RunnerCaching Fred: Canal Path (Princess Anne Street to Fall Hill Avenue)

We’re snowed in, so there won’t be much running and zero geocaching for me over the next few days. (I haven’t found a cache in two weeks.  That’s January for ya.)  It’s about time to publish my first in what I hope will be a series of several posts called “RunnerCaching Fred,” which will highlight the caches along my favorite running routes in Fredericksburg. (Down the road I also hope to give you “RunnerCaching Stafford,” “RunnerCaching Spotsy,” etc.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

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(On our deck, this morning.)

This first list consists of the caches along the Canal Path, which is a 1.8-mile stretch of paved walking/biking/running trail along the old VEPCO Canal in Fredericksburg.  I’m including some that are just off the trail–like, REALLY close by and only require a teensy detour–as well as the caches that are only available to premium members of Geocaching dot com.  In fact I realized after starting to compile these lists that the first three here are premium caches, so my apologies for that.  There are quite a few premium caches in downtown Fredericksburg, several of which are along this route. (I finally bit the bullet about a year and a half ago and coughed up the $29.99 annual fee, and it’s SO worth it.)  I’ll try not to include spoilers in my descriptions, and if you don’t want to read about those pesky premium caches, skip to #4.

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(The route, including the detours.)

1. KU #20:  If You Wanna Stay (GC4JF22, Premium Only cache)

Geocachers BetTer Life are big fans of Keith Urban, and they have a series of caches all over Fredericksburg that are based on Keith Urban songs.  They’re all cleverly hidden caches, and each one is different from the next.  This one is outside a historic hotel, just a small detour off the canal path.

2. KU #13: Somedays You Gotta Dance (GC4FCMP, Premium Only Cache)

This was the first KU series cache that I found, right after I got my premium membership.  It’s near the Fredericksburg Parks and Recreation building, just off the path, where I spent many hours with my boys when they were younger.

3.  KU#21:  Freedom’s Finally Mine (GC4K67B, Premium Only Cache)

This cache took me many tries to finally find.  It’s well camouflaged, hiding in plain sight. (Cue forehead slap. D’OH!  Can’t believe I missed it.)  One of my favorites, and it’s right on the trail, no detour required.

4.  The Hounds of Fredericksville: SHERLOCK series #2 (GC56M1K)

If you leave the path after finding Freedom’s Finally Mine and head toward the entrance of the dog park on Kenmore Avenue, you can find one of my caches inspired by Sherlock. (Because Benedict Cumberbatch.)  The Hounds of Fredericksville is the second in my SHERLOCK series.  It’s not that great of a hide, to tell you the truth; although I tend to be more critical of my own caches than I am of most others.  So it’s probably worth a look…and you don’t have to be a premium member, so there’s that! 🙂

5.  KU#26:  Little Bit of Everything (GC4NQGP, Premium Only Cache)

Not far from the dog park, in a lovely little botanical garden/park is this cache that eluded me for months.  I finally had to ask another geocacher for a hint.  It was another head-slapping D’OH! moment when I finally found it.

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(I swiped this from my Instagram page, taken last spring near KU #25 and KU #26 during one of my training runs for the 2015 Marine Corps Historic Half.)

6. KU #25, What About Me II (GC4PNHV, Premium Only cache)

After Little Bit of Everything you can pick up the canal path again and go look for What About Me II.  This was another geocache that was frustrating me to no end for a long time.  The KU series often tends to do that, but when you find the caches they will always bring a smile to your face.  This one certainly did!

7.  The Petra Fodere (GC3EGFT)

WeirdHarold is legendary in our area for cleverly hidden caches.  We learned about him years ago when we first started geocaching back in 2007, and we were told he was known as “The King of Camouflage.”  Over the years many of his hided have been transferred to other owners, and fortunately most are still alive and well. (He’s now started placing way cool gadget caches.  More on THAT in a future post.)  Anywhoo, I won’t say any more about this one except that the title gives you a big clue…

8.  Really Wet Land (GC10CZM)

This one took me several tries, and I finally emailed the owners (Aloha! & Wahine Eye Spy) for some help.  It’s just off the path on a wooden platform over a little marsh.  It’s a cleverly hidden cache, and a nice little spot.

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(Take two bites, RunnerCacher, and dream of warmer weather.)

9.  “Take Two Bites…Alice” (GC1JBP1)

This was the first cache I ever found on the canal path, back in July of 2012.  I wasn’t a runner then, and I only found nine geocaches that entire year.  It’s another hide by WeirdHarold, now owned and maintained by CraftyNuke.  One look at the cache page and you’ll pretty much know what you’re looking for.

Next up I’ll highlight the caches along the Heritage Trail, which runs along the Rappahannock River and connects the two ends of the canal path to make a 3-mile loop.

As I’m finishing up this post, it’s still snowing.  We just finished shoveling the driveway which of course we’ll have to do again tomorrow morning.  Now I think I’ll fix myself a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy my current read, Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, Longer by Margaret Webb.  Whether you’re running, geocaching, sledding, or just putting your feet up, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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