Blog Template Musings about Geocaching: 2008-07-13

Musings about Geocaching

Saturday, July 19, 2008

No caching this weekend . . . :-(

Plans were changed by my caching partner, so I stayed home and walked down my road again, the same stretch I walked a week ago.

It was a beautiful day for my walk, cool and breezy, although the haze blocked the views of El Cajon Mountain, Viejas and Cuyamaca Peaks, and Bell Bluff. Shortly after I crossed the road, I was startled by a long snake, a Racer, literally racing up the steep embankment to get away from me. Later on in the walk, I saw a large lizard, possibly a whiptail. After seeing two dead critters on my walk on Wednesday, a Bobcat and King Snake, it was good to see living wildlife . . .

I made it down to the "1 Mile" maker, the same turn-around point for my walk a week ago. After walking ten miles a few days ago, the three mile distance I covered today was easy. At my age, and considering my fifteen years of inactivity due to chronic illness, I find it amazing to write that . . .

Without Geocaching, I never could have gotten into shape like this. That Recreation/Activity/Sport/Hobby (RASH) has been a great motivator!!

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As I walked along and saw all the trash, including small liquor bottles, larger liquor bottles, Burger King bags and food wrappers, and household trash, I wondered, "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE???!!!"

In recent months, the "Environment" has finally made it into nearly every newscast. Global Warming and Recycling and high-gas mileage and battery-powered cars and trucks are almost "acceptable" topics on the Network news and in conversation. My friend and I altered our behavior in the face of extremely-high gas and diesel prices. We car pool when we go into town to get our groceries and make a point of taking our own grocery bags to the store with us. At Henry's they give us a $.06 discount for each bag we bring and at Trader Joe's, we get to enter a raffle when we bring our own bags to reuse.

So . . . who are the idiots who throw their trash out on a rural road like this? Is there anything that will make them become more "aware" of the environment?

At least they also threw out some Bud Light, Gatorade, Arrowhead water, and Monster drink cans and bottles for me to pick up and add to my stash of Recyclables. I'll take them down the hill this week when I have to go into town to get groceries and fill my water bottles.

The last time I took the bottles and cans to the machine, I got enough money for one and a half gallons of gas. That was half a gallon more than it took to drive to town and back . . . ;-)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A "training" hike in preparation for this weekend

Auld Pro invited me to join him and Tamarisk Basher for a long hike this weekend. I decided to go for a walk today to see how far I might be able to hike. I don't want to commit to joining them if I cannot complete the entire hike. I also don't want to slow them down.

My goal was the trailhead for the Lawson caches, a distance of about five miles. I carried plastic bags with me, collecting cans and bottles along the way. The area I have walked is still clear, but as soon as I passed where I have been before, I scored beer cans, beer bottles, Gatorade bottles, Arrowhead water bottles, and many other recyclable items.

Down the road to the east of Four Corners, I saw a sad sight in the middle of the opposite lane. A dead bobcat . . . He looked like he was just sleeping there, stretched out as he was in a comfortable position. Poor thing. I walked across the road and pulled him off to the side so he wouldn't get run over by an inattentive driver.

On my return trip, I saw another dead critter, a beautiful kingsnake.

It is sad to see two beautiful wildlife specimens killed along the same stretch of little-used road.

I finally got to the Lawson trailhead, after stopping to talk to a bicyclist for a while, and started back. At the Barrett Lake entrance, I stashed my two full and heavy kitchen-sized trash bags of cans and bottles hoping they will still be there when I go back in my car to pick them up someday . . .

When I got to Four Corners and had two-and-a-half miles left to walk, I got a bit of a second wind, but physical pain is hard to overcome, even when the walk is along familiar territory. Both my hips were hurting, not just the left hip that frequently bothers me.

By the time I got home, four hours after I started out, thorough evidence, including fatigue and physical pain, accompanied every step. So, after today's "training" walk, I've determined that ten miles is my limit. If I had been hiking a trail, with my trekking poles as aids, that distance might have been extended by a mile or two.

My Vista HCx reported the ten-mile distance as more than 12 miles, but I'm quite sure the Tracks are more accurate than the Trip Computer. When I send the GPSr in for repair of the speaker, I hope the one they send to replace this one will be more accurate at recording the distance.

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UPDATE July 21: Well, I finally decided to drive my car and when I got the the place where I stashed the two bags of cans and bottles, they were gone . . . :-( Oh Well! I hope the person who picked them up needed the reclycling money just as bad as I did . . .

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Great day of caching with Chuy! and 3cd's

Last Sunday, Auld Pro and I thought about doing the new Tecate caches, thinking it was a hike. Turns out, the gate at the bottom of the road is open, so they are accessible by vehicle. Chuy! emailed me about going and I forwarded that message to 3cd's. He could go, and was kind to pick me up near my "Four Corners" cache so I didn't have to drive very far.

We met up with Chuy! along Hwy 94 and then continued on to Tecate where we parked 3cd's truck near "Boom!" and continued the rest of the way in Chuy!'s 4WD truck. It was a hazy day, warm, and humid, so I was happy we were driving up that zig-zagging road. About 15 years ago, when I lived at Madre Grande Monastery outside the little community of Dulzura, I walked up the road to the top of the peak and I'm sure glad we were not walking today. Although I am in better shape now, I think walking up the road to the top would have been a painful experience again, just as it was back then.

Here is the Profile of the drive up the road.

One of the caches was right on the border, which is marked by three strands of barbed wire, laying on the ground. I cannot imagine the environmental destruction that will occur if they build the proposed fence in this area, and in other rugged areas along the border . . .

From this vantage point, the contrast between the open space on the U.S. side, and the urban crowding on the Mexico side in Tecate is amazing.

This is another view from that location that was not even halfway up the peak.

After the first set of caches were placed, the next group that came along, including SKILLET, FATTBOY, and Team Fatman, placed a few more caches including one near this rocky outcrop down a trail through the area that was scorched in the Harris Fire last October.

As we drove up the road, 3cd's pointed out this balancing rock. All we need is a long crowbar to start a game of boulder pinball . . .

There were lots of interesting rock formations along the route including these.

At the top, the Border Patrol keeps a lookout with a huge scope.

We talked to the officers for a while and I learned one of them just returned from a second tour of duty in the Service. He was in Afghanistan for one tour, Iraq for the other. He is very glad to be back in the U.S.

3cd's retrieved this very cool coin from the cache at the top.

After completing our tour of Tecate Peak, 3cd's and I stopped to get a few caches along Hwy. 94, several of which I had already found, including Chuy!'s "Walk the Plank" and some of NightHunter's "Stone Ruination" caches placed at the remnants of homes people built many years ago, and which were destroyed by the wildfires that are part of life in the chapparal habitat.

Along the highway, there is a unique rock formation that is the "Madre Grande." From just the right angle, the rock looks like Aunt Jemmima.

I have always wanted to place a cache to highlight her presence on the ridge, but there are two other caches nearby that get in the way of the "proximity" issue . . . One of those is "Lighten Up" which, before the fire, was in thick chapparal. Not so anymore. 3cd's didn't have to do any bushwhacking to find the cache today.

Last October, during the Harris Fire, the wind was blowing nearly 70 mph as the flames roared through this area. It is hard to imagine how hot the fire was to reduce the thick vegetation growing here to the bare earth that remained after the fire.

Once again, I owe thanks to 3cd's, and Chuy!, for doing all the driving. I am very, very grateful to my caching companions who make it possible for me to join in on these fun caching adventures.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wheeeeuuu! Hot and humid day in Chula Vista

On my seven-mile walk the other day, I twisted my foot and apparently tore something because my right foot is a bit sore and very puffy and swollen. So, I begged off the "planned" Tecate Peak hike and asked Auld Pro to pick a location where I could wear my Chaco sandals.

I met him at the Von's shopping center on Eastlake Parkway and after some preparations, we headed towards the big shopping center on Olympic Parkway, the one with the R.E.I. store. The first cache I found was a clever one placed by kwvers! Even though it was a micro, and was in a parking lot, and at a lamppost, it was wonderful fun.

Now really, where do you think the cache would be? Nope . . . not there.

I really liked this interesting artifact we saw.

From there, we found two WITCH caches (Why Is This Cache Here?) and then another cleverly-cammoed cache at a nice viewpoint. After one more cache in my least-favorite of all hiding places, on an object in a kiddie playground, we drove to the trailhead for a hiking/biking trail along which there were several caches placed by dillweed and "lostguy."

The longer we walked, the hotter it got, and the higher the humidity became. There was one cache placed by dillweed which was in a great location. I wanted to stay. It was cool and shady and there was a creek nearby with "Soothing Sounds."

Alas, my companion was going to continue down the trail, so I had to emerge from the cocoon of shady bushes. We found a few more caches before returning, hot and very sweaty, to the Jeep. I don't remember feeling like that since a trip to humid Florida many years ago. I didn't take any pictures on our little hike. It was just too hot to think about recording our adventure . . .

Once at the Jeep, Auld Pro turned on the air conditioning full blast and I aimed the vents just so for maximum cooling effect . . .

Here is the interesting Track of our walk through that suburban canyon.

After that adventure, we took a break at a Jack-in-the-Box and a Sports Authority Store before finding three more nearby caches. One had a cute container in the shape of a small mailbox and another was a clever hide at a phone booth in front of the store. We didn't find that one until our second visit, and only then because we finally . . . Doh! . . . thought to read the cache description.

I wonder when I will finally learn to do that before beginning my search . . .


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