Yesterday wasn’t such a good day. I thought it would be though. I had work to do in Princeton so I printed off a few geocaches to log in between some travel time while working in the area. If you aren’t into geocaching it is a pretty cool game where you find hidden containers by GPS coordinates. For me, it is similar to why I love brook trout fishing, it is about the different places you get to see that you otherwise wouldn’t. I also like the personal competition of racking up numbers of caches found. A small sideshow of geocaching is to be the first to find (FTF). When someone places a new cache there is an all out free for all to be the FTF. Living in Charleston being a FTF is about like winning the powerball. Once the thing is published someone will find it within an hour or two. So I discovered a new cache near Bluewell and thought I’d be the first to get it. I visited it around 10:00 am and spent entirely too long climbing through poison ivy and slick stream boulders looking for the stupid thing before giving up, but this was just the first bad event.
Then I went for another nearby cache and couldn’t find it either. I finished up some more work in the area then went for the queen mother cache. In Pinnacle Rock State Park there is a huge rock by the road that thousands of people visit yearly. However, there is another big rock on top of the ridge that has no trails to it and you can’t see from the road. There is a cache on TOP of this big rock and I knew I could get some killer photographs from up there so I was full on gameface. (See the cache description by clicking here). I had on shorts and a pair of crocs. Not really best attire. Bushwacking up through some serious rattlesnake habitat I was already on edge. Then I discovered what seemed to be the route to get up to the top of the rock. A crack between the two Seneca-Rocks-esque monoliths that was approximately 60 yards long and at about a 40 degree angle. Smaller boulders filled the crack making travel pretty difficult. I shimmied up about 25 yards into the crack when suddenly, from about 10 yards in front of me I saw the face of a GIANT BOBCAT and it let out a HIISSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! The adrenelin rush at that moment is undescribable. I yelled, turned and bounced down that crack faster than a shot deer. Actually, for the first time in my life I knew what it felt like to be the prey. I don’t think it followed me, at least for the first 100 yards I didn’t even bother looking over my shoulder. Running down the hill I took every cuss word I knew plus a few new ones and put them all together in one single word which I repeated over and over like a mantra, hoping the cuss word gods would fend off the impending death.
I felt like I’d made it over into West Germany when I got back to the car. Like I was Simon Kenton and had just fooled an entire party of Shawnee warriors by getting away.
I decided to just take the rest of the day off at that point and go fishing. I drove down to Calcutta, I mean Elkhorn, and fished for a couple of hours before I had to retreat home. Thinking the worst was behind me I proceeded to fish a nice tributary. About a mile up I was fishing through a high banked section when I came upon a culvert near the stream of about 24″ in diameter. I noticed some food related garbage at the base of the culvert but that is nothing out of the ordinary for this filthy stream. When I got within 10 feet of the culvert I heard something inside. Thinking it was a coon I walked to within 5 feet and peered inside. I thought I heard a growl, but couldn’t see anything. Then imagine the biggest, meanest sounding doberman mixed with rottweiler snarling bark and that was the next sound to eminate from the cylinder. I about crapped my pants. I ascended the high bank rather quickly and retreated to the car. I was through with mean animals. Through I tell you.
On the way home a filthy flatbed tractor trailer threw a rock into my windshield and put a giant crack in it, then my car about blew up and I had to drive the burm of the interstate the last mile to the exit near my home to limp to a garage.
I’m staying put today so nothing can bother me.