Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2007-02-25

Musings about Geocaching

Friday, March 02, 2007

Eight miles of hiking and eleven new caches are out there

All those prepared caches I intended to place last Saturday were crying to be put out in the fresh air, and preferably where there was a great view. So, after days of rain and cold—on a beautiful clear day—I put several of the caches in my pack and set off on the California Riding and Hiking trail that heads east and then north from the parking area at Loveland Reservoir.

When I set out, I didn't think about the water that prevented me from continuing last Saturday and whether it might be in my way going from this trail . . .

Fortunately, after scouting the river for a long time, I finally found a place where there were enough boulders and rocks spaced just right that I was able to make the crossing without getting wet.

Once on the other side I walked on the trail parallel to Japatul Road for quite a distance before it finally started to the north, and up, and up, and up. The trail took a dogleg and started back in the other direction, continuing up and up until I got to some interesting rocks and boulders. It was a great place to sit before continuing north towards my destination, the trail to Bell Bluff.

That section of the trail barely clings to the hillside. The vegetation changes to mountain mahogany and other tall shrubs that thrive away from the scorching sun on the south slopes I previously walked.

I placed two more caches, one a little way off the trail up near some rocks where there was a great view of Bell Bluff. The other cache was the little rabbit container "lostguy" gave me. I took a picture of the hiding place, but forgot to take a picture of the cute critter.

I continued walking up the Bell Bluff trail until I came to a fork in the trail. The trail to the right led to a location with a great view of Gaskill Peak. There might have been a house or something there at one time becuase there was evidence of a road or driveway. I found a rusty tin can right near where I placed the cache.

I walked back down that little spur trail and continued in the direction of Bell Bluff. I had already walked more than four and a half miles, and the gate at the parking area is locked at sunset, so I turned around after placing another cache at this location with this great view of Bell Bluff.

As I headed back down the trail that is on the north side of the hill, this incredible house—my dream house—came into view.

With a great view and solar panels, a vanishing-edge pool, all included in a southwest design that fits in with its surroundings—what more could you want in a home?

When I got to the cache location where I took my picture, I checked out the hillside and decided to bushwhack down to the trail to cut off some of the distance and give me more time to cross the creek, place a few more caches, and still get back to the car before sunset.

This is what my tracks looked like:

My "cheating" descent of that steep hill cut off more than a mile of hiking, but if I had remembered I had not placed a cache along that section of the trail, I might have returned the way I came . . .

I'm sure someone like CTYankee will place a cache or two in the gap when he makes the hike . . .

At the end of the day, as I drove through Alpine on my way back to civilization to do some shopping, I stopped to take a picture of the moon rising behind Viejas Mountain.

It was a great day. I had lots of fun, but since the weather this week had kept me in, it felt like a much longer hike. My knee started to hurt at the seven-mile mark and other parts of my body were protesting by the time the hike was over—I think it will take me a couple of days to recover.

As I recover, I get to anticipate the FTFs for all my new caches. What fun!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

An Interesting Non-Geocaching Day

It was an absolutely gorgeous day today, so I decided to head out to Alpine to set out some caches along the trail to Bell Bluff. I needed to mail a card to my sister, so I stopped at the post office first and, in the lobby, met some people who were trying to figure out the Stamp Machine. Since I had just purchased stamps, and they only needed two for the letter they were mailing, I sold them two of mine.

Somehow the subject of Geocaching came up — so what else is new with me — and the use of a GPS receiver. The woman is a scientist and was interested in coordinates and how they work. On my GPSr, I showed them how the units can be changed, and how the numbers change with the different selections.

From there the conversation continued and meandered and wandered, covering all sorts of subjects before we said our goodbyes more than two hours later.

Before I started out for the trailhead, I needed to eat something, so I stopped at the Carl's Jr. where I met another person, a man in charge of an Aid Station for bicyclists participating in a 180-mile ride. WOW! I cannot imagine riding that far in a day. Twenty-five years ago when I lived in Idaho, I rode 140 miles over a two-day weekend in the Ketchum to Stanley bike ride, and in 1977, I rode the 75 miles from Tecate to Ensenada, but 180 miles . . . ? When a woman my age showed up at the Aid Station for some water and carbohydrate-laden snacks, I was impressed.

Finally, after more than three hours elapsed since I arrived in Alpine, I set out for the trailhead.

I had a bit of trouble remembering the route through those residential streets in that neighborhood, so I had to pull over and "ask" the GSPr to direct me to the intersection of two streets I remembered from my review of my Mapsource maps.

After I finally found the parking area, I put on my hiking boots and put several caches in my backpack. I hefted it onto my shoulders and set out, only walking a short distance before getting to the stream crossing. Since I did this hike last August, I hardly remembered there was a low spot across the trail here.

The water was deep and flowing at a good rate. I had my walking stick and there were some rocks, but not enough large ones to ensure a dry crossing . . .

So, after scouting the creek up and down, I turned around and walked back to the car, covering only half-mile distance, instead of several miles I hoped to cover today. Next time I will wear my Chaco sandals and walk through the water wearing them. In fact, I can wear my Chaco sandals the entire distance of this trail until the climb to the peak begins.

On my way back home, I checked out the California Riding and Hiking trail near Loveland Reservoir, but accessing the Bell Bluff trail from there adds a lot of distance to the hike, so I decided not to investigate it any further.

It was an unbelievable day, as evidenced by FlagMan's photographs and his kind log on my "Only Two Redeeming Qualities" caches at the base of Sycuan Peak.

The forecast for the next couple of days is for rain, so I'll have to get my exercise on my Cardio-Glide . . .


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