When geocaching, sometimes the most exotic places can be a few miles from your house. I’ve lost track how many times I thought a cache would be a quick park-and-grab turned into a trek through the unknown swamps. It pays to read the cache description and even look at the log postings.
Yesterday I decided to check out a hide at the Mingo Creek Impound Basin. As the cache page describes the area:
“Welcome to Mingo Creek Impound Basin. This cache continues in the Uncle Crispy tradition of identifying silt impound basins along the Schuylkill River. These large basins were built in the first half of the 20th century to hold river bottom dredgings, which contained massive amount of coal fines from the coal mining operations up North. The fines were allowed to settle out in these basins, and the clean water returned to the river. Some of the coal fines were reclaimed, leaving huge empty basins along the river, like this one.”
It also went on to warn about crossing the Mingo Creek. Which I should’ve paid attention.
The trail leading up to the creek runs out of Royersford, PA along the Schuylkill River for 3/4 of a mile. I encountered a few civilians along the way, including two young boys practicing their gold game by knocking balls into the river (guess they had them to spare). Toward the end of the trail I found a clearing with wood piled up and a fire pit. Next to the clearing was this most interesting tree:
Upon further examination:
Ever get that feeling you’ve just stepped into Blair Witch country?
On ahead I found the Mingo Creek junction:
Which from the other side appears:
OK, scratch the easy crossing. I was forced to hike upstream to the railroad tracks. Fortunately, there is a tunnel running under the track for the creek. One side of the tunnel was passable, but the water level was too high to cross on the other. Bush-whacked through a swamp to the nearest road, crossed the road over the creek, and to a clearing the power company has chopped all the way to and beyond the railroad track.
When I heard guns firing in the distance, I thought maybe it might be a good idea to turn back.But with hunting season close, I figured somebody might be doing a little target practice. Turns out I was right as I ran into men with guns in cases while walking closer to Ground Zero. And they didn’t know another way to cross the Mingo Creek either.
Found more signs of primitive civilization as I began the climb up to the top of the ridge:
From the top of the ridge, It’s not easy to see the basin this time of year:
With the help of the Groundspeak ap on my android phone and my Garmin EX-10 I was able to find the cache in 15 minutes. Which was full of rubber duckies. I almost took one, but didn’t have anything to leave in return. I’m glad I was able to find it as quick as I did. The light was fading and it was getting hard to see the ground.
The return trip was uneventful. A big thanx to the CO for putting a cache where few people have dared to roam.