About 3 miles, moderate to easy terrain. Compass suggested.
Hercules was tasked to perform 12 amazing feats of strength, wit, and endurance that were, in fact, nearly impossible. This was his penance for committing the heinous crime of murdering his wife and children. Hercules’ excuse for this act was temporary insanity, caused by the goddess Hera (Zeus’ wife), who was always stirring up trouble. Hercules had prayed to the god Apollo for guidance, and the god's oracle told him he would have to serve Eurystheus, the king of Tiryns and Mycenae, for twelve years in punishment for the murders.
By the end of these Labors, Hercules was, without a doubt, Greece's greatest hero. His crimes were also, apparently, forgiven.
Your first challenge is to find the correct location to start, because It’s A Myth-Story. These are smaller boxes. There's no ink provided and only one logbook, which is in the final box. Compass suggested but not absolutely necessary. Good Hunting!
#1: Nemean Lion: Hercules' first task would be to bring the King the skin of an invulnerable lion which terrorized the hills around Nemea. As you continue down then up then down the trail, look for a man-made animal shelter on the right. Was this a clever trap of Hercules to catch the lion? From here, take 36 steps through the pine glen to spot a V-shaped tree on the left. Notice a couple stumps also left, and seek the lion in the more slender of the two. After capturing the lion, continue on the trail to the intersection of the road, and go left up the hill.
#2: The Lernean Hydra: From the murky waters of the swamps near a place called Lerna, the hydra would rise up and terrorize the countryside. A monstrous serpent with nine heads, the hydra attacked with poisonous venom. Nor was this beast easy prey, for one of the nine heads was immortal and therefore indestructible. As you crest the hill in the road, look left for a mossy rock near a 4’ stump filled with woodpecker holes. The hydra lurks beneath.
#3: Cerynitian Hind: For the third labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the Hind of Ceryneia. This was a special deer, a favored pet of Artemis, with golden horns and hoofs of bronze. To catch this golden hind, continue on the road and look to the left 28 steps from a trail sign for a large rock. Behind this rock is a fallen log with a small hole in its center, wherein lies the hind.
#4: Erymantian Boar: This one was called the Erymanthian boar, because it lived on a mountain called Erymanthus. Every day the boar would come crashing down from his lair on the mountain, attacking men and animals all over the countryside, gouging them with its tusks, and destroying everything in its path. Hercules tracked the beast, chased it to exhaustion, then caught it in a net and carried it back to the cowardly King. Chase this beast down after finding its lair in the woods. Take a right 250 degrees off the road just before it goes over a rock-lined culvert. There is a small rock in a clearing by itself, behind which the boar is attempting to hide. Capture him and continue walking down the road.
#5: Augean Stables: Who wants to muck out the stalls? Nope, neither did Hercules. Augeas was a very rich man, and he had many herds of cows, bulls, goats, sheep and horses. He agreed to pay Hercules if he could clean his stables in one day. So Hercules used his great strength to rip open the front and rear of the stables and diverted the flow of two rivers to run through the cattle-yard to clean everything up. He sought payment afterwards, but Augeas tried to renege on the deal and, furthermore, insisted that this labor didn’t count because Hercules was paid to do it. Hercules was stuck between a rock and a hard place. So are the stables…just look to the right for a rock grouping with one larger rock overhanging a couple feet from the ground and find the niche below.
#6: Stymphalian Birds: For the sixth Labor, Hercules was to drive away an enormous flock of birds which gathered at a lake near the town of Stymphalos. The birds were vicious, some would even say man-eating! Hercules had a special noise-maker to scare the birds from the mountainside, then he shot them all down! To get to these birds, continue on the road and past a brown fence on the right. Upwards, look right for a flat rock from where a V-shaped tree stands at 250 degrees. Beneath the rock lie the birds.
#7: Cretan Bull: This rampaging bull was a gift to Minos from Poseidon. The bull also breathed fire! Hercules wrestled the bull to the ground and brought it back to the King, who let it go to continue rampaging the countryside. You’ll need to find the bull and drive it away from the people. When you come to the intersection with Wicket Pond Road, look for the yellow gate. Find the stop post of the gate and the rocks closest to the post hide the bull!
#8: Mares of Diomedes: Beware the raging mad horses! After Hercules had captured the Cretan Bull, Eurystheus sent him to get the man-eating mares of Diomedes and bring them back to him in Mycenae. To get to Diomedes, turn around and follow Wicket Pond Road east. Be on the lookout for about an 8’ high stump right with a nice little hole in its backside halfway up.
#9: Hippolyte’s Belt: For the ninth labor, Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the belt of Hippolyte. This was no ordinary belt and no ordinary warrior. Hippolyte was queen of the Amazons, a tribe of women warriors. When Hercules visited her and the other Amazons, she agreed to give him her belt. But then Hera got involved, and turned the Amazons against Hercules. He killed Hippolyte, stole her belt, and then ran away. Up the road from the killer mares look for a short road on the left, marked by a large maple and some rocks. Follow this pull-off for six steps and look beneath a large rock on your right to find the cattle hiding behind a little rock.
#10: Cattle of Geryon: Geryon had three heads and three sets of legs all joined at the waist. Geryon kept a herd of red cattle guarded by Cerberus's brother, Orthus, a two-headed hound, on his island called Erythia. To get there, it is said that Hercules split one mountain into two and between them lay the what is now called the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco, the gateway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Continue following the “strait” until you spy a little island at the confluence of roads up ahead. The cattle rest within a grouping of lichen-covered rocks surrounded by pine and laurel.
#11: Apples of the Hesperides: Eurystheus commanded Hercules to bring him golden apples which belonged to Zeus, king of the gods. Hera had given these apples to Zeus as a wedding gift, so surely this task was impossible. Hera, who didn't want to see Hercules succeed, would never permit him to steal one of her prize possessions, would she? Find the nearby entrance to the Maple trail. Follow this single-track trail through the dark woods. Look for a dead double-birch tree about six feet high on the left side of the trail. Check the base of this stump for a golden apple.
#12: Capture of Cerberus: Cerberus was a vicious beast that guarded the entrance to Hades and kept the living from entering the world of the dead. Cerberus was said to be a strange mixture of creatures: he had three heads of wild dogs, a dragon or serpent for a tail, and heads of snakes all over his back. Hercules knew that once in the kingdom of Hades, he might not be allowed to leave and rejoin the living. Through a deep, rocky cave, Hercules made his way down to the Underworld. You must seek the entrance to the Underworld! This will be your most difficult task (some might say, Herculean). Continuing on the trail, keep an eye out left for a large boulder in the distance; this will eventually be your target. As the trail descends a bit into a kind of small gully, you can head off-trail into the woods towards this boulder. As you creep closer, you will notice that this boulder is actually two! Hercules has split it and created the entrance to the Underworld, Hades, to complete his final task. Caution, do not enter the world of the dead! Instead, Hercules will deliver Cerberus to you. He has been left at the base of the fallen pine behind the split boulder.
This completes the 12 Labors of Hercules. Return from whence you came, back to the yellow gate. From the yellow gate you may follow the road back to the parking area by bearing right at the next intersection and encountering pavement. If you wish even more adventure, follow clues to Narcissus.