2009-04-04 31 -86
Planning and Analysis
Looks pretty easy today. In a sparse stand of trees less than 600 meters east of paved county road. Area appears to have been recently logged to within a few meters of the hash. The location looks approachable to within 50 meters over a relatively clear logging road.
Driven back by Velociraptors about 50 meters from victory.
As in previous expeditions, met in front of Tropical Smoothie in Niceville FL about 1430. We discussed the fact that we were wearing shorts but figured long pants would not be needed in this terrain. Big mistake as we learned later.
Drove to hash area through pine forest and picturesque rolling farm land. Passed through Brewton and Castleberry Alabama. The Castleberry welcome sign said it is the strawberry capital of the world.
Arrived at the makeshift trail head on a ridge line with terrain falling away toward the hash to the east. Parked potato wagon at 16:11 on logging trail about 100 meters east of road under power lines and screened from road by dense brush. From this point we could see the area was grown up with vines and briers but the logging road was open and easily passable. We later noted the satellite imagery was over three years old and the area obviously had that long to go wild.
Walked down easy path only slightly grown up with weeds until we hit a wall of dense brush within sight of the hash only 50 meters away. Powertool engaged in frontal attack, then probed and circled north in a vain attempt to find a way around the left flank. Bos spotted a possible approach to the south and scouted that. After about 20 slightly bloody minutes we decided success would cost us more blood then we were willing to invest in this venture. We abandoned the battlefield to the victorious brier patch in the hope that we will live to fight another day.
Retreated to potato wagon unpursued by hostile vegetation. Chalked xkcd on pavement with arrow indicating direction to the hash.
Returned to northwest Florida via more easterly route through Andalusia where we found a WiFi connection and used Powertool's laptop to get information on a few geocaches including one I had set to honor a fallen comrade, Gloverx. We used this info to good advantage during the final leg of the adventure.
Next time maybe we'll remember what we learned through hard experience on prior expeditions, be prepared. Often, when you least expect it, nature's barbed wire will appear to bar the way. I am hopeful but not optimistic.