Brownfield Hollow and Grist Mill Cache

Grist Mill Ruins - Click to Enlarge

11/05/05

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

4X4 ICON 2000 - 2008 The DVD!

Waypoints

Prologue

Tomi had basketball try-outs.  I wanted to spend some time with Ted but our friend Charlie was celebrating his birthday so we could not get to deep into an off-road activity alone.  I decided to load our film cameras up and go track down a Geocache (Grist Mill), and take some late-autumn pictures.  I gave Ted a Spotmatic F I had recently purchased and gave him a a dry run of its operation. 

Spotmatic F with SMC 50mm f/1.4

He impressed me by taking it in very quickly and getting it straight right off the bat.

Muster

Ted pulled together some healthy snacks and loaded up the cooler.  He got some warm clothes in case things chilled down some, though it was very mild out and did not seem to be getting colder.  Just the same, it was November so we planned ahead just in case.  I loaded the GPS up with track data from our previous run out there, and with the full load, set out for the hollow to locate the cave we had been trying to find.

Trail

When we got to the turn off for Brownfield Hollow, we just drove in.  We didn't air down yet because I just planned to drive to the location shown in the USGS map where a cave was noted.  On our way in we noted that the Saw Mill had collapsed.  The snow a week previous must have been too much for it!

Very near that spot we found a cave and got out to check it out.  The cave was not much more than a deep overhang though technically it was a true cave.  It had a fair amount of trash about, a little trickle of a creek ran through it, and the floor was steeply slanted.  We started our picture taking activities for the day here. 

Track Legend - Trip - Click to Enlarge

After a few minutes we'd pretty much exhausted the nooks and crannies of the place and got back on the road for the Geocache.

When we got to Quebec Run Road, we stopped to air down and disconnect.  This wasn't about wheeling - it was about a comfortable ride on the rocky dirt road we'd be driving most of the day.  While I did this Ted got more familiar with the SpF and took lots of pictures.  I am pleased with the level of interest he has taken and look forward to seeing what happens as time goes on.  It's nice to finally turn him loose with a decent camera and see what he can do.

With the sway bar disconnected and the tires aired down, we set out once again for the parking area near Quebec Run and the trail head for the Grist Mill.  Pretty soon we had reached it.  I stowed all the electronic gear we would not be bringing and organized all the camera gear, snacks and GPS.  We put the windows back on the Jeep and walked down to the Grist Mill Trail head.

Track Legend - Grist Mill Trail Detail - Click to Enlarge

We started up the trail and made it a few hundred yards when I realized I was not sure about the GPS waypoint I had chosen to navigate to.  It looked right but unfortunately I had made a couple other marks and was confused about what they were.  Rather than chance navigating to one of the other marks instead of the cache, I had an idea.

I took out my Blackberry and brought up the Geocaching web site.  Yup, wireless access to the internet from my Blackberry in the woods.  The screens loaded slowly but pretty soon I was logged on and had my "Watching" page up.  I opened up the Grist Mill page and got the coordinates.  Then I entered them into my GPS under a new waypoint and sure enough, I could tell which waypoint entered previously was the right one (same as the one I just entered).  We set our navigation to the cache and set out on the .6-mile walk.

We went up the side of the hill to a high point and then turned back down the hill to the spot where the Grist Mill had once been.  The walk in the woods was quite beautiful.  The woods was fresh and bright with autumn leaves close to completely fallen, but still plenty of color to make it interesting.

We found Wintergreen berries and tried them out.  I love them but Ted found them too bitter for his young taste.  We took more pictures and moved on.

Wintergreen (Checker berries)
Wintergreen (Checker berries) - Click to Enlarge

Pretty soon we reached the Grist Mill.  All that remains are some stone structures and some earthen channels. 

Grist Mill Ruins
Grist Mill Ruins - Click to Enlarge

Trail Junction

Amidst all this was the coordinate for the cache.  And it was spot on.  On the exact spot where the GPS said the cache was located, I found it!

ppro at the cache - Click to Enlarge

We opened it up, inventoried the contents and signed the log.

cache contentscache contents
cache contents - Click to Enlarge

We took more pictures and then had our snack of bananas, chips and drinks.  The sun was warm, and the woods was just incredible.

After we signed the log and traded two matchbox off-road vehicles for a Tomy Space Invaders game and a Geocaching pin, we packed up the cache, returned it to its hiding place, and set out back up the Grist Mill trail. 

Left two Matchbox offhighway vehicles with http://4x4icon.com info on them - Click to EnlargeTook the Geocaching pin Fun with Satellites - Click to Enlarge
 

Log Entry

 

We took our time going back and encountered at the parking area a man who had been biking the trails.  We enjoyed a brief conversation with him and then got on the road.

I checked out two 4-wheeling spots that I had heard about but found both entrances gated and posted.  We missed hitting a couple other caches but it was getting late.  On the way back we had a late lunch at Little Sandy's in Bruceton Mills, and then returned there all the way from Morgantown because I forgot my jacket on the chair at the lunch counter.

Epilogue

We brought the film to Wal*Mart for processing and look forward to posting them here when we get them back!  It was a beautiful day that I suspect both Ted and I will remember for a long time.

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Brownfield Hollow / Quebec Run GPS Data

Update 1/5/2008:  GPS Data now provided in GPX format for easy transfer to your GPS!

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