I took my first fall today
Instead of turning around, I followed the road all the way out to Deerhorn and then finally thought to read the description. It clearly states the dirt road goes off 94. Doh!
So, I drive out to Honey Springs Road, down to 94 and head in the direction of the Dulzura Cafe. If nothing else, I can get a cup of their good coffee today.
But, no, the cafe is closed. Uh oh! Now what?
I look at the map on the GPSr and realize the dirt road to the cache is the one that goes up to Madre Grande Monastery. Mixed feelings there. I haven't been up that road since the day I moved away in February 1994. Oh well, a cache is waiting.
I take it slowly up that nasty road until the GPSr finally points me to a turnout where the view to the west is spectacular. Looking out towards the coast, I couldn't help but think about what it might have looked like two days ago with the Santa Ana blowing making the sky uncharacteristically clear.
After finding the cache, I took care of signing the log and rehiding the container. As I was coming back up from the cache location, I saw the Border Patrol vehicle parked at the viewpoint. I was curious whether they knew about Geocaching, and since the cache was safely hidden, I walked over to their vehicle and asked the two very young men if they knew about Geocaching. They had heard about it, but had never run into any Geocachers or Geocaches in their travels around the backcountry. I didn't tell them about the nearby cache, but I showed them my GPSr
After that little conversation, I set off to find the nearest cache.
That one had a "Theme" and contained things pertaining to lights. There was actually some great stuff in the cache, but there was also an inch of water in the bottom of the cache. Water and electrical items don't get along very well.
The cool thing about this cache was its location. I started taking some pictures of the aqueduct and then the rocky outcrop on the mountain in the background and I saw the "Madre Grande." I don't remember ever noticing that rock formation before.
From that cache I took off in the direction of home, but when the GPSr needle made a turn to the south, so did I. I didn't know what cache I was looking for, but I found the spot at the base of an oak tree next to an intermittent stream. I worried about the contents of that cache because I bet it has been underwater this winter, but it was okay. The log was a bit damp, but it was "signable."
The GPSr said the next cache was down the road just a bit, but I didn't have any description for the cache. In fact, I didn't even remember reading about a cache in this area. I had no idea what I was looking for, there was no "Geo-trail" to show me the way, and the poison oak was everywhere.
While I was pondering what to do, I took pictures of the mine opening and these beautiful flowers.
When I decided to proceed--what other option is there when a cache is waiting?--I looked for a way to get past the poison oak. After breaking off a few dead branches, I was able to climb around below some trees. Then, while trying to keep from turning my ankle on the jumbled rocks, I lost my balance and fell. That neoprene case on the GPSr sure came in handy then. I scratched the screen on the case, but it kept the Garmin from sustaining any damage.
After dusting myself off, I scrambled up some very steep rocks, a place I had no business being all by myself. However, in search of a cache, thoughts about my personal safety come second.
The GPSr arrow pointed straight ahead with a distance of about 60 feet, then it was 40 feet, and the arrow turned a bit. After descending another steep tumble of rocks, I saw the hiding spot. Whew! I worked up a sweat finding this one and had to take off my Patagonia jacket before I could retrieve the ammo can.
This one was the third cache of the day where I was the first person to find it since last year. Amazing! I guess all the rain and bad weather kept people from venturing out into the back country.