WooHoo . . . I got my first First-to-Find today!
The description made it sound like a challenging hike, and they were right. The trail goes up and up and up and up, with no level spots, until the last .2 mile at the top of Viejas Mountain.
As I started up the trail, I really wondered if I could be the First-to-Find. Would I see Chuy or QDman coming down the trail towards me? Or would one of them start coming up the trail behind me. About then I turned around, looked back and saw someone coming. Oh No! It looked like he had something in his hand . . . and he was *running* up the trail.
As he got closer I could see that he was holding a water bottle, and the other thing he had was pepper spray, "For the mountain lions." he tells me later.
What a relief he wasn't a Geocacher, but I was still concerned that someone was already at the top. As I got closer, that seemed like less and less of a possibility, but I didn't start up the hill until nearly noon. Someone else could have started up at 6:30 in the morning and been long gone before I even got near the trailhead.
Finally at about .2 miles from the cache location, the trail leveled out a bit. This unique structure can be found near that spot:
The trail is hard to follow at times because the area is recovering well after the fires and vegetation is growing over the infrequently-traversed path that heads north towards the cache.
At the cache location, there wasn't any long search like I experienced recently. It was just there. The coordinates were right on. I grabbed the ammo can, and boy, was it heavy. My heart was skipping a couple of beats as I opened the lid and got out the log book.
WooHoo! No entries other than a little note from Tom and Barbara on the day they put it up there, April 17, 2005. I looked through all the contents and decided on some beads. I left a container that can be turned into a "micro" container. I also retrieved the travel bug, "Ova Nova."
I took a picture of the GPSr at the cache location to see how far it was up the trail.
On the way down I took my time and took lots of pictures of all the flowers and all the recovering vegetation. It was so green up there. Hard to imagine what a black wasteland it was just a bit more than a year and a half ago.
At the top near this "windbreak" there is a benchmark.
The weather was perfect today, although it was typically hazy. I only took a couple of pictures with distant hills showing in the background.
It was a wonderful accomplishment to finally get a FTF. Maybe if I had figured out how to get the newest caches delivered to my InBox a little sooner than a week ago, I could have done this earlier . . .