Geocaching in the snow

Today, in direct violation of common sense, I decided to go geocaching.

Actually, I decided several days ago, but any sane person would have changed their mind, based on the weather, which was snowy and very cold. Particularly since I had decidfed to go out to Red River and do several of the caches out there.

In particular, I wanted to do “Kentucky 4×4 Adventure”. This is a cache in the national park that only one person has found in the year and a half it’s been up there. The instructions say that you’re likely to need a 4WD vehicle to get anywhere near the cache.

On the way out there, a few miles down I75, I nearly died. Crossing the bridge, a semi pulled up next to me, and I saw what I thought was his turn signals blinking to turn into my lane. Turns out it was actually his hazards, but being next to him I could not see that. I tried to slow down, and at that moment hit a patch of snow and ice and started to lose control. I regained control reasonably fast, but in the process I spun most of the way around, and missed being clipped by the back end of the semi by *maybe* 12 inches. Also, the dozens of cars and trucks behind me came real close to ploughing into me. There were 3 other accidents on that bridge too.

So … I almost saw good sense then and turned around, but, alas, I was not to be deterred.

When I arrived in the general vicinity of the cache, several miles up highway 11, I started looking for the road that I had planned to turn up – Sinking Fork Road. Turns out that just because it says “Road” on the map does not necessarily mean that normal people would bestow that moniker upon it. Other words come to mind, such as “rut” and “cow path”. This turns out to be the first time that I actually needed to put the Jeep into 4L.

Another “road” that I turned down started out OK, but about 100 yards off of the real road, there were two parallel planks across a river. I don’t *think* so.

The closest I actually got at any one time was 2.45 miles. If it had been 30 degrees warmer, and 3 hours earlier in the day, I would have parked and hiked to it, but given that it was 4:30 and 30 degrees by this time, I decided that I’ll have to come back another day.

On the technology front, this was the first time to use GPSDrive, and it was very cool. The only problem was that as I was approaching the cache, I think I must have blown a fuse, because my laptop lost power, and started running on battery. And because my laptop does very strange things when it’s on battery (like going to sleep, and then losing the mouse and/or keyboard when it wakes up) I turned it off. Need to find out what fuse it was and replace that. Having a larger view of where I am and where I’m going makes it much easier to make intelligent choices about where to turn. However, the jumping around from one scale to another turns out to be somewhat disorienting.