Some Swashbuckling Urban Geocaching

September 29, 2009

I haven’t been able to do much lunchtime geocaching for a while because I’ve found most of the caches within a lunchtime radius.  That all changed with Molly Shock’s Murder Among the Mateys series.  She set out 45 caches in North Hollywood and the Hollywood Hills for an Event cache that I wasn’t able to attend.  I’ve been picking them off a few at a time either on the way to work or during lunch.  So far, I have 22 of them, which is probably more than half of the available caches because some of them have already disappeared, or as Molly says,  “off to Davey Jones locker.”

It’s been nice to see the effort that Molly has put into this series.  And it’s been nice to do some lunchtime caching instead of just staying at my desk.

Thanks Molly.


Geocaching in Point Mugu State Park

September 13, 2009

I had a great day of geocaching in Point Mugu State Park on Saturday.  It was a perfect day for a hike.  It was sunny, but not too hot (for the most part), often with a nice breeze off the ocean.

I have hiked Sycamore Canyon several times, but this trip would take me to some new areas.

The Route:  I started my hike at the trailhead at the end of Wendy Drive and hiked to the windmill.  After visiting the windmill, I headed along the trail toward Boney Mountain so I could pick up the trail down into Upper Sycamore Canyon.  When I came out of Upper Sycamore Canyon, I headed south along the Sycamore Canyon Road to pick up a few caches.  After back tracking a bit, I headed up the road that leads to the Hidden Pond trailhead.  I did the Hidden Pond Trail, then went down into Wood Canyon.  The trail drops by into Sycamore Canyon about 3 miles from the campground.  Total hiking/geocaching time: 9 hours.  Geocaches found:  29  Mileage:  I haven’t figured the mileage yet.

It was a great day for hiking.  These two photos show the sunny skies with the fog near the coast.  Because of the season, everything was very dry and crispy.  While I enjoyed the hike very much, I think Spring would be the best time for this adventure.

The old windmill and Fill In The Blanks was my first stop.  Then it was down into Upper Sycamore Canyon.

Considering the name of the canyon, I figured that I had to include a couple of sycamore photos.

Leaving Upper Sycamore Canyon and entering Sycamore Canyon, I left solitude for the 405 and rush hour.  There were a lot of people on bikes.  The canyon road was very busy.  Be careful–some of the bikers aren’t.  I was able to pick up a few caches in the Canyon, had a nice lunch stop at A Picnic Time Log, including a DNF there, and then backtracked to Ranch Center Road which leads to the Hidden Pond Trail.

Hidden Pond Trail is a single track trail of mixed quality.  The direction I took leads up the steep slope of the ridge.  At times, the trail is very fine sand–almost dust.  Judging by the number of thread marks, I appeared to be a popular mountain bike route.  There are several caches along this trail–some easy, others more difficult.

If you are looking for Arn’ge you glad you took this trail, you don’t need to climb the wall near the cache.  The cache is reachable from the trail.  Unfortunately, it appears that some geocachers have really damaged the area.  This is one of three slides presumeably caused by people looking for the cache.

The trail switchbacks up the ridge. The caches along this stretch of the trail offered a good excuse to take breaks.  The switchbacks were sheltered from the ocean breeze so it was getting pretty warm.  Most of the heat was radiating up from the rocks.

The climb did have its good points.  The views back toward Boney Mountain and Sycamore Canyon were very nice.

The rocks around Buzzing Around Easter Island are covered with interesting lichen.

Descending into Woods Canyon brought a change in vegetation.  I started seeing a lot of cacti and a lot more oaks.

And speaking of oak, there is a lot of the poison variety.  I didn’t want to take a photo of it because I was afraid of infecting my camera.  Most of the poison oak is either red or turning red.  Just thinking about it is making me itch.  If you have read this blog before, you may know that I can get a poison oak rash just looking at the stuff.  I passed on several caches in this area only because the poison oak had encroached on the GZ.

Santa Ana, what’s yer twenty? was one such cache.  Lots of poison oak in the area.  As I walked up a creek bed trying to figure a way to the cache that was away from the poison oak, I smelled something awful–and it wasn’t just me.  I found a full skeleton of a deer that appeared to have been dinner for quite a few.

It was a long, but enjoyable day.  If you are interested in some caches that are off the beaten path, I recommend both Upper Sycamore Canyon and the Lost Pond/Wood Canyon area.  Just be careful around the poison oak.

Here’s my list of finds for the day:

Fill In The Blanks
A View By De-Fault
Rocks On Rocks
Consider the Lilies….(of the Canyon)
Log This One
In the _ _ _
Where’s My Yellow Ribbon?
Rabbit Hole
En Un Tronco Podrido
No Parking
Sin Nombre Crash Corner
Bottom of Hidden Pond Trail
Arn’ge you glad you took this trail
Another reason to get off the main trail.
Very Rocky Switchback
Hidden Pond Trail Switchbacks
Buzzing Around Easter Island
Hidden Pond
Sapphire Sage
I Sea the Oxnard Plains!
What ever happened to the roadrunner?
Trunk Hollow
Winter Solstice
Lowest Level of Hell

That Has to be a Geocacher

September 7, 2009

After an enjoyable picnic breakfast at sunrise at the beach at Silver Stand, we did a little geocaching on the way home.  As we approached Ugly, we saw a car parked on the side of the road.  This cache is placed in the middle of the farm fields of Oxnard and there really isn’t any reason to be parked there, unless, of course, you are a geocacher.  As I stopped the car, I saw the tell tale signs of a geocacher that can’t find the cache:  pacing back and forth, looking again at the GPS, wondering “Where could the cache be?”  I’ve been there many, many times.

I walked up and said, “Have you found it yet?” and then introduced myself.  bythewind777 is a fairly new geocacher from Las Vegas.  She has a boat in the nearby harbor.  We looked for a while together and I did the same bewildered geocacher dance: pacing back and forth, looking again at the GPS, wondering “Where could the cache be?”

The cache was well named.  It is located next to a pile of trash dumped along side of the road.  (I never have figured out why anyone would choose to locate a cache near a trash heap, but I’ve seen it quite a bit.)  I looked at the cache a couple of times before realizing that I had found it.  A nice cache in a lousy location.

The best part of finding the cache, of course, was getting to meet a fellow geocacher.  Nice to meet you, bythewind777.  Keep the finds coming.

Geocaching Across the Country

September 3, 2009
My Finds by County

My Finds by County

I just ran my numbers through and did a Finds by County map.

It’s an interesting record of where my geocaching adventures have taken me.  I’m sure one of these days I will have a find in all 50 states.  Right now, I’m halfway there–25 states down, 25 to go.