Another exciting day from before dawn to dusk
Before the sun was up, we stopped above Cottonwood Canyon where there was both a Geocache and Terracache. It was more than half a mile hike, but, even in the crisp morning air, I was less than enthusiastic because I was so tired. We started down, and the first part of the trail is rugged and narrow. I wondered at the "wisdom" of wearing my Chaco sandals for this hike, but soon the trail opened up a bit more.
At the bottom, we found a muggled container. Since we know the cache owner, we put out a replacement in case he is not able to get there for a little while. From there, we walked further up towards the "cascades" where after a rainy season, water tumbles and flows into water-sculpted pools in the granite. My GPSr was confused by the signals bouncing off all the rocks and had me hiking high up the wrong side of the canyon where the "edge" of the cliff and dropoff down to the creekbed was scary. Once I got on the other side of the creek, I found the Cottonwood Creek Cascades Terracache easily.
By the time we made it back up the trail, I felt much more alert and awake. That location is so spectacular, someday I have to go there again when the sun is shining, and when water is flowing in the creek.
From there, we started off towards a cache we didn't know was a Multi until we found the first waypoint. It highlighted a great viewpoint and had a wonderful final container.
In San Diego, the marine layer was thick, but from my house to where we were, the air was extremely clear. Lyons, Lawson, and Gaskill Peaks were as crisp as I have ever seen them from that distance away.
From there, we went to a cache location I scouted the other day. I knew the cache was behind some rental cabins, so we started down the paved road. I wasn't being cautious, as I would be on a trail, but I should have been. As I looked ahead to where the GPSr arrow was pointing, I stepped on a fist-sized rock. It moved, my ankle turned, and I was on the ground without even a fraction of a second to recover.
CTYankee9 said I was there, walking beside him, and then I disappeared. He looked back, saw me on the pavement, and saw the rock skittering off the road. I lay there, with my eyes closed, taking "inventory" of my extremities. I could tell nothing was broken, but my ankle hurt so badly, I wasn't ready to move yet. Finally, after a while, I untangled my feet, sat up, and then stood up. The first few steps towards the cache were tenative, but I thought walking was probably the best therapy for it, so we found that cache, then went on to hike five miles later on in the day to find three more caches in the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve.
During our hike, we saw the very beginning of a fire that was nicknamed the "Angel Fire" as the CDF started their operation to contain it.
This is what it looked like from the same location after it had been burning for an hour or more.
From our turn-around point, this is what the smoke looked like.
That cache had a great view towards the southwest.
The Open Space Preserve is incredible. If I lived in Ramona, and still owned horses, I would ride there every weekend.
Because of the fire, the road back through Julian was closed, which meant we had to go the long way around to get back to San Diego. I am indebted to CTYankee9 for all the driving he had to do to get me back home.