on my list was a cache hidden at Thomas Wolfe's old cabin.

As mentioned above, Thomas Wolfe is revered in Asheville (which is highly amusing as his novels so angered the locals that he was forced to leave the town for several years), and one of the historical artifacts that is being preserved is his old cabin.

The cabin is 1000ft up a trail in a nice clearing. As you can see the restoration work for the cabin is still on going.

Downtown Asheville is absolutely covered in art work, a lot of it really is interesting stuff.  There is, as you can probably guess, also a lot of Thomas Wolfe stuff.  In the downtown core there are 5 multi's and puzzles that have more than one stage - two have 6 stages, and all of the stages end up criss-crossing each other.  Before I left the house I mapped all of the stages so I could solve all of the multi-caches with one pass, avoiding back tracking all over downtown. I used the Android app, Locus, to do the mapping. The following is the map that I used.

I did manage to grab all of the caches without backtracking more than a block, which was awesome as I still did 3.5 miles of walking on hard surfaces, and by the end my dogs were barking.

Asheville is also full of old buildings, like this one.
These animals marked part of a trail.  There are several trails to guide visitors through downtown in order to see all of the artwork and other bits of history the place has to offer.
 Asheville is an arts town, and nothing marks an arts town like street musicians.  This fellow was playing some awesome sounding blues.
 More statues of cats, cause what would an Internet post be without cat pictures?
 Shopping ladies outside a book store.
No trip to the mountains would be complete without a walk down a trail that runs beside a nice mountain stream.  This one lead to a cache, which annoyingly was missing, but I still got an awesome hike out of it.
So my day ended up with 17 finds, and 3 DNFs.  Not to shabby considering all of the long multi's I did.  Asheville is a cool town to cache.  I'll definitely be back.

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