In the past week, I’ve made the trek twice to Eagle Falls. For those who don’t know, Eagle Falls is a smaller, but still spectacular, natural falls in Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.
I was there as part of a hobby of mine called geocaching. Basically, people hide “caches” (anything from as small as film canisters and Altoids cans to something the size of an U.S. Army surplus ammunition box) with little, mostly worthless knick knacks in them. Usually they contain a logbook and pen as well. Once hidden, the latitude and longitude of the cache is uploaded to an Internet website, usually www.geocaching.com, and others use handheld Global Positioning System Receivers to find them and log their finds.
It’s like a high tech scavenger hunt that isn’t as easy as it sounds, and is great for compelling people to get outside and see places they may never otherwise go to. My regular caching partner, Whitley County Extension Service Agent Phil Meeks, and I both felt that Eagle Falls was a prime location for a geocache. The hike to the falls is short, but challenging. The falls itself is breathtaking, but is off the tourist beaten path, so not as often visited as its big brother, Cumberland Falls. We felt as thought a geocache placed there would encourage more people to see this great location. Plus, it’s just a fun thing to do.
We hid our cache exactly a week ago.
Now, before a cache location is published on www.geocaching.com, it has to go through a somewhat rigorous review process. One of the “guidelines” to hiding a cache is that it must be at least 528 feet (.1 miles) from another. The guideline is in place to prevent oversaturation of caches in certain areas. This is where the wheels fell off of my cache stashing effort.
I was informed by a very nice reviewer that my cache was 490 feet away from another that was placed across the river. Now, the 528 feet things is not a hard and fast rule, and I argued vehemently that there are reasons exceptions could be made for me. You could not simply walk 490 feet, as the crow flies, straight from that other cache to mine. Mine was placed with the noble purpose of encouraging visitation to a great site. And, it was placed in an optimum viewing spot.
My pleas were ignored. I cursed and spit and plotted the death of the reviewer, but it came down to one inescapable fact – I was going to be forced to hike back out to Eagle Falls and move the cache at least another 38 feet in order to get it listed.
Saturday, Meeks and I did so. When we arrived at Eagle Falls, we were shocked to learn the cache we had hidden was gone. In the world of geocaching, this is called getting “muggled.” We found it a short while later, unceremoniously pitched into a heap of boulders. In the logbook was a snide message from someone named Mark who informed me he found it by accident and that it wasn’t hidden well enough. I’m not quite sure what kind of personality it takes for someone to randomly starting moving rocks and sticks and plunging their hand into the crevaces between boulders to “accidently” find something like this, but we were just thankful it was all still in one piece. Nothing had been removed, so at least we can thank Mark for that.
Defeated, we took this all as a lesson imparted to us from on high regarding the wisdome of our more experienced caching elders and moved the ammo box to a different location a little ways upstream from the falls on the Eagle Falls Loop trail. It should be a fun, and not overly difficult, find for anyone interested in the hobby. If you want the coordinates, simply point your Internet machinery to: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=5e8f5e9d-8102-468a-a628-5a3097a43f16.
You can also find it by clicking on “hide and seek a cache” then typing in a local zip code. Before long, you should see it listed as Eagle Falls Loop.
You aren’t FORCED to stop at Eagle Falls to get this cache now, unfortunately, but I encouraged you to do so if you haven’t been there, or if it has been a while. It’s worth the trip!
I’ve posted a picture for those that would like to see the falls from the comfort of their own computer.