I replaced the cache a fourth time! ... bring small "trades" with you!
This cache is in a small cave located in the Allegheny National Forest.
The cave is fairly well known, and is just off the forest road 176A. 176A is a "no outlet" forest road that is rarely traveled. 176A can be found off of the main road 176. You can actually park your car with the back bumper just off the road, and the front bumper over the cache!
There is litterally NO hike involved! ....Well, unless you get real off course! You can park within 30 feet of the cave opening, although it is not visible from the car.
This is a fun cache to search for after dark!
When I first heard of this cave, it was from an "old timer". He said that many years ago, a "hermit" who worked at a nearby logging operation, lived in the cave year round for several years. Directly across the road from the cave opening is a gravel pit, that was also the location of a logging operation and somewhat of a small town. The caves in this area of the National Forest are all about 52 degrees year round ... so that the "hermit" didn't even need heat! The "old timer" told me, the hermit slept in a hammock that hung from two iron bars imbedded in the cave wall. The iron bars are still there today. His name and a date in Roman numerals are/were still readable outside the cave entrence, but may be covered in moss. I think it was back in the late 1930's or early 1940's that the hermit lived in the cave.
The cave is easily entered and it's a very safe, soild rock cave. I've been in it many times all different times of the year and never ran into any dangerous animals (bears and/or snakes).
There are however a few resident bats. Please do not disturb the bats! Bats are nothing to fear. They are very small, and their mouths (designed for swallowing mosquitos) are recessed into their heads, and they couldn't bite you even if they wanted to. They really DON'T want to bite you, but rather, they are inqusitive, and just "buzz" you, to check you out.
The bats are in mostly deep inside passage that is too small for humans, at the back of the cave. However in the warmer weather, near evening, they may be active and flying around the "main room".
This cave is very represenative of the tectonic caves in this area.
This is basically a one room cave, although at the back of the cave there is additional passage that goes to the right and left, at right angles to the main room. The cache is well hidden, but is visiable once you are at the right level, and is fairly easy to reach.
You will need a flashlight, and maybe grubby clothes, as you have to sit in a muddy entrance to enter the cave, and the cave is a little wet inside (the walls sometimes "bleed" water).
After you find the cache, you might want to explore the rest of the rock area near the cave. There is a nice view from the rock area, and the brook below is the headwaters of Buck Lick Run. Just below the rocks, there is a very cold spring.
The original cache was missing three other times, I replaced it with another cache. This is a smaller cache, about the size of a drinking glass. The cache is a little better hidden and hopefully this won't get plundered. It's above your head, but it's fairly easy to "step up" to see the cache.
Please sign the log book!
Hope you all enjoy the "Hermits Den" cave!
John "Stony" Stoneman
...AND...Thank you PAWINGERS for the great photos!