What a great weekend! On Saturday, Amy and I threw our first party in our new house. It was supposed to be a BBQ, complete with an outdoor fire and horseshoes, but the cold and rain forced it indoors. We still had about 20 people show up though and had lots of fun with music, Cranium, darts, video games, and great food! Since I turn 25 on Tuesday – Yes, I’m almost a quarter of a century old! – Amy made me an ice cream cake and everybody sang happy birthday. The fun part is that most of our friends are international students from the Chemical Engineering program at USC, so besides English, I also got to hear “Happy Birthday” in Spanish, German, Chinese and Greek.
Then, after church on Sunday, I decided to go geocaching and check out Harbison State Forest for the first time. I saved a couple geoacache coordinates into my gps, packed some water, my ipod shuffle, and a map of the park into my backpack, tossed my rusty old bike in the back of my truck and took off.
I didn’t really have a plan as to exactly where I was going in the forest, but as you can see from the map above, I ended up making a pretty good circle of the Southeast side of the park. The full ride took me about 3 hours and I found the following 2 geocaches:
- Vernal Pond – This was a pretty easy-to-find ammo can located just north of the Education Center office. While I was there, I picked up a travel bug. Travel bugs are trackable dog tags, usually attached to an item that moves from geocache to geocache as people find it and rehide it. This particular travel bug was attached to a posable Sully figure. He was first hidden in Ohio in November of 2001. When I logged my find, I posted this picture of him to verify that he’s still in good shape…and that the geocache was really easy. I’ll take him with me next time I go caching and hide him in the first cache that’s big enough for him to fit in.
- Melvin – The second cache I went after wasn’t quite as easy. To get there, I decided to follow the Midlands Mountain trail, which is rated “Difficult to Moderately Difficult”, but WHAT A FUN RIDE! Up hill, down hill, sharp turns, and lots of MUD! On the Northeast corner of the trail was a lookout point called Harbison Bluffs, with a steep slope down to the Broad River. My GPS unit said that Melvin was located straight ahead. So, I left my bike at the top of the hill and half-hiked, half-slid down to the bottom. Upon my arrival at the river, I realized that the cache was about half way back UP the slope. I finally found the ammo box tucked under a fallen tree and covered with limbs. It wasn’t until I opened it up and looked at the log book till I realized the cache hadn’t been found since JULY! I usually don’t go after caches that haven’t been found within the last few months becuase there’s a high probability that it might be missing. I never did check the date on this one apparently, but I’m glad I didn’t.
I arrived home by about 6, out of water, covered in mud, and seriously thinking about purchasing an annual biking permit for the state forest.