Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2007-07-01

Musings about Geocaching

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What a fun Fourth of July . . . and another FTF!

A few days ago, "lostguy" placed a series of caches along the Anderson Truck Trail, a hiking and mountain biking trail between Alpine and Lakeside north of I-8. His caches are always fun, and he puts cool stuff in the containers large enough to hold stuff. I had both a new Red Jeep TB and a Geocoin to release in "safe" locations away from the thieves who steal them because of their own selfishness.

Since it has been very hot here, I didn't know if heading over there was a good idea or not, on such a warm day, but I woke up very early and was able to get out of the house by 7:00 . . . once again without letting anyone know where I was going . . .

When I got close to the first cache, I found a little place to tuck my car in off the road, which was winding and narrow, and bordered by a curb. I brought my mountain bike, but since I am not an experienced rider, I didn't know if I should get it out, so I scouted the trail first. It looked doable . . . and it went on and on and on. I didn't really feel up to hiking that distance. So, I walked back to the car, got the bike out, put the front wheel on, secured the front brake, put two quarts of water in the pockets of my lumbar pack, and headed for the first cache.

When I was trying to load the caches into my Palm the other day, I got the "blue screen of death," not just once, but twice. However, it looked like the file got loaded anyway. When I looked in the Palm for the cache description, there wasn't anything there. If there was a hint, it was there, but "lostguy" described the container and its hiding place in the description.

So, without that description, I was "caching with coordinates only" and had trouble finding the first container.

From the first two caches, I headed down, down, down. Here was one of the views before I got to the "ATT -- Serenity Sounds" cache.

And, here was the pool near that cache.

I had trouble finding one of the other caches also, calling it a DNF on my way out, but getting to the correct location on my way back. All the others caches were fun to find, and they were in neat locations with great views. It was a really good day — of course any day when I am feeling better is a good day — and I only dumped the bike one time. Fortunately, it happened in slow motion, so I didn't get hurt, and the one glass water bottle I was carrying (don't ask why I was carrying a glass bottle) tumbled gently out of my pack and onto the ground without breaking.

Here is the track and profile of the ride and hike:

Here are some of the pictures I took.

I sure wish I could have focused the camera on this guy. He flew right over me a few times and I could have gotten some great pictures if the camera focus had been correct for the distance he was above me.

Tomorrow I will be going into town for a short trip. I have to take my car in to get it fixed and I don't know when I'll be going caching again. Since it is so hot now, only very early morning trips, or late afternoon/evening caching adventures are worth pursuing. I'm sure thankful to both gratefuldad116 and "lostguy" for putting out these two new series of caches, and to map4navigation for putting out that one new one I was FTF on today. Seeing that blank log was a pleasant surprise. Getting six FTFs in one week is a lot! Whoooooo Hoo!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

A Great Nighttime Adventure for five FTFs!

Out in the East County, it was hot, Hot, HOT!! CTYankee9 and I had planned a late afternoon hike to the "Ghost Corral/Valley Pillar" area, but then these new caches popped up. Our original destination would have been about a five-mile hike. This one was almost nine miles . . .

So, with the sun going down, and the temperature moderating, we hit the trail at about 6:30 p.m. As we hiked beneath the oak-shaded canopy, we spotted a deer across the creek, and then a bit later, CTYankee9 spotted a large bobcat running up the hill to the east, towards the "King of the Hill" cache. I only caught a glimpse of it and it looked like a boxer dog to me . . . but there shouldn't be any of those out there.

There was just a bit of sunlight left on the peaks above us as we got to the first cache location and I spotted the very cute container after just a couple of minutes.

We opened the cache and were happy to see the blank, pristine log . . . and the FTF $$. I also retrieved a very cute Traveling Gnome Geocoin.

After rehiding the container, we started up the trail to the next cache.

At that cache location, we spent a lot of time looking before calling it a "temporary DNF." We would look for on the way back after hopefully findint the other three caches on the trail. After consulting our maps on our GPSrs, we saw that the next cache was "King of the Hill." Wow!! What great views from that part of the trail!

CTYankee9 spotted this tarantula first, and grabbed Piglit9 so she would not be tempted to mess with it. Too bad we did not see the skunk before she tangled with it later on in the hike . . .

I'll have to come back during daylight sometime to get the full effect and get even more pictures. By the time we got to the cache location, the sun had gone down, but there was enough light left in that rockpile without having to get out our headlamps. I approached GZ from one direction, trying to avoid the small patches of poison oak. CTYankee9 was about 16' away from GZ when he located the very cute container. We took time to take some pictures of it with CTYankee9's new Red Jeep T.B.

The next cache was high on a peak where the views were great, but there wasn't enough light to get a picture. I did take a picture at the next cache where there were lots of "purty rocks."

I struggled on the trail as we were coming back down. I couldn't see well, even with my headlamp. The trail was steep, and there was an erosion groove in the center I was trying to avoid, which, since I couldn't see, was difficult. Finally, we got back to the first cache we tried to find. Since the other caches had been off by about 15 feet, or more, we centered our search 15 feet to the east of where GZ was and I found the cache right away.

As we made our way back, we saw these nighttime critters.

The moon finally came up and for the last part of the trail back to CTYankee9's vehicle, it provided enough light to walk with my headlight on the red mode. That allowed my eyes to better adjust to the darkness, but I still couldn't make my way along the trail confidently as CTYankee9 did who is used to the dark becasue he works nights.

Our FTF-adventure was really fun and I had a great time, although on the way back, I could sure tell we had covered quite a bit of distance in our five hours of hiking. The five FTFs will be memorable and I am going to Bookmark a couple of them since they have such great views. The others, I'll put on my watchlist to see when they get found again . . .

Since it is so hot out here now, I bet it will be a couple of months before gratefuldad116 gets any "Found it" logs . . .

My thanks to CTYankee9 for driving out here and to the trailhead, and for being willing to change what was going to be a shorter adventure into this much longer one.


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