September 30, 2004

Sunday at Glen Park

Chuck has now posted “the rest of the story” on Scott’s Reserve. I suggest you read about the chill that ran down his spine when he lifted a big rock and peered underneath into a cold stygian eye. Read it first. Then read about our visit to “The Witch House.”

Sunday Morning

I slept until midmorning, about 9AM because I was too stupid to go directly to bed after driving home from Chuck and Patty’s the night before.

After checking my email I began to respond to an email from Chuck telling me that someone had posted a corrected waypoint for Scott’s Reserve. I entered it into my GPSr to check the location and replayed our visit in my mind’s eye. The new waypoint was almost assuredly at the northwesterly corner of the cellar hole. That meant it was either in the cellar hole or at the tree where the bricks were piled.

Before I had a chance to send that deduction back to Chuck, my cell phone rang. Chuck was calling me from the trail back. He was very agitated as he told me about what he’s found — a dangerous well covered only with a few rocks. It was clear that Chuck was worried that his finding the well would make it more dangerous. We discussed that and were getting pretty certain that the Scott’s Reserve cache had gone missing. We hung up when he got home, and I went on to plan our day’s adventure.

The Witch Hunt

The Witch Hunt is a cache near Glen Farms in Portsmouth. The intentionally spooky name is given because the cache hunt takes you to an old stone building that has been given that name “the witch’s house.” It comes complete with a creepy story that a woman who once lived there long ago was executed for her role in the disappearance of village children. Of course, after her death her name was cleared. And ever since then, her ghost haunts the area!

B-movie fodder, but the location is quite striking nonetheless.

I was not on my A-game with the photography, but I did snap some shots.

On the way down to the trail head, we encountered a little shack in the middle of a multipurpose field. Mattie said “I’d like to live there!” but I think she changed her mind once we saw the inside. It was like a small barn, and it was gutted.

But in the abundant sunlight, a little shack is a friendly place. The air at Glen Park was filled with little specks. Some sort of insect was abundant here and they caught the sun as they swarmed around, more than a little bit reminiscent of the fluff in the air of the movie Legend. A few times we saw dragonflies large enough to mistake for birds.

Our search eventually took us to the Witch House itself.

As we climbed and scrabbled, we found our way to a small paved path. We turned a sharp corner and came up against a magnificent and spooky sight. Under the tree cover, in the filtered light we saw huge stone walls, a small structure and a dramatic arch. Of these ancient walls, some had toppled over, leaving debris fields several times larger than a grown man.

While we wandered looking for the cache, it was easy to get distracted by all there was to see here. There was both detail and drama, and it was all hidden in a small valley shielded from the surrounding areas. The brook which had carved out the valley skipped and splashed over hundreds of flat rocks, making calming noises.

It was not quite as calm when I slipped on a rock and planted my lower leg into the rushing water up to the knee. I was happy to have saved the camera and other electronics from the drink. Not so happy that I now stepped with a tap, squish, tap, squish rhythm.

We found the cache without too much trouble. After we replaced it, an equestrian passed on the paved path; it was the second time in two days that our activities were observed by someone on horseback.

We used the girls’ trail to depart the area, looking back down on the little stone structure. This was the best angle on the Witch House, since the area has seen heavy teenage use. We were lucky enough to be undisturbed in our hunt, and it would have been awkward to have to sneak around if the place had been teeming with adolescents. I’d already had a slightly similar experience when I had to take pictures of Lizzie Borden’s grave and came upon a couple of early teens having some alone time at the famous woman’s family monument.

We decided to give up our quest for a second cache for the day, mostly because I didn’t have a decent change of shoes with me. I was satisfied, anyhow.

We returned home, where I kept tabs on what was going on with Chuck’s crisis/adventure. That night I spent some time trying to help him decide what to do about the well and reassuring him that he was going to leave this a much better situation than he left it. I’m really happy that it turned out as well (no pun intended) as it did, but I was confident all along that it would turn out for the better.

Posted by James at September 30, 2004 9:40 AM
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