travisl couldn't find The Bloated Festering Head of My First Victim (Traditional Cache)
DNF number 100!!! Whoo hoo, I guess. I'm glad I chose this one to be it. It took almost an hour to get to a spot within 150 feet of the cache. I parked almost due north of the cache location, got within 0.15 mile, and decided it might be easier to approach the cache from the east.
It wasn't. From the east it was still 0.15 miles, and (as I learned as I went out through the north approach) the east had much thicker brush.
I was hoping I could find a way to the cache where I would be able to cross the 150 feet of swamp with no chance of sinking up to my neck, which would make me easy pickings for Ellylidan. At one point, crawling on my hands and knees, I stumbled across a bit of surveyors tape. Who would be surveying clear out here? Soon thereafter, I found a metal fence post, long abandoned, but with more surveyors tape.
About to give up, scampering east and west along the edge of the bog, I pin my final hopes on a thick tree that's fallen across. I climb up on its trunk, and take a step. I hear small cracking noises. This tree's been here a long time.
I take another step.
In Dungeons and Dragons, this would be the time where a normal Dungeon Master would ask me to make a dexterity roll to see if I fall off into the swamp. A GOOD DM, however, would have me make a wisdom roll, to see if I'd be foolish enough to take another step out onto this old, rotten, quickly narrowing log, which ends in the swamp with a cluster of pencil thick branches.
I got lucky, and rolled well. I didn't take another step. I punch 'Go to car' on my Etrex, hop down off the log, and start my beeline path back to the ...
Oh. My. God. An absolutely true story is about to take place. Ask me about it next time you see me -- I'll fill you in on the gory details that are unfit to list here.
From out of nowhere, this undescribably horrific beast slams it's claws into the left side of my head. My left ear is ringing, I think I might be bleeding, and I grope at it, trying to get it off of me. As its claws burrow deeper into my skull, a second creature grabs my right hand, ripping off skin, and begins to feast.
The next few moments are a blur now, but I was literally running through the underbrush at this point, trying to escape from the double horror. My right hand is now free, but the beast on my left is continuing to claw at me. He's fast, and as I turn to face him and fight him off, he parrys with me, and I can't reach him.
The voice of a child on the nearby trail breaks the silent battle. The beast retreats back into the bog, and I find myself in surprisingly good condition, but facing a fence that's at least 40 years old that I can't get across. My GPS says I need to go north, but the arrow's pointing at the setting sun to the southwest, so I'm not sure which way to go. Fortunately, I've got a compass with me, and decide that yes, indeed, I need to get across the fence. A few minutes later, I find a low spot, hop over, avoid the barbed wire, and scramble the last 50 feet to the trail.
That was the plan at least.
Up until this point, I've miraculously made it through with dry feet. Six feet from the trail, there's a four-foot wide ditch full of water. I've got to cross it. I step close to it...
Something's got my foot. It's being pulled down through the peat, it's soaking wet, and it's about to be a quick snack for Peg.
I grab a branch overhanging the ditch, struggle, and as I pull my foot free from Peg's grasp, a bicyclist passes by, sees the mold and moss on my once-black shirt, the sticks in my hair, the wild look in my eyes, and sees me hanging from the branch.
''Man...'' he says, and speeds up to get away.
I quickly make it back to the car, drive home, and as I walk into the house, Geogrrrl says, ''Dad, you don't look like you've been at work.''
She's right. But she's lucky I survived to make it back.