CacheCrazy.Com: Surviving The Flood

Friday, September 28, 2012

Surviving The Flood

On September 2nd of last year I performed maintenance on one of my caches, GC2ADFW Remembering Agnes: The Min Matheson Cache.  Acting on a recent log's message about a damp container, I decided to make some minor adjustments.  I felt the final stage was too close to the river, and with flooding occurring in March, it was time to move to higher ground.  We were in the middle of what felt like monsoon season, and the general feeling was the Susquehanna River was going to rise.

Just a few days later, on the 7th, all ears were on the weather report, and all eyes on the river.  Projections were being made about a crest occurring sometime over the weekend.  It would be bad, but it would be a gradual rise, and time would be had to make the proper provisions.  The Wyoming Valley knows the drill.  The usual low-lying areas were on notice.  Sometime during the day, on the 7th, I decided I'd make it a point to head down to my cache, and if need be, and get it out of dodge until the situation was over.  For one, I didn't want to see the cache get washed away, but more importantly, I'd hate to see someone try for a find in adverse conditions.

I woke up on the 8th, and couldn't believe what I heard.  The river level rose dramatically overnight, and the projections for flood levels and cresting were adjusted.  On my way to work I swung by the park, and couldn't believe what I was seeing.  I wasn't alive in 1972 to see Agnes, and I lived in Scranton in 1996, so I was new to seeing the Susquehanna, in all her swollen glory, up close and personal.  There had to be dozens of onlookers, as well as members of the media, gathered on higher ground, looking down below at the raging river.  Debris from upstream was floating by.  Lawn furniture, pieces of structures and other items were all swept up from the neighboring counties to the north, and making their way to the south.

At some point in the hour or so there, it struck me: my cache is somewhere in that raging river.  I was way too late to make an attempt in retrieving the cache container.  Min had a good run, I thought, and it was bittersweet irony that a cache dedicated to a flood would be lost in a flood.

Life returned to normal over the next few weeks.  Those who were evacuated returned to their homes, with varying degrees of sadness.  Some rebuilt.  Some got bought out by Uncle Sam.  Others just walked away, never to return.  There are homes, particularly in Plains and West Nanticoke, which have been totally abandoned.  The majority of Wilkes-Barre, proper, was spared by flooding, as the levee system, improved as a result of the 1972 flooding, held up.

It was not until the first week of October when I was able to drive down to the area where the cache would have been.  Garbage and other debris littered the landscape near ground zero.  I reached its hiding spot, turned over the rock which was to be concealing the cache.   Much to my surprise, the cache was still there! Wow!  What's even more amazing was what I found when I opened the container:  its inside and contents were bone dry!  Where I suspected poetic justice was going to be served, I found a geocaching metaphor, if you will.  I hid a cache honoring someone who stood her ground in the 1972 flood, at its time the worst natural disaster in American history, and here, as it turns out, the cache stands its own ground in the historic flooding of 2011.


Heather Cook (Lady-Magpie) said...

Very good blog and a fantastic story of a cache withstanding adversities.In the last few days here in the West Country of the England we have had terrific storms and flooding. I'm grateful that I live halfway up a hill and if we ever did get flooded at least the local tax office would be several feet under water.


AWESOME! I love the story and the irony of it all! Very well done! Thanks!

Big_Dog1970 said...

Great story Dave
I had a similar situation with my North Pole cache. I thought for sure it was gone, but when I went with a new container to replace it, it was still there and dry.

momto8blog said...

oh my gosh! what a story!! I remember both of those floods...but do not have even a clue about geochacing!
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
have a happy Pa fall weekend!

BigAl said...

Excellent article. I love the fact that it withstood the test of time and water. Great to hear how it made out. I only wish more caches could withstand just a little water.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Great story! It's hard to imagine what those floods can do unless you experience it first hand, isn't it? So amazing.

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