Thursday, June 18, 2009
City cuts down landmark in city park and accidentally exposes Wingra Park geocache
Until recently, this natural obelisk was all that remained of a towering oak tree in Madison's Wingra Park that came down in straight-line winds nine years ago. That was June 1, 2000, and the hollowed-out old trunk had become a kind of local landmark. It had also been favorably compared to a nearby work of public art. Plus, it provided a great home for a variety of small animals and insects, and the hollowed-out interior sometimes served as a playhouse for little kids.
But the wood was rotten and the structure seemed increasingly unsafe. It looked as if a good shove might bring it down. Last week the city finally gave it that shove. They cut it down (and as you can see in the photo, they didn't have to do much cutting).
Cutting down what remained of the tree accidentally exposed this geocache hidden inside. It almost obliterated it, since the geocache was attached to the inside of the tree trunk at a point just below where the saw made its cut. You can see the white film canister that held it at the far left of the photo above if you click to enlarge it. Half an inch lower, and the saw would have pulverized it.
Geocaching is a kind of GPS treasure hunt, and revealing the cache explained a local mystery -- why so many adults and kids have been crawling inside the hole in the tree the last couple of months. They were going in to sign the log. There's also an online log. You can read the last few entries here, but to read the entire archived log of 39 visits, you'll have to register (free) at Geocaching.com.