Some history about the preserve
This area used to be owned by land developers. They had planned to put hundreds of homes in here as extension of the Shadow Run subdivision. They paved a road and even started a few homes back in the early 80's. The company ran into financial problems and had to abandon the project. The land sat for many years and was primarily used by the locals as a place to bring dirtbikes, 3 wheelers, and dune buggies to ride during the daytime. And was used as a secluded 'party spot' and 'lovers lane' in the evening. These activities were soon halted as no trespassing signs went up, and fences blocked the few entrances. And so it sat until recently when the land was designated as a nature preserve for Hillsborough county and reopened quietly to the public. It's now known as Bell Creek Nature Preserve. Given the history of the preserve please cache in trash out wherever you can. And keep in mind it is a preserve. So be responsible and sensitive to the plant life and environment as I know you concerned cachers will. =) Enjoy!
You will begin your journey at a dead end near Rodgers middle school (N 27° 50.538, W 82° 17.725) where parking is available alongside the road. Cross the fence and head to the right. In times of rain there is a low lying area at the end of the road that stays full of water. You'll need to go right to get around this. From here you will head towards your first set of coordinates. (N 27° 50.515, W 82° 17.932) A wide hiking trail is available and is what you will follow. The park has many smaller trails that criss cross through the woods and around the preserve from the dirt bikes that used to ride here. This main marked trail is what you want. If for some reason you have a hard time finding it, the trail head by the parking area is marked with a hiking trail sign at these coordinates. (N 27° 50.537 W 82° 17.787)
Follow the main trail through the preserve and back to a small lake. Down at the bank of the lake, right off the trail you can sometimes see all the usual wildlife that's associated with this area. Take a few moments and see what's out there. You'll notice directly behind you an Oak tree with some low hanging limbs. Your GPS should say your close and you are. The container is a 35mm film canister containing the coordinates of your next leg of the trip. This may seem a daunting task of finding such a small container in this area. But my fellow geocachers you shouldn't have a problem. Walk around the old oak tree until it hits you where it may be hiding.
The canister tells you what your looking for on the second leg of the trip, and the coordinates to where it's located.
Get your coordinates and start your trek back down the path from which you came. When you get to the trail head you'll want to follow it to your right continuing down the wide hiking trail. You can see small wildlife in this area and plenty of birds. I spotted a rabbit when I was placing this cache. Continue until you come upon one of the old paved roads that was put here when they were going to plant houses everywhere. Continue on and note what the GPS tells you. There are other ways, but may require a small amount of minor 'bushwacking' some more than others. So for now stay on the paved road until it starts to curve to the left, then pay attention. When you see the big Pine tree leaning at 45° you'll need to enter the woods next to it. There are critters around. So please be alert and watch the little ones. This is an old trail with fallen trees everywhere. So don't get discouraged, you're on the right path. When it looks as if the actual trail could come to an end look around you should see what you're looking for.
When you find what you're looking for, note what it is, and you'll see the significance in bringing you here. I won't mention what it is here. But it makes since if you think about it. You should also note a phone number. You'll need this phone number to get the coords for the cache. Here is where the simple math comes in. Use the phone number without the area code to get your lattitude and longitude figures. The phone number is 7 digits and so are each part (lat. & long.) of the coords.
LATITUDE: Take each digit of the phone number and perform these simple operations
1st Digit___- 5 =
2nd Digit___+ 3 =
3rd Digit___+ 1 =
4th Digit___- 5 =
5th Digit___- 2 =
6th Digit___+ 4 =
7th Digit___+ 4 =
LONGITUDE: Phone Number + 0771980 =
Now that you have these coordinates you can find the cache. The tree cover can be a pain but all my coords were averaged from a lot of readings and should be close. Note your GPS and follow your instincts. You will have to wander through the woods, but just note where the GPS is pointing you, look around and choose the best path. There was really no 'bushwacking' the way I went. Though some of the trails are old and a little overgrown. Don't forget to look up every once in awhile and notice how beautiful your surroundings are.
The cache is a dark blue rubbermaid roughneck container 10x15x7 with an orange bungee securing the lid. It contains the location to find the photo opportunity. Please take your photo standing in front of the Oak with your digital and post it. Or feel free to use the disposable camera in the cache and return it.
The original contents include: 1-log book, 2-pens, 1-wallet photo frame, 5-4x6 frames, 2-4x6 albums, 1-4x6 laminating sheet, 1-wallet laminating sheet, 1-2x3 magnetic frame, 1-3x5 magnetic frame, 1-4x6 magnetic frame, 1-magnetic photo strip, 1-Photo Trekabout 'blast me' golf ball, 1-roll film, 1-small camera bag, 2-toy balls, 2-mini skateboards, 2-sets of AA batteries.
The Photo Opportunity
Not exactly a Kodak moment. But I liked the look of the tree, and didn't want to send you to the Grand Canyon just to finish this cache =) Hope you had fun!
You can use the coords of the parking area to guide you back from here (N 27° 50.538, W 82° 17.725) There are several ways back so don't be afraid to wander. A trail will cut back the direction you want to go.
Or just travel W past the 'Blair witch' gravesite along an old trail out to a main trail. Then choose a path to take in any direction from there.