Some Sandy Creek Cowboy caches were awaiting
The first one is Sandy Creek Cowboy Cache No. 1. It is located up on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in a very scenic location overlooking I-8 and the mountains behind Pine Valley.
On our way up the trail, we found this very spiny horned lizard. He was so well camouflaged, if he hadn't moved, I don't think either of us would have spotted him along the trail.
Just before we got to the cache location, we noticed a fire burning off in the distance. I suspected it was a controlled burn, but had second thoughts when I thought about how warm the day was.
It did turn out to be a controlled burn that will help firefighters keep a wildfire under control if we should have the misfortune of having a fire later this year, something that is actually very likely to happen because of all the new growth due to the abundance of rain this year.
Our path was decorated with wildflowers and we stopped to take pictures of the green vegetation, tiny pink wildflowers, and other flowers along the PCT.
Further down the trail we happened onto this beautiful yellow poppy.
From this spot we headed up the La Posta Road to SCCC #11. This one is a credit to Carpenter from Hell's carpentry skill. It had us stumped for a little while, but Princess Toadstool figured it out and found the Altoids tin hidden in much the same way two other SCC caches are hidden.
Here she is signing the log next to the cache.
Since I didn't get a chance to take pictures of some of the other cowboy caches the last time we were up here, we revisited a couple of the memorable ones bofore heading back down the road to SCCC #10. In the cache description, a history of the area and the Pickwick Transportation lines is given. A lot of talk about water and radiators and cisterns led us to the correct belief that this cache would be water-related, and sure enough, a very heavy prop had been carried to the cache location.
After we signed the log and walked back to the car, we drove south on the La Posta Truck Trail to another cache just a mile or so away. When we got to the location, we found a lot of trash and clothing, but no cache. Since we were looking for an ammo can, we thought this would be easy. However, we had to walk the short distance back to the car to get our Palm Pilots to read the past logs and see that others had not been able to find the cache either. We looked for a while longer, on both sides of the fence, before deciding to call this one a DNF and head further south towards some caches around Lake Morena.
On our way however, another cache popped up in our GPSrs that was down by the border. So, off we went to find the "Border Cache Stash." It was in a very interesting location where the border fence has a big gap in it. I have no idea what that is all about -- maybe a trap set up by the Border Patrol to catch unsuspecting travelers?
We found the cache with no trouble, even though it is well hidden from view. TNLNSL and off we went after taking a few pictures.
Near the cache is the beginning of the PCT as marked by this "monument."
A little distance away is this sign giving the mileage to Lake Morena.
Finally we got to Lake Morena and we headed off to find "Travelin' Turtles II," a SCC Cache created for the Traveling Turtles RV group. It took us quite a while to figure out a path to the cache which was near the "beach."
After finding the cache, we decided to take an "easier" way back to the car. Well, we walked and we walked and we walked. I finally checked the track on my GPSr to make sure we were actually making progress. After some more bushwacking, we made it back so we could get out of the park before the 7:00 p.m. deadline.
We parked in the campground to walk over to "Lake Morena Downsized." It was about .3 mile across what had been lake many years ago before the lake was drained. We saw lots of bunny rabbits and three crows flew to a rock to pose for a picture. After finding the cache and signing the log, I took a a picture of the late afternoon scene.
We finally started walking back across the former lake bed through all the foxtails and brome grass. I wished I had put my new gaiters on before starting this trek. About 2/3 of the way back, we saw the ranger pull in next to the car. Uh Oh! What now?
We waved our walking sticks and yelled and hurried our steps to get back before he wrote us a ticket for some unknown offense. It turns out, that even though the campground was nearly empty, he didn't like the fact that we had parked in a camping site. Details, details, details. Instead of being nice and friendly, he was all business and insisted on collecting the $2.00 day-use fee three minutes before we were to exit the park for the day.
After a very long false start looking for the trailhead to Traveling Turtles, we started up the trail after sunset. We arrived at the location figuring we could find the ammo can easily. Instead, we looked and looked and looked. We were at GZ and we looked as far away as 50 feet from GZ, but in the fading light, we never spotted the prize. It didn't feel good to declare this SCC Cache a DNF, but that's what we had to do before it got completely dark. We donned out headlamps and got out our flashlights and made it back down the trail and worrying a bit about mountain lions and back to the car at dark.
We still had a long way to drive back to the "Park and Ride" area for me to retrieve my car. I was so tired I didn't think I would even log my finds that night, but somehow I found the energy to log the seven finds and two DNFs for the day.