624. Winfield, Cowley County (KS077)

On one level, it loses points because it looks a lot like Greenwood County.  On another level, it has a giant map like back in Ashland all that time ago!  That’s definitely worth extra points!  Overall, it gets slightly more than a meh from me, I guess.  It was the 60’s after all.  That said, why is it that until now I never devised or considered a rating scale for courthouses?  Could you imagine?  “This courthouse gets three gavels”?  Should I have a positive and negative track?  So many questions that I haven’t considered…  NO, I’m not instituting a rating scale at this point.  Do you know how many courthouses I’d have to go back and rate?  Heck, the ones with double county seats would drive me insane on their own! 

The cache turned out to be a two-fer.  There was a traditional sitting right on top of a virtual sitting on the same historical marker I was stopping for anyway so I went ahead and claimed both.  To sum up, this was near the site of the first terrestrial discovery of helium, in this case in natural gas pockets found during oil drilling.  I noticed that the stonework on the marker was falling apart at this point and it made me think for a second.  There’s a leave no trace ethos for rural/nature geocaching, but how much does anyone think about that in “urban” settings?  I don’t think you would call this an urban setting in the traditional sense, but it was something built by the hands of man.  I also know that bridges are considered less desirable cache locations because caching can take a toll on older bridges, especially ones in Africa, Europe, and Asia made of stone and brick.  I don’t know if we as cachers had much of an impact on the stonework here breaking apart, but I bet we didn’t help things.  Luckily, the cache wasn’t on the crumbling side so maybe we didn’t.  Then again, I ended up picking some of the crumbled stone up and putting it back in my search for the cache, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.  Definitely food for thought…  But what was more important was that with this, I could start the long trek home.  I had to cross Oklahoma, and I stopped for some virtuals on the way to complete my summit of Mount Vinson, but that night, I would pull up in front of my own home and sleep in my own bed again.  That feeling never gets old.  And it was good for a couple of months.  At least until I ended up making a day trip into Arkansas to fix a couple of things on my map.  I was preparing for a bigger trip to complete the state and decided to fill that southern hole in it first.  It ended up becoming a bigger expedition than planned, and it all started just after sunset in…

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