Please read the cache listing to get a preview of this adventure and to take advantage of some tips on entering the woods and exiting after the find as noted below. Searchers need to read the offset directions below to find the final.
I've been wanting to see a new night cache for a while, and the current season seemed like just the right time for one. Earlier darkness, fresh air, and no bugs. Deer, small game, and a diverse bird population were company for several days and nights of trekking in the woods and marsh when I placed this course and cache.
While I had been looking for a location closer to home and more convenient for families to get to for a fun night cache adventure, this opportunity popped up while visiting some old friends in the area, and it's more of a terrain challenge. Might even be more than a 3.0 at night, especially when the water levels are high. It's everyone's own call. The course does involve some careful stepping over or around down tree litter and logs at times, and sometimes knee deep water in the Spring, but no real heavy bushwhacking. The most distant wp is less than half a mile from the parking area (as the crow flies).
It's a bit of a trek to the starting point from the parking coordinates, but there is a narrow hunter's trail southward from the parking area sign through open grassland angling southeastward to a suitable entry point in the woods. One stategy would be to start at sunset to enjoy the view over the fields to the west of the woods and enter the woods at dusk. It will darken quicker in there, and the fire tack trail starting at the given coordinates is deeper in the woods.
From the hunter's trail entry that continues south just inside the wood's edge there are some scattered reflectors that go south-easterly and can help guide one way to the given coordinates through a natural more open area in the thickest part of the woods. Pick your own way as you like, or if you are familiar with the woods and/or have other caches to visit go to the start coordinates from any direction you choose.
At the starting point a diagonal line of three white fire tacks will be visible. Anyone having difficulty spotting these could move slightly northwest of the given coordinates for a better angle in case you are too close.
From there, a white two reflector "trail" will lead you to and along the edge of the woods. In March of 2016, we changed the reflector pairs to one tack and one twist tie to avoid confusion with some of the other reflectors in the woods (there appear to be some placed by hunters). There are some 90 degree turns along the way to the final, but the tack trail should really be easy enough to follow at night. No so during the day. The original hide beacon is marked by half a dozen or so white and orange tacks and twist ties. Due to some evidence of hunter presence at this beacon in January, 2012, the container was moved to a knee high spot about thirty-eight feet due north of the final beacon with the multiple reflectors. In March, 2016, the small container was upgraded to an ammo can. From the hide beacon, you can see a single white tack to the north-northeast, above head high, and a single white tack to the west, below head high. Each of them are about forty feet away from the down tree with half a dozen tacks. The tack to the north-northeast is twelve feet to the right of the hide, the tack to the west leads you to twin tacks marking the return trail. Those are all old tacks with no new reflectors or twist ties, but they mark the best direction to a trail going north along the west edge of this part of the woods. Please put the ammo can carefully back in place and leave it well concealed, as there continue to be signs of hunters usig this area.
After making the find, one of any number of exit routes is marked initially by alternating orange and white tacks in pairs, then singles. It takes an almost straight line past Pete's log benches (Hunter's Point Hollow) to a distinct trail just inside the edge of the woods along the open grassland. When you get there your compass should tell you whether to turn right or left for an easy trail walk back to the parking area.
Enjoy the atmosphere at night in these aging woods along the extensive Rat River marsh, and take time to savor the view from the closest points to the open sky. Wildlife sounds and sighting reports would be great log additions. On some nights I am treated to the chilling calls of owls waking up, followed by their hooting as they moved around in the woods.
Located on Wisconsin DNR public hunting and fishing grounds. Wear blaze orange if searching for this cache during gun hunting seasons listed in the "Related Web Page" at the top of the listing. Better yet, it's probably best to pass on disturbing hunters during deer season, or if the parking lot indicates there are already hunters out there somewhere. The geocache notification form 2500-118 (Rev 4/07) has been approved by Jaob Fries of the WI DNR Service Center in Oshkosh.