Escape to the coast to get away from the heat
I begged off that hike . . . But, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to cache with "lostguy" and Auld Pro. I didn't know where we were headed when Auld Pro set the new meeting time for 7:30 at our "usual" place, but I had loaded my GPSr with almost 900 caches centered around the Grossmont Mall in La Mesa. Then, to really cover all bases, I loaded all 1700-plus caches in a 35-mile radius around my house as "Custom POIs." I even updated the data in Cachemate in my Palm m515. I was ready!
Auld Pro designated himself as our driver and wanted to head south and west. He hopped on the new Toll Road so I got to see it for the first time. More than two years ago, Princess Toadstool and I did some caching near it while it was under construction, and we were dismayed the way it bisected the open space near the Sweetwater Reservoir and ruined the property values of nearby "ranchettes."
Once we got off that uncrowded highway at Otay Mesa Road, we meandered around quite a bit, not sure exactly where we were going to start our adventure. Finally, we stopped at "Held Up By A Pine Cone!!" I didn't understand the hint, none of us did, as a matter of fact. I was searching the "obvious" place when Auld Pro made the find. After that, the name of the cache became evident.
The next cache along Otay Mesa Road was one called "Tower Of Terror." We spent too much time looking in the wrong places. Both Auld Pro and I attempted looking elsewhere, but that really didn't look feasible. In fact, it looked scary . . . There was a ladder that went up the tower, but it was out of my reach.
Finally, after following my auto-routing GPSr around and around in an unsuccessful attempt to get to a cache Auld Pro thought would be a good starter cache, we headed in a different direction. Auld Pro almost came to a complete stop for me to get out, find the cache, sign the log, replace the container, and get back in the Jeep at "Community Gardens," a cache both he and "lostguy" had found before.
Not too far down the road from there was a cache hidden by my friend CTYankee9 who stopped caching shortly after what happened out in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It was good to find "Baseball Anyone?" and a couple of other caches placed by him. At this one, which is near where we parked for our little "hike," I had to walk carefully since I had on my trusty Chaco sandals.
In the morning, when I got my Smartwool socks out of the drawer, my feet protested and said, "No way. You ain't puttin' no shoes and socks on us today in this heat." So, I eagerly relented and put on the sandals.
After replacing that cache, Auld Pro reparked the Jeep and we took off down the trail towards "U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A."
As usual, I hadn't read the cache description ahead of time, so as we searched the jumble of concrete painted with various graffiti, I remarked about the name. I searched, unsuccessfully, the wrong areas while Auld Pro zeroed in on the hiding place. He had the strength to move the cammo to reveal the container. I was somehow designated to return that heavy cammo after we signed the log, retrieved a lonely Travel Bug, From here, we continued down the trail all the way to "Road Closed" where we saw quite a bit of excitement.
Just after finding that cache, an ambulance, Border Patrol vehicle, and fire engine emerged from the narrow road. They did not have lights and sirens on, so hopefully, if someone was injured, it was minor. After the road was free of vehicles, we continued hiking, heading towards our goal, "The Blue Barge," another cache hidden by CTYankee9. There was a faint, elusive path leading to the amazing "blue" barge, landlocked as it is there. When we arrived, the first thing I saw was some "interesting" evidence of predation on the top of the barge. We were all careful to avoid stepping in it as we climbed up onto the barge and back down.
With my Chaco sandals on, amidst the stickerweeds in that area, I wasn't much help during the extensive search, but I "helped" when I got out my compass, so we could verify which direction was which to search the correct pontoon. "lostguy" gave it a good search and was ready to call it a DNF. I was ready to do the same thing. Auld Pro is more persistent. He continued his search a while longer.
Here is the Profile of our walk around this area.
After finding a few more caches, including a cleverly-cammoed one at "If You Build It, They Will Come," the most creative cache hide of the day, we started down the trail to fisnjack's "Bird Watch" caches where I took the only pictures I took all day. This was the ocean view from a little spur trail we took while trying to get to fisnjack's "Tiajuana Slough" cache.
Nearby, there were these beautiful, but dangerous-looking cholla cactus.
Looking the other direction, you can just make out Otay Mountain.
My two hiking companions enjoyed the view while I replaced the log in the container.
And, speaking of logs, this huge driftwood log was beautiful.
I would have taken more pictures, but didn't want to slow down my companions who were aware we were, in John's words, of Jahoadi and John, "burnin' daylight."
As we finished up this walk, my left hip was starting to hurt some. I didn't know how far we had walked today, and since it was such level walking, I was surprised I was feeling the distance. Here is the Profile of this "bird watch."
We did two more easy caches in muggle-full locations, but were discreet and stealthy. After one look at the beautiful ocean waves that looked so inviting I wanted to go swimming, we walked back to the vehicle and drove back to Spring Valley where it was 20° hotter.
As usual, I am very grateful to my caching companions for their wonderful company. We had lots of laughs, good conversation, and great fun today . . . at least I sure did. I am very, very thankful for Auld Pro's generosity for doing all the driving. Gas is more than $4.50 a gallon now, so I know our little adventure took quite a bite out of his gas budget for the month.
It was still early afternoon when I got in my car and started towards the Trader Joe's store where I do some of my grocery shopping. The thermometer in the car said it was 103°. Somehow, I still had the energy to get my shopping done at three different stores, stop at a Thrift Store where I found a French Press my friend has been looking for, and get 11 of my one-gallon water bottles filled before ultimately heading home. I wasn't looking forward to opening the door to my place, knowing how hot it would be. Sure enough, it was 107° before I turned on the air conditioner.
Wheeeeuuu! I remember one year where we didn't have a heat spell like this until July 27. I hope it doesn't stay like this all the way through September, which is when we usually expect this kind of hot weather . . .