Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-10-16

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My wonderful hiking stick

Yesterday as we hiked up and then back down from Twin Peaks, in our Chaco sandals, I was again reminded how important my hiking stick is. I just don't know how I used to hike without it.

I was using a bamboo stick a friend cut from some plants growing on her property, but a while ago I got a collapsible stick at REI. I dressed it up a bit with a compass on the wrist strap, a beaded keychain I made, and some black cord wrapped around the handle.

Besides providing support when traversing very steep terrain, or offering balance when crossing a stream on a tree trunk, you can scare off any critters before reaching your hand into that potential cache hiding spot.

If you don't have a hiking stick yet, and you do any hiking at all, I really recommend getting one. Mine is indispensable now.

What a wonderful, productive day of hiking yesterday

Tuesday dawned overcast and rainy out here, so we had to cancel our trip up to Lawson #4. P.T. and I decided to finish off "Par Four" now that the owners had verified that WP #3 was in place (just very well hidden). As we were signing the logbook, the rain started up again.

I picked up a cute non-Travel Bug in Poway that I left in the cache. It is the "Not A Yellow Jeep Travel Bug" that was created as a memorial to all those real YJTBs that went missing.

Once we got back to the cars, we looked at the sky and decided to head further west where the weather might be more stable.

We ended up in downtown San Diego on one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen down there. It is so rare to have beautiful, puffy, cumulus clouds in the sky in the San Diego area.

Can you see the "castle-painted" building in the background?

I had already found "The Star," but P.T. hadn't, so we stopped there. We pulled into a parking space at a meter, and I stayed in the car so we didn't have to spend yet another quarter. P.T. went over and grabbed the cache and brought it back to sign it. As she was putting the log back in the container, I said, "Is that guy looking for the cache?" Sure enough, there was someone right near the hiding spot looking down at something in his hand. P.T. walked over and talked to him.

After he signed the log, he came over to the car where we overwhelmed him, I'm sure, with our techno-jargon about Palms, and Cachemate, and GSAK, and Pocket Queries and filters and uploading and downloading. Poor guy. I hope he doesn't think all Geocachers are as crazed as we are . . .

At the end of the day we tried to find "Baywatch," a Pathfinder and Snoopy cache that had just been found two days earlier. We spent more than half and hour, and $.50 in the meter, to continue our search after racing back to get the car from its original parking spot. Seems we were just the first of several people to DNF the cache . . .

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Wednesday we took off in the direction of Scripps Ranch to complete two short Multis placed by FlagMan. These caches are in the area that was so horribly devastated by the fires of October 2003. Now the homes are being rebuilt and some are completed and people have moved back to the neighborhood. The vegetation is starting to recover on the hillsides. In another several years, most everything will look as it did before, except for the huge tall Eucalyptus trees that were destroyed. Those can't be rebuilt in two year's time.

At one of the caches, you can see "Cue Ball" off in the distance.

There is a cache out there we have wanted to hike to for the past couple of months, but it has been too hot for a two-mile hike. The temperature Wednesday was just perfect however, so we located the "trailhead" at the end of Birch Bluff Street and after walking through the backyard of a house under contruction, we walked down the paved road all the way to the cache.

On our way down, as we saw a can or bottle along the roadside, we pulled it out the weeds and closer to the road so we could collect it on our way back. By the time we got back to the car, we had two and a half grocery bags full of cans and bottles. Someone who drives that road really likes Red Bull.

After that two-mile hike, we still had plenty of energy to tackle the six Twin Peaks caches in Poway. What a wonderful hike that was.

The first cache we found along the wide, main trail was one of T.R. Violin's called "Hanging in Poway." We didn't read the cache page thoroughly and added to the Geotrail that goes around the back of the bush. Doh! Tell me again why I carry my Palm with all the cache data in it. Mike clearly states in the description that you do not have to leave the trail to find the cache . . .

Our hike to the top was adventurous. We came over from "Twin Peaks Cache II" via some bunny trails that were, at times, hardly visible. More than once, I thought we might not find a way around the boulder piles and dense vegetation, but we did, and we were rewarded with amazing views in all directions.

Black Mountain from the top of Twin Peaks

I made it, and in my Chaco sandals, no less . . .

After leaving the top, we followed the "normal" trail back down. I am so glad we went up the hill the way we did. This trail was full of tumbled rocks and was quite treacherous in places. I'm glad we only had to cover that section once. We finally arrived at "Take a Break Here," another T.R. Violin cache. This was one made from the waterproof container I left in the "Tax Freedom" cache in trade for my FTF beads. I had asked him if he would let me know where it ended up, since I just knew he would turn it into a cache. It took me all these months to finally see how he cammoed and hid it.

At the end of the day, we finished up with another Yeshua's Girls caches in their "In Honor Of" series. This was "IHO: FlagMan" and it was at a Soccer field, where some flags were flying nearby. Very appropriate. The coordinates were off by quite a bit, but since there was an explicit hint, that wasn't a problem.

And, at the very end of the day, we found two more Tranquility caches by Yeshua's Girls. I got a bit confused because there are two "Tranquility #26" caches and I read the description for a different one. We were looking all over for a cammoed plastic bag velcroed to something when in fact it was a "fake spinkler" in the planter. I was standing right next to it, waiting for my GPSr to settle on a location next to that huge Edwards 15 movie theater when P.T. walked over, looked down, and said, "There it is."


It was a great two days of caching. Now that the temperature is cooler it is nice to get out and do some of the longer hikes. I'm looking forward to that over the next few months.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My new cache remains unfound after a day

Saturday I got out of the house and drove just a little way down the road where I could park my car and walk down the now-closed road I used to drive when I went to meet a friend in Lawson Valley to go horseback riding.

Everytime I reached this point, my mouth would drop open at the incredible view. So, now there is a cache to draw people to this location.

The cache is very well-hidden, but I think the hint will make it easy to find because there aren't too many rocks you can sit down on.

It rained for part of the day and that might have kept some cachers away. Someone posted a Google Map of the rain.

Of course, the distance out here is another deterrent. By the time I leave to meet P.T. and LostGuy51 and Duncan! for our climb up to Lawson #4 tomorrow, it will probably have been logged . . . but I really hope the first finder doesn't search after dark. The view needs to be seen, but the location is tricky, involving some rock scrambling and bushwacking. I wouldn't want anyone to get hurt trying to find my ammo can.


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