A Creature Lurks North of Bird Knob
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This is the second in a two Bird Knob Ridge View caches series. It is described in the ridiculous, but true, story below.
There once was a foolish hiker who loved the newly discovered sport of geocaching. On the first day of Spring, or a few days just shy of it, the warm weather was in rare, inviting form. That is, compared to the true commencement day of the season that had been soured with snowflakes. The hiker could not resist. You see, there were, yet, so many paths never encountered. Despite the wise heedings of many more experienced persons, the hiker set out....alone. Armed with gear including a map, compass unit, 2 units of water, jangling keys, whistle, a first aid kit , a pocket knife, cell phone and one slightly ferocious dog, the hiker thought, "I am adequately prepared for whatever I could discover." So, onward and upward, it was, indeed.
In haste, the hiker met up with the first unrealized error of many in the efforts toward planting a new and exciting geocache at the top of Bird Knob. Original calculations were a mere half mile by way of the white marked trail. Ought to be a nice spot and, certainly, doable by the average hiker. The hill was ascended until it reached the ridge. The trail must need to be followed along the ridge to reach Bird Knob, he thought, not realizing that the peak just some hundred feet south and off trail, was the actual mount he sought. After passing the half mile mark and, then some, he realized his error but decided to proceed, nevertheless. Anticipating a view of decent appearance, the hiker sought a spot for the planting. The compass unit read that a hearty two miles had been traveled by the time two plantings were complete. As seeing that the trail continued and most views were still unsatifactorily obscured, the hiker succombed to his curiosity by hiking further. Lo and behold, a sign was discovered where the white trail merged into an orange one. Hmmph! After consulting, once again, with his map, the hiker realized that had he driven further past his parking spot, he could have cut a full mile out of the trek. Fortunately, the hiker had not chosen a whole other way up there, traveling south along the ridge, that according to the sign, would have been a triple mile approach. That is,... one way. Dismayed at the somewhat dismal plantings, while tickled by glaring carelessness, the hiker headed back, homeward bound.
As always, the hiker enjoyed sharing the day's adventures at the supper table with the rest of the family team. All day he had no idea what was about to be revealed. One of the team members, a runner by nature, stated as a matter of fact, that...oh, yes, that was a familiar and already traveled spot. Hmm. It seemed that if the hiker had continued on...what..say.....a quarter of a mile or so,....that there was a definite unobscured view. And, lots of it. AyeYi Yaye!!!! What???!! The hiker knew there would be no satisfaction as it was. The hiker would have to return.
The next day....., similiarly equipped, the hiker ventured out. This time, so smug, the red trail was followed. At only .94 miles, a large crosspath was encounted to the left that gave the hiker a shortcut to the white trail and placed the hiker in immediate proximity to where the first geocache had been left. The hiker quickly retrieved it, and left the other, Fair View First Aid, where it had been placed the day before; it was only two tenths of a mile from the white and red trail intersection. Then, onward, to the promised better view, with the ammo can nicely stowed in the hiker's backpack. Almost immediately, the telling sign from yesterday was passed. Onward.. Obscured views continued beyond the runner's estimated extra quarter mile. Then, 1/2 mile... Then, 3/4 mile. Hmm. there were actually some smaller open outcroppings. The hiker went out on one not long after 1 3/4 miles. Looking North, a better outcropping was sited. The trail went straight to it. Lots more opened up. It had been a solid two mile venture. Perhaps, it was worth it. The trusty canine was tied to a tree and left with the backpack. Soon, the ammo box was planted. The hiker looked up to seek further clues to aid other hikers seeking the hidden treasures. But, oh, the fun was just beginning.
No further clues were found when, of all creatures to encounter, an old goat stood, hooves planted and glaring within fifty feet. Horns, half a yard in length at both sides, twisted & pointed sharply outward. There was thick wooly fur with any signs of shedding or having been shorn long ago overgrown. And, the beard, it was a long eight inches or so, almost greying amongst it's overall creme coloring.
What in the world was that doing up here? It gave the hiker such a startle as it advanced toward the hiker. Not sure what this meant, the hiker retreated, heart pounding, way faster than ever intended. The goat just raced him to the rocks. The hiker just remembered that goats can really climb! The goat was as swift as the hiker who cut over to some bushes; indeed, swifter than the hiker's thoughts. Grabbing rhodedron leaves, thinking he'd just feed the goat to satiate him, the stupid thought and leaves dropped just as quickly as the goat found the bushy area. A tree. I'll find a tree, the hiker thought. Where are all trees with limbs???? And, the poor dog, couldn't get away if needed. The goat was almost there... He grabbed the closest tree only to discover it was a mere 6-8 inches in width, lunging himself as high as he could go. Successful at advancing, perhaps, a pitiful foot higher, the dangling hiker, holding on to the bending tree for dear life, found himself face-to-face within a foot of the goat. The only thing that separated the two was the scrawny tree and, maybe, six inches of thorny overgrowth. The goat had stopped and looked at the hiker as to say, "So, just what are you trying to do?" The hiker, thinking maybe the goat felt threatened by his presence in his territory, said to the goat, "It's okay....I won't hurt you." ..as if that would really make a difference.... Then, a split second later remembered the jangling keys idea someone had once shared about encounters with bears, and, further, remembered the whistle attached to his keys. He hopped out of the tree, still nervous as heck, and awkwardly bent over, blowing the whistle attached to his belt while trying get away, once again. At first the goat seemed to disregard the sound, but the distance between the hiker and the goat seemed to further slightly, though it still followed. The hiker was able to reach the dog and backpack before the goat. Continuing to whistle while working the leash free from it's attached tree, the goat met the dog for the first time who barked sharply. The hiker was able to gather the dog and belongings before the goat stood before them planted, within 10 feet. The hiker could almost swear the goat was saying, "this is my territory...you go now..back off!" The hiker retreated back down the trail and the goat continued to follow. The distance deepened until the goat was no longer visible in the hiker's over-the-shoulder-view and the hooves could no longer be heard.
Not sure he'd ever want to return, the hiker was glad the geocache had been planted. The GPS mark had been set. And, the hiker had reached the goal. He was glad, oh....ELATED...to be going home...tearing down the mountain without the face of ole billy goat gruff in his rear view mirror!
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum