Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: Another trip to the amazing Bell Bluff

Musings about Geocaching

Friday, March 14, 2008

Another trip to the amazing Bell Bluff

Auld Pro sent me an email saying he wanted make a good long hike on his day off. "How about Bell Bluff?" he asked. Oh boy, Whoopee . . . another hike to that wonderful rockpile I hiked to solo back in August of '06.

I met him in "downtown" Jamul and he drove the rest of the way, for which I am grateful. On our way to the elusive "Spanish Bit Trailhead" for the California Riding and Hiking Trail, we made a couple of wrong turns, but finally got there and got ready. With all the rain we have had this winter, I figured there would be deep water to cross at the beginning of the trail, so I brought along my Chaco sandals, and sure enough, the water was nearly knee-deep.

We surveyed the area briefly and then took off our boots and made our way across. Where the water flowed freely, it looked clear and clean, but up a little tributary where the water was stagnant, there was stuff floating on the surface about which Auld Pro said, "Don't think about what it might be . . . "

We put our boots back on and after I stashed my sandals in the bushes, we started up the long approach trail.

When I made my first trip to Bell Bluff, it was a 90° day and the trail to the base of Bell Bluff was long, and somewhat tedious because there weren't any caches along the way. Now, there are a few to lure cachers ahead on the trail . . .

The fun really begins when you start ascending the bluff on the "green ribbon" trail. I don't know who put out the green flagging, but they should have been more generous with their markers . . . Sometimes it is hard to determine where the trail is because of the distance between green "ribbons."

On the southwest side of the peak, it looks like the edge of the world . . . with Gaskill and Lawson Peak in the background.

In places the "trail" is easy to find, and in other places, it is tenuous. This is one of those places.

We continued up, up, up, stopping frequently to catch our breath. At one of those places where we paused for a breather, I got an interesting view of Viejas Peak.

Once on top, it is a playground of huge boulders and rocks tumbled in different formations.

We had some lunch up on top where the breeze was cool and refreshing. We signed the peak log and took pictures of the benchmarks. Ultimately, we had to leave that amazing viewpoint and head back down the trail. Finding the starting point at the top was a bit difficult, and we went off the route on a little adventure into an area that was a bit too challenging to attempt, so we retreated and picked up the route we followed on the way up, seaching ahead to see where the elusive trail went next.

On the descent, when we were far enough away from the cache at the top to place another cache, we stopped to add another "lure" to the trail to entice other cachers to the area. These intersting boulders were near the site of the new cache.

The new cache Auld Pro placed is very close to this boulder that cracked in half.

I wonder how loud the sound was when the rock split like that?

We continued walking down the gentle grade on the sometimes highly-eroded trail and then turned around to look at the peak we were on top of a short while earlier.

Off to the left side of the peak is a half moon rising . . .

Finally, just before we made preparations to cross back over the river, Auld Pro placed another cache in this idyllic location.

I had a wonderful time and enjoyed having companionship on the trail I hiked by myself before. The long approach trail went much faster with the easy flow of conversation between us. Since my friend dillweed hasn't made the hike yet, I will get another opportunity hike to Bell Bluff again someday. Maybe we'll place more caches along the trail to lure even more cachers to the area so they can enjoy the challenge of the "green ribbon" trail, and the bonus of the view from the top of the peak.

This is the profile of the hike:

I would like to add more later . . . but I'll have to read a chapter or two in Beryl Markham's book for inspiration to make my prose interesting enough to present to my "audience."


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