I reached the end of Sandy Spring Road without event.
Turning left, I got on County Road 2/3 and headed down into the woods
again. Pretty soon a stripped area appeared ahead. I found
it ironic that the WVU Research Forest was directly across the road!
I want to think the best but it always concerns me to
see woodlands treated so badly. I continued on down the road and
soon came to the mud bog that had slowed me down
the winter we took this road to
get our Christmas Tree. I stopped to get out and take a
picture, thinking I must have been crazy to drive through here in the
dead of winter.
Lost in my reverie I almost didn't notice the huge
snake coiled in my path...
I was still far enough away that I didn't have to
really do anything except stop walking and pay attention. The
snake didn't move so I backed up a step or two. I continued to
watch it for a minute and it didn't move, so I made a photograph and
went back to the Jeep.
I took the bypass around the mud bog. I am not
a fan of mud, have paid my dues, and besides, didn't have anyone along
to get me out of trouble if things got ugly. Soon enough there was
more mud and another bypass.
The smell in the air changed giving way to the
unmistakable fragrance of pine trees. Sure enough there was a
decent stand of pine on both sides of the road. It made me think
of the forests back home in Central Massachusetts where the pine is far
more common than here.
I should plant some pines on my land and get some of
that smell and some of those memories growing again. Further down
the road houses started to dot the road here and there. A farmer
was burning cut brush and leaves on stream banks. Another smell
from childhood. On the side of the road, some pretty flowers.
Pretty soon I reached pavement and set the course for
a couple caches. First was the
Cooper Rock Travel Bug Drop-off
I parked the Jeep and walked the few yards to the
cache. Pretty soon I had found it.
Back to the Jeep and onward to the
I noticed this sign and thought it appropriate to
I reached the lake and had this intuition that I
should see Spotty Spotty Pony Girl but didn't see her. Strange I
would think of her but I dismissed it and got myself packed to go for a
walk up the side of the pond to the cache.
The walk on the west side of the lake was fairly easy
with a trail most of the way to the cache. There were some spots
where the trail dropped off and one had to scale the hillside around
fallen trees. Finally I reached the designated coordinates.
And then I bounced around with the bounce of my GPSr signal for quite a
while. I should have listened to my intuition again - the cache
location was stone-cold obvious but I resisted the obvious...
Finally I gave up on subtlety and sure enough, the
obvious was the answer. And when I opened the cache, there it was
- Spotty Spotty Pony Girl had been there - First to Find! Not less
than an hour earlier! How curious! Aquacache had also made a
visit. Had I seen them on their exit driving down the road and
subconsciously noted it but not caught it at the time?
Anyway, I cracked into the contents, signed the log,
and immersed myself in photographing the items and then my own travel
As I was doing this I heard the unmistakable sound of
someone walking in the woods... Not too heavy footed but certainly
someone was about. I looked around and saw no one so set about
packing up the cache and my stuff. Then I heard the footsteps
This time I saw somebody and surprise-surprise, it was "Mr.
P.". Now Mr. P. doesn't know me but I have seen his picture on one
geocache log or another so I greeted him by his moniker - to his mild
I introduced myself and we passed the time of day,
talked about Geocaching, some of the other players, and he related his
visit to Ted, Tom and my caches near the house. We had a few
laughs and walked back to the parking area - this time going back on the
east side of the lake.
I got a picture of Mr. P.'s bike, and we parted
I finished walking over to the Jeep and then headed
further down the road seeking the "Dead End" promised at the
intersection back at the highway exit. Soon enough I found the end
of pavement where the road had been absorbed into the new path of I-68.
But the road continued to the north up into the woods. How could I
The road wound up the hill and soon came to another
boundary of the WVU Research Forest. As the time was getting late
and I needed to get home I decided against going deeper into the woods.
Instead I followed the road back out to Route 857 and after discovering
that my local car wash was closed (probably killed by the new automated
BP Car Wash) I turned tail and headed home.
It had been a great day with weather to die for.
The four-wheeling was uncomplicated but satisfying. And the chance
meeting of Mr. P. at a cache was a nice way to finish the day. I
scrubbed the Jeep and called it a day!