Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: An encounter with a huge rattlesnake

Musings about Geocaching

Sunday, April 22, 2007

An encounter with a huge rattlesnake

I haven't been feeling well, but I decided to get out of the house today and find some caches as I worked my way to the Henry's in Chula Vista to get some groceries.

The first cache was down near the bridge on 94 near Otay Lakes Road and I found it fairly easily. I was glad to be finding it now while the thistles are still small. In a couple of months, they will present quite an obstacle. Back on the road, I tried to figure out the access to two caches above Thousand Trails. I ran into a big puddle on the road and had to do about an eight-point turn to go back.

So, I continued down the road to Otay Lakes. I parked the car in the parking lot and started walking towards one cache. Soon after I started out, I realized I could drive right to it, but I needed the exercise. I got to the location and found a very neat pile of rocks . . . but no cache.

There is a little knoll to the west, so I thought I would scout how difficult it would be to get to the top. I wasn't thinking about snakes at all, and didn't have my walking stick. Suddenly I heard that unmistakable sound and when I turned around, this is what I saw.

After taking some pictures of him, I walked back to the car, still feeling really terrible. I had hoped getting out would get my brain chemistry back to some semblance of "my normal."

From there, I drove to the west, chasing the "Next Nearest" cache. I drove down a narrow road my little car could navigate, but I probably shouldn't have been driving down it without knowing what was down there. I turned around and drove back up a very steep road to get within a few feet of the cache. I read the description and the past logs and expected a more clever hide than what I found . . . I wonder if some cachers moved it?

The next nearest cache in my GPSr turned out to be back down the hill where I had been before . . . so my Toyota Matrix got to pretend it was a 4WD vehicle again.

I got to the location and the pile of rocks was disturbed. It was a cool location and I took a few pictures, but I was disappointed to have another DNF.

From there, I drove to the park where I found the end point of a "Multi" and then bushwhacked, watching for snakes along the entire way, over to "This Old Thing" which has a great view of the Otay Lakes Reservoir dam.

I walked the quarter mile back to my car and headed towards the shopping center and REI. After buying something on sale there, I started off towards the next nearest cache. It was at a little pond and park for the nearby subdivision. It was a nice little walk and I saw some "wildlife."

I couldn't find the next difficult-to-find micro on a metal bridge, but I found the next cache near a baseball diamond in another part of the neighborhood park.

As I drove around the residential areas and looked at the houses, I couldn't help wondering how these people do that? How do they keep up the payments on those houses, the huge SUVs and H2 Hummers? And the furniture they own . . . Overwhelming to me . . .

I had a bit of difficulty driving around the winding streets to get to the trail for the next cache, but I finally found the "Twisting Path" where I spent a lot of time looking for the cache. I could be seen from two houses nearby, but the windows weren't open, so I continued pawing through the low-growing shrubs.

I finally called it a DNF and then tried to find parking for another cache. I drove around a neaby townhome development, but there was no access, so I got back on the road and drove through an intersection, made a U-turn and parked almost .2 away. I walked across the very nice pedestrian/bicycle bridge until I got to the location. It was a "Lamp Post Skirt" cache. It was the same kind of container I found at REI a few weeks ago . . . but this time I had nothing to use to open the little tin. I finally signed the outside of the container and put it back.

At last, I decided to head for the Henry's store, but not before trying to find one more cache . . . which I couldn't find because I only read the beginning of the description, that said it was a "cache and dash," and the hint.

Only after I got home and looked it up on the cache page did I notice it was a Multi . . . Doh!!

Finally, I headed home, navigating to the next nearest gas station where I filled up for $3.25 per gallon. At those prices, I can barely afford to fill up twice a month, which means I be spending more time at home before another outing like today's.

Once home, I logged the nine caches I found, and the four caches I didn't, and uploaded the pictures for the cache pages. I also uploaded the picture of the snake to the "San Diego Cache Critters" thread in the Forums.

Even though I was out for several hours, and I had many unique diversions and experiences, I never felt any better. Oh well . . . these are usually "episodes" and they eventually end . . .


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