Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-05-29

Musings about Geocaching

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Some Sandy Creek Cowboy caches were awaiting

Out in the east county area of San Diego County, there is a group of "cowboys" who are noted for their unique and unusual caches. A few weeks back, we snagged several of these, but there were still some waiting to be had, so off we went to put a couple more in the found column.

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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Geocache trip to Julian and beyond

Ten in the morning was the meeting time for our trip to Julian. We piled all our gear into my car and took off, hoping this route would keep us from encountering the Memorial Day crowds and we did avoid the crowds, until we arrived in Julian.

But before that happened, we stopped to look for a cache called "Fishin' Buddies." No one had looked for it for quite a while, and it had gone missing in the past and been replaced once before. After a lengthy, thorough search of GZ, we had to log it as a DNF in our Palm Pilots and walk the .3 of a mile back to the car.

I was hoping these fisherman were catching more than we had "caught" so far.

From the lake we made it to crowded Julian, but we found a parking place and walked over to Julian Jail which is a Virtual.

There was a cache down the grade on the way to Borrego Springs that got us started in that direction, as opposed to the other direction south and west of Julian. Little did we know as we were looking for it, that the cache had been archived two weeks earlier because it had been muggled once again. That is the first time GSAK didn't update the web site information correctly, but it might have been the original .gpx file that was at fault, as opposed to Clyde's excellent piece of software.

Once we were that far down the grade, we continued to the "Cache Catcher" and "The Lonely Mailbox." The views down there were beautiful and the mare's tail clouds made the usually-solid-blue sky interesting for a change.

We looked for a cache called "Horsin' Around," and became two more people with DNFs to log. It is time for the owner of that cache to either verify that it is either there, or not, and quit horsin' around. At least that was the same parking area for "Boundary" and the walk up to that traditional cache in an ammo can was beautiful. Many of the different species of cacti in the area were in bloom.

Even the view to the west from the parking area was beautiful with the mare's tail clouds spreading across the sky.

Along this road there are several other caches and the one at "Horsie Haven" provided us with a profusion of different wildflowers including this one.

My number 200 cache was up the road a piece. It was another "Treasure Tree" cache placed near the hugest, oldest manzanita tree I had ever seen.

Soon after this it was time to head west and work our way back home. As we drove through the Indian Reservation toward Santa Isabel, we remarked on how beautiful that drive is, and how there are no caches in the area. I think it is time for someone, or several cachers, to place a number of micro caches along the route just so people will be motivated to experience that beautiful stretch of road.

Finally we arrived in Santa Isabel just when the light was perfect for photography.

Before the day we over we had one more DNF where the cache owner placed a micro in a rock pile large enough to hide an ammo can or two or three. Even a very experienced cacher with more than 1000 finds did not find this one a few weeks before we arrived on the scene. I don't consider such a cache a "clever hide," just a "frustrating hide."

From that location, we walked up to "Cows in the Meadow." It was a nice end-of-the-day walk up a little nature trail to the cache location that looks down on some very pretty meadows.

To the north, there is a large hill that still shows the evidence of the fire that ravaged the area in October of 2003. The chaparral ecosystem has adapted to fire over time, and it is remarkable to those of us who saw the devasting moonscapes in this area shortly after the fires raged to see just how much of the vegetation is recovering, and how quickly.

Although there was one more cache we had left for the end of the day, it was now after sunset, so we turned toward home so we could make the drive down the winding mountain road before it got completely dark.

By the end of the day, I had logged my 200th cache in just over four months of caching and Princess Toadstool had logged her 600th cache in just about one year of caching.

Monday, May 30, 2005

I passed cache number 200 today

Since I've been out caching these last couple of days, I haven't been keeping up with the blog, but I'll post pictures of the milestones and all the caches soon.


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