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Bagged My First Chiseled Square!

Difficult Run
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It's pale in comparison to Papa-Bear's excellent recoveries and spellbinding narratives, but here goes...


HW1218 caught my attention about a year ago, so I decided to look for it while doing reconnaissance on the Jewell Hollow Overlook Benchmark.

Arriving in the little village of Hamburg, about 3 miles west of Luray, Va., I see a few old houses that look promising and get a few puzzled looks from the local residents.

Didn't bother me though, since I had a pretty fair chance in finding this mark. After a half hour of walking along the side of the road, glancing at the datasheet, my GPS

and scanning for a substantial rock outcrop, I was approached by an elderly resident, Cora, driving past in her 4WD.


"What are you doing?", she quipped.

"Looking for a survey marker," I replied.

"Why?" was her reply. (Now she's really suspicious).


I explained to her that this was a hobby of mine and just wanted to find a old chiseled square somewhere nearby.

After handing her the datasheet, she became interested. Pausing for a moment, Cora said:

"There's only one fellow who can answer your question. He's lived all his life here and I'll be meeting with him this afternoon."

"Can I join you? I'll be happy to meet this fellow," I said.

"I live just down the road. Meet me there at 5 p.m.", she replied and quickly drove off.


Logged a few benchmarks and had a late lunch to pass the time. Five o'clock just couldn't get here fast enough.


I show up at Cora's home on time and meet this nice old fellow, Gary.

One look at the datasheet and he spots the clue!

"Concrete Gatepost? - there's only one in the area, and that's at Calendine."


Five minutes later, my hostess graciously excuses Gary and herself. I drive a quarter mile back to where I first met Cora.

You guessed it. - I was standing less than 30 feet from the benchmark just three hours earlier.


Closeup shot with penny for scale:




Closeup shot with compass - notice how the square is oriented.




Photo of Historic Calendine, a landmark of Page County. Arrow points to chiseled square.




The "key" to finding this obscure mark - The Concrete Gatepost!




Historic Sign:





Now, before I do my "Happy Dance", I'll put forth a few questions:

  1. Can you see the chiseled square?
  2. Would you consider this a "find"?
  3. Would the NGS consider this a good recovery?
  4. Is the NGS interested in receiving a report or would they consider this a historical curiosity for their files?

Here's my geocaching log.

I appreciate any and all comments!


~ Mitch ~

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I can convince myself I see it, and then convince myself it is just wishful thinking.


When you look at the rock in person, is it clear that the two lines are at natural rock strata?


An important part of verifying this mark is to check the distances given. It looks like your distances may be close enough. The road might not be precisely where it was back then; a foot difference might be ok due to repaving.


Is it plausible that there was a former road leading south, even though it is not one now? Is there any old building or feature in the way?


The gatepost should check out very closely. Maybe they measured from the center and you from the nearest surface? That's always something that I have trouble deciding on.


Is the fence old enough to be the one in the description? Or is it just a generally good place for a fence and looking newer?


The most worrisome thing is that NGS reported NF in 1965, only 23 years after it was seen. With decent measurement ties available, they should have been able to find it even if it was slightly buried. Can you come up with a theory of why they missed it?

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Difficult Run -


Sorry, but I cannot see the chiseled square. I read the datasheet's details and still don't see the square. I see some vague scratchings here and there, but no square. Perhaps there's some relief on the rock that can't be seen in a picture. Maybe a rubbing would help?

BDT, I appreciate your honesty,


It was fairly distinct in person, so I took several photos. Didn't imagine at the the time it was a problem.

(Blast it all - I left the baby powder at home!) - But I did pour some bottled water on the mark, which made it nearly invisible.

That's why I believe the NGS missed it in 1965.


Everything adds up. The concrete post, distance to post, distance to centerline of old U.S. Highway 211, GPS coordinates and the distance to the fence.

Looks like I'll make another trip, (I was gonna anyway... :unsure: )


In regards to the fence. It's not the same one as described in 1942, but is set to the centerline of the concrete posts.

From my conversations with members of the Page County Historical Society, very little has changed over the years.

They did mention there was a photo of the house showing the concrete posts taken in the early 1920s.

I'll write to them and ask for a copy.


Concerning the road leading south. I didn't see any evidence of a southerly road. My guess is that particular part of the description was written "upside down".

(North became South and East became West). Who knows?


Here's another shot with my GPS. I've drawn a red line on the inside of the chiseled square.

~ Mitch ~


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I see it fine.


You get used to looking for faint marks when looking for marked stones in PLSS surveying. The data sheet describes it pretty well. Is it close to the 15 feet from the gatepost? Hard to tell from your picture.


- jlw

Edited by jwahl
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I see it fine.


You get used to looking for faint marks when looking for marked stones in PLSS surveying. The data sheet describes it pretty well. Is it close to the 15 feet from the gatepost? Hard to tell from your picture.


- jlw

I measured 14 feet 7 inches from the side of the concrete gatepost to the square.

A difference of 5 inches compared to the datasheet.


Here's a photo.

~ Mitch ~



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On Aug. 30, I went to Calendine to see the rock and take a couple of pictures and measurements.


I confirmed Difficult Run's location of the exposed rock. I also pried up a bit of grass around the rock, but the exposed part is indeed the highest part, and exposing more revealed no square.


Here is the most promising of the several pictures I took:


This was taken looking parallel to the road as opposed to the usual direction as I was measuring the distance from the fence, not the square post.


I also took 2 stereo pictures by moving my camera horizontally using its panning guide. Here is the best of the two stereo shots. (They seem to have a slightly exaggerated 3D effect.)


With this one, you must cross your eyes slightly to get a stereo view.




This lower one is for straight viewing, like with the antique stereo viewers.


(I can do the former quite easily, but the latter is very difficult for me, but for some people, the opposite is true.) I'm not even sure the second one works.


Unfortunately, now that I look at these stereo pictures, the part that looks like it might have a square is not as clear since these stereo views are slightly from the side, not looking directly down.

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Doing stereo images is a little tricky. The viewer needs to get one eye on each image and focus on the surface of the picture. An abnormal eye position and focus relationship.


In the top image the right eye must look at the left image and the left at the right. It’s hard for me to do that and still focus on the picture.


In the lower pair the right eye must look at the right image and the left at the left. This works best for me but the center to center distance between pictures can not be more than the distance between the pupils of the viewer’s eyes, because most people can not make their eyes point outward. Optimum distance between centers of the images is about 2 to 2 ½ inches. On my screen the bottom images are 3 ¼ inches center to center. So I can not line up my eyes on them. With this setup it helps to put a business envelope length wise between your nose and the image surface between the images. The eyes are not distracted by wrong image.


I reduced the image by 80% and it now works for me.



We now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion.

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