The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Saturday 6 February 2010

On Monday Last: A Stroll In The Woods

On Monday evening I found myself scrutinising every single square of our local 1:25k map. The scrutiny eventually revealed that there are only two trig points marked on that sheet, but it took me a long time to establish that because I kept getting distracted by areas of woodland and footpaths that I had not before noticed, which led to consideration as to whether they would yield a good route for one of our local walks.

One of those areas is just four miles from us, and having also established that the woodland in question houses five Geocaches, I decreed that on Tuesday we would take a stroll there.

Tuesday dawned wet and continued that way for quite a few hours. The rain did finally move on to pastures new, but we mastered the art of procrastination and thus it wasn’t until the remaining daylight was running out that we finally jumped in the car for the short drive to our chosen spot.

Within a minute of setting out the rain started again and we kicked ourselves for missing the window of dryness. We were not deterred (not even when I realised that I had left my hat at home; nor when we got half way down a lane to find that the ‘road closed’ sign wasn’t a lie), and onwards to our chosen woodland we went.

A bit of a meal was made of finding the first Geocache. I’d made it more difficult by not having marked them on the map, nor having picked up the piece of paper on which I had scrawled the details, compounded by the tree cover preventing the GPS (in which I had programmed the grid references) from being able to find enough satellites.

Eventually the GPS did play ball, and after a bit of pacing back and forth, following by a bit of beating through undergrowth we did find the first cache, only then to find that it didn’t have a pen, and neither did we.

Walking along the edge of the woodland whilst justifying my status as ‘fashion leader’ by wearing red over-mitts, orange jacket and a bright pink buff on my head.

IMG_0499 We made nearly as much of a meal of finding the second cache, but that was a meal within a small area as we just couldn’t locate it when we got there. Once found, the pencil was liberated to use in the next two, with the intention of returning it on our return.

As I puffed my way up a short incline, I was coming to the conclusion that this was not the prettiest woodland in the world, and even the pond that we reached a few moments later did not have a lot to recommend it. Maybe it’s all prettier in summer?

IMG_0500 Cache number three contained two pens, so, adding to our collection, we took one of them so that we could complete a proper redistribution of writing implements, even though that now meant that we needed to revisit both of the first two caches.

By number four the rain was getting a little tiresome, but by good fortune it let up a few moments later, as we formed a loop to take us back to the pond and thence back to caches two and one.

The fifth cache eluded us. It was a puzzle one, and having found the required four digits from the first four caches, I found that I didn’t know what to do with them. Further investigation upon getting home told me that I should have noted a grid reference of which certain digits were missing. As it goes, even if I had noted it, it would have been on the bit of paper I’d forgotten to pick up!

The walk turned out to be tiny, at a smidge over 2.5 miles, but it was one of those days when it was looking like we weren’t going to get out at all, and surely 2.5 miles is better than none? Plus, we sampled a new area, even if it didn’t make it onto my list of places to which we must return.

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