Return To Canter's Cave
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It was the weekend before Thanksgiving when we decided we would return for another Trek at Canters Cave. The weather had been nice but we were really pushing it. Sure enough the forecast that weekend was supposed to be in the 20's. It didn't matter, for thirteen hardy Scouts and hunters came together that day. Greg, Joe, and Tom arrived Friday night. They slept quite comfortably in one of the rock overhangs .The cave had been warmed by the afternoon sun and a fire wasn't needed that night. Frank and I came in about 7:30 A.M. and waited for the others to arrive. Rob Park, John and Christie Suchora, Joe Cramer, Jerry Newman, Hawk Stephens and Jeremy and RJ, The Cave Boys, as we fondly refer to them, because when we first came to meet them they were camped in a cave. Oh yes, and two dogs, Una, (first born) and Jenny.
Jenny,John Suchora,Christie Suchora,Frank Pritchard,Joe Cramer,Linda Pritchard,Tom,Joe,Jerry Newman,Hawk Stephens,Rob Park,Greg Park and Una
This would be the group. Thirteen and two dogs. We swung our packs on and started for the hills. Christie had made Jenny a pack so she was doing her part too. She would be carrying her own food and water.
I had thought my load was about as light as it could be. Around 25 to 28 lbs. including my day bag and water. I had taken only the essentials.
1 small (very small) ground cloth
extra moc liners
extra wool socks
1 pair mittens
RJ and Jeremy (The Cave Boys)
These things were rolled up in my bedroll with the matchcoat going on top of my pack and the bedroll on the bottom.
In my pack was, fire kit, lye soap, comb, toothbrush, corn boiler, small cup which fits in boiler, spoon, and a canteen of water.
Food I was taking included dried sweet corn, rice, jerk, cheese, grits, chocolate and a treat for us all, Moravian Cookies.
It seemed like this was as light as I wanted to go and would use everything I had taken.
You always learn something every time you go, and this time would be no exception.
We weren't sure where we were going but some thought they would hunt and some just wanted to see the area. We thought we would make base camp and explore from there, but in the confusion of leaving plans were forgotten, and after about 3 hours it looked like this was not going to be a short trek. Our packs were getting quite heavy for some of us, and the hills were steep and slippery. Continuous stretching, stepping up and down with the extra weight on my back made me wish I had done a little more training before this trek!
We circled around the Canter's Cave area and then went off the trail to head up the hill to a good hunting area. The hill was steep and after we made it to the top we took a brief rest. Here is where three of the hunters and UNA the dog went ahead and separated from the group. We circled to the East and figured wherever we would camp they would see or smell us and would re join the group.
We had been carrying our gear now for most of the day and thought we should find a place to make camp soon or we wouldn't have time to get fire wood in. We knew it was going to get well below freezing that night and with only a blanket apiece we would need some preparation before nightfall.
Coming upon a large rim, we worked our way along the edge and found ourselves looking down on Black Water Falls. It looked to be about a 150-ft. drop straight down. The beauty of the view made the trek all worth the effort. We scurried around the rim and up away from the drop off.
One of the Scouts came across a fossil that looked like petrified wood. The Shawnees say the imprint came from the tail of the "Panther in the Sky". It had a criss cross design and little marks in the center of the crossed marks. They say much of their quillwork and other artwork comes from the design on this fossil. I wanted to keep it but it weighed about 5 lbs. and I was getting pretty tired so left it behind. Maybe someone else will find it and can appreciate its beauty. We journeyed on .We sent a couple of the scouts ahead to find a place to camp. I was looking for a rock overhang and some place to face east if possible. We only had about two hours till dark.
A couple of nice caves had been seen earlier so we would circle around and go there. About half an hour later we arrived. We threw down our gear and started evening preparations. Joe, one of the hunters, heard us talking and decided to rejoin the group. The other two hunters and dog were still hunting. If they didn't come in before dark they would be fine, for they had enough provisions for the night. Rob and Hawk gathered in plenty of wood and John and Christie lots of leaves to sleep on. Ah........Home Sweet Cave! Sitting down felt great. I didn't want to move. Night was coming quickly. Frank was wet from sweating and knew he had to get his clothes dry before dark or he would get too cold and might not be able to warm up. After I got the fire going he hung his clothes on some pieces of firewood to dry. I had also gotten wet when my canteen tipped over and knocked the cork out, spilling down the back of my pants. This is when I decided to wear my canteen outside of my bag.
I fixed a cup of tea and then heated some more water for rice and jerk. The cheese and Moravian cookies provided me a treat so I was glad I took it. I noticed Joe Cramer had some special hard tack with Muscavado sugar sprinkled on it. He said it was pretty good.
It was dark now and we knew we wouldn't see the two hunters that night. We hoped they had found as good a shelter as we had. It was getting cold fast. The night was long. Jerry and Joe told us of their trek in North Carolina. We got to know each other a little better. All went to bed early and fed the fire throughout the night. We got up early and the fires were still burning well. Some of us fixed breakfast and heated water for tea. The gear was rolled up and we hiked back to where we had started. When we arrived at the settlement I saw Greg and Tom, (the two hunters) and Una the dog coming from over the horizon. They thought they heard us fire a signal shot but when they followed the sound they arrived at the top of a high wall. They knew with the night coming upon them they better stay put and make camp. They would work their way down in the morning. Tom lacking adequate gear had gotten quite cold that night, but this was his first time out and he would be better prepared the next time. They had a good hunt and had acquired two squirrels and seen much more game. We were glad to see them and they came into the cabin to warm themselves.
It was truly a Grand Scout! The Canter's Cave Area makes a great place for a trek, and even UNA the dog, seemed to have an adventure.
KEEP ON TREKKING ,
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