Four Cache Loop
In Texas, United States
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If your looking for an adventure then this cache is for you!! Grab your day-pack and GPS and hit the trail. Oh, did I mention that there is a merit badge involved? (see fig4)
This is a multi-leg cache located in the Sam Houston National Forest on the Four Notch Loop Trail. This is a 10 mile spur/loop off of the Lone Star Hiking Trail just southeast of Huntsville, TX. This cache can be done in one day if you are an aggressive hiker. Otherwise you might want to break up the mileage by spending the night somewhere on the trail. There are a number of primitive areas to pitch a tent and have a campfire if there isn't a burn-ban in effect. There are no actual developed campsites but the trail itself is well marked and maintained. The 10 miles of hiking is what contributes the most difficulty to this cache especially if you attempt it in the warmer months. You can get a trail map from the L.S.H.T. club's map page. Just click on the "4NotchLoop" button to download a printable PDF file. I've made a low quality JPG file that you can print out below (fig1).
PARKING:I would recommend to park at the official trail head off of forest service road 213 at 30° 38.769 N, 095° 25.396 W, because these caches will lead around the loop trail and if you choose other parking spots you might end up walking even more mileage. This parking spot is the location of the old Four Notch lookout tower. You can see the leg foundations around one of the concrete slabs in the area. If you are into benchmark hunting this tower location is benchmark PID BL2177(fig2).
HIKING:Four Notch Loop will take you through the typical East Texas terrain that you've experienced around other caches in the area. You'll walk through tall stands of pines, meandering creek beds lined with deciduous hardwoods, and through low lying floodplains of palmetto and ferns. Boswell Creek is one of the obstacles that you'll encounter twice along the trail. There used to be a bridge (30° 38.676 N, 095° 23.496 W) on the lower section but it got washed out by the frequent flooding. Thus you are going to have to ford the creek during the wet season. During the drier times it should just be a hop over to the other side. As of 2/7/2003 there is a large tree laying across Boswell in the upper section of the trail (fig3). This is a great way to get across until it dies or washes away. I would estimate an average time of about 5.5 hours just to hike the entire loop without taking into account any time spent searching for the cache stages. A flashlight might be of help if you don't plan accordingly.
CACHING:The first cache contains the coordinates to the second cache; the second to the third; and the third to the final cache. The first three caches have some extra batteries, but they don't have enough room for trade goods. In the final cache I have enclosed a log journal, sometimes a disposable camera, and plenty of trade goods. Please leave a journal entry and snap a picture of yourself. The disposable camera is not a prize so please return it into the cache container. I will periodically develop the film and post the images on this webpage. As a special prize for completing this cache, I've included a custom made patch (fig4). Everyone in your party is welcome to take a patch, even if you have nothing to leave. I think you've earned it!! By the comments and request of the first few seekers I ought to warn you to bring some extra supplies to aid in obtaining one of the caches. A rope might be needed.
CAMPING:If you want to stay overnight on the trail I have a couple suggested spots that are super cool. The first is kind of far off the trail, about a mile or so, but is definitely worth looking into. There is an old logging road that you need to find that leads directly to the spot without having to bushwack. This road hits the Four Notch Loop at 30° 39.151 N, 095° 23.138 W and leads off in a south by southeast direction into a young forest of pines. Follow that road to 30° 38.636 N, 095° 23.185 W, and bring a fishing pole. I've made a map of this old road for those who wish to print it out (fig5). Another nice camping spot is at hidden lake. It is labeled on the Four Notch Loop trail map and the easiest access road off the trail comes in from the north.
HINTS:At each cache you will get hints for the next cache you are searching for. I'll provide a printout of these hints in the caches so you can take one and decifer it whenever you want. The following hint is just for the first cache in the loop. It starts with generic info and ends with specific. So you can decifer one step at a time and not spoil yourself too much. Most of the caches are only about 50 feet from the trail with the exception of the first one.
WARNINGS:Here are a number of things that you should take note of before you venture out for this cache. There are many insects (mosquitoes& ticks), arachnids (spiders& scorpions), poisonous snakes (copperheads& coral snakes), poison ivy, animals (wild hog& bobcat) and hunters (bubba & joe bob) that live and dwell in these woods. Take proper precautions when hiking and prodding around in the bushes while searching for this cache. Wear sun lotion in the sun; bug juice when its warm; neon orange clothes during deer hunting season (end of September to mid January); pants when walking through brush. Bring a lot of water to drink if you plan to hike in the summer time.
Regardless of the warnings this is really a safe place to hike around. I've done this loop more times that I can remember to count. Enjoy Nature!!
[Cache #1 Clues
Container: Tang container
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Last Updated: on 4/7/2015 6:56:46 AM Pacific Daylight Time (1:56 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum