In Greek mythology, Kerberos was the three-headed dog who guarded the gates of hell. Known also by his Latin name, Cerberus, the hell-hound was a formidable force with which no one (except the mighty Heracles) dared trifle. We named this cache after a modern-day counterpart of the mythical mutt, one which Geezer #1 encountered in this very forest. The story follows.
It was an early spring day on which turkey hunting was in progress in the Seminole State Forest. Wearing plenty of orange, I hiked up to Blackwater Creek to check on one of our caches. On my way back on one of the drivable roads in the forest, a group of hunters in an SUV pulled up to me to warn me about a bad dog they had encountered. An ugly black dog had run at them from the bushes and attacked them. They said they had to beat him off with one of their shotguns. Upon my asking where this incident occurred, they pointed into the woods and said, "Way back in there."
I'm no great hero, but I wanted to finish my hike and "way back in there" was where I was going. I decided not to let a hunter's story get in the way. I had hiked a couple of miles from where I had talked with the hunters when I spotted some dog poop on the trail. Ordinarily, this would be an insignificant event, but with the hunters' story in mind, I was wary. I hiked on, alert for any rustling in the bushes. After a half-mile or so, I relaxed my guard. You know what is coming. As I rounded a corner, I was startled by a hellacious sounding howl/growl coming from the bushes close by. It was loud and angry. I had no idea whether the dog was rabid or not, and I did not want to find out the hard way. The only thing I could think to do was to bark back! I yelled at him loudly and beat the bushes close by with my hiking stick, making as much noise as possible before I slowly walked away. He kept making threatening sounds for a while, but never came out and I fortunately did not get to share the hunters' experience, if indeed it was the same miserable cur. I finished my hike of about 12 miles that day thinking that I had always prepared myself for alligators, bears, and snakes, but never bad dogs.
The next morning, I called the ranger at the Leesburg State Forest ranger station to tell him about the incident. When I related the story of the hunters, he responded, "You mean these guys all had guns and they didn't just shoot him?" I told him that I had thought to ask that, but then demurred because I figured they would just as soon have shot me! The ranger told me that he had heard about a dog in there and, in fact, had actually heard one while hiking on that same white trail. My story and the hunters' inspired him to involve Seminole County Animal Control. The ranger seemed adamant about ensuring the demise of the latter-day Kerberos, and In my several subsequent visits to the forest I found no trace of him. I am hoping that this means he is gone. He is most definitely not forgotten.
This cache is placed close to where I had the encounter with its namesake, Kerberos of Seminole. I called it the Kerberos Memorial Cache because I firmly believe that this angry canine is history. But be careful. His three-headed ghost may still wander through the forest.
The Kerberos Memorial Cache is dog-themed, meaning that trade items should be suitable for dogs and their owners. The container is a standard government issue .30 caliber ammo box painted in camo colors. There is a nice prize for the first to find.
Please understand that this is a wilderness area. Along with nature's beauty, you'll also encounter nature's perils. Hike, bike, or trot with a friend and, if you are doing the Lower Wekiva Loop, sign the log north of the shelter. Do not approach or feed wild animals. This includes wild dogs. Do a tick inspection upon leaving the forest. Some bushwhacking will be necessary to get to this cache. Do minimal damage to the plant life and be careful with the saw palmettoes. They can cut you up pretty well. Cache trading items aside, take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.
Please check signs at the gates to the forest or call the rangers' office in Leesburg at (352) 360-6677 for information about hunting dates. During hunting dates, you must wear appropriate orange clothing and pray a lot.
Congratulations to mssburp, who claimed the FTF prize!
Good luck and happy caching!