CacheCrazy.Com: Hot Times On The Ridgetop Trail

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hot Times On The Ridgetop Trail

by: smithie23
Once upon a time, before marriage and children, I used to enjoy a good hike.  I spent many warm summer evenings on many of my favorite local trails.  Finding a new trail, or hiking system, was like Christmas, to me.  I enjoyed having the opportunity to explore new mountain ridges, follow unfamiliar river and creek beds, and take in new views of old and familiar sights.

In the summer of 2010 I discovered the Sugar Notch Trail System, in, of all places, Sugar Notch,
Pennsylvania.  Blazed on Earth Conservancy land, the Sugar Notch Trail System is 137 acres of mine reclamation area and is divided into two trails- the Park Access Trail, and Ridgetop Trail.  I was familiar with the area being reclamation area, as I was involved in youth soccer at the time, and our fields are on the same land.  It wasn't long before I was off placing caches here.  The first two caches I placed, I Gotta Feeling & This Old House, remain active, as of the writing of this article.

The aforementioned caches are essentially at the base of either end of the trail.  One summer evening I decided to make the climb to the top of the Ridgetop Trail.  Cache bag in hand, I hiked up to the top and stumbled upon some breathtaking views of the Wyoming Valley.  It wasn't the highest mountain around, but a clear line of sight gave me an excellent vantage point of Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding area.  After soaking in the environment for awhile, I found a good hiding space for my newest cache.  I returned home, later that evening, and submitted the cache for review.  Atop the Ridgetop Trail was born.

It didn't take long for a claim on the FTF.  As a matter of fact, it was that very day.  Forty minutes separated first, and second, to find.  I was happy to read the cache logs, as cachers seemed to be enjoying the cache for all the reasons I'd hoped for.  Great views, fun hike, good exercise!  In my head, I was already planning to place more caches along the trails.  It was going to be a fun summer of caching on the Sugar Notch Trail System.

Or so I thought.

One hot Sunday, I was running a few errands, and making my way up to the VA to visit a good friend. I stopped to grab lunch, and while eating, pulled out my phone to check some e-mail, when I saw our old friend, keoki_eme, had logged a find for Atop the Ridgetop Trail.  Awesome, I thought!  To cachers near cachcrazy.com headquarters, keoki_eme is somewhat of a living legend.  His cache hides are some of the craziest, most devious hides around.  He takes pride in his hides, and has great respect for geocaching.  The thought of him making a find on one of MY hides, and possibly hinting he even enjoyed it, would make my day.

What follows is the context of that log:
as i continued my way up the trail, i could smell smoke, big time.

remembered hearing on the news this morning that there was
a big brush fire somewhere yesterday. yup, it was here.

as i approach gz, i could almost predict what i was going to find.
the cache was on the WRONG side of the fire line. took
a picture of where it WAS, with the only things remaining were
ash and the wire coil for the log.

fire was roaring in a nearby tree and i attempted to put it out. called
911 and they said forestry people were out on the mountain putting out
hot spots. met up with them on my way to the next cache on the trail
and told them where the 'chimney' fire was.

if the co doesn't feel like accepting this as find, feel free to let
me know and i will change it to a note.


mahalo


What a bummer!  In an area (Northeastern Pennsylvania) prone to dry summers, and subsequent brush fires, what are the odds that ground zero at my cache would fall victim to a brush fire?!  Driving home later that afternoon, I could see smoke coming from that area.  It was, indeed, quite a considerable amount of timber burning in those woods.  I temporarily disabled the cache, and soon after, archived it altogether.  Here I sit, almost three years later, and have not yet returned to the top of the Ridgetop Trail.  Recently, I've given thought to placing some new caches.  I still think it's a lovely spot, and hope to return there, with cache bag in tow.

PHOTOS By KEOKI_EME from his log date 08/08/2010 on geocaching.com 






2 comments:

CrazyCris said...

Ow! That is rotten luck! And yet at the same time totally amazing that he should happen upon your cache right as the fire was going! Quite a story!!!

TravelnbHappy21 said...

We really enjoyed your cache Old House in that area. It would be awesome to have another cache Atop the Ridgetop trail.

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