The cache will be done in 4 stages. I have lived in this area for over 30 years and have camped and played in this park most of that time. Each of these micros will contain coordinates for the next leg of the cache. All parts of the cache are accessible in winter. Several stages of this cache may be very tricky. If you have trouble finding one of the micros, give me a call. My phone numbers are in stage 1. I really hate for cachers to drive so far and not find the cache.
1. The above coordinates will take you to the first leg of this multi near the eastern border of the park. This container is a camouflaged micro.
The coordinates in this cache will take you to Stage 3. I am disabling Stage 2 until I can come up with a better way to keep it in place.
As you head back to stage 2 you will notice 2 large trees surrounded by bricks. This used to be the old farmhouse. It was built in the early 1900's. Take a look at the foundation of the house and notice the changes in materials. As the land and the farmhouse changed hands, the owners had different needs for their home so additions were put on. Materials changed due to their availability at the time of construction. You should find fieldstone and mortar, brick and mortar and concrete in the foundation.
Late one cold December evening in 1942, a truck driver was passing by the house and noticed flames coming out of the roof. He stopped and informed the people in the house about the fire. The Bill Fry family hurried out just in time to watch the house and everything they owned burn to the ground. They never knew what started the fire. Mrs. Fry had been baking for the holidays on the wood burning cook stove all day and into the evening. Some people think that the chimney had become real hot and started a fire near the roof as the family slept. If it hadn't been for the truck driver, the family may not have escaped with their lives. Wood burning stoves were a major fire hazard for people living in the early 1900's.
In the summer time, a variety of flowers can be found on the west side of the foundation. They represent the kinds of flowers planted in the early 1900's. Please don't pick the flowers!
2. After the house burned, the farm was abandoned. John Chrisman was the road maintainer for 20 years in this part of Warren County. Hickory Hills was a special place to him and he was the last person to live here. He packed his belongings and moved into the cave where he lived for 2 years. It was furnished with 2 chairs, a trunk, a gas stove and a kerosene lamp. The cave was dug in 1916.
Caves were used for food storage and sometimes as a storm shelter. In the summer it is cooler and in the colder months of the year it feels warmer than the outside air. Here you will find a mini micro with coordinates for the 3rd leg of this multi.This stage is disabled for now - coodinates from stage 1 will take you to stage 3.
3. This part of our tour takes us to the old barn. Barns were an important part of the early farmstead. They provided a place to store farm machinery, equipment, grain, hay and other necessities of farming. They also provided shelter for all the farm animals so they had a place to get out of the weather. Walk around the barn and notice the construction. You don't see many wooden barns like this one anymore. It was built here in about 1914. Back then you would have only had handsaws, hand drills and all other tools that were not powered by electricity. A lot of the work would have been human powered, like cutting down trees for lumber and digging foundations for buildings. Many times when a barn was being built in the early 1900's neighbors would pitch in and help the farmer raise his barn.
You will find another micro with coordinates for the final cache somewhere near here. The barn is open to the public. If you want to take a look inside, open the door and go in.
As you leave the barn, walk west of the pine trees to a long cleared lane. You are standing in what once was the main road between Osceola and Indianola in the early days and was used as a stagecoach line. This roadway is called the Stagecoach Trail. Back in the 1900's it would have taken about 3 hours to travel from Hickory hills to Indianola on horseback.
4. Head down the trail to where the above coordinates will take you to the final cache. You will pass a large silver maple tree. It is a fast growing tree that can reach over 100 feet high. It was one of the larger trees in the park but it has burned – probably from a lightening strike. The sap in these trees can be used to make maple syrup. Years ago, almost every homestead had a wooded area to harvest trees for fuel. They were also used for making furniture, cooking, buildings, fences and much more. The cache is very close to the trail and shouldn’t be hard to find.
Congratulations on your find. Hope this has been a fun and informative tour of Hickory Hills Park.
I have received permission to place this cache from Warren County Conservation Board. They have asked that we not cause any permanent disturbance to this area, so please enjoy the park without disturbing the natural habitat. Remember to CITO as you go.
Check out the auto tour signs and use your phone to find out more about the park!
PLEASE BE SURE TO REPLACE CACHES AS YOU FIND THEM. THANKS!