Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2006-02-26

Musings about Geocaching

Friday, March 03, 2006

Another great adventure

Yesterday, P.T. and I hiked a very nice trail that hugs the hills above the San Diego River valley northeast of Lakeside searching for four caches.

One of them, "ToolTime" had been muggled and the muggles wrote some really nasty stuff in the logbook. I just don't know where that sort of homophobic anger comes from. Why would someone say a plastic toolbox filled with trinkets and tools is a "gay ass" game? Really, really sad.

After walking the 3/4 of a mile back to the car, P.T. and I drove down old Highway 80. We stopped where the cache owner of "Up, Up, and Away" recommends. This is a cache that has been on our radar for months. It had only been found by the "tough guys," cachers like T.R. Violin, NightHunter, FlagMan, Chuy, and GeckoDad.

We commiserated for a little while about the cache that was only .38 of a mile away, then we put on our packs, grabbed our walking sticks, and headed out on the trail. Unfortunatly, we turned onto a rabbit trail that started up the hill much too soon. We quickly found ourselves trying to negotiate a route between large rocks and poison oak, over terrain that was at times soft and muddy or covered by loose rocks.

There were a few times when I couldn't see a way around the obstacles and had to backtrack, always keeping an eye on the GPSr arrow. It stayed at .1 for the longest time, going up to .11 a few times. When it finally went down to feet, we still had many rocks to scramble over and at one time, P.T. was actually crawling up the steep terrain.

Recently, TucsonThompsen posted a picture of his shattered elbow in the Forums. As we made our way over the unstable rocks with wet hiking boots, I had that horrific image in my mind. Of all the challenging caches I have done, including "Train Creek," "But Not Soon Enough," and "Indian Head Peak," this approach was the most difficult.

The views were fantastic, but the loud noise of the freeway below us was distracting for most of the distance.

After a long time, we finally got to the top of the ridge and there we found the trail. Our GPSr arrows were pointing to the east, so we walked down towards the cache location. We saw this cute trail marker on our walk.

Fortunately, when we got near the cache and I went up the hill where my arrow pointed, the cache was right there. An easy find. After all the scrambling to get there, that was really appreciated. I traded a little car for a couple of items just because I wanted a memento of the extraordinary effort we made to get to the cache.

We took the meandering trail back down to the bottom, walking more than 1.3 miles to get back to the car from the cache that was only .38 miles away.

On the way back, we found this great cistern.

If we had known to walk to it, we could have probably found the trail to the cache and our "expedition" would have been much less adventurous and dangerous.

I think I see a cache at that location in the near future. I have about ten caches all ready to be placed -- I just need to take a day to get out there and hide them.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A real "Treasure Trove" out in the wilderness

After a couple of days at home, I needed to get out and get some exercise. I noticed a new cache that went "live" when I was out in the desert two weeks ago. After reading the description, I realized the trailhead was at the now-familiar Horsethief Canyon staging area. I packed some snacks, filled my water bottles, and set out. After parking the car and starting the hike, I saw a trail marker I have never noticed before. The trail was narrow, but well marked and easy-to-follow, and it was less steep than the other one that goes down into the creek area about a quarter of a mile away.

The air smelled fresh after the recent rains, and as I descended, I could hear the creek off in the distance. In the mud on the trail, I saw what looked like a mountain lion track.

It didn't take very long to get to the cache location. I circled it once to figure out how to get to the huge treasure chest.

The container was so heavy -- I cannot imagine how the cache owner got it and its contents down there.

I took several pictures and rummaged through everything, just amazed at what Latitude 32 had put in his "Treasure Trove." I left the California GeoCoin I picked up out of one of my caches last week -- its gold color went very well with all the other gold -- and I left a T.B. whose goal was "wants country caches."

After replacing the box and covering it up really well, I walked along the trail that follows the creek. I tried to get down to where I could get a good picture, but the sound of the water was more inviting than the locations were photogenic.

On my way back up the steep trail, I saw some hikers. I stopped and we talked for a while. They have a son who Geocaches, so they were familiar with what I was doing there, all by myself. Perhaps that is not the way to hike the Horsethief Canyon Wilderness Area expecially since I saw another "kitty" track along another part of the trail.

This is what my track looked like. I covered almost four miles and went down and back up about 750 feet of elevation.

It was a wonderful mid-day diversion, but I wasn't gone nearly long enough. There are two more hikes I need to take out this way, but each of them is more than two and a half miles. Four miles was enough for today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A great time was had at the Temecula Valley event

Sunday Princess Toadstool and I drove up to the Temucula Valley Event. Several other cachers left earlier, forming the SDCET (San Diego Cache Event Team) for the day. All of us followed a trail of caches along the way up the route.

P.T. and I found many caches and now my Keen People map has a new "string of pearls" that follows Interstate 15 and Old Highway 395.

The event, which was organized by Cornerstone4, was a success. There was a very interesting presentation about "cammo" and then they raffled off the cammoed items. It was great to see people, like the WheelerDealers, I hadn't seen since last fall's GeoCampout, and to finally meet other people whose names I had only seen in logbooks or in the Forums.

There is a campout March 18th out in the desert on the other side of the Salton Sea. I have to put that one on my "wish list" for things I hope to do next month.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Eight miles of hiking on Saturday and ten caches found

Saturday morning I drove up the Boulder Creek Road to meet TrailGators, duganrm, and Toby's Gang for the strenuous hike to the Three Sisters waterfall area where T.R. Violin placed his "3 Sisters Photo cache." The trail down from the "Three Sisters Waterfalls - Boulder Creek" cache was very steep in places -- and treacherous. And after we got down to the bottom, we had to ascend again to get to the cache. We climbed over and around huge boulders as we made our way up the creek bed.

It was a beautiful area and I stopped frequently to take pictures.

After we found the cache, we walked up to the pool at the very top. The edge of the pool disappears as the water makes a thirty-foot drop.

We took pictures of our little group near one of the several pools.

Before we got to the very steep trail, we revisited this unusual rock Toby's Gang noticed on the hike in.

TrailGators used another one of his Gatorade bottles to place a cache nearby, "Shipwrecked."

It was a strenuous hike back up the trail. T.R.'s Terrain rating of '4' for his cache was certainly accurate. When we finally made it back to the vehicles, I thought we were going to do a few "Park and Grabs," so I followed duganrm as we meandered around the mountain roads, finally emerging onto Highway 79 not too far away from the "Coins in the Cleft" cache I found a few weeks ago.

After TrailGators found that one, we headed off again, eventually finding our way to parking in a cul-de-sac where I was informed the hike would only be about three miles.

Huh!? Hike? Three miles!?

After hiking more than four miles in the morning, I thought our hiking was over for the day. Oh well. We were in search of two of the "Manny" caches that were placed a few years ago, "Too Manny Rocks and "The Lost Treasure of Manny A. Cacher.

These two were located on the remains of an old toll road used by gold miners back in the last century. We saw two mine shafts, some old vehicles, and the remains of the mine buildings as we walked steadily down the trail.

In the recent devastating fires that raged through this area, the glass in the old truck reached such a temperature that it melted.

When we got to the last cache, "The Lost Treasure of Manny A. Cacher," we were sure in for a surprise. Duganrm opened the container and couldn't believe the moldy mess inside.

Actually, if we had carefully reviewed the Past Logs, we would have seen that last year some cachers found all the swag strewn around on the ground. They put everything back in the container, but since everything was wet, and there was still water in the ammo can, it had all spring, summer, and fall to develop into a real science experiement.

We spent the next several minutes removing all the objects, then Toby's Gang put leaves and dirt and some rocks in the container and shook it all around in an attempt to clean off some of the mold. He emptied that out and then put more dried leaves in the container to absorb the rest of the moisture. Then he put a rock in the container for the logbook to rest on.

He carried the heavy bag of wet and moldy stuff all the way back up to the vehicles, a distance of two miles.

It was getting late, but TrailGators was only three finds away from 1300 caches, so we decided to get those and even succeeded in getting a few more, including the other two "Manny" caches and the elusive "Vector YMCA" which P.T. and I DNF'd last May. When we got there, I looked down at the cache location, now illuminated by our flashlight beams, and couldn't figure out how our search back then had been centered more than 30 feet away. Odd, very odd . . .

When I finally left "the guys," it was 7:00 p.m. I had a 45-mile drive through the mountains to get home. When I got home, I was really tired, but I had lots of work to do because the Event in Temecula Valley was the next day. New PQs had to be run to have fresh data for that. I didn't think I would get the ten caches we found logged before heading off to bed that night, but I did. I hope my logs were worthy of the caches and the adventures we encountered during our searches.


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