The cache is located south of GSMNP, in a part of the Appalachians we had never visited before. Since it was my first time to the area, I carefully picked out a route to hit some interesting geocaches on my drive down, as well as have some bonus geocaches for afterwards. One cache that particularly interested me was Cadet's Paradise, another terrain 5 cache involving a swim across an abandoned quarry, climb up a cliff, and delving into a cave. If I had enough time, I could hit it up on my return trip.
My morning caching took me along the Tellico "lake". I made stops at Fort Loudon, and the Tanasi Village memorial, and hit up the oldest cache in Monroe County. I especially liked the earthcache GC19560 which took you to a Cherokee memorial showing the eight different clans and also the burial site for Cherokee Warrior/Chief. The caching made for a longer drive to Tellico Plains, I took over 3 hours, but was definitely worth the extra time. I felt like I got to see a bit of the area on my way down.
|Crossing the Tellico|
|Typical conditions up Wildcat Creek|
|Group shot with the cache in hand|
|The view from my approach of the quarry|
This spot was much easier to climb, just a few moves on good holds. The climbing was a little challenging because my wet feet seemed to skate right off the holds. Something about the water and quarry dust made for a slick mud, not conducive to climbing. A short ways up though and I reached the vegetated ledge which angled me over to a rope hanging from a large tree at the entrance to the cave. I was soon up at the entrance and breaking out my flashlight to go in.
The first thing I notice on entering the cave was other footprints. Shoe prints actually. Perhaps someone had been here recently, but then shoe prints could survive in the cave for a while, so maybe it wasn't all that recent. The cave floor was slippery and muddy, and the cave itself branched out in 3 different directions. One hole on the right hand side looked like you could crawl into, but there was no way I was going to. A little ways back though was a largish chamber and it was behind a shelf in the back of this chamber that I found what I thought was the cache, a plastic Tupperware. Psyched at how easy that had been I took it out to the entrance to open it up, only to find that the container held nothing more than a clean red rag. What? Could this really be the cache? It seemed like it must be. Who else would leave a perfectly functioning Tupperware container deep inside this cave. But the contents were boggling. Just a red rag. Perhaps some kids had stumbled across the cache and taken the contents, leaving only the red rag? That seemed likely to me, but it also seemed plausible that I hadn't found the correct cache. Maybe this is just some random junk left by said kid. I decided to go back in and explore the cave further.
|What I found|
|Leaving my mark|