Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2006-04-09

Musings about Geocaching

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I nearly stepped on a rattlesnake yesterday!!

It was the first warm day in a while, and as long as I needed to go into town to get something, I wanted to go caching. I didn't set out to place any, but when I got to the Loveland Reservoir parking area, I saw there might be an opportunity, and after walking along the California Riding and Hiking trail quite a distance, I had placed two more caches . . .

Because it was so nice, I decided to go to my Puzzle cache to retrieve a coin that had been in there for a month. Since I mention the huge jade plant and the house foundation in the story, I also wanted to take a couple of pictures. It was very green and grassy, so I wasn't thinking "snake" as I walked around to get a better angle.

Just as I stepped over a patch of thistles, I heard this sound I actually didn't recognize . . .

The tone was much deeper than the rattlesnakes I got used to hearing when I lived in Wickenburg, AZ. By the time I figured it out, the snake decided he didn't want to stay where my foot was going to land and, while continuing to rattle, slithered off under the jade plants.

That certainly wasn't where I expected a snake to live . . .

It looked like it was almost as large as this snake that was found at duganrm's new "Puzzle Blocker" cache.

For the rest of the walk to my cache, I was really spooked. I walked with my walking stick out in front of me, tapping the ground like a blind person does with their white cane. I saw one more snake along the way, a little one that went in a hole very quickly. I didn't get a good look at it, but I have a feeling it was also a rattlesnake . . .

I retrieved the coin and made my way cautiously back to the car, taking more pictures along the way. This is the house foundation with the huge jade plant in the background. Would you be thinking about rattlesnakes in that green environment?

And here is a better picture of the cistern. The other times I was in the area it was somewhat overcast.

Before heading home, I found a few more caches. One was disappointing because two dogs barked the entire time I was approaching the cache location and searching for the container. Because of the cache name, "Don't Wake the Old People," I wonder if the cache placer wants to disturb the people who live nearby. There were many other good places to put the cache along the .25 mile distance of the little-used trail where the dogs would not disturbed by a stranger's presense, and where the view of Lake Jennings was really nice.

I don't think my log was very nice . . . but I think the cache is in the wrong place. I would never put a cache where dogs would bark and announce my presence . . .

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Somehow I missed the notifications that Marco Ramius had approved my new caches last night. I now have 61 out there . . . Am I crazy? When I started this "sport/hobby/activity/obsession," I was so worried about cache maintenance, I didn't think I would ever have more than two out there.

One of the caches, "High Above Loveland Reservoir," is a walk of about .7 along the California Riding and Hiking trail from the trail entrance near the parking area for fishing at Loveland Reservoir. The other one, "Loveland Reservoir R & H Trail," is close to where the trail starts.

One of the containers is related to the container Let's Look Over Thayer used for his original "Gipionysius and the Pirates" cache. The other is a cammoed, by being inside something else, waterproof match container. I'm looking forward to the logs by the first finders.

It is a beautiful day today, but, unfortunately, the price of gas is going to keep me home . . .

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UPDATE: It looks like 3cds was FTF. He hasn't logged yet, but Chuy just logged the second cache.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What fun! Puzzle caches last Friday; Palomar Mountain Saturday

duganrm took a day off work last Friday, and The Dillon Gang also had the day off, so I got to tag along with two guys who are capable of figuring out Puzzle caches . . .

The first cache I joined them to find was a brand new cache that hadn't been found yet. It was another Team Adelos creation and the ammo can was full of really great swag, including two unactivated Geocoins. It was up on Puzzle Hill, and this was my third trip up there. After finding that cache, dugnarm and The Dillon Gang hid two Traditional caches as "Puzzle Blockers." At least now the other people, like myself, who can't figure out the puzzles, will get a chance to hike up there and see the views of Rancho San Diego and Mt. McGinty.

The Dillon Gang left us in the afternoon and duganrm and I continued caching, taking turns going to caches one or the other of us had already found.

I finally got home after 9:00 p.m. and did minimal preparation for the trip to Palomar the next morning because I had to get up at 5:00 a.m.

The meeting place was a Park 'n Ride on I-15. We got there half an hour early, but when no one else was showing up, we started to wonder if we were at the correct Park 'n Ride. We weren't. Having a cell phone would have been nice because we had to find a pay phone, so I could call duganrm to find out where we were supposed to be. Five more minutes further up the freeway and we finally joined the group and we were off on our great adventure to Palomar Mountain where we saw the most amazing oak trees during out search for the "Ancient Oak Tree Cache."

Look how our group is dwarfed by this incredible tree!

At its base was this enormous boulder.

On our way back down the mountain, we took a short hike to find two caches in Love Valley where I saw this pastoral scene.

Duncan! has a cache near a view platform similar to the one where his "Vallecito Valley View" cache is. This one looks out over the valley that used to be covered by a much larger Lake Henshaw than exists today.

The last cache we searched for as a group was another "Treasure Tree" cache. Usually these are near spectacular examples of local trees, like the one I found in the high desert near an enormous Manzanita. In this case, we weren't entirely sure which tree it was, and the embankment was covered with poison oak. John and duganrm looked diligently, while the rest of us looked on from a distance giving advice and making suggestions. Finally, duganrm moved over to a different tree, which seemed to be quite a ways off from the coordinates my GPSr was pointing to, but he found the cache. An audible sigh of relief came from the rest of us.

We started the day with a DNF; we didn't want to end the great day with one.

fisnjack and I split off from the group so we could head home through Ramona. Along the way, we stopped at the Santa Ysabel Mission where I found a FlagMan cache.

In Ramona, we stopped so fisnjack could find "Native Son" and at that cache, GRNZOOM caught us. It was really nice to meet them and talk GPSrs and hiking sticks with them for a while. Geocachers are the nicest people. I have made more friends in this past year than I have in a long time.

I'm already looking forward to the next "event" with whichever version of the SDCET gets together for our next adventure.


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