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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pin Hunting

We seem to be pretty popular with the rangers that are in the Shoreline Section here at J. Strom Thurmond COE.  They are responsible for checking the boundary lines surrounding Thurmond Lake to ensure there is no encroachment by people onto government property.  There are over 1500 miles of property line boundaries that  have to be inspected on a five year cycle, each ranger is assigned a chunk of these lines and have to inspect fifteen mile sections annually.

The boundaries have been surveyed and there are pins hammered into the ground to mark the various twists and turns of the property lines.  Each pin has a unique number on it and is plotted on a master map.


The problem is the pins often get buried in the woods, or accidently damaged or destroyed by landscapers, lawn mowers or even washed away in heavy rains.  That is why the inspections have to take place.

Marti and I set out to cover another section of COE boundary lines, much of it around a summer community next to the lake.  Here you can see orange markings on the trees showing the lines.  The dot at the top indicates there is a survey pin near the tree.


In the community, they had some additional markers placed by some of the pins making them easy to find.


Others took some searching around with a metal detector to locate them.


Sometimes you search,


and search,


and you never find the pin.  That gets marked on the map so the area can be resurveyed and a new pin put in.

One pin was deep in the ground and took a bit of digging.


And more digging,


finally finding it about a foot down, the area had been landscaped and fill had covered it.  We were amazed that the metal detector located it.


Then the lines ran off into the deep woods.  We had to be careful, going from marked tree to marked tree so we didn’t get lost.


We spent five hours and found almost every pin.  The best part was there were no encroachments, although some folks built right up to the line.  You can see the orange marks on the tree indicating the boundary.


It was a good day, we completed the location we were assigned.  We hiked around three miles and there was only one mishap.  Marti fell down crossing a ditch.  I was told in no uncertain terms that there was to be no picture taken if I knew what was good for me. :cO

We enjoy the work, getting out in the woods, enjoying the fresh air and seeing the country.  We haven’t seen much wildlife, but there was some kind of animal following us.  We aren’t sure what it is but I did get a fast picture of it before it ran off.


Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Hey, fresh air, good exercise, and big scary animals :-) What more could you ask for?

  2. Pin Hunting - isn't there a country song in there somewhere? After all, it is South Carolina. Hope Marti is none the worse for her fall.

  3. How did Rick get all the way from B.C. to S.C.?????

  4. Kind of reminds me of looking for waypoints with GPS coordinates for surveys.... I never thought of using a metal detector. Looks like an interesting job.

  5. I think this is the ultimate geo-caching :)

  6. Great assignment. Looks like a swamp gorilla to me.

  7. Way to go...found all the pins and didn't have to report anybody for encroaching!!! However, I think you might want to get someone to check out that strange wildlife you saw;o((

  8. I hope it's not mating season Paul because I think that Sasquatch likes you!

  9. I so enjoy your sense of humor. I, probably like others, had to enlarge the photo to see your mating friend.

  10. Oh my! Hope that ditch where Marti took a tumble wasn't near your stalker.

  11. Our property here in Rocky Point is backed up by Forest Service land. The foresters come out every few years to make sure we aren't slipped over, but the bird houses are definitely on FS land! And I can imagine that survey markers are a completely different beast now that we have more and more reliable GPS abilities, at least that is true now for soil survey and some of our data collection sites.

  12. Well now I know what pin hunting means! I was surprised to see a building so close to a marker. Guess there aren't' any set back rules on FS borders.

  13. That's true. If we didn't have a look at our property often these things will happen. i too have experienced. For you pins here for us stones marked with unique number.

  14. I think your Sasquatch looks likes a deranged Scottish Terrier. Hope you have not had any chigger issues. Tramping through the woods is a good way to stir them up.

  15. Good job finding the pins and good on you for not taking a picture of Marti's spill. I knew you were a smart guy :)

  16. Another fun day in the bush, better watch out for those wild creatures sneaking up behind you.

  17. Well, watch your back in all that wild country. All the work you're doing is certainly making me tired. I hope it counts as exercise for all readers of your blog.

  18. Did the creature leave any "scat"?

  19. Great post...sounds like fun and work are a good mix!

  20. You two are becoming real pros at that pin hunting stuff. Good thing you didn't snap a picture of Marti's mishap. That would be very WRONG of you!

  21. Howdy Marti & Chief
    I for one wanted to see Marti in the ditch with her feet sticking straight up!!! That 'monkey' had his eye on Marti, for sure, but was scared off by the look of her mate !!! TOOOO BIG !!!
    At least y'all didn't have to tear-down anyone's playhouse !!
    It looked like you were down about 3 feet into that hole, Paul !!
    That does look like it would be fun to do..