East of San Diego stands a peak called Laguna Mountain. I never thought about the origin of name before, but on yesterday's adventure, we walked around one of the lagunas in our quest for California's oldest cache, Phil's Memorial Cache
We parked outside the Laguna campground and started our walk from where the parking was free with the displaying of my Golden Access pass. That didn't prevent the campground manager from trying to scam money out of all of us who parked there. When we got back, there was a "ticket" on our windshield telling us to "pay our fees" and stating the amount as being $2.50. When I went up to show the manager my National Parks card, a couple of the other people who had returned to their cars at the same time also walked up to contest the tickets.
One man was very angry. The park manager soon acquiesed and took back the tickets we were holding in our hands. The company that manages the park is based out of Utah, the State that produces more scams and multi-level marketing schemes than any other . . .
But, I digress and should really just be writing about the wonderful adventure we experienced in the previous hours during our hike around the lagunas.
On our way to California's oldest cache, one goal was to collect the remains of a cache by Duncan! It had been muggled and after he became aware of its condition, he had Archived it. The cache location was wonderful, with a shady view of the mountain meadow, and I had brought along another container to put out as a replacement. There are so many people who use the nearby trails, and rest in the shade of the beautiful oak tree, I thought any replacement cache would also get muggled. A pile of rocks not too far away was a "safer" location for a cache, but I didn't want to take the time to place a cache and get an accurate waypoint since we had such an important destination.
Not too far down the trail, we saw this pine tree that was covered with woodpecker holes.
Later on our hike, we saw this young woodpecker trying to figure out how to fly.
On the way up the hill to the oldest California geocache, this cactus was producing a wonderful flower display.
After signing the logbook and making our trades, we headed down the trail for the first waypoint for Bilbo's Book Exchange. We found the film canister, but it had leaked and the instructions inside were wet. duganrm even poured a little water out of the container. We did figure out what we were supposed to do, although there was some discussion about continuing since we had just walked from that location . . .
When we got to the V-shaped tree, we couldn't find the second container, so we couldn't continue. It turns out that the most-recent, legitimate finder of the cache, according to the Past Logs, was way last August . . .
After our disappointing search, and the interruption of our quest for that cache, we continued on up the trail to "The Back Side." It was a great cache, the name of which only made sense after you found the ammo can's hiding spot.
We continued back across the marsh plants on our way up the opposite hill to "Wild Wild Laguna." While duganrm was looking at the meager cache contents, I looked down to see a real treasure, a beautiful King Snake. I wasn't fast enough to get my camera out, but it had been just posing for the few seconds before it came completly out of its hole and slithered back in its hiding place in the rocks.
Near that cache I found a Bedrock Mortar
, or Indian grinding rock. I took a picture of it with my GPSr assuming I could submit it as a Waymark. (I was surprised to find out such a category didn't exist yet.)
On our way back to the vehicle, we passed another pastoral scene near the campground.
I stopped to take a picture and saw this amazing "critter."
This is what our 6.4-mile track looked like:
After the "discussion" with the Park Manager, we headed down the road towards a cache Princess Toadstool and I DNF'd last year, "Fishing Buddies." We parked well off the highway near a Call Box. Although there was a "No Parking" sign 300 feet further back on the narrow highway, there was no such sign where we parked.
On our way into the campground on foot, we were informed by the RV Park manager that some guy comes along towing cars parked anywhere along the highway, so we turned around and beat feet quickly back to the vehicle. We gave up on our quest for "Fishing Buddies" this trip and took the turn onto Engineer Road to find a newly-unArchived "Sea to Sea" cache. SlabyFam stepped up to adopt this one and I don't know when he placed it, but we found a blank logbook. There was some fun swag in the ammo can and I traded for a Coyote stamp, while TrailGators traded for the Geico Gecko character.
From there we followed the Boulder Creek Road to my series of ten caches. The guys only found the nine roadside ones, declining to attempt the half-mile-as-the-crow-flies bushwhack to the very lonely last one, "Game Wardens and Turkey Poachers: The BCR Series
It was a great day. I only found eight caches while my companions found seventeen or more, but I don't mind. My lonely caches got visits and I had lots of fun with "the guys."