Last weekend was the Easter long weekend, which provided us with a rare Friday off work, together. In an attempt to make the most of this we headed to Outer Cove to do some geocaching in an area known locally as Red Cliff.
In the 1940’s, this location was home to a coastal artillery site for use during World War II. In the 1950’s it was further developed into a radar site and became part of the North East Air Command during the Cold War. In its prime, the site was staffed by approximately 250 American soldiers and included a barracks, shops, warehouses, dinning halls, a recreational area and the operations centre. The site was fully abandoned in the early 1960’s and the buildings have deteriorated significantly since that time.
In addition to the ruins, the site also provides access to the East Coast Trail and Cobbler Path.
While we have been to this area numerous time before, a local geocacher named Vickyth (you should also check out her blog: Gone to the Dogs at Seasstrand Studios) recently hid a new series of geocaches in the area and we jumped at the chance to go back and do some more exploring. The series contains six caches located within the boundaries of the former military site.
To access these caches you’ll need to walk about 1.3km over a dirt road from the parking area on Red Cliff Road. Don’t worry, it’s well worth the trek in!
The dirt road eventually branches into two directions. To your right, the road continues uphill towards the bulk of the structures that made up the radar station. To your left is a paved pathway, which we followed towards The Lookout (GC3A5RE), a nice and simple multi-cache with some excellent camouflage on the container.
If you decide to go exploring near the cache site (or any of these caches) please use caution. The state of disrepair of some of the buildings is quite dangerous and it is a good idea to keep the young ones close.
After successfully finding the cache, we headed back along a portion of the East Coast Trail in search of Gnarly Situation (GC3A5RV) and then jumped back onto the paved path in search A Nearly Rowan Sort of Cache (GC3A5V4). All finds were successful, although Gnarly Situation took a little longer than it should have.
The final two caches we did brought us closer and closer to the main buildings/ruins. This is where our fun started! We walked up the hill towards the “abandoned” military site and found The-Not-So Golden Arches (GC3A5WG), near the former motor pool, with little difficulty. We then proceeded to cross the road enroute to Barracks Restrictions (GC3A5XF). Arriving at ground zero we began our search… We found what we thought to be the container rather quickly, however there was ice built up around the container which prevented us from retrieving it. As such, we began to focus our attention solely on finding a way to retrieve the container and sign the log book. While minding our own business two young men came out of the woods… Normal greetings would be “hello” or “what are you doing there?” or “why is your arm stuck down that hole?” or “you must be geocachers!” or any other host of possible things… However, their reaction to finding on that concrete slab was to yell “CEASE FIRE”. Suddenly voices all around us, hidden by tree cover, repeated the words “cease fire”, “cease fire”… Turns out you can be a geocacher and muggle at the same time! Who knew!
As the cache page indicates the area is frequented by paintball/airsoft enthusiasts and as it turns out we had walked into a hornet’s nest so to speak… No need to worry, there are still two of us in this geocaching/blogging pair, no one got shot or anything of that nature. Once everyone stopped “playing” the “soldiers” all came to ground zero to see what all the fuss was about! Needless to say this all made for a interesting cache, one we won’t be forgetting very soon! Before we left we snapped the following picture to commemorate this interesting encounter! It sure looked like they were having a lot of fun and the guys were very nice and accommodating to us “civilians”.
We mentioned earlier about other geocaches in the area and depending on your math skils, you may have noticed we only found five out of the six caches that Vickyth placed in the area. The sixth cache is titled A She-Sheep Snack Spot (GC3A5Y5) and I’m sure it’s a dandy cache, however after encountering the “military” we decided we’d return another day, not wanting to further disturb/interrupt their activities. On your way to that cache you’ll pass many more ruins, including the remains of the radar station itself and you’ll take another trek along the East Coast Trail. You will also find Pinetree Line 2 – Breadcorn (GC8969), which is one of the oldest caches in Newfoundland, hidden in September 2002. The remainder of the caches in the area are along the East Coast Trail and will be covered off in an upcoming post.
Overall, we strongly recommend you hit up this series of geocachers in the near future. It’s an area that’s rich in military history and scenic Newfoundland coastline! Definitely worth the trip! If you need directions or have any questions about how to access this area, please do not hesitate to ask!
Update: This blog post was featured on an epidsode of PodCacher, to hear the audio or to learn more about PodCaher please click here.