Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2006-05-21

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A nice cool day for a couple of fun hikes

It was fun hiking up Viejas mountain with such good company today: TrailGators, Radio Racers, Team Geogeeks, and Toby's Gang. We sure didn't have much of a "vista," at the first cache, "Puetz Valley Vista." The typical "May Gray, June Gloom" marine layer of low clouds and fog had the mountain socked in.

On a clear day, I'm sure there is a beautiful view from that location. The overcast and cool temperature today was definitely welcome, however, because Viejas Mountain is quite a steep hike, with an elevation gain of more than 1000 feet over a distance of only 1.72 miles.

We found three more caches on the peak. One is a new one placed by T.R. Violin at the pyramid. Last year when I hiked up Viejas on my way to a brand new cache, I actually walked right by the pyramid without noticing it . . . until I was on my way back down the mountain. From that "Viejas Pyramid Cache," we found a Terracache, also placed by T.R. Violin. This was TrailGators first Terracache and my second one.

From that cache, we walked the short distance to "Tax Freedom Cache" which was my first FTF last year. Boy, the swag in that ammo can has sure deteriorated in the past 13 months . . .

After making it back down the steep trail, I needed a nice, easy cache, and "No Passport Required," just outside the Viejas Indian Reservation, was perfect. I grabbed it on my way to the Viejas Outlet Stores where I didn't spend any money . . . well, I did, but only for a cup of coffee. From there, I headed back to Alpine where I found the "Cocktail Cache." At that one, my GPSr was initially confused, but I finally spotted the Geotrail through the roadside weeds.

Since that cache is a nice, well-secured, close-to-the-Interstate ammo can, I decided to leave all four of my new T.B.s there, so it will be interesting to see what happens to them if they get picked up by four different people and travel in all different directions. Maybe I should say they are in a race, or something . . .

Here are the TBs partying before going in the cache.

From there I headed over to the Carveacre Wind Caves trailhead in the Carveacre "subdivision" northeast of Gaskill Peak. I didn't know until I got to the Lost Trail road that I didn't have the parking coordinates in my Palm. A couple driving out that road stopped and I asked them about the Wind Caves trail. They said I could park up the road a bit at their "shack." So, I did, but I took them a bit too literally when they said shack and I parked near the remains of a building a few hundred feet below the actual "shack."

Therefore, I was searching for the trail in the wrong place. I wandered around and around in all the chipped brush doing the "drunken bee dance" trying to find the trail. I was about to give up when I finally found it.

The walk up the nice wide trail I finally located was great and I enjoyed all the neat, wind-shaped boulders, and the sunshine peeking through the clouds as the skies started to clear. This picture shows the Wind Caves area as well as Viejas Mountain in the background.

Here is another picture of an area I walked by on my way to the cache.

When I got near the cache, I got a bit worried because I sure didn't see any evidence of anyone breaking their way through the bushes recently. However, I persevered, being reminded of "Snail Rock" as I crashed through the manzanita and chamise brush. I finally spotted the ammo can. What a relief. John, of Jahoadi and John, DNF'd the cache a couple of weeks ago, and after everything I had gone through trying to find the trail, I sure didn't want to do that.

There was a copy of a Kansas Geocoin in the cache and I retrieved it to move it along since it has been in the cache for a long time.

I took several more pictures before heading back down the trail and home. In this picture, I tried to frame Lawson Peak in the opening in the rock, with Gaskill to the left.

Here is another carved rock and the view off in the distance.

The area around the Carveacre Wind Caves cache is really cool, and the hike from where I parked is less than half a mile, so I might end up there again someday . . . and maybe I'll even place a cache to help people find the trail.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Two long hikes and sixteen caches found

Yesterday morning I woke up late . . . I was not awake enough to meet duganrm as we had earlier discussed, but after I saw there was a new cache out in my territory, I got very awake, very quickly. I thought I might have a chance for the FTF since I have gotten a few other FTFs out this way.

So, I called duganrm and he was up for the challenge, changing his planned route and driving out to the Horsethief Canyon trailhead. He got there before I did and found out cegrube had already been there and gone. Figures! That's what I get for sleeping in.

It was a beautiful day, although getting warmer by the minute, and it was very hazy with all the humidity in the air. We started down the trail and hadn't gone more than a few feet when Richard stopped suddenly because of this guy:

We checked him out thoroughly to make sure he wasn't going to do us bodily harm if we got too close to him, and then I got a few pictures before we walked past, trying not to disturb his sunbathing.

The trail is very steep at first, but it finally levels off in the canyon where it goes under huge, old oak trees.

We went to a cache I had already found first, then we went to the new cache, "Hopalong Rides Again" and then after signing that logbook and retrieving the T.B., we continued on to "Latitude 32's Treasure Trove."

From there we continued up a narrow, often steep trail back to the parking area. Here is what our track looked like:

I was hot and sweaty, and part of me wanted to go back home and vege out the rest of the day, but duganrm motivates me to do more than I think I can, and he offered to drive after we got into town, so I followed him to a Park 'n Ride in La Mesa, where there just happened to be a cache . . .

At 4:30, we went to the trailhead at the east end of Clairemont Mesa Blvd. to meet Team Adelos and finkbr. Little did I know it would be almost six hours before we got back to the cars.

We had lots of fun, and found 13 caches, during our extensive navigation of the western front of the MTRP cache wars.

By the time we had walked about six miles -- ten miles for the day -- I was starting to hurt. Right before that point, however, I was thinking about the big hike this Saturday and was wondering if I could participate . . .

It was a great hike and I certainly couldn't have found several of those caches if I had been by myself. As usual, duganrm's excellent Geosense found the trickier hides . . . and he also had the correct coordinates for a Puzzle cache I didn't even know about.

He also had a cellphone, which we used for three lifeline calls. One that helped us find a cache after dark . . . two more that didn't help us find a cache we think has gone missing.

There are still several caches on that side of the park I need to find . . . plus I have to get back up to the top of Fortuna Mountain because T.R. Violin put another Terracache up there . . .

I had a great time and got lots of exercise. The only thing that could have made the day better was if I could have gotten a bunch of great pictures. However, I didn't take any pictures. It was sunny, but so hazy it didn't seem worth wasting all that expensive digital film . . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I finally activated the TB tags I have had for months

I haven't had very good luck with my Travel Bugs. The very first one I put out, "Leapin' Lizzards," had a rocky start, and then after six months in a cache in the California Desert, he finally moved on. After more than a year, he is still out there, but he is my only success story

Another T.B. went missing when the person who had it in their possession moved . . . Presumably, it is in a yet-unpacked box somewhere in their house, but "Consistent Compass" hasn't reappeared yet.

The T.B. I released on my trip back from Reno last summer, "Mr. Moonlight McToy," went missing a few months ago. I have hopes he will reappear, but for now, he is in an "Unknown Location."

So . . . with that track record, I wasn't very anxious to activate these four TB tags I have had for several months, but something made me finally attach them to "characters" and get them ready to be released in the wild.

I now have "Bearly . . . There," "Big Bird/Little Bird," "Goofy over Cachin'," and "Miragee's Little Horse" all prepared for their journeys.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Just had to share DocDiTTo's Forum signature

Geocachers: The craziest subset of the nicest bunch of people you'd ever want to meet.

Numbers are pointless, but memories are priceless. If you've got more finds than fond memories, you're playing this game backwards.

I really like the last one. I've stopped hunting for the urban caches. I really prefer the long hikes, and especially the caching adventures with other cachers.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Two great hikes . . . and my first Terracache find

This time of the year, the sky might be blue, but there is a lot of haze because of the onshore flow of clouds and fog, so during the two wonderful hikes, I didn't take too many pictures.

Saturday I was with Drexotic, Blonds Run Amuck, Trailgators, Radio Racers, duganrm, and TFTC. After a week at home, it was very nice to be out to talk and socialize as we hiked to five of my caches, two of "lostguy"'s, and one of Chuy's caches.

We covered 5.4 miles in about three and a half hours.

Here is our group near one of "lostguy"'s caches. That is Lyons Peak in the background.

Today, we climbed Mt. McGinty. It is quite a climb, the trail is steep and very eroded in places. You have to be very careful during hike, and having a walking stick is almost a necessity. We only walked 4.9 miles, but because of the steep climb, it felt like a lot more distance.

Here is our group on the top.

After the group found the "No Hinty on McGinty" cache on the top, we headed over to the Terracache. The numbers were right on and I spotted it in its hiding place as soon as I got close to GZ.

Whoopee! My very first Terracache!

On our way back down the mountain, after stopping at all ten of my caches, we saw this rosy boa on the trail.

The amazing thing about this sighting was the way the snake appeared. As the girls walked by, this "ball" of snake rolled down the embankment and into the middle of the trail. The "ball" stayed there for a while, very, very slowly uncoiling itself and finally, very slowly moving back off the trail and back up the embankment.

At the bottom, we found our way over to the "Peg Leg Mine Mine Mine" cache. The GPSrs were leading my companions away from the cache, so I gave them a bit of a hint, since it is very well hidden. When I found the cache last year, I spent a good 20 minutes looking for it since my GPSr said GZ was about 20 feet away to the NNW.

After signing the log, we started back down and suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of a rattlesnake. This time, I stopped immediately and got out my camera. The snake was quickly moving away, but I got a couple of pictures of the four-foot long, very healthy-looking snake.

It was a wonderful couple of days, even though I only found one Puzzle cache, with duganrm's help, as usual, and the single Terracache.


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