Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2006-12-31

Musings about Geocaching

Monday, January 01, 2007

Whooo Hoo, another FTF!!

Yesterday, a new cache on Mt. McGinty popped up, "Beyond McGinty." I was way too tired to attempt that long, steep climb after our strenous day of rock scrambling out in the In-Ko-Pah area and even this morning wondered if my legs would hold up on that steep, eroded trail for nearly a mile and a half . . . as the crow flies.

After a bit of breakfast, and replenishment of the caffeine level in my blood, I took off down the hill to the trailhead in that subdivision of million-dollar homes. I was disappointed to see another car parked there and wondered which cacher owned a Honda Odyssey. I was just sure at 9:00 in the morning, even on New Year's Day, someone was already racing for the FTF.

Before I left my house, I put on a short-sleeve t-shirt, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece vest, a fleece 1/4 zip pullover, and a jacket . . . by the time I started on the hike at the trailhead, which is a thousand feet lower than my house, I had taken off all those layers, except the long-sleeved t-shirt, and the short-sleeve t-shirt under it and halfway up the first very steep pitch of the trail, I took off the long-sleeved t-shirt. The light breeze was cool on my bare arms, but the 50° temperature was perfect for that strenuous climb.

From the cache site, which is quite a way down the other side from the peak, there are views from the west to the north and back around to the east. This is what Mt. Helix looked like through the haze today.

For some reason, the arrow on my GPSr was pointing in the wrong direction as I walked along the road. I could see the little purple line on the map and knew where the cache was in relation to the McGinty Terracache, but my GPSr arrow was pointing off to the east. Good thing I didn't try to follow the arrow the way fisnjack does . . .

To the north, there is a great view of El Cajon Mountain, the peak I still have to conquer someday.

Off to the east, silhouetted in the early-morning light, I could see Lyons Peak, Gaskill Peak, and Sycuan Peak.

Somewhere out there, in that "back country" between the sharp point of Sycuan Peak on the left hand side of the picture and the broad-shouldered ridge formed by Gaskill Peak, is where I live.

I wish the air had been clearer, as it was the last two times I was on the mountain. I took a few pictures, but the views are much better on Santa Ana days, or days right after a winter storm.

When Princess Toadstool was here in early December and we climbed McGinty, I told her it would be good for me to climb the mountain once a week -- weather permitting. That three-mile hike and climb would sure help me stay in shape.

Today it took me less than 2 1/2 hours to drive from my house to the trailhead, make the hike, and drive back home, so it isn't much of a weekly time commitment . . . however . . .

I hesitate to make that one of my New Year's Resolutions. I would like to make resolutions I might keep beyond the first week of the new year . . .

It is a great hike and on clear days, the views are fantastic. In the spring a wide variety of wildflowers provide a visual treat, and even on winter days like today along the trail there is the occasional aromatic bouquet of lavender and sage in the air.

My thanks to "lostguy" for placing a cache that got my new year started out right. And, thanks for the FTF $$$! The next coffee at Starbucks is on me.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Great adventure for the last day of 2006

Chuy! posted in the San Diego Cache Event thread in the Forums about driving east to the In-Ko-Pah area very early today. M2 responded that he would join the group. I have been wanting to meet him ever since we exchanged several emails earlier this year when his "Hopalong Rides Again!" cache succumbed to the wildfire in Horsethief Canyon.

Long before dawn I met him at the Park 'n Ride on I-8 at the Descanso exit and we took off in his new 4X4 Toyota truck. On the drive, we passed Chuy! and the rest of the group and as the eastern sky was getting light, we met up at the 4WD road coordinates.

During our slow but steady drive up the rough and sometimes-challenging road, we were treated to fantastic views of an amazing landscape.

The first cache we found was "Smuggler's Cave." It was hidden in the boulders behind this very cool cave.

From that cache, we made it over to "From a mission to Iraq and more!." M2, Chuy!, Ginger, The Polar Bear, fisnjack, and Map4Navigation posed for a picture at the cache amidst the amazing rocky landscape.

We walked back to the vehicles and drove down the rough road for a while before abandoning the vehicles to hike the rest of the way to a cache right on the border. In fact, it might have been across the border in Mexico . . .

To get to the "Rear View" cache, we had quite a bit of rock scrambling to do. It was worth it to see the namesake rock at the cache.

At every turn along the route, the rock formations astounded me. The wind-sculpted rocks were tumbled in all different ways.

Getting to that cache was a challenge. Although it doesn't look like it in this next picture, we found an easier way back to the trucks -- way down there -- on the way back.

If I get back to the area again when I can spend more time, I will want to have a much larger memory card for my camera because there were great views and wonderful rock formations in every direction, all of which deserved to be photographed.

My thanks to M2 for letting me join him in his 4X4 vehicle so I could see such a spectacular area.

Happy New Year everyone!


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