Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To Big Thrumcap and Beyond !

On Sunday, caching buddy Jacqui and I took the McNab's Island Ferry over to McNabs Island for a day of geocaching.  Since the most remote cache we were after was at the top of Big Thrumcap, the drumlin at the ocean-end of the island, we had the ferry drop us there.   The drumlin is quite overgrown with waist-high ferns and trees that were toppled in 2004 when Hurricane Juan came through.  We had Wendy with us and as usual she helped find the best route up the hill; well the best route for someone who is less than three feet tall !   Sometimes her choices weren't optimal but as she bats around 80% we aren't complaining.

Did I mention that we're in the midst of a heat wave with temperatures up to 35 C with the Humidex factored in.

Suffice to say it was HOT.

As we neared the coordinates of the treasure, staring down at the screens of our GPSs, Jacqui and I stumbled in circles around and through some evergreens calling to each other: "I'm at 6 metres here", or "I've got 10 metres here--I'm heading toward you".  In this way we zoomed in on the location of the cache.   Once we were a few metres away we stop looking at the screen and start searching in earnest.   When we spotted the cache we felt a bit silly.  It wasn't exactly small, or hard to spot !

It was an honest-to-gosh, fulled-sized treasure chest !

And oh the wonders it contained .

There were Doubloons, and foreign coins of many varieties -- all of it fake -- and all of it quite wonderful.  There were  "jewels" and packages of pencils and in the plastic bag some travel bugs with tracking numbers that we can drop off in a cache somewhere else.

Yours truly going a tad gold-mad !
When we lifted the top compartment off we found more (albeit creepier) stuff underneath.

Bones, a skull, one shoe and strangely enough, Christmas decorations, and of course, MORE coins.

This cache has only been found twice this year so Jacqui and I were thrilled to be the third group to find it.  

After putting everything back as we found it, signing the log, taking a trinket and leaving a trinket, we set off back down the hill following our own trail through the broken bracken.

Thrumcap's physical connection to McNabs Island is by a thread of land that one day will be breached by the Atlantic.  After that happens accessing the "Treasure cache" is going to be even harder.

From a distance Thrumcap's typical tear-dropped drumlin shape is easy to see.

The island is criss-crossed with many roads and trails;  without a good map and these marvellous newly-added sign posts it's pretty easy to get lost.

We headed up Rifle Range Trail taking a brief side trip along Searchlight Road to look for a cache hidden near the shore.

The cache was hidden in the roots of an up-turned tree.  Jacqui checked out the signed log to see who had found it before us.

We'd spent a couple of hours slogging up and down Thrumcap finding that "Treasure Chest" so we were keen to look for a few easy caches one of which was back on the Rifle Range Trail.  We were pretty sure it was in this tree but after 20 minutes of unsuccessful searching we had to give up.

While we searched, Wendy rested in the shade.

Later we settled down to have a picnic lunch near what had been an old rifle target shooting range. Years ago this equipment raised up targets;  now it is sinking into a widening bog.

Nearby I found some sprouting "Indian Pipe".  This fascinating plant lacks Chlorophyll.

Farther up the road we came across three concrete rangefinder platforms.  Inside one of them Jacqui found a small cache tucked under a rock in a crevice in one the building's walls.

With less than an hour left before we had to meet up with the ferry, we hustled over to Fort McNab. There were many marvellous buildings to explore but in finding two more caches we ran out of time and had to leave their exploration for another visit.

Our final hike down the shore to our meet-up point got us there with 10 minutes to spare.  It had been a full, tiring, fun day.  I'm looking forward to our next caching adventure there.

It's hard to believe that even though McNabs Island is a short boat ride away from downtown Halifax many locals have never visited it.  Their loss.


  1. Wow, it turned out to be a real Treasure Island!

    1. Debra, You are so right -- I can't wait to go back. Even without looking for caches I enjoy exploring the island. Can't imagine I'll ever see another treasure cache like that.

  2. Sounds like a wonderfully refreshing and exciting day - in spite of the heat. Finding that unusual treasure cache was icing on the cake. I tend to hibernate during heat waves - our last one was 10 days long - so I admire your spirit!

    1. Barbara, I hate the heat and it continues still. They have a forest trails hiking ban in Nova Scotia as it is tinder dry here.

      I love McNabs and can't wait to go back ... in the Fall.

      I don't blame you for hunkering down in this heat.


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