Written by Don Alexander
Our arrival at the peak was 1:03pm. We had made it but were concerned for the other members from the group that we split off from. There were scattered reports of trouble with the other group of hikers and Team Goju was on the horn in an instant to find out the situation. While one member had reached his personal limits, the others were going to continue towards the top. This event was a challenge no matter how you decided to attempt it and everyone that made an attempt should be very proud to have pushed themselves to their limits.
At the top we were greeted by many cachers that I knew already and few that I didn’t. Everyone wore a bright smile. I decided to take a break by the fire and break out my lunch, another M.R.E. Meal Kit that went down really well. After that I checked out the signed wood block, the TB’s/coins and the logs of others that had come before us that were on small bits of paper in water bottles. Then it was time for me to do my thing.
When deciding to come on this trip I wanted to do something different. Something unexpected and probably hadn’t been done before. One of my favorite earth caches was the sand dunes at Jockeys Ridge in North Carolina and the best activity to do on that ridge was fly a kite. It made some sort of weird sense to me to do the same thing here, on this ridge. When Crystal Dawns asked if I was going to fly it off the tower I said “sounds good!” The only problem…I’m very, VERY scared of heights. I’m sure you’ve heard of the glass floor at the CN Tower down in Toronto. It’s a thick floor where you can look down and see all the way down to the ground. Well I can’t stand on it. I can barely make it to the edge of the carpet and I get the willies. Bushwhacking to the top was NOTHING compare to this. I tied the kite to me and started to climb the ladder only to come to a big gap. That was tough. You had to reach up and then try to get a grip high enough so that you could get a foot up to the bottom rung. I think I made it with a knee rather than a foot but I really didn’t care to remember at that time. From there it was one step at a time, VERY slowly, concentrating on the awesome view that was getting better with every step.
I finally reached the hatch I didn’t know what to do. There’s no way I’m going to be able to get up there! I felt around with one hand and managed to find a handle towards the middle of the platform. If it hadn’t been there I probably would have come right back down. With it firmly in grip I made it through the opening, slowly rising to my feet. The willies were rampant and I couldn’t get the nerve to get close to the edge. Now to the task was at hand. I concentrated on getting it ready and that made being up there a little easier. Once ready I let it fly, well, it fell at first. It wasn’t very windy so it was a challenge at first. With more line out and some tugging, the kite caught a drift and slowly climbed. I’d done it! YAY! Now thoughts started to turn to “How am I going to get down from here!”? I snapped a few picks and think I might have got a bit of video before the battery ran out in the Camcorder before reeling in the kite. Now I had to figure out how to get the heck down. But wait! There are others on the way up! Willies, willies WILLIES!
By the time Tomtec and Team Goju made it up I was a little more comfortable with the situation. At least the tower stopped feeling like it was in an earthquake caused by their climbing! A few more pictures and I was ready to make my way back down. It was a little easier going down and faster too. Many of the cachers had already started their decent down to Scarecrow Lake and we were about to as well. I couldn’t leave a stone unturned and made a mad dash for the “Alt Peak” and the actual coordinates that were listed on the cache page. The first half was mainly clear then it got nasty. I found the other peak and took a picture and a reading from the small mound sticking up higher than the rest. Then it was off to the Event waypoint. They turned out to be on the side of the ridge surrounded with dense trees. I made it back to the tower just in time for some cool group shots on the tower.
>> Part 5: The Trail to the Boat Launch