Sunday, November 17, 2013

Gastonia Thread Trail

On Saturday I met up with a local cacher by the name of NinjaChipmunk, and headed off an hour down the road to Gastonia North Carolina to do some geocaching.

Our goal was to hike the Gastonia portion of the Thread Trail.  The Carolina Thread Trail is a series of trails that connects 15 counties and 2 states together with 132 miles of trail. These trails are not all connected tho, at least not yet.

The portion of the trail we did is called the South Fork Trail, and is about 2.2 miles long.  It runs along side the beautiful south fork of the Catawba River.

This area was subject to a series of floods over the spring and summer, but the cache owners have been awesome at keeping the caches maintained, so we managed to find 8 of the 9 active caches, with one DNF.

Kudos to the COs for awesome cache maintenance. Well done!

The trail itself is mostly flat, and is a wide dirt path.  We parked at the southern end, and worked our way north.  One of the first major features is this rail bridge:
NinjaChipmunk is a relatively new cacher, but she proved herself to be a capable finder.  We split the finds about 50/50.  She made the grab on this tricky cache hide here.
I found this single boot sitting on the riverbank.
This is the river we spent the entire afternoon hiking beside.  It is one of the prettier rivers I've seen in North Carolina.  I bet it looks awesome in the summer, but as it stands, the remaining fall colours makes a nice background.
... and the requisite selfie, just to prove I was there.
If you look closely at the above photo you can see the top of a hiking stick I made while hunting the 4th cache.  There was a lot of leaf litter, and I didn't bring my hiking stick, so I needed something to poke with.  Instead of sticking my hands into places snakes and rodents love to hang out, I spent 5 minutes cutting the twigs off of a freshly fallen branch.  It turned out to be time well spent as the very first thing I poked after fashioning my brand new poking stick, was the cache, hidden under a pile of leaves.

I am an absolute sucker for nature growing out of rocks and other hard things.  Nature always seems to find a way.  It was awesome to see this full sized tree growing out of an old bridge support.  You can also see a tree growing out the side, and that one is actually lifting the entire structure up.  The bridge support is a good 8ft above the water, so that is a significant amount of weight.  You just can't help but respect nature when you see something like this.


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