Friday, October 09, 2015

A Texas-Sized Adventure

Back last Memorial Day, when the city of Austin was being pounded with rain and Lake Travis rose 7 feet, we had reservations to do Texas’ longest zip-line.  We decided at the last minute that it might not be the best idea to drive up there and rescheduled. It wasn’t too many days and all that water that fell in the Hill country and the Fort Worth area began to make its way down here and then we were hit by Tropical Storm Bill.

One thing has led to another and we finally called and set last Monday as our high-flying date at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures, in Volente, Texas.  They call it of all things, a 3 hour tour and it takes that amount of time to complete and fortunately you are not stranded on an island with a couple sailors, a farmer’s daughter, a millionaire… well, lets just say you are not stranded.
My Bride is fearless.

My bride has an adventurer’s spirit and at 56 she can pretty much keep up with the folks in their 20’s.  I can too, but I may show up a bit later.  Like Chuck Norris once said, “I can still run 5 miles; it just takes me a bit longer.”  She also has a bucket list.  I just have a list of geocaches I want to find.  It turns out there are geocaches at Enchanted Rock State Park and we arrived a day early.  The tricky part is each one of them is a hike or a climb, or in one case, crawling 50 feet up a crevasse in the dark.

On top of Enchanted Rock
Now we have become gym-rats and exercise with giddy abandon, so walking to the top of Enchanted Rock was nothing more than accelerated breathing for the 2 of us, but the view?  Oh my goodness.  No wonder Native Americans felt like this was hallowed ground. The air is so clean and with the low humidity you can see for miles. The big plus was there are no skyscrapers or businesses on the horizon.

One geocache in particular was on my list and it is called, “To Boldly Go.....GC1BNMP”.  It had the highest difficulty rating and a near-highest terrain rating and we crawled over car sized boulders and trails for about 4 miles or so before finding an ingress trail – of sorts.  We were nearly out of water and the sun was taking a toll on us, but up, up, up we went until my bride simply sat down.

Now this is where things can get out of hand – but didn’t.  If you’ve seen movies where hikers chew their arm off, this is the kind of place it happens. We had a communication error due to us both being tired and me assuming she understood my intentions.  I told her to just sit there until she was ready and then come up and I pointed.  I meant for her to wait up there for my return and as soon as I crossed the granite summit, I headed off 1400 feet away toward ground zero.

Would you crawl under this crack?
It was steep and dangerous and I walked with great care, finally arriving at a sheer cliff face with narrow cracks running both vertical and horizontal.  I have a phobia about suffocating and it appears it is getting worse as I age and I got down on my hands and knees and peered up into the darkness in a couple of places hoping I could simply reach in and find what I knew to be an ammo can.  Looking at the notes, the cache owner plainly states that you can only get to within 20 feet of the container.  I walked along the wall until I was 20 feet away, but there was no crevasse.

It was 30 feet away behind me.  “That’s 50 feet under the rocks, Bert,” I said aloud and noticed I was sweating.  I went back to the crack and crawled in on my belly into the dark.  Never mind that neither my bride or I had brought our cell phones, or that she didn’t know where I was and was screaming my name in near panic.  I didn’t or couldn’t hear her.

The geocache was 50 feet into the rocks.
The light is back where I came in.
Never mind that rattlesnakes love places like this or that I have a claustrophobic fear of being buried alive. I wasn’t about to be denied after coming all this way and in the darkness I used my camera’s infrared light to look around and after going the 50 feet, I found the container and signed the log book.  Needless to say, my bride scolded me for 30 minutes when I returned.  That was enough adventure for the day, but we still had about an hour of strenuous hiking to go to get back to the Jeep. We crawled over boulders on that trail the size of Honda Civics.

To shorten up this tale, the next day we did all 5 “zip-lines” they had to offer and the first 2 are short and sweet and break you in to the idea of gliding by wire. Number 3 is a “Leap of faith” and takes you 1800 feet across the water to a deck.  Everyone seemed to mark this as their favorite.  Number 4 was 1600 feet and all of us went off backwards. The final is named double barrel shotgun and there are two zip lines side by side and it is 2800 feet long and also crosses water.  Our group was of 12 and intimate enough that everyone chatted. Our 2 guides Lizzy and Chris were a giant bonus and we tipped them both.

Baytown Bert screaming like a ninny!
You see, you don’t have to go to Cancun or Maui to have fun.  You can do it right here in good old Texas, but for goodness sake, don’t be stupid like I was.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking us along on the adventure Bert. This sounds scary fun. Can't believe y'all didn't take your cell phones though. Goodness. ..Debi

Anonymous said...

BAM: Coolio adventure Breaux

Anonymous said...

Hey Bert,

Thanks for writing about your geocaching adventure. I've gotten out of geocaching in favor of Ingress, lately, but still enjoy hearing tales.

Tomorrow is the first "flash shard" event, and one is here in Houston (while the other is in Boston) so maybe I'll write an adventure about that.


Anonymous said...

Very entertaining!


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