After a brief hiatus to get acquainted with our new granddaughter, the countdown continues. This is a Pennsylvania cache from July 2005 called The Spooky Tunnel.
When people think of my native Pennsylvania, they usually think Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – urban areas. In fact, most of Pennsylvania is heavily wooded and mountainous. The Allegheny Mountains run northeast to southwest through the center half of the state. Part of these mountains run through Somerset and Westmoreland counties and are called the Laurel Highlands. This is the area where I grew up and it looks much as it did 200 years ago – trackless woods as far as the eye can see.
Through the middle of all this, the state built a four lane highway that would eventually run east-west from border to border – the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Modeled after the German Autobahn, it was the first high speed highway in the U.S. Construction started in October 1938. The first 160 mile section from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg opened for business on October 1, 1940. Construction and expansion have been ongoing ever since.
The original design envisioned speeds of up to 100 mph. The road was designed to maximize straightaways and minimize curves and hills. To do this, they built a series of tunnels through the mountains instead of going over them. One of these was the Laurel Hill Tunnel. Its story is told in the pictures that follow.
This rugged woodland is a geocachers dream. It has everything from one star drive ups to five star expeditions. Overlooking the long abandoned Laurel Hill Tunnel is the three star Spooky Tunnel geocache. My son and I tackled it in July of 2005. It was our first summer of geocaching.
The hardest part of the cache is figuring out which back country road goes to the parking pullout. Once parked, it’s about 1/2 mile of bushwhacking to get to the cache. There’s no trail and the summertime brush, the bugs and old barbed wire fences can be challenging. The cache itself is well hidden (at least it was) and the heavy overhead canopy can make the GPS go crazy.
You can’t miss the tunnel. Just keep walking downhill and you’ll run right into it. The view of the tunnel from the cache site is awesome. It’s completely out of place in this remote area but there it is, satellite antennae and all.
Anyway, we had a good time getting it and bagged several more in the same area that day. As I’ve said before, some of my best days as a Dad were out geocaching with the kids and this was one of them.
Cheers … The Cachemanian Devils