Bee Run (Down the Cheat Cache - Part IV...)

Below Cheat View on the Cheat River



4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD! - Click here for details!

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!



Measure Twice, Cut Once...


Last month I made a third attempt to find the Down the Cheat Cache.  It turned into a minor disaster.  It took me a month to clean out the Jeep and to get some problems corrected.  I barely had time to finish all these things before making a compulsory Camp Jeep 2007 Pre-Run.  And the Willys Points got stretched to the limit.  Another trip Down the Cheat would have to produce results without carnage or I was going to have to stop going...  Since I like the trail the prospect of coming back empty handed did not appeal to me...

There's "fate" and there's "karma".  I'm not superstitious but I was starting to think that finding this geocache just wasn't in the cards for me. When Ted and I went down to try this one the first time, we got crossed up thinking we could take a trail that lead along the side of the canyon and reach the cache without climbing straight up.  That didn't work well for us and we had quite an adventure.  By the time we got back to the Jeep, we had run out of time to search for the cache.

Next, we went down just for a family outing.  This trip was routine but reminded me how I have become accustomed to these types of trails.  Not everyone that came with us on that trip was as comfortable on the way in as I was.  Still, we had a nice time at the Cheat River and made it home just fine.  And I've already alluded to the ill-fated third trip.

So here I was minding my own business when a notice came Sunday from that Aquacache had place a brand-spanking new 2007 Red Jeep Commander Travel Bug in - you guessed it - the Down the Cheat Cache...  Now I really had something to think about.

The good news was that I had done a fair amount of preventative maintenance and the Jeep was fresh off the Camp Jeep Pre-Run where I finished off a dying Optima battery.  A week earlier I had received my WARN winch back from the manufacturer all fixed and working nicely.  Everything else was working well including the stereo.  In short, I felt confident the Jeep was in shape for another pass at this cache.

Monday I waited, thinking I would go on the Weekend.  Tuesday it started eating at me that if I waited somebody might go down and beat me to it.  Wednesday morning I couldn't stand it anymore and put the full soft top on, loaded my tools and winch kit, water, hiking sticks, etc., and after airing down and disconnecting in the driveway, headed out for the trail.

Before I reached Tyrone-Avery Road it was raining; by the time I reached Cales the WVDOH was checking the Jenkinsburg Bridge road to see if they should close it; by the time I reached the trail head I was beginning to question my own sanity. 

Trail Head
Trail Head

I promised myself if the trail was a mess I would back up as far as I had to turn around and come back out empty handed.  I kept reminding myself not to drive into the mud hole (how could I ever forget anyway...?).  In the photo above note the driver's side d-shackle on the front bumper is hanging by a thread, about to fall off...


Bee Run 7/11/07

My first big surprise came when I reached the section of trail where the hill had slipped leaving a moderate obstacle.  "Someone" (the DNR?) had come in with heavy equipment and completely repaired the trail.  The slip was still in evidence above and below the trail but the trail itself was the smoothest patch of ground all the way down to the Cheat!  The one obstacle that required consideration was completely gone!  Here are Before and After Photos.  I admit it's hard to get a sense of the difference but consider the five-foot boy in the Before picture is standing in the bottom of the slip and the top of his head is just barely even with the trail behind him.  The After picture shows a flat gravel road.  Big difference.

Ted at a large slip in the trail - Click to Enlarge No More Slip in the Hill! - Click to Enlarge
Before After

Another shot of the repaired section of trail facing down toward the river.  The "bypass" is still on the low side of the main trail for anyone looking for foolish adventure...

No More Slip in the Hill!

Not long after this it started to rain pretty hard.  I stopped for a gratuitous trail shot or two.  Note in the shot below the aforementioned d-shackle has fallen off and disappeared.  I took a walk along the trail and could not find it...

Dark Rain
Dark Rain

I reached the bottom of the trail at the Cheat River in about the usual time.  Waiting for me was my old friend "mud patch".

The Evil Mud Patch

Consider the relationship to my Jeep and the muddy area in this picture taken from my last trip....  Sorry to disappoint but I have "been there - done that" and I do indeed have the T-Shirt...

In the Mud Hole - Click to Enlarge the misery

This time I just sat in my Jeep, ran some movie footage and taunted it in true French form...

Movie: MOV06521.MPG Mud Hole Comments

Satisfied that nothing was going to crawl out of the cow-flat smelling oooze and get me, I took the bypass and soon parked on the side of the trail.  I loaded my pockets with GPSr, ID, Cell Phone.  I took my camera and my geo-swag bag, and a couple walking sticks.  The heavens opened up and poured rain nice and hard in my honor.  Gawd I love this job!

I walked the remaining .56 mile of trail and turned up the canyon wall when the GPSr indicated the cache was at a 90-degree angle to the trail.  Just as I reached this point, a boat with three men in ponchos appeared slowly coming up the Cheat River.  It looked for a moment like they were looking for a spot to land.  I was not happy with the prospect of sharing this cache after so many failed attempts.  I stayed out of view and watched them for a moment and then quietly went back to my main concern - the location of the cache.

The canyon is steep and owing to the rain, it was slippery.  The Stinging Nettles were not a great choice for hand-holds so I climbed a rocky erosion flow that was nearby.  It was slow going and even though it was raining it was still pretty hot and consequently miserable.

As I climbed the canyon I could hear the men talking though could not understand what they were saying.  I just kept climbing until the GPSr indicated that I was at the same elevation as the cache.  The only problem was that the accuracy was fluctuating considerably so at any given time, without moving I was between 20 and 200 feet from the cache!

Because the footing was so treacherous, I chose to sit and drink some water and watch the GPSr for times when the accuracy was high, and combined with my electronic compass, homed in on the location of the cache little by little.  Pretty soon I found it!  At LAST!

Down the Cheat Cache At Last!
Down the Cheat Cache

I sat down and put all my stuff aside.  When I opened the cache I found the Red Jeep Travel Bug.

Red Jeep Travel BugRed Jeep Travel BugRed Jeep Travel Bug
Red Jeep Travel Bug

I laid out my personal travel bugs and coin and made some pictures.

Assorted Travel Bugs

I left the Susan B. Anthony coin and signed the log.

Susan B. Anthony Coin

Down the Cheat Log Entry

I also left my personal magnetic "badge of courage" to commemorate my several abortive attempts to find this cache...

Down the Cheat Cache with my Magnetic Badge of Courage

The cache contents...

Discount Took Shop Day at Down the Cheat Cache

I packed up the cache and carefully placed it back where I found it.  While I had my gloves off I got a taste of the Stinging Nettles.  Grateful to have worn long pants and my French Army coat that covers me almost to the ground, I began the slow tedious process of picking my way back down the canyon to the trail by the river.

When I got there I walked in the rain back to the Jeep.  Along the way I flushed out a puddle jumper.

Puddle Jumper

As I have each time I come down, I took the Jeep down to the river and took some pictures.

Red Jeep Travel Bug below Cheat View on the Cheat River

Below Cheat View on the Cheat River
Below Cheat View on the Cheat River

After that there was nothing to do but drive back up the trail to pavement and to the rest of my day.  Along the way I had some fun with the camera and made this boring and very long video....

Movie: MOV06544.MPG Driving Out - 100MB

After a year and few days, I finally claimed this cache!


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