A Hobbit's Trail: The Lair of Smaug
In Minnesota, United States
How Geocaching Works
A neat climb to a great view and major recent geological catastrophy, as the "Cove" has fallen off of the bluff face.
Prepare for a great climb to an absolutely awesome view. And bring a flashlight. The first stage is located in the "Kitchen Cove" area, behind Holzinger Lodge, in the same spot as the original "Kitchen Cove Cache".
In the book "The Hobbit", after Bilbo, the dwarves and Gandalf escape from the Whargs they have various adventures involving being captured by giant spiders and nearly eaten before Bilbo cut them free, captured by the Wood Elves and escaping (with the trusty Hobbit's help again), and given a "hero's welcome" by the citizens of "Laketown". The people still recalled stories and songs of the "King Under the Mountain" (the king of the Dwarves, Thorin's grandfather) returning to reclaim his mines within "The Lonely Mountain". They cross the Long Lake into the River Running, eventually to make their way to The Lonely Mountain, wherein lies the dwarves' tunnels and treasure, usurped eventually by Smaug the Dragon.
Along their ascent of "The Lonely Mountain" they encounter a stone staircase, which they (and you) take. At the top they have to figure out how to get into the mountain, which turns out to involve inserting a key into a keyhole that only becomes visible just as the sun sets.
Fortunately, you have Stage 1 to help you out, which is available anytime you can get to it, as is Stage 2. In fact, sunset is probably NOT the best time to seek this cache.
Make sure you have a flashlignt, even in broad daylight.
The most direct route to the Stone Staircase up "The Lonely Mountain" (Stage 1) is to park at the coordinates listed below. From there head back towards the firepit and choose the 2nd trail to the right of the pit. You will find it branches into a fork-take the middle one for the most direct route, the right one is obstructed further up and getting very overgrown and the left one is more of a deer path than a trail. The recommended trail is up a wash-out and is a fun climb, with the aforementioned natural staircase and stone ladders up the rock faces.
It is also possible to access this from the trails along the top of the bluff, along which I happen to have other caches hidden as well (like "The Trail of the Hobbit: Escape from the Whargs").
Anyway, the above listed coordinates will take you to Stage I in "Kitchen Cove". Within the container will be the coordinates of the entrance to the Stage II of this multi. The following poem is intended as a guide to Stage II as the cache is not exactly at the coordinates noted in Stage I.
To find the dragon
In his Lair
You must first traverse
The path down there.
Along the Bluff
Until you have
Gone far enough.
On the left here
You will find
Into which you'll climb.
Be very cautious and aware,
For the passage to Smaug's den is near.
To the left a crevice
You will seek.
Into the top,
And to the rear,
Behind the stones
Smaug does reside,
Along with his 'treasure'
He deftly hides.
Be very careful
As you re-stash
Smaug the Dragon
And his cache.
A FLASHLIGHT WILL BE VERY HELPFUL, and any source of personal light will be essential, unless you like to reach blindly into dark crevices (though I'm sure nothing lives in this one)(except Smaug, of course ;-D). After you have found the cache continue up the passage and you will find a small cave. Check it out :-). If you miss the crevice you will likely find yourself in the cave anyway.
This is only the second cache of the aforementioned series, "Trail of the Hobbit". I hope to place more as the inspiration strikes.
11/9/12-Smaug has been muggled so many times I've replaced him with a boring pill bottle, which contains a log book and a pencil. Hopefully this will be left in place. PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY TRACKABLES AS THEY MAY GET MUGGLED and I'd like to make the contents as uninteresting as possible so no one decides they need to decorate their dorm room or whatever with it.
Nobhg 10 sg. hc gur cnffntr, va gur gbc bs gur penpx ba gur yrsg, ghpxrq onpx oruvaq fbzr ebpxf.
Last Updated: on 11/26/2012 8:08:37 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (4:08 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum