Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2008-04-13

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Successful Event and a very fun day with 3cd's

When I wasn't feeling well in the middle of the week, it was hard to make plans to attend the A Lake, A Snake, and A Cake ! Event. However, when I got an email from 3cd's saying he was going, and asking if I wanted to go, that made my decision for me.

What a great time! More than 100 people attended, possibly just so they could see this cake:

Photo by Team Duckit

I had so much fun trying to fill in all the squares on the Bingo game, I never even saw the cake in person . . .

I learned a lot about my fellow cachers through playing the game, like who has cached in other countries, who was born outside the US, and who is a librarian. It sure was a great ice breaker and a wonderful way for new cachers to mingle with those of us who have been around for a while.

At the Event, I didn't take too many pictures except when people were answering questions about the Bingo game.

There weren't very many people who qualified for the question Jahoadi asked before this show of hands. I think it was the one about who is an engineer.

After the first part of the Event, we walked down to two nearby caches, then came back for the raffle. This time I was lucky and won, getting to choose from three Geocoins that were left. Whoooo Hoo! Now I have another prize to give to the FTF of my "Desert Virtual" cache.

After the raffle was over, we mingled for a while, then set out to find the newest cache that was nearby. From there, we went up the hill to find a few more. One of which had a "Dam Fine View."

At one of gratefuldad's caches, we got this view of the peak that has a Terracache on the top of it. We wisely decided to save that cache for a different day.

Then, we walked to an older cache, placed by W9JIM back in 2002. The view from there was interesting.

When we came back from that cache, we saw SqrRigger in the parking lot. They were just getting ready to head over to a different area, so we decided to join them, but not before I got this picture of one of the largest Travel Bugs I've ever seen.

The day was perfect, with some clouds to keep the temperature down so we didn't have to worry about snakes, like the one I saw a couple of years ago when I hiked up a small hill above the reservoir.

There are still a lot of caches in the area to find, so I'll have to get back down there again before it gets too hot. I was pleased to read a log by The Lost Clan where she wrote:

On the way back we met a very nice ranger and had a long chat with him about the area. He was very excited to have so many people visit his park, and had only nice things to say about geocachers. Wish some other rangers were as friendly!

Too bad all Park Rangers, and Park Superintendents, don't realize Geocaching is a fun, safe, family activity that should be allowed in all public parks supported by tax money. I even did some CITO today, picking up a discarded beer bottle on the way back from one of the caches.

It was sure a fun day! I was glad to feel much better than I did the day of the "We Be Jeepin'" Event almost a month ago. I am grateful for that. I am also grateful for 3cd's company, and for doing all the driving as we searched for caches after the Event, a loop that took us way, way south of where we started out. With gas prices hovering around $4.00 a gallon now, this was not an inexpensive day . . .

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hiking for some cache maintenance

After receiving the emails from someone affiliated with Anza Borrego Desert State Park, threatening to remove the final container for my cache, "ABDSP -- A Virtual Tour of the SW Region," I have wanted to check on it to make sure it is still in place, in a location far from the Park boundary.

So, on this beautiful day, I took off for the mountains, now that I was feeling better again, after a couple of very bad days.

At the parking area for the final container, there were several men with hang gliders, taking off into the gentle breeze, hoping to catch wind currents that would take them many miles to the north. It looked like exciting and wonderful fun. Can you see the hang glider in this picture?

Here is another one taking off for distant places.

Watching the hangliders was fun, but I needed to check on my container, so I started up the tenative trail that goes up the hill. As I climbed further, the clouds reminded me of the flames that scorched this area in the firestorm of October, 2003.

Wispy clouds sure gave more interest to the landscape on that rugged hill.

The view of the now-off-limits-to-Geocachers-Desert to the east was almost as clear as it can be from this vantage point more than 5500 feet higher than the desert floor.

After finding the container in place, and adding a couple more swag items, I walked back down the hill where I had a conversation with a motorcycle rider who knew about Geocaching. We talked for a long time, which delayed the start of my planned hike to do some cache maintenance. That was okay, however. I relish any opportunity to talk face to face with someone.

I drove to the Pioneer Mail trailhead where I started my hike to my "Champagne Summit Redux" cache. Along the way to that cache, I replaced the muggled container for "Which Way Now," one that Auld Pro had wanted to be his cache #999 so the next one could be #1000 . . .

This is the Track and Profile of my hike.

This is the view of the trail ahead of me, as well as Long Valley Peak and the Old Burma Road in the distance.

From the summit, this is just one part of the 360° view.

As long as I was up there, I took a little sidetrip off the trail to check on the large ammo can that holds the "Reclaimed Treasure of Manny A. Cacher." The view towards the west is somewhat surreal . . .

This hike must have really been spectacular before the firestorm in October 2003 that burned trees that had survived previous wildfires.

On the way back, I took an old road that headed down towards the valley. Many trees, burned in the 2003 Cedar Fire, had fallen over, blocking the road and presenting unexpected obstacles. As I encountered these, I thought about pioneers and miners who had to contend with circumstances like these after a long winter when they needed to get back to their cabins or mines. The road maintenance they had to contend with, with primitive tools, must have been a challenge, and a disappointment, when they had other, more productive tasks on their minds.

The elevation of this trail is above 5000 feet, so it hasn't been warm enough to urge wildflowers out of hibernation, although I did see a few of these little yellow flowers.

Then, I saw a large shrub just begining to leaf out. It will be interesting to see what it looks like in a few weeks, if I get back up this way with Auld Pro.

I had hoped to hike to another cache as long as I had made such a long drive, but it was 4:00 when I got back to the car, and the other cache was three miles away, so I drove home, taking the long way towards Cuyamaca Lake and then through Rancho Cuyamaca State Park. I would have driven fewer miles taking the Old Burma Road, as I did the day I placed the final container, but that is a slow and winding road. I got home in about an hour. That gave me plenty of time to get updated information for my GSAK database, and load my GPSr with all the new caches placed in the area around the Otay Reservoir where the Event was being held the next day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What a fun hike . . . with a "tour guide"

It had been more than a week since I had hiked with dillweed. I saw a whole bunch of caches in the Lakeside area when I Exported a .gdb file from GSAK to Mapsource, and she was up for it, so I met her at the Rancho San Diego library and we took off. First, I wanted to find a Puzzle cache I figured out a couple of weeks earlier. If it was easy enough for me to "sort of" figure out on my own, I knew dillweed could also figure it out. So, as my GPSr directed us to the cache, we turned first this way, then that way, then this way on a number of suburban streets in the RSD/La Mesa/El Cajon area east of Mt. Helix.

From there, I thought the trailhead would be obvious, once we got in the area. It wasn't . . .

My auto-routing GPSr was sure not getting us to the right place, and the cache owner did not include trailhead coordinates for the beginning of the powerline trail. In desperation, dillweed got out her Nuvi and entered the coordinates of one of the first caches in the series. Her GPSr got us closer to a workable trailhead and finally, more than an hour after starting out from the library, we were on the trail.

I didn't expect to hike this far, or that high up the hill today. Here is the Profile of our hike:

A weak Santa Ana was still in place, after record high temperatures over the weekend, so the air was clear, giving us fantastic views along the series of trails I had expected to be one long continuous powerline road . . .

One of the first caches we found was an ammo can containing a few Travel Bugs and several Geocoins . . . I was really surprised to see so many coins in the cache and to get all the numbers written down, we had to sit down for a while and squint at the tiny numbers on some of the interesting coins, including one from Alaska that had the image of a mosquito on it.

I wish I had remembered to just take a picture of the coins. That is a much easier way to deal with the numbers.

While looking for one cache, dillweed and I heard someone holler at us from the trail below, "Are you Geocachers?" It was Hammer stone and after we found that cache, he offered to be our guide for the rest of the caches up the trail. This is the view from near one of the caches high up on the hill.

Along the trail, high on the hill near the "Burnt Post" cache, we saw this cute little horned lizard. Dillweed picked it up so I could get a closup picture of it.

We found not one, but two, fire hydrants today. I don't know where they came from, but they make fun cache containers . . .

It was a really great day, with good company, and once again I owe thanks to dillweed for doing the driving after I met up with her in Rancho San Diego.

DocDitto posts a fun thread

A couple of years ago, DocDitto came out here on business. He also had several days to go caching. We had a great time, so when I see his name in the Forums, I always want to see what he has to say.

Today, he posted this a thread that included a link to this log which included this image:

Apparently, some workers were replacing the lightpole and found the small container near where the bolts attach. They figured out from the "Geocaching Explainer" in the container what it was for and relocated it to another lightpole.

How funny and wonderful!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A fantastic hike to a rocky peak near Poway

I am very grateful to jahoadi and john for giving me a ride from Rancho San Diego to the trailhead in Poway. With gas at $3.75 a gallon now, I really could not have afforded to drive that distance by myself . . . So, thanks guys. I really appreciated the ride!

This was our goal for the day, Goat Peak.

And, this is the Profile of our hike:

These are some of the other pictures I took on this amazingly-clear, very-warm, April day.

On our way back to the vehicles, while walking along an easy part of the trail, Chuy! spotted this snake that John finally urged off the trail with his walking stick.

At the very end of the hike, we found a cache we DNFd in the morning. Nearby these pretty flowers were blooming.


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