The plan was to have this posted by now, but I’ve been in Indianapolis visiting some family the last two days with a bad internet connection. Last time, 8601 and I had set up camp at Sherman Reservoir just Northeast of Loup City, NE. Let’s continue with the final day of our trip. While this occured July 5th, we actually finished a few hours into July 6th.
First of all, I should continue with a statement I ended with in my last post. The statement referred to how picking a campsite can have interesting results. When we chose a campsite, we were most worried about having some relatively flat ground. What we should have worried about was the picnic shelter a few feet away. As I got out of the tent the next morning, I heard 8601 complaining. I looked up to watch a small bird dive-bombing him. We found out that a nest of babies was at the other end of the shelter and he walked too close. The parents weren’t happy, and began flying and chirping their heads off. Numerous times, they would fly close enough to be about a foot to a foot-and-a-half away from our heads. It was funny until they did it to me. I tried to get some photos, but I wasn’t fast enough. But, eventually we needed to move on.
We continued with some caches in Loup City before heading East, and then North to Erbe, NE. There, we hit two caches that we couldn’t find. The problem was that the coordinates for one cache led us right into the middle of what seemed to be large piles of dirt and cut down limbs, while the other led us to a damaged film canister. So, after realizing that both seemed to be muggled, and considering that nobody had gone after them in many months, we decided to reset them. After the trip, the owner contacted us. One was in fact muggled, but the other one was still there. I’m not sure how we missed it, but we did.
At that point, we changed our route a bit, continuing North on HWY 11 then cutting over at HWY 22, instead of taking some back roads East of Erbe. Because of this, we used 8601’s phone to get online and pull some caches down on our route. One didn’t pan out, but two did. Just outside of Scotia, NE, we found two caches, The Chalk Mine and Happy Jack’s Peak. This is a cool spot to stop. The first cache was pretty easy to find. I’ve found plenty of them before. The second one is also pretty easy…after you hike to the top of the peak. This is not a basic hike, but is thankfully helped by the steps to the top. The view is wonderful, and I recommend this stop to others. There is also a benchmark at the top. Definitely bring your camera. I wish I had. Plus, if you want to take some time, you can buy a tour through the mine, listed as the only underground chalk mine in the country. Do the mine after the hike to the peak. You’ll be sweaty and the cool breeze coming from the mine will be refreshing. We didn’t have time for the tour, but maybe I’ll make it up this way again.
Next, we headed to Greeley, then up to Ewing, picking up a few caches along the way. From there, we had a straight shot to Norfolk, with a pluthra of caches the entire ride. Up to this point, we were hitting almost everything, but here, we had to start being selective. There were a lot more than before, plus we ran into a few issues. First was in Neligh.
We went after a cache right as we entered Neligh. Located at a fire station, with permission, we stopped as I tried to find it. However, my searching attracted the attention of the nearby Pizza Hut employees. We weren’t as concerned until I looked up and saw a piece of paper and a phone in their hands. At that point, still trying to figure out where it was, we headed over and quickly talked to them. I didn’t have to explain much. I just pulled up the description on my PDA and pointed to the section explaining how we had permission. They saw that and with a few words, we were good. We went back, as 8601 had suggested something just before we stopped. Trying one more thing, we found it.
We moved on, trying to find a place to eat other than Pizza Hut, which we had in Ainsworth the day before. Not finding anything interesting, we moved on, skipping caches in the nearby park because of the large crowd there for a baseball game. After a stop in Oakdale, we made it to Tilden. Now here’s a cache going on my favorites list.
Looking at the caches in the area, we picked one and started there. It happened to be Happy New Year!. Located in a residential area, it has hours associated with it so that the noise of handling the rather large ammo can doesn’t bother neighbors after hours. I don’t want to give away anything, as this was a fun cache, but I recommend reading the description and having all the recommended items with you.
We moved on, working our way to Norfolk. Hitting there, we found a place to eat and then tried to find some caches. We kept getting DNF’s until we finally realized we had a cache for this county and moved on. Next was Hadar, and then Hoskins, then down towards Stanton to pick up the counties around Norfolk. This little run wasn’t too bad, with some quick caches that allowed us to make up some of the time lost hiking to Happy Jack’s Peak. Then we worked down to Leigh, NE.
Once we made it to Leigh, we had to work our way to Albion. We made several stops along the way, turning down only one cache that we started on because it was right in the middle of a large celebration. By the time we hit Albion, it was around 10 PM. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem if it weren’t for our desire to get the Albion Pict-O-Cache. 8601 and I weren’t about to give up on a challenge, so we went after it. With a flashlight, GPSr and a printout of the pictures in hand, we began. One problem…we couldn’t find the first picture. By luck, 8601 spotted what looked like picture five, but after carefully trying to find number six, we began looking closer at the image and realized we were wrong. So we began to walk around. By accident, 8601 found picture two, and we picked up from there. Forty minutes after starting, we found the final, missing only pictures one and four. We also had one car that kept driving by us with what seemed like some teenagers. Oh well, what are they going to do, get on our case about walking around town.
After one DNF in town, we moved on, heading South to HWY 92. And guess what, right after leaving Albion, we get pulled over. I thought we were going the right speed, but apparently we weren’t. We got lucky though, and only received a warning. Thanking the cop, we moved on, setting the cruise control just in case. With it around 11 PM, we decided to get what we needed and move on, working our way to David City, then South to I-80 and home. On the way, with a quick count, I realized how close I was to 100 caches for the trip. So we picked up two in David City before heading home. I had 8601 take over for me, as I was getting tired enough to have problems controlling my eyes. It ended up being around 3:30 AM on July 6th when we parked at his apartment. It had been a long trip, but as long as everything clears, we finished both the Nebraska Delorme and the Nebraska County Challenges, and had some fun visiting new places and getting more caches. It was worth it.