Tuesday, December 31, 2013

29 August 2013 Walker Mountain

It was a travel day back to Ohio. I started my day from Wytheville with plans to stop at Jefferson National Forest. Once I left I77, I spotted a small pull off with a cache down the trail. The trail was a great starting point. It was open and grassy, but quickly closed down to a path through some nice pines. I spotted rattlesnake plantain leaves on my walk out. Once I got to ground zero, the hunt became weird. There were discarded tools everywhere. These weren't old, discarded tools, but appeared to be new tools. There were many ratchets, sockets, adjustables lying strewn about. I looked for the cache for a few minutes with no success. All the oddly discarded tools left me concerned so I left soon.

I stopped to make one find in the forest. It was disappointing. The area was okay, but it was less than a tenth of a mile from the parking and close to the road. I wasn't looking for park and grabs. I also really wanted to hunt the 2007 cache Big Bend. It is placed at an old picnic site near the top of Walker Mountain. I was a little over a mile from the cache at the road with a big climb to to the top. I also knew there was access to the picnic area from Walker Mountain Road so I passed the big climb for a chance to get more views from the ridgeline of Walker Mountain Road.

Once I got to 52, it was easy to spot the turn for Walker Mountain Road. The journey back to the picnic area was a little over three miles. I knew from the logs to the page that Walker Mountain Road is in bad shape. I underestimated what that meant. I turned up the road and drove about a quarter mile down the road before the sanity check kicked in. The road was filled with craters and was too narrow to give room to navigate the holes. This was one of the few roads where I was concerned for damage to our trusty Forester Ariel. I also knew this was a through road with a big drop offs to the side and no pull offs visible. I had no idea how two vehicles fit past each other. Proving I (occasionally) have at least a small amount of common sense, I gave up the day's hunt for Big Bend and backed Ariel back to Route 52.

My choices for the day hadn't been the smartest so far. Things looked up as I reached the top of 52 at Walker Mountain. I spotted a lookout tower at a parking area for a general store. The view from the edge of the parking area was super. The tower was calling me. If this were a place Ali and I were not likely to visit together, I would have climbed that tower in a moment, but I knew I wasn't that far from I77 and Ali travels with me for business occasionally. I put this and the Big Bend picnic area cache in my mental bookmark list for a future visit before stepping back in time with a visit to the Big Walker General Store. I learned long ago that the best memories are those I've shared with Ali.

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