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