Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-07-10

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, July 14, 2005

It was going to be warm, so we headed toward the coast Tuesday

It was going to be warm out in the east County area, so I met up with Princess Toadstool and we headed off in the direction of Carl's "Always the Hard Way" cache that we couldn't find last week. We parked in the nearby residential area and walked the correct path this time, seeing a mother duck and her young'uns along the way.

I really thought the cache was going to be attached to a rock, or piece of concrete, and well-cammoed in that way, so I was surprised to find a container favored by Duscwe! hidden beneath something mentioned in the hint. The extra hint from Carl helped because our GPSrs had us looking a bit further to the south on our original hunt.

From there we headed toward Tecolote Canyon and Devhead's "Tecolote Challenge." This was going to be P.T.'s third visit to the canyon, so she is really getting to know those treacherous washouts and the other twists and turns in the trail. Devhead provided some updated coordinates, but under that heavy tree cover, I'm not sure how helpful they were. However, someone in the Forums had been asking about hiding caches "in the air," so that got me to look up, and that is where the cache was. You had to climb up the tree to get it down from the little rope cradle it was resting in.

I launched my new Travel Bug in this location. I picked up "Consistent Compass" at the Boy Scout cache off Regents road last week.

The rest of our day took us to some of the most scenic locations in the San Diego area in La Jolla and finally up on Mt. Soledad. We went to the "Thank You, San Diego" cache, and the "Vintage: Coast PB Jar," which is one of the oldest caches in the San Diego area.

The views from both caches were astounding, although the day was a bit hazy. This is a spot to keep in mind for one of those crystal-clear days after a rainstorm in the winter.

We made out way to the trailhead for The Spooky Tree and that was quite a walk. The trail follows a "creekbed" that must have been very treacherous this past winter. As it is, it can be treacherous in places because most of the time you are walking on river rock. The tree itself is probably very spooky on a moonlit night. We were surprised the cache was still in place because it looks like a lot of water flowed through the area and around the tree during the near record-rainfall winter.

We went to a cache called KS Tumbleweed. At one time there was a nicely-done nature trail, but it hasn't been maintained since it was created. We managed to navigate the trail, and non-trail, and avoid most of the thistles, but I didn't see a single prickly-pear cactus and walked into it. OUCH!!

There is a trail there somewhere

This cache was completely exposed when I looked ahead at the bush it resided under. When we left, we hid it just a bit so a casual observer won't see it.

One of the last caches we did before leaving the highlands of La Jolla was on Mt. Soledad. There was lots of trash and dirty clothing strewn around, which was such a shame because the view is fantastic. If I had been by myself, I don't think I would have walked the few feet down the trail to the cache location because it was so icky there.

We finished up two Virtual caches in La Jolla at about 8:00 at night and then found two more caches in Pacific Beach well after dark. Each of these are in areas where your presence is very evident during the daytime, and searching could attract attention from muggles. We had a couple of vagrants sitting on the sidewalk at one of the Ma Bell caches, but the two of us were able to complete the task without them being any the wiser.

Finding caches like those after dark, and with another person, is much easier than trying to find them on your own. In fact, I probably wouldn't have most of my "urban micros" in my "Found" list if P.T. hadn't been with me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

I placed five new caches in Jamul

I have had these five caches, and others, in my car for the past couple of months, but I just couldn't find the time to get out there and place them. I've been too busy out finding caches.

So, finally, on a warm Saturday afternoon, I drove the five miles down the hill from my house to the parking area at the end of a dead-end street in the Hidden Valley subdivision. This is an area I discovered about nine years ago. There was a "Garage Sale" sign on Lyons Valley Road. My neighbor and I turned on Hidden Trail and drove over the hill to this most amazing vista.

There were all these huge houses, most of them at least 3,000 square feet in size, others probably 7,000 square feet, and they stuck out in the valley below like something out of a science fiction movie. There were no trees or plants to speak of, only these huge, white-stuccoed houses out in the middle of a valley surrounded by native chapparel vegetation.

The development was new, and none of the landscaping, what had been planted, had had time to grow around the enormous two and two-and-a-half story red-tile-roofed homes.

Now when you drive over Hidden Trail, the trees mask the hugeness of the homes -- somewhat -- but I still marvel that this is the normal way some people live, with swimming pools and tennis courts and horse stables in their back yards. One home has a "forest" of palm trees and other plants. I bet their water bill is twice what my rent is every month . . .

Fortunately, there is this little public access area in the subdivision that allows people without such means to enjoy the hiking trails that head off from here in several different directions.

When I hiked to the top of McGinty Peak a few years ago, going from the Jamul Dr. trailhead, the hike was a killer. It is six miles round trip from there, and the hiking boots I was wearing were half a size too small. By the time I got back to the car, my feet were killing me, and one toenail actually turned black a few days after the hike . . .

Earlier this year when I hiked to "No Hinty on McGinty," I used this trailhead and getting to the top wasn't nearly as arduous, but there were no other caches along the one and a half mile trail. I vowed to do something about that.

So, on a day with the temperature in the high 80's, I put the two ammo cans and two other containers in my back pack and headed up the hill. The pack was pretty heavy, but I made it up the steep hill slowly and steadily. Some off-road motorcyclists went past me at one point and I had to breathe their noxious exhaust for a while until the breeze blew it away.

The first cache I placed was an ammo can given to me by a friend. It had a "Smiley-face" sticker on it when he gave it to me, so I left it on there and added some "Smiley-face" items to the can, along with other swag.

The next cache I placed was inspired by T.R. Violin's "Al's Cache." It is called "Blue's Blue View." This nearly perfect Yucca -- or is it a Nolina? -- is nearby.

Finally I headed up the hill to another viewpoint that is within sight of the summit and "No Hinty on McGinty." I didn't even cover the ammo can at that location because it should be well-hidden from any casual observers, and might still be a challenge for some Geocachers.

I took a few pictures, but the air was very hazy, as it often is this time of the year when there is a bit of an onshore flow.

I'll have to hike up there someday when it is really clear to get some really good pictures of the views.

There were still some flowers blooming and these were very aromatic.

Here is another picture up close with the late afternoon backlighting.

I don't expect a lot of Geocachers to be rushing out to be FTF on these caches because it is warm out here, and people who live closer to the coast aren't used to the heat we have in the East County at this time of the year.


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