Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2007-09-16

Musings about Geocaching

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An amazing, very fun, long day of desert caching

The Pine Fire was still burning near Julian, but I thought the announcer on the news said the 78 was open to the east. When we got to Julian, at about sunrise, we discovered the roadblock . . . There was no visible smoke in the air, but the firefighters probably wanted to have clear access as they continued their mop-up efforts. So, we turned to the west and drove back to Santa Ysabel where we were Saturday. We drove north from there and drove through the Indian Reservation, which is picturesque, but is, unfortunately, cache-less. Finally, we turned towards the desert and started finding caches, starting with "Official Stop #4."

At side roads I would pass by if I were driving my car, we turned up them to get closer to the cache that showed up on our GPSr screen. This rock formation was at a cache placed by the Splashes a few years ago.

Further down the 78, we drove into a canyon towards the Kumeyaay Village where Jahoadi and John placed a cache near the top of an amazing pile of boulders. We didn't read the cache page before starting up a line we thought looked doable.

Boy, were we wrong . . .

There were some nicely-framed views from amidst the boulder pile.

This picture was taken looking down into one of the caverns below us.

It took us more than an hour and a half to travel just over 500 feet to the cache . . .

After that adventure, we found several more caches, most of which were either right on the highway, or nearby. After about ten hours of caching, we decided to retreat to civilization and get some fuel for ourselves and for the vehicle before heading back to San Diego.

On the way back, after dark, with the temperature dropping quickly, we stopped to look for a cache across the road from this interesting miniature village. We didn't find the cache, so when I return next month for the camping weekend, I can take a closer look at this interesting creation. I wonder how many of the thousands of people who pass by that location have ever noticed it?

I found 21 caches and one benchmark. We also had several DNFs. CTYankee9 has also had several DNFs in the desert recently. It is hard to know if the caches have just disappeared by random muggles, or if someone is deliberately targeting them and removing them . . .

Having the DNFs will alert the cache owners to a possible problem so they can take care of the caches before the big Desert Campout weekend in a few weeks.

During our day in the desert, the weather was just about perfect with temperatures in the 90s. There was only a slight breeze, something that was appreciated since it cooled us off during our short hikes. There was a storm front approaching, but it was too far off to create the strong winds that blow the dust and sand around and can make being in the desert miserable.

Once again I had a great time and am very indebted to CTYankee9 for doing all the driving.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another exciting day from before dawn to dusk

My alarm was set for 4:30 in the morning, but I woke up at 3:30 after a restless night, during which I had a dream that I broke my Palm. I needed more sleep, but I got up and started getting ready for my caching adventure with CTYankee9. He was generously coming to pick me up since our destination was to the east in the Lagunas.

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.


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