Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2007-04-22

Musings about Geocaching

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another FTF and . . . whoops . . . five new caches placed

SD Rowdies made the hike down to "Ghost Corral" and while he was there, he put out a new cache. It was a pretty warm day 91°, but there was a really nice breeze blowing, so the hike wasn't too bad . . . but the weight of an ammo can and a couple other caches in my backpack was noticeable as I made the long walk down the trail that clings to the side of the hill for almost a mile before cutting across the "Valley of the Valley Pillar" to the shade of oak trees that survived the fire of July 2006.

It wasn't difficult to spot the cache container when I got to the location, and since he posted a picture of the container in the local forums, I don't think he will mind my posting it here. I am glad I had not looked at the forum before arriving at the spot because it was quite a surprise.

After signing the log as FTF, I started up the nearby knoll to find the location for cache #100. I wanted that cache to be special in some way. The day I was with fisnjack, I scouted locations at the top of a knoll where you can see both Lawson Peak and Gaskill Peak. I picked a location that should be okay to get to even after the area has recovered well from the fire.

It is not on a trail, but the area shouldn't be impacted by the few people who "Take a Stroll to the Knoll."

I placed one more cache in some "Artifically Stacked Rocks" like CTYankee found along the trail. When I arrived in the area, the name of the cache was evident, "Ahhhh . . . Shade."

On the way back up the hill, I found a spot where I could use my "patented" can cammo, using a rusty can I found down near the Valley Pillar, to place another cache, "Can You See The Valley Pillar Yet?"

I made it back to the car and the air conditioning felt so good . . . however, I still had a couple more caches prepared, and there was that location I saw the last time I was on the trail to the west of the parking . . . It had not been snagged by the finders of my other two caches, so I put the ammo can and the Tupperware container in my pack and headed up the trail.

I really had fun scrambling on the slickrock where the cache was placed. I need to return to the location to get a better picture. The view from there is fantastic, and the way I hid the ammo can is very cool, even if I do say so myself . . .

Finally on the way back down, I found a spot right next to the trail where I could put a little Tupperware container. If the finders replace the rocks correctly, the container won't be seen by all the people who use the trail. If the finders area not careful . . . it will be gone quickly.

Once again, I need to get back out there to take a better picture. In the morning, on a day where there are a few puffy clouds in the sky, I need to make the drive and then the short hike up the trail.

When I got home, I hurried to get the caches listed because I knew a group was hiking the area Sunday morning. When I logged on this morning, I got the notifications that the caches had been published, and just after 5:00 a.m., the bradybunchboys logged all five of the FTFs.

So, I need to get busy today to prepare a few more caches. CTYankee and I are making a hike this week to find, and mark with well-spaced caches, a new trail on the northwest side of Gaskill Peak.

Monday, April 23, 2007

What a beautiful day for a couple of hikes

A loud knock got me out of bed early in the morning. It was fisnjack. He was headed over towards Horsethief Canyon to find my new caches on the west side of Lyons Valley Road. After that he was going to find the two caches placed by CTYankee9 along the trail towards SMOKEY's "Ghost Corral." So, he took off and I got up, fixed some breakfast and got ready. I met him over at the staging area a bit after 9:00 and we drove down the road to the gate where the trail starts.

Even though this area was completely devastated by the fire last summer, there were lots of flowers blooming along the trail.

The first cache we found was called "Artificially Stacked Stones." I had a pre-conceived notion of what I would find there. I was wrong.

After finding the last cache, next to which we saw some Bedrock Mortars that evidenced the presence of Native Americans in prehistoric times, we walked around a bit, looking at the damage to the Ghost Corral and checking on the cache near there.

After hiking back out, we stopped at the viewpoint for Horsethief Canyon, the place I had scouted on at least three occasions, trying to figure out where I could hide a cache. CTYankee9 figured out a place to put an M & M's tube, so we "duganrm'd" the cache and got the FTF.

Nearby, I found this "memorial" for someone who died just over a year ago.

We drove down Japatul Road to Carveacre Road and made our way up that winding road to Gaskill Peak Road and Lost Trail and the trailhead for "Ummm, Not This Way," another new cache placed by CTYankee9 the last time he was over this way. The cache has been out for a while, but fisnjack and I were "Second to Find." Not too many people drive all this way to find these caches, even though the area is really interesting.

I saw more of these burgundy flowers like those I saw near my "Don't Find This Cache . . . "

Where the horsetrail we had been following ended, I found this Yucca in bloom.

It was a really beautiful day with a cool breeze to balance the warm sunlight. After having quite a few days of inclement weather, it looks like we are going to have several nice days in a row now. I hope to get out again soon, and maybe I'll finally hide Geocache #100 this week.

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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