Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2015-01-17: Cacheapalooza 9 Geocaching and Hiking in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Today was the day for Cacheapalooza 9, a huge Mega event located in South Florida at the Jonathan Dickinson State Park. A Mega event means that more than 500 geocachers have to log their attended in order to qualify. I think this is my 3rd trip done to a Cacheapalooza and Candy's first.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park is an 18 square mile park located just south of Stuart, FL in Martin County. It contains miles of hiking and biking trails, canoe and kayaking opportunities, and more.

They day started out fairly cool and warmed up slightly as we began hiking. We checked in, signed the log book, and looked around at the crowd to see if any of our caching friends were here. We saw some of their cars in the parking lot but not at the pavilion. They must be out already on the trails.

So Candy and I selected one of the many trails and began hiking through the scrub. Starting out at the pavilion, we headed north along the Kitching Creek Trail to the Connecting Trail finding caches along the way. That trail takes you over to the Red Loop Trail.

After hiking up the Red Trail for a little bit, I turned west on the Ocean to Lake Trail when I should have turned east. But I didn't have a trail map and I couldn't remember which way I had taken on previous visits. Anyway, we continue finding caches, crossed over Kitching Creek and turned left again on the multi-use trail headed south. This should take us back near the pavilion and the parking lot, right? Hmmm

Continuing south and grabbing caches, I noticed on my GPS that the caches started curving to the west past and away from the pavilion. Looking at the satellite view, there looked to be campsite trail that might cross back over the creek so we could return to the pavilion. Well the photo below shows what we found at the end of the trail. There was no bridge to cross over to the other side.

So it was either continue southwest and loop WAY around the bottom and then back north OR backtrack the way we came. We chose the shorter backtrack route! After six miles of hiking, we finally made it back to the pavilion. Saw a couple of friends and chatted for a little bit. Then we drove into town and found a Chili's to grab some food, drink, and relax a while before the long drive back up to Orlando.

Another great day of adventure! See ya next time...

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