Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2005-11-13

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Did I say something about "Snail Rock?" ;-)

On my FTF adventure Monday, I thought about the "Snail Rock" cache I had heard about some six months ago.

The cache had not been found for almost two years, and it had only been found by three people in all that time.

In my mind, I pictured a really large rock face, perhaps with some swirls on it to look like a snail shell. I also pictured the cache to be in chamise vegetation like "SCC Cache #16." Boy, were my "preconceived notions" wrong . . . as they usually are.

I did not know the cache was in the midst of extremely dense mountain mahogany and scrub oak that was an almost impenetrable thicket (unless you find the "tunnel").

We prepared for the hike and the adventure by bringing along nylon windbreakers, our gaiters, and gloves. We also consulted with Harmon of SD Rowdies since he and Carpenter from Hell were FTF back in June of 2003.

This meant having a nylon jacket, durable Prana pants, gaiters, and garden gloves.

We surveyed the vegetation along the PCT and finally chose a spot that looked slightly better than some of the other possiblities and we dove in, literally. We started out crawling through the brush.

Only a few times were we able to stand up and make any headway. Our GPSrs were very confused and the arrow kept spinning around so I finally started moving in one direction, and then another, to watch the numbers go down. At one point, I got stuck in a dense thicket and P.T. continued down yelling "I see it. VICTORY!"

It took us 45 minutes to travel 130 feet through the brush to the cache.

P.T. let me get down to her location before moving or opening the cache. Then we looked through the contents, which were in perfect shape with a perfectly dry log, before taking pictures of the cache container lid, which has a picture of the original team, and trading items.

The original team who placed the cache had a one team member who was quadriplegic and dependent on a ventilator. Using a custom-built single-wheeled offroad wheelchair and a "JackPack" (a hiking trailer, see Jackpack), they were able to travel over just about any type of terrain encountered along the PCT.

This is what our track looked like on our approach and ultimate victory at the cache. It is more "scrambled" than usual because I had to keep the GPS in my pack and because of the interference by all the thick vegetation.

After hiking the .7 miles back to the car there was still plenty of daylight left so we went onto find "Vallecito View" and "Paul Bunyan's Wrath." The fall color at the vantage point of "Vallecito View" was fantastic.

From there, we took the beautiful Old Burma Road down to Pine Valley and took pictures along the route where the view was astounding.

Our accomplishments Wednesday overshadowed our finds Tuesday, even though we had a FTF and two "Third to Finds" that day, along with some great adventuring on Mt. Laguna finding "Thing Valley" cache which enabled us to plan the trip to "Fred Canyon" and "Snail Rock" Wednesday.

Urban micros have their place in this game, but nothing beats Geocaching that allows you to see astounding views on extraordinarily-clear days such as these.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Whoo Hoo! A FTF and two new caches are placed

Finally, a cache pops up out in my territory. The notice came in my email via the "Insta-Notify" feature. Usually I just click on the link and give a quick glance at a cache too far away to attempt. This time I knew exactly where the parking was at the Horsethief Canyon staging area.

It was a good thing I didn't put the cache into Mapsource before I headed out the door because when I got to the parking area and clicked on "Next Nearest" in the GPSr, it was more than a mile to the cache . . .

It was a beautiful morning, warm, and crystal clear. After walking down the paved road, I missed the trail and wandered around in a little picnic area before backtracking a bit and finding the trail that proceeds under a beautiful oak grove.

Beyond the shady oaks, the trail hugs the side of the canyon as it descends slowly to the area where the Valley Pillar stands.

The last bit of bushwhacking was good training for the elusive "Snail Rock" a cache I would like to look for someday.

Once I got to the pillar, I found the hiding spot. I could even see the container, but the rock in front of it wouldn't move.

For a bit, I thought I was going to DNF the cache because I wouldn't be able to sign the log. However, I was determined and finally got the rock out of the way, smashing my finger in the process. I left a little blood on the log book as I signed the log.

Bushwhacking back out in a different direction reminded me of doing "SCC Cache #16."

It was a real adventure to a great cache location involving a wonderful hike on a beautiful Southern California November day!

On the way back, I placed a cache in the shady oak grove where there were some rocks to sit on and rest before hiking the last bit up the paved road back to the car.

Before I got all the way back I saw another potential hiding spot in a little outcropping of rocks. I place a small tin container in a perfect hiding spot just a few hundred feet from the parking.

The hider of "Valley Pillar via Quail Oasis" is SMOKEY, a new cacher whose name we saw in some logbooks last week when we were hiking on Fortuna Mountain in the MTRP.

I'm looking forward to more caches by someone who obviously likes hides at the end of long hikes as I do.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Two more caches in Jamul after another long hike

I hiked down to a place about .15 miles from "It Got Me Off the Couch #3" and found a great place with a view to the west.

I put the White Jeep in the ammo can. I even put it in a box as a surprise to the finder.

Just before I finished packing up, I saw that the moon was coming up next to Lyons Peak. I took this picture a bit later as I was walking back.

The second cache was placed near two very lonely trees that have this vista in the late afternoon light.


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