Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2006-08-13

Musings about Geocaching

Friday, August 18, 2006

bradybunchboys were FTF on my new caches

Chuy! used to be the FTF leader in this area, but when the bradybunchboys started caching, that all changed. Now Lance gets out there to get many of the FTFs. He gets all over the county, and he found all four of my new caches — and left off two green jeeps in the larger containers. How cool!!

Here is a new Keen People map of my cache placements around San Diego County.

The newest caches put my total of Geocaches placed at 70. I don't know how that happened . . .

When I put out my very first cache, "Lyons Valley Roadside Distraction," I made sure it was close to my house and close to the road, so I could maintain it. I was so concerned my health would get in the way of being able to properly maintain a cache . . .

And now, counting my single Terracache, I have placed 71. Two of those have been Archived . . . one because "No Trespassing" signs were put up at the access point, and the second because it was a unique container, in an out-of-the-way place. I didn't have a replacement container, and with gas at $3.42 a gallon at the time it went missing, I didn't want to make the drive to put out a replacement container.

I have one Disabled cache right now. It was a large ammo can at Lake Murray full of kid's toys and Beanie Babies — and two Travel Bugs — when it went missing a couple of weeks ago. I have to figure out what sort of container I can put back in that location. It will have to be much smaller than that big ammo can since the vegetation has changed now, but it will still have to be large enough for Teeny Beanies and Hot Wheel toys . . . since it is called "Kid's Kache."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A great day of caching on Otay Mountain with fisnjack

For several weeks now, fisnjack has been after me to join him on a trip up Otay Truck Trail to get the new caches placed up there by Pathfinder and Snoopy. When I wasn't feeling well a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't have made good company. However, now I was feeling better, and had even prepared some new caches to place, if/when I found a good location.

On an overcast morning, with the marine layer hanging low, I met fisnjack at the trailhead for Hollenback Canyon and we headed east on Highway 94 to Marron Valley Road. A few miles in on that graded road, we found the turnoff to the south that heads up the steep, narrow Otay Truck Trail.

The first caches we looked for were two more of the caches in Night Hunter's "Stone Ruination" series.

In the second picture, you can see the marine layer breaking up below, but it never cleared enough to give us the astounding views the Otay Mountain road offers.

After finding a few caches, one of which was an ammo can in which I put a Geocoin I hope will be safe from the Coin and Jeep thief, we stopped at a pullout where there wasn't a cache yet. There is now. It was near one of the roadside mirrors that help drivers see oncoming traffic. These roadside mirrors also provide an opportunity to be creative with the incredible views offered on really clear days.

Years ago, when I lived in Idaho, I was visiting a friend on his ranch. I took a picture of the view looking ahead, with the stormy view behind me reflected in the rear view mirror. These roadside mirrors reminded me of that picture.

We drove up the road and found another interesting spot for a cache and while we were there, Sledhead and a friend from Ogden, Utah drove up. We talked for a long time before the two of them, and fisnjack, decided to go down the road to "beta test" my new cache. When they got back, I gave them the coordinates for the new cache at this location, and they found it "right on the numbers."

There is another one of those mirrors in that picture. Can you see it? If only it had been clearer. The view from there is fantastic.

Near my new cache is a benchmark I found on top of one of the boulders. I didn't expect it to be an official Benchmark I could log on, but it was.

That one goes with this one we found on the top of Otay Mountain near a Terracache.

If we had more time, we might have tried to find the actual benchmark these two referred to.

On the peak, we found the "O-Tay Mountain" Terracache. This was a cache fisnjack drove all the way up to and tried to find right after it was posted. He expected the cache to be an ammo can, so he spent more than 30 minutes looking for a hiding place large enough for a cache that size. It turned out Passing Wind had placed an Altoids tin up there. Just before we got to GZ, the batteries in my GPSr died. I thought the cache would be higher on the hill, but fisnjack followed the arrow on his GPSr to GZ, an area he was very familiar with. He was familiar with the hint that had been placed on the cache page now and found the cache right away. That was his second Terracaching FTF. His first was for my Carveacre Wind Caves Terracache.

Below the peak was the infamous "WWII Bunkers" cache which recently had several DNFs. On our way to the hiding place, fisnjack and I walked through the building. The acrid smell of gear oil and gunpowder was still present.

Soundproofing that was attached to the ceiling is gone now, but you can see the spots where it was glued to the concrete. The purpose of the deep, formed trenches in the floor were a mystery to me.

As we continued down the road, we came to Otay 3.2. Since there is a "companion" cache at Otay 3.5, I thought this would be a good place for the third of the four caches I brought with me.

I used another one of my rusty cans as cammo for the waterproof match container. I would have taken pictures of the incredible views from that location, but it was just too hazy and I knew the pictures wouldn't come out very well . . . and I didn't want to waste that expensive digital film . . .

We continued down the road until there was a sort of "pennisula" with a viewpoint of eastern Tijuana. I only had one cache container left with me . . . a large bison tube given to me by "lostguy". I didn't want the cache to be difficult to find in that previously-burned area where the bushes are small and just starting to recover. I finally tied it from a burnt stick which ends in a small bush. Nearby, I piled up a few rocks to create a Geopile. My hint on the cache page is: "Not hidden in the nearby Geopile."

By the time we got off the mountain, we covered more than 20 miles on the Truck Trail, and a couple of its side roads, at an average speed of only three miles per hour. I found 11 caches and placed four. Since he had already been on the mountain before, I think fisnjack found fewer than ten caches, including the four he Beta Tested for me.

Once again I had a great day. Since that road is in good condition, as soon as it is really, really clear, I would like to take a drive up there myself to get some more pictures of the astounding views.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Five more DNFs on another urban foray

A while ago in the Forums, there were many threads about Micro Spew™. In some parts of the country, this started occurring a couple of years ago. Around here, it didn't really start until last year when all those caches placed in Santee became known as S.C.U.M — Santee Crappy Urban Micros.

It looks like that "infection" had now spread into other areas.

The other night, duganrm and I attacked several newly-placed urban caches. As we located those caches, we remarked that there was no reason for the cache placement — no view, no little park, no point of interest, and for some of them, there wasn't even a legal place to park nearby. It seemed the only reason for the cache was for someone to get another FTF, and for other cachers to get a smilie.

After my last disappointing solo urban caching "adventure," you would think I learned something about the kind of caches to look for, but I didn't.

Well, actually I did, but there isn't an Attribute for "Alley" or "CITO Needed" that I can filter out in my PQs yet . . .

So, when I was in town yesterday to finally get the groceries I started to shop for last Tuesday, and again on Thursday, I stopped to look for a few caches along my route. The first one. "Music You Get Lost In x3," was easy, and creating the log for it later, was fun.

The next cache was behind a small shopping center and had no purpose I could understand. I logged a DNF after glancing at the hiding place near gas pipes and meters, and electrical boxes.

The next cache had a reason for its placement, but it had been hidden in a terrible area. I didn't read the Past Logs until I arrived in the parking lot. When one of our long-time cachers, and other respected cachers, write about the bad cache location in their logs, I should know to not to even get out of my car, but I did. The area is badly in need of CITO. After a very brief search, I decided to log a DNF.

Not every cache needs to be found . . .

Only two of the next six caches I looked for had a "purpose," but I only found one of them . . .

So, I added five more caches to "My As-Yet-Still-Unfound-DNFs" Bookmark List last night. Part of the description of that list says:
. . . Since I believe Geocaching is for taking me to places I didn't know about before, I probably won't return to find these . . .

I know other people view the "game" of Geocaching differently, but I think caching should take me to a location worthy of visiting. And, once I get there, I want to be able to find the cache. That is the fun of caching for me.

Gas is much too expensive now to have to return to a location, and it is much too expensive to visit some of these locations the first time . . .

I just wish I knew how to filter out "lame" or "Another FTF opportunity" or "Smilie Only" cache purposes, before driving to the location . . .

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My 1800th cache was found on a 16-hour, 30-cache day

Saturday started out early when I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. When I couldn't get back to sleep, I got up, turned on the computer, and checked the San Diego Cache Events thread. Flagman had posted he was going to do the Navajo Adventure cache, meeting at 7:00 a.m. I wasn't sure I could make the more-than-20-mile drive in the time I had left after getting ready, but I did. Toby's Gang and fisnjack were also there when I arrived, ready to join in the adventure.

And, adventure it was. After reading the description, and the Past Logs, I expected a challenge, and it was, but the bushwacking wasn't quite as much of a challenge as was keeping up with my companions, who seemed to be in a race to get to the cache. That speed added to the perils the "trail" offered. Although I wore my grubby shoes in preparation for an encounter with swamp water, I didn't need them because they didn't get wet at all.

Flagman was the first to spot the cache and after fixing it so it won't fall to the ground again, he "posed" for this picture.

While fisnjack crashed his way back down the canyon, Toby's Gang, Flagman, and I found a "trail" up the canyon slope. Only of us had an "encounter" with the cholla cactus. I'll have to email Toby's Gang to see how his hand is . . .

Flagman had to leave after we found a few more caches in the canyon, but Toby's Gang and fisnjack and I continued caching for a few hours before Toby's Gang had to leave. We found a few caches around Lake Murray, and checked on my "Kid's Kache," which is gone. Someone stole the big ammo can full of beanie babies and kid's toys . . . I hope they are happy with themselves . . .

The last cache the three of us searched for was "MTRP 2006 Cache War - Dam Fine View" which offers this "fine dam view" of a dam constructed the same way as Sutherland Dam near Ramona.

No trail access information was included in the cache description, something I don't appreciate since gas is so expensive, and since I can't use Google Earth to figure out difficult trail access dilemmas. We were happy to find out Chuy! had posted parking coordinates in his log for the cache. In my log, I repeated the access coordinates for future seekers.

After Toby's Gang left, and later after fisnjack headed for home, duganrm and I teamed up again to find some urban caches, and some caches at Chollas Lake. If I counted correctly, a little cache at a really cool location at Chollas Lake, "Table for Two" was my 1800th cache.

After dark, several of the urban caches we searched for were the kind I wouldn't normally look for if I was caching by myself. As we found these, I wondered if they had a purpose for their location, other than the opportunity for someone to get another smilie . . .

I finally got home more than 16 hours after I left in the morning. It was a great day, my companions through the day added a lot to the experiences, and the weather, which has been too hot for caching lately, was finally wonderful, as the weather so often is in San Diego.


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