NaNoWriMo update: Added 1,452 words on Friday evening for a total of 42,740 words. Not too bad considering I only wrote for about an hour. Had to get to bed early to wake up at 4am.
Got up at 4am in the morning. Picked up two geocaches in Absecon, next to Atlantic City. One of the caches was in a urinal, the plastic bottle you use when... you get the picture. Egads! I've been caching at or near Atlantic City so many times already and never once have I gone into a casino or a buffet there. One of these weekends, I'll have to make an Atlantic City cache the last stop of the day so I can do something else there.
Next 3 caches were in Cape May. By the 4th cache, the rain was coming down so heavily that I was sure scuba equipment would be needed at some point. :) The caches were still easy finds although having to write the log and make the trade under an umbrella was cumbersome.
After that, the remaining 6 caches were all in the Pine Barrens, mostly Wharton State Forest and Penn State Forest. Those were at Clarks Landing, Washington (NE of Batsto), Harrisville, Lake Oswego and Friendship. Most of the place names in the pines are ghost towns. There are lots of ruins. In Washington, I saw a fragment of a wall. Friendship has some stone foundations. It was also a lot of fun driving on the sand roads in the woods but without 4WD, there was a danger of getting stuck in sugar sand so I had to be careful. Of course, on a rainy day like that, the sugar sand became molasses mud and got all over my shoes every time I got out to do some walking. Washington Road was pretty good for a sand road and it led right out to a campsite so that's how I got back out to Route 563. Then I went in again on Friendship-Speedwell Road. Oi, that was bumpy! What's surprising is there are houses for about a mile into that dirt road before I got to no man's land.
The last cache of the day was a walk out on a levee into a swampy area. Lots of dangerous holes there so I had to be careful. The cache was placed near some beaver lodges, large mounds by the water made of sticks and mud. I didn't know if those were occupied but I didn't see any beavers. I've heard stories about beavers chasing people away... not in Wharton State Forest but at another lake in Camden County, so it's probably a good thing not to encounter any beavers at their lodges. I also ran out of daylight shortly after finding the cache. So I walked back to the car in the dark with a flashlight. That's not the tricky part. The tricky part was turning the car around on a narrow sand road in the dark. I had to back up about a quarter mile to a clearing to do a reverse K-turn (A forward K-turn with a 2WD onto a sand road shoulder of uncertain traction is a recipe for getting stuck.) and that was no picnic.
Got up somewhat later, but hey it's Sunday and still raining!
First cache was in the Eagle Rock Reservation in Essex County. Then I took a long drive over to Burlington Township to visit a virtual cache near the Route 413 bridge. I didn't even know there was a bridge there. Maybe one of these bridges will be a better route to Anthrocon because I am so sick of going down the ponderous Route 1. (The Ben Franklin Bridge I-676/US-30 seems to be the best way in at this time. I used it last weekend.)
The third cache was in Rancocas Woods, which begins after the last house on Rancocas Ave in Mount Holly. Funny thing is I've been to Rancocas before but just not to this part. I can't seem to remember where the other area with the nature center is though.
The fourth cache was just a bit to the South of Batsto. I parked at the canoe landing and bushwhacked in for 800 feet or so and found the cache easily. As I was writing my log entry, luvs2yak and his companion showed up! He's a great guy and just started geocaching less than two weeks ago. Apparently, he's hooked now because he found 17 caches already. Then again, only the most obsessed nuts would be standing out in the rain in the middle of the pines talking about geocaches. :)
The fifth and sixth cache were also in the Pine Barrens. The fifth was back at Lake Oswego but two miles further in. I hadn't realized that this cache was there yesterday or I'd have gone for it after the Lake Oswego cache. This must be a trick cache hide because the cache owner dares everyone to go find it. Yes, dares. What I found was a small bottle duct taped to a tree branch about 10 feet above the bridge. Fortunately, I had something with which to hook the branch so I could lower it and get the log book from the cache.
The sixth cache was on Apple Pie Hill. Yes, a hill! All this while I thought the Pine Barrens was flat like a pancake, but no, there is a hill. It is only about 100 feet higher than the sand road next to it so it isn't terribly impressive. West Virginians would fall over laughing at it. :) Anyway, I was running out of daylight again so it was fortunate that I picked the correct sand road to get in there. Another quickie cache although the sand road had me worried for a bit there as the soft sand was deeper in some spots.
A list of the 17 caches is here.