Saturday, March 29, 2014

Meads Mill - Forgotten Years Cache Challenge

What an adventure! What teamwork! TaGeez and I had seen the Meads Mill listing quite some time ago, but we’ve never been in the area with time and/or daylight. Working on GSIX’s Forgotten Years Cache Challenges, this one was even more tempting.

Meads Mill - a remnant of the Village of Waterford
This afternoon TaGeez and I found ourselves cruising the Plymouth area, heading towards the Canton Meet. Remembering this nearby and, as it hadn’t been found in almost 11 months, we turned around. The lot was super muddy (but that’s OK – I have new Wellies!) and super icy (what a weird winter!). Flanking from different directions, we approached the GZ.

If there's a tree, he's going to climb it.

TaGeez climbed high and I scouted low. Nothing. We circled the GZ repeatedly. I started scouting logs and reached out to an Angel – still no luck. We could see, according to the CO’s logs, that ‘half of ground zero had collapsed’. Yes, that’s an accurate assessment. Looking up, I could see TaGeez dangling precariously over the edge of his new “stand” reaching into every gap, crevice and hole he could find. I was dangling below, balancing on ice-encased roots dodging downed limbs. 

Resting and checking the GPS again
Ok, time to get methodical. From what I’ve read, the cache shouldn’t be under the foot of snow we were trampling. While TaGeez explored outer limbs and logs, I circled the GZ, scanning, touching, and yanking every inch surface at my eye level. I had a harder time as I crouched under the broken half, but, looking slightly up, I noticed something odd.

Reaching my hand up into the cavity and then pushing forward out of sight, there was a little give. I started working my fingers, inching forward until… is that ice or plastic? Worrying away at the surrounding hole, debris cascading atop my head, I enlarged the hole bit by bit. Ice? Plastic? This was hard as the sheer weight and solidness of the broken GZ meant reaching up and in at a very tough angle – no room to maneuver so the work was very slow. Finally, confirmation! That was plastic IN ICE! The container was iced in place!

TaGeez giving a power shove with his fingertips

I called TaGeez down from above. I had made enough room for him to work his hand in there and, with a powerful shove, he broke the container from the ice block. Peering up in there, we realized that the brutal winter had weighted down the broken half so the hidey-hole was compressed down on top of the cache container and the “hole” was now just a sliver. What to do? The weight of the down trunk was massive! But we found the dang cache and weren’t leaving without our smiley! 

Like a frenzied mad woman, I kept digging into the rotted wood, breaking off clumps of wood and worrying the hole. 1/3 open! 

1/3rd open! This probably took 20 minutes of excavating the hole.
You can see the trunk compressing the container!  

We could see the color of the container! TaGeez retreated to the car to grab a knife (you know… now that I think about it…. why didn’t we grab the tire iron?). Between him cutting the scaly bark pressing into the hole and me scooping out the debris, we could see half the container! The hardest part was the last chunk because ice had seeped into the rotting wood so it was solid as concrete. Between TaGeez’s knife, several broken sticks and my broken nails, we finally cracked that last chunk! With just enough room to barely grab the lid, we jostled the container until we could eek it out of it’s chamber.

We enlarged the hole to replace the container for the next hider
To take this picture, I'm standing under the broken half of the tree
Exhausting! Between scouting and excavating, it took us an hour. As we signed the log, the sun was going down, and it was getting colder. We enlarged the hole some more before replacing the container, and then we camouflaged it for the next finder.

A remnant of Mead's Mill

Afterwards, with tired arms and ice-coated legs, we wondered over to the Mill and enjoyed the beautiful view and peaceful burbling of the waterfall. Unfortunately, the sun was so low at this point that we couldn’t take any decent pictures. 

Mead's Mill

Beautiful but cold

We'll return another day
TaGeez on the few remaining Mill steps
We will be back. How many people pass this daily and miss this experience? 

1 comment:

  1. I'd say the difficulty rating on that one just moved to a "5" Tools were required! Good story and photo's!


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