635. Star City, Lincoln County (AR54)

So, remember back in Rison when I mentioned that “a county…[would] be discussed at greater length in the near future”?  Well, the future is now!  May I note that the shot of the courthouse is really good under the circumstances.  Especially considering there’s no light on the courthouse itself.  There were a couple of streetlamps at the end of a walkway that provided a bit of ambient light but believe me when I tell you that you could not read the name of the county there with the naked eye.  Color me impressed.  Also, Future Arborists of America, take heed!  This is another study on how not to do your landscaping.  There’s a row of bushes going up the front walkway that obscures shots from the front and a giant tree in another corner that interferes with shots from a corner.  This is the only direction you can actually shoot the building and even that is partially obscured.  GAAAH!!!  I came here in the middle of the night directly after Rison and ran into a problem that, while I had prepared for, still vexed me.  The problem was that the county was extremely cache poor, having only six caches.  One cache was on the other side of the county from where I was going and I didn’t want to go that far out of the way.  One cache was on the river and required a boat, which I don’t have at the best of times, much less when I’m on the road.  Three caches were in a state park, and I figured it would be closed.  That left one cache on the edge of town.  That one turned out to be in a cemetery and we know how I feel about cemeteries at night.  I decided to pop over to the park and see if maybe one of the caches might be easy.  I first opted for the easy one on the well-defined path that had been found recently.  With maglight in hand, I searched for a green box in the dark for about 30-40 minutes to no avail.  There was a second one about 700 feet away on a rougher path and I took a shot at that one, but it turned out to be a camoed PVC tube hidden among fallen trees and there was no way I was getting that one in the middle of the night, but I still gave it 20 minutes or so.  The last one had a terrain rating that I had no intention of attempting in the dark.  With this failure, I had two choices: stay in Star City until dawn and try again in daylight, or continue on and come back here on my way back home.  I didn’t want to stay in this terribly small town all night and it would have wasted a lot of time to do so.  Coming back, however, was a little out of my way back home and any way I can make that final drive shorter is a blessing of sorts.  As you can tell if you’ve been following the narrative, I opted to leave and come back.  Had I not, my entire audible likely never would have happened. 

After Newport, I headed back here in the light of day.  The cemetery was the first and easiest choice, but not long after I arrived, a funeral procession arrived.  I had never formulated any rules on what to do at a cemetery when a funeral breaks out, but I decided on the fly that I didn’t want to get involved with that, creating a new cemetery policy for myself.  That left the park caches, so I returned back to where I had ignominiously tromped about the night before.  I went for the easy green box on the path, and once again found nothing.  I went for the camoed pipe again, and once again found nothing.  In the midst of my preparations for hari-kari, I remembered there was a third one so I went for it.  I drove around to the boat dock, parked, and set off into the trees. 

And look what I found! The terrain wasn’t all that hard! Just a fairly gently sloping hill. The way to the boat dock was probably locked at night so I couldn’t have parked close to it without parking somewhere pretty dangerous, but otherwise it was the easiest cache I’d gotten all day! It was just sitting there, out in the open! The last person to find it didn’t close it so I had to dump some bugs out, but the log was double bagged and perfectly serviceable! I triumphantly signed it, secure in the knowledge that from that moment on I could head home. I had accomplished everything I wanted and more on this day trip into Arkansas, not only the intended targets, but also the side trips, too. If I had more faith in my abilities, I could have snuck in one more county. Heck, if I had gotten this one in Star City the night before, I could have gotten two more counties. That didn’t matter, though. I was happy with what I had and victory required no explanation. I was quickly on the road again, headed back home, knowing that my time on this trip would serve me well on my upcoming final push into Arkansas a few weeks later. It would all pay off when I finally left Austin for…

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