Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2008-06-01

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Iron Mountain is finally cleared off . . . for now

When I got home from the long drive and hike yesterday, I sent an email to Auld Pro suggesting we just go somewhere, look at a nice view, and tell everyone we went for a hike.

That was not to be . . . He and "lostguy" had already planned to go up to Iron Mountain to get some of the caches that had been placed since they had last been there. I had not hiked Iron Mountain since August 2006, so there were also caches for me to find. Locating the final for Habu!'s Multi was on the agenda. I had been holding onto those final coordinates for a long time . . .

Now that I knew our destination, I hoped my legs would get me up and down the trail after walking 18 miles over the past three days . . .

When we arrived at the parking area and set off, we were greeted by a "Community Service Officer" who told us there had been break-ins lately. So, Auld Pro and I walked back to his Jeep, rearranged the items we had to leave behind, and then moved the vehicle closer to the trailhead, hoping the busy trail would keep anyone from trying anything with the Jeep.

It sure is sad that people, er, scumbags, are doing that. Grrrrrr.

The first cache we went to was the first waypoint of Habu!'s Multi. "lostguy" and I watched Auld Pro do the drunken-bee dance as he followed his Magellan's wandering arrow until it finally pointed to the correct bush, where the container was visible from 30 feet away. We grabbed a "ballot" from the cache and Auld Pro input the coordinates for the "Alternate Candidate." When we arrived at that location, we were greeted by this message on the outside of the huge ammo can that was padlocked to a tree.

So . . . now we were off to cast our vote for Marko Ramius. This time Auld Pro spotted the container first. As I crashed through the laurel bush to get to the other side, I grabbed the ammo can from its hiding place.

To get to the trail, we had to backtrack a bit. We were headed to "Which way to the Brownie meeting." The next cache after that one, was cleverly hidden.

This is what was under that rock flake.

We continued up, up, up the trail, finally stopping at a great viewpoint where you can see to the west as well as to the east. Auld Pro didn't have the coordinates in his GPSr, however he spotted the container above where I was searching.

From there, we followed some bunny trails to get to two more caches higher up on the nearby peaks. At the first location, I took a picture of our little group.

After finding the caches on the peaks, we walked down, down, down several switchbacks to get to the trail that goes out to "Ramona Overlook" where I saw this view.

Nearby there were some amazing cliffs that a young man we met on the point wanted to climb.

After that cache, I was done, but both "lostguy" and Auld Pro had a couple more caches to find. At the last one, we were only .22 from the peak where the Terracache was hiding. I offered to go to the top with Auld Pro, but he didn't want to make the trek, which would have been a lot further than the "as-the-crow-flies" distance.

We turned around and started down the steep and rocky trail. The last time I walked that trail, it was dusk on a cloudy evening. I was holding my hiking companions back because my knee hurt, something that hasn't happened for several months now. I was glad I could keep up with my younger companions today.

Here is an image of the tangled tracks of the three trips I have made up and around Iron Mountain.

After we got back to the Jeep, which was thankfully untouched by vandals, we drove up to the Ellie Lane trail to make a quick .4-mile walk to a cache placed by Toby's Gang. I admired the pretty buckskin horse in the pasture that brought back memories from a long time ago . . .

This is the Profile of our hiking adventure:

As usual, I had a great time. I really enjoy hiking with "lostguy" who has a great sense of humor, even though he won't let Auld Pro and me stop to eat. Auld Pro even made note of that in his log for "Type IV Cache of Holding" where he wrote:
Lostguy was gracious enough to allow Miragee and me 3.7 minutes eat something here. I thank him for that.

I'm very appreciative of my fun hiking companions and am looking forward to our next adventure.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Two "Historic Caches" go into the "Found" column

Late Thursday afternoon, Chuy! posted in San Diego Event Forum that he was headed north to find the Calaveras Lake caches. He said it would be about a seven-mile hike, and since I had walked five miles on each of the last two days, I wondered if I would be too tired. However, I didn't think the terrain was too tough, so I sent him an email, and then called and left a message.

I set my alarm for 5:30 in the morning and went to bed early . . .

In the morning, I gave myself about 45 minutes to get to Chuy!'s house and that was just about the right amount of time to get there on time. It was a pleasant surprise to see map4navigation there. He had decided at the last minute to sign on for the adventure. I had not cached with him for a long time.

We loaded our stuff into Chuy!'s truck and set off up the 67 and from there, followed a complicated route. It was a good thing Chuy! knew his way to the area, because I had no idea where we were going . . . and it was a long drive. I was very thankful he wanted to head up that way. With the price of gas at $4.35 a gallon, my driving is going to be even more limited now.

We started out on the trail, going in the opposite direction from the way Princess Toadstool and I walked when we were in the area in 2005. It was a hazy day, so I didn't take too many pictures. I had to stop when I saw this flower carpet at the base of the extinct volcano.

At that point, we were headed up to the top of the of the rocky mound that is a unique geologic formation in that part of San Diego County.

Once we got on the top, we searched for the Geocache for quite a while. I meandered over to the location of the Terracache and found it easily. Unfortunately, the container had leaked during this past winter, so the inside was wet and rusty. The logbook was protected by the ziplock bag, so that was a good thing.

We finally located the Geocache about 37' away from GZ and headed back down the trail on our way to a couple of caches, not realizing we would get to climb almost all the way to the top again after circling around the west side of the volcano.

We followed the meandering trails, backtracking once to pick up one of the "Historic Caches" we came all this way to find.

We walked past these amazing, huge thistle plants a couple of times during our wanderings.

Here is the Profile of our adventure. The spikes in the track are because I kept the GPS unit on my belt during our hike.

We ended the day at a great English Pub that has a cache in the front planter. That was a cache I DNF'd along with a large group of other cachers back in 2006. It was good to move that one to the "Found" column, and great to enjoy a good dinner with my caching companions.

I really had a great day finding the most caches I have found in one day in more than a year.

By the time I got back to Lakeside, I was really tired. I hoped the plans for Saturday did not involve a strenuous hike, but after talking to Auld Pro, found out that was not to be the case . . .

Monday, June 02, 2008

A long drive to a short hike

3cd's wanted to find a Terracache located on one of the foothills of Otay Mountain, so off we went, driving the back way down Honey Springs Road to Otay Lakes Road. From there, because of both development and open space, we had to drive west, then south, then back to the east again . . .

Finally, we arrived at the trailhead where a cache had been placed, so we got a smilie before starting up the steep, steep trail to gratefuldad's "Sado-Masochism in the Otay Range" cache.

On the way up the trail, 3cd's stopped me when he saw this snake.

When we left east county, the sky was clear, but this far south, and this close to the ocean and the pollution from Tijuana, the sky was hazy, interfering with the views that would have been spectacular on a clear day.

The hike was steep, but it was short, only a mile and a half, so our day was over early. On the way back, 3cd's stopped to find a couple of caches near Otay Lakes that I found a few weeks ago with dillweed.

It was a perfect hiking day and I appreciated being able to get both a Terracache, and some Geocaches today. I had a Geocoin I picked up on Goat Peak the other day, but forgot to take it with me. It is now in my pack so the next time I get to go caching, I'll place it. That will make the coin owner happy.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Cans and bottles, plus flowers, horses, and cows

Well . . . since gas prices are precluding my leaving home to go caching, I walked my road again today with a kitchen-sized trash bag in hand. Today I didn't bring along the GPSr, but did bring my camera to take pictures of the flowers that are still blooming, and anything else I found interesting, including this view of El Cajon Mountain north of Lakeside.

My "Another Astounding Viewpoint" cache is down the hill a little distance from this location on Skyline Truck Trail.

Looking in the other direction from there is a clear view of the boulder-strewn, broad-shouldered Gaskill Peak and the rocky knob that is Lawson Peak.

These are just some of the flowers that I saw today.

I took a side trip up a road I haven't walked before. The breeze was behind me, blowing at the same speed I was walking, so I was starting to get warm and was making excuses to myself about why I would head back when I turned around. But, once I headed the other way, the breeze was cool and refreshing, so I continued on. The little excursion up Wisecarver Truck Trail added another mile to my five-mile walk down to the stop sign near my "Four Corners" cache.

Along Wisecarver T.T., I found almost a half a case of full beer cans. Since I didn't want to carry the weight of full cans, I emptied them out, risking getting sprayed with beer as the warm cans were opened. One can, that was about to burst, shot off like a rocket when I gave it a toss toward a rock that punctured its side. Too bad I didn't have the camera ready to take a movie of that funny sight.

With the bag getting filled, I continued down the road where I stopped to pet the horses, including this handsome fellow.

For seven years of my life I had horses and during that time they were my life. Petting this guy brings back wonderful memories of those years before 1990, which is when I had to sell the horses due to illness. Amazingly, after all this time, I still have "horse dreams" in which I believe I own two or more horses that are waiting for me to come back and get from the people who have been caring for them all these years . . .

Across the street from the four horses is a small herd of cattle including a bull, some cows, and several cute calves. This cow was curious about me and my large white trash bag.

The day was beautiful and the walk was a good diversion, but it sure wasn't as much fun as hiking and caching with Auld Pro and "lostguy" a week ago today.

Maybe next weekend I'll get a chance to go caching again.


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