Lageek lives in Texas USA, where her day job as a middle school teacher keeps her extremely busy. Outside of work she loves to walk and geocache and her blog is a rich collection of well written accounts of her adventures.
The school year ended in mid-June whereupon I instantly got sick with a cold. It’s only been a couple of days that I’ve felt well enough to leave the house so I was ready for an adventure.
My adventure had three parts: a volksmarch, pie, and a geocache. I know. I know. Pie doesn’t seem to fit but I deserve it!
McKinney is some forty-odd miles from home. The last time I was in McKinney was almost a decade ago when I brought my cat to McKinney’s animal shelter for a low-cost spay. McKinney was much, much smaller then.
Historical downtown McKinney dates back to the 1860s. The downtown area is in great shape, full of boutique shops and local interests. We ate breakfast at Snug on the Square because it had been highly recommended on TripAdvisor. The breakfast sandwiches were good; the service was okay.
This historical walk begins at the Grand Hotel. It’s lovely. The lady at the desk told me that it used to be part of the McKinney Opera House. If you go, check out the ceilings and the display of weapons . Their reading library is impressive, too. I was disappointed to see that we were walkers #2 and #3 for 2018.
I had a suspicion that the hotel was haunted. I was right.
The walk takes the pedestrian past many historical homes (marked with placards) with lovely, fragrant, shaded gardens. Because of construction, we got lost and ended up walking a bit more than the 5k we signed up for.
Food Pantry Volunteer
One of our favorite discoveries was a Food Pantry Box. We thought we’d spotted a Little Free Library being filled. Then we noticed that it wasn’t books being loaded into the box–it was food! It turns out that the city of McKinney, in cooperation with several entities, including Lowe’s, had nine Food Pantry boxes around the town square. Volunteers load the boxes with food items and anyone in need may take food from the boxes. The boxes operate 24/7/365. No paperwork; no shame. Awesome!
After our walk, we headed over to the Pie Emporium, only a couple of blocks from the Grand Hotel. I knew the pies would be expensive ($6 a slice) but I’d also heard it would be worth it. Sweetie had a slice of Mellow Yellow–a citrus chiffon pie. I had a slice of Cherry Bomb a la mode. It was worth it.
While the Texas Geocaching Challenge was officially over, the Geocaching Labs were still open. Sweetieheart, having completed all of our duties, headed back to Denton to do the labs.
We saved the best lab for last. It’s been on our bucket list for about a year. We first heard of Goatman’s Bridge on Youtube. Then I heard it on a podcast. Obviously, all the signs were there. When it popped up on the lab, I knew the stars were aligned in our favor.
Frankly, I would never visit this place at midnight in search of the Goatman. I’m entirely too superstitious. I would, however, visit this place in broad daylight with lots of witnesses/survivors.
Once we finished the lab, we began the hunt for the cache. While we were waiting for details to upload, I noticed a couple behind us. The male was wearing a Texas Geocaching Challenge t-shirt. He generously let us sign the log even though he was the one who found the cache.
Thanks, Catbert, for the smiley! Thanks, Catbert and the Texas Geocaching Association, for giving us the opportunity to meet at the Goatman’s Bridge.
We’ve known since last year that the Texas Geocaching Challenge would be local, Denton to be exact. Sweetieheart has never been to a challenge or mega-event. The one I attended last was one of the first mega-events with over 1000 registered participants.
We attended a meeting in February for planning/volunteering. I really should have done a better job. Everything was posted to Facebook but I gave up Facebook for Lent. I ended up on missing some information.
In any case, I volunteered Sweetieheart to work registration on Friday with me. They had a pretty good jazz band playing while we manned the t-shirt table.
We arrived early and everything folded early. Still, we felt we’d done our bit for the geocaching community.
I want to log this cache as a cemetery cache. But it’s not marking the death of an individual. It marks the death of a town.
Sweeties studies the markers.
Carter, Texas, was once a bustling, growing town. It was on the Goodnight Trail. Then it was struck by Indians (their words!). Then there were gunfights. Finally, there were tornadoes. These calamities killed the town of Carter.
This marker reminds us of how wild the Wild West was.
All that is left of Carter now is a church which has been heavily vandalized but bravely soldiers on and a pavilion for reunions.
The Town of Carter
I learned about Carter in some books about paranormal (haunted) Fort Worth and Tarrant County. People have reported hearing gunshots (from the gunfights?), children crying (from children kidnapped by the Native Americans?), and piano music (from the church or saloons?). People have reported having rocks thrown at them or thrown on the roof of the church. People have reported ominous feelings.
I felt a cool spring breeze. I heard traffic in the distance and the calls of many birds. Most of all, I felt that peace that comes from an isolated spot.
There’s also a geocache. The geocache is surrounded by brambles and poison ivy but it gives geocachers an excuse to get off the beaten path and explore Texas history. In other words, bring gardening gloves.
After weeks of freezing weather, the weekend was looking up. Temperatures would be in the 60s with a southerly wind. I was ready for a new adventure.
For several years I’ve been aware of a geocaching trail along Joe Pool Lake. I had no idea where. My only clue was Joe Pool Lake.
So I went to Geocaching.com and began my hunt. I found the trail. Then I looked up Google Maps, seeking the dam and how to get to it. I cross-referenced the two maps then added the location to my phone GPS.
Sweetie hasn’t been walking much. He hurt himself and is still healing. I promised him that we’d walk only as far as he could go. I knew the trail was 3.9 miles thanks to AllTrails.com and I really hoped to walk the 3.9 miles (and back!). I was fairly sure I could do the 8 miles. I was feeling really good but I was also realistic. I would be lucky if Sweetie could finish five miles.
We hit our first hurdle when we arrived at the park. The government shut down had shut down the park to the lake. It falls under the purview of the Army Corps of Engineers. We saw other people on the trail ahead of us so we knew it was still doable.
Buddy the Bison bears the sad news that the park is closed today.
We found a spot to park and walked to the gate, then around it. Coincidentally (NOT!), a geocache was located near the gate.
The log was soaked.
Sweetie holds the soaked log of the cache.
It’s not a terribly interesting trail but there’s stuff to see if you pay attention. Basically, it’s a raised levee along Joe Pool. It’s paved. There are overflow grounds to either side. A bit off to the north, there are a couple of neighborhoods. To the south it’s fairly wild. Way off to the northeast, you can make out the Dallas Cowboys Stadium if the air is clear. Hawks glide overhead. The wind rustles the tall grass to the sides.
Can you see the Dallas Cowboys Statdium off in the distance?
Eventually we reached the lake. At first it was just glimpses in the distance. Then more emerald green lake appeared. The lake was beautiful that day. I had never seen it so green before. Usually it’s brown.
Joe Pool Lake and the Aerial Towers
The wind made the water choppy. Nevertheless, there were boats out on the lake. A few joggers ran past us. A few bikers rode around us. There was a family fishing.
It was peaceful.
Sweetie taking a rest while filling out a log sheet.
Every .1 miles, there’s a geocache. They’re easy magnetic caches. The caches gave Sweetie a chance to rest. I credit those caches with giving Sweetie the strength to walk 7 miles that Sunday.
The trail is dog-, kid-, and bike-friendly. It’s paved. It’s also very vulnerable to the sun. There is no shade. Bring your own water. Restrooms are not available on the trail. Wear a hat and sunscreen.