Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2008-05-04

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Another very fun "We Be Jeepin'" Event

The Splashes planned another "We Be Jeepin'" Event and I begged a ride from The Fat Cats who have a brand new four-door Jeep outfitted with huge tires and all the other important features necessary for serious off-roading. I met them at the Descanso Park 'n Ride and off we went, up the winding road toward Julian and the even more winding Banner Grade road on our way to the meeting spot.

Jeep after Jeep started arriving until finally, all 21, or so, vehicles were ready to start up the Forest Service road. Most of the wildflowers were past their prime except for some of the cacti species, and several larger bushes.

Although we only found three caches during the day, we had lots of fun, especially when we watched some of the people take their vehicles over a challenging rocky obstacle. FishPOET went first and made it just fine. Then RUSCAL drove over the obstacle course, making it after realigning his Jeep a couple of times. Robyn picked a perfect line and made it look so easy and smooth.

Then, it was Habu!'s turn . . . Here is a picture of him and his jeep before he got it stuck . . .

And, here are a few people trying to help his get it unstuck a while later.

Robyn got to use her winch to pull Habu! out of the predicament he had driven into . . . I'm not sure the cable show in this picture, but it's there . . .

Finally we were all ready to head out and find the few caches along the road. From high up on one hill, I got a picture of a portion of the group far down below.

The first cache on our list was one by the bradybunchboys called "'If You CAN'T Hack IT ! Pack IT !' LSR." It was near a mine of some sort where we found several lavender-colored stones and rocks. It had this great view of the desert off to the east.

Inside one of the mine openings, we saw this 2 X 4 frame that I hope they weren't depending on supporting the overhead rocks . . .

Here is one picture of the group at the Palm cache.

Near the cache hiding spot were a couple of Indian morteros that had this view of Banner Grade.

The last cache we found during the Event was "Volcan View 4." It had spectacular views in several different directions.

After that, we made our way back down to the highway where we had to air up the tires we had aired down for the rough terrain. It took a while to inflate the tires from 20 lbs. of pressure back up to 50 pounds.

The Fat Cats were nice enough to stop so I could find two more caches along the road as we headed home. One was under some trees and my GPSr directed me to a tree that was so infested with ants, I was just about to suspend my search when I got some help guiding me to the cache location nearly 30 feet east of where I was standing.

I'm sure glad the cache wasn't in that ant-infested tree. Even though it wasn't, I still brought a few of those guys back to the vehicle with me.

I had a good time and am very grateful to The Fat Cats for letting me join them on the adventure. I'm already looking forward to the next "We Be Jeepin'" Event.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Hike number three to the amazing Bell Bluff

Today was going to be my "errand day." I had ten gallons to fill with water from "The Water Store," and lots and lots of cans and bottles to take to the Recycling Center.

However . . . while sitting here drinking my morning coffee, relaxing in a turtleneck and sweatpants, I got an email from dillweed saying she and fisnjack were on their way to my house. Eeeeek! There were several brand new caches on Bell Bluff, placed by "lostguy" yesterday, so they were headed that way and wanted me to join them.

The water in the Sweetwater River was lower this time, so I didn't have to wade through with my sandals on. Since I had them on, I wore them for the first three miles of the trail until my boots were absolutlely necessary on the "green ribbon" trail.

Here are some photos I took during our very fun day:

We saw a bird after making the climb back up from "SW Bell Bluff. Is it worth one Smiley?"

This is the view from that cache.

At the end of the long hike, we saw this whale:

It was a really great hike, one of the longest ones I have taken, and we got six FTFs. I'll post the Tracks and Profile a bit later.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another walk to get gas money

The gloomy gray skies of the last two days finally cleared to hazy sunshine, so I decided to head in the other direction along my road to see how many cans and bottles I could collect, while getting some much-needed exercise.

I started off with larger bags today, one from the Amvets Thrift Store, another from Macy's . . .

Looking for recyclables is sort of like caching, because I have my eyes trained on the ground, looking for that little glint of sunlight on an aluminum can, or the glow where the sun shines through an amber beer bottle. Sometimes, seeing something is harder tha "Ooooh, shiny!" because all I see is a little bit of white from the paper label on a plastic water bottle.

The variety of cans and bottles I find spans the entire spectrum from health drinks to Gatoraid to Red Bull to beer bottles and cans. Seems like Bud Light cans, the big ones, were the most common new cans I found today.

On my way back up the hill, at the two-mile mark, I hid the two full bags because they were too heavy to carry the rest of the way back. I'll pick them up on my way into town. I sure hope no one else comes along and grabs the bags before I can get down there. Although, if they need that five or six dollars as much as I do, I guess they can have the cans and bottles.

Here is the Profile of today's little walk:

All the spikes are from where I stopped and leaned over the GPSr, or climbed down the embankment, to retrieve one of the "five-cent treasures."

By the time I got back, I had filled two more smaller bags of cans and bottles, so today was a good day. All those nickle-valued bottles, along with the occasional ten-cent one, eventually add up to real money . . .

Monday, May 05, 2008

An incredible day for a hike to a Terracache

The day dawned cloudy and overcast, but 3cd's, dillweed, and I were headed further east, so I hoped the sun would come out to warm up the day from the 50° temperature it was when I left my house.

We met dillweed at the staging area for Hollenbeck Canyon and after she hopped into 3cd's truck, we headed east on the narrow and dangerous Highway 94, driving past the small community of Dulzura, which had been devastated by the wildfire last October. Along the way, we stopped to get a new cache placed by W9JIM, a cacher who has been hiding caches since 2001, including the famous "Mud Cave Cookie Tin."

The small container highlighted an old section of Highway 94 that went around a sharp curve near the flume.

We continued on to Barrett Junction where we turned north and continued on up past the parking spot for "Indiana Ed's" two caches, the "Subterranean Cache" and "Cave of Ghost Waters." I had no idea the road continued up, up, up the way it did and since we had a lot of climbing ahead of us, I was sure glad we drove that extra distance.

The sky was still mostly overcast as we started up the faint trail on the ridge. Our goal was the Terracache at the top of "Skunk Hollow Peak" placed by Akop&Fam last July. It went unfound until T.R. Violin found it a couple of days ago.

The climb was very steep, and if there was a trail, we lost it . . .

The views in all directions were just incredible because of the clouds and filtered light.

From that vantage point, the flume looks like "art."

The poppies that were everywhere on the fire-ravaged slopes were a different species (or subspecies) from the large, bright orange ones we saw several weeks ago in MTRP.

Poppies Poppies Poppies

The flume and the view beyond it

Negotiating the steep hill at the end of the hike was made a lot easier for me using my trekking poles. And, speaking of trekking poles, I found a great site explaining the attributes of them, and how to use them, while browsing the Internet the other day.

This is the profile of our hike. It wasn't as long as some Terracache hikes are, but it sure was steep . . .

It wasn't quite noon when we got back to the truck, so we had time to look for a few more caches out in this area. One was at a cross near Highway 94, the other one was at the turn off the highway onto the spur road that goes to Tecate and the border crossing into Mexico. We got a FTF there on a cache called "BOOM!. This was another new cache placed by W9JIM.

After that we made our way to one of Night Hunter's "Stone Ruination" caches. We were stopped briefly by a border patrolman as we made our way back from that interesting remnant of the past.

On our way back, we stopped to find "Mystery Pools of Potrero Creek." I found the cache back in 2005 when the cache owner was still active in maintaining it. Since then, the cache has been muggled a couple of times and now, it looks like the only thing left is the plastic lid of a replacement container. I hope Radical Geezer will replace the container. It is a cool location, and there is a lot of "history" on the cache page.

It really was a great day and I am thankful to 3cd's for doing all that driving. As the crow flies, Tecate is only 17 miles from my house . . . but driving those winding roads to get there added a lot more miles than that . . .

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More gas money for my next Geocaching adventure

It was a beautiful day today and even though I couldn't drive my car anywhere, I decided to get some exercise by walking my road again.

I took a few plastic bags with me and walked a bit further than I did the other day, taking my Vista C with me. It has been "resting" since I got my Vista HCx and because of that, it took a long time for it to find the satellites. Once it did, it sure lost them quickly if I tried to hold it any other way than face up to the sky. I'm spoiled since I can clip the Vista HCx to my belt, leaving my hands free for my trekking poles, or for plastic bags full of cans and bottles, as they were today by the time I made my way back home after my four-mile walk.

It is hard to believe I was able to pick up three more bags of recylables after collecting along my road just a few days ago . . .

It is too bad I didn't take my camera with me today. I would have gotten pictures of different groups of people recreating along my road. First, there were the antique cars making there way on tall, skinny tires. It was obvious those cars don't have catalytic converters . . . PEeeee YUuuuu. The exhaust smell was evident after each car drove by, and one in particular was really bad. It smelled like the engine ran on kerosene.

Then, there was a large group of motocyclists who rode by in a few different "shifts." There were at least 50 bikes ridden mostly by couples, but a few bikes had single riders and at least one of the bikes was ridden by a woman.

Finally there were some people on road bikes. Because my two-lane road is winding and hilly, it is a popular road for weekend activities. Because it is so hilly, I did not envy the bicyclists, but when I saw them, there were near the top of the hill where it levels off and then goes down, down, down from 2500 feet of elevation to about 900 feet.


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