Geocaching–A Family Affair

May 24, 2010

My daughter, Julie, just blogged about geocaching with her family.  You can find it here.


Backbone Trail

May 22, 2010

Backbone Trail--May 22, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed some new geocaches on the Backbone Trail between Corral Canyon and Malibu Canyon.  Because of a too-busy schedule, the hike had to wait until May 22nd.  I posted the hike on a couple of sites that we use to coordinate hikes to see if some others might want to do this hike.  We ended up with a crowd.

Some of Us at One of the Caches Along the Trail

We met at the end of the trail at DE-COY DE-RAIL ON THE BACKBONE.

At 7:30 AM, we did the car bridge to the beginning of the hike between No Swimming and Fifty Yards from the Road.

Fifty Yards from the Road, Penultimacy, and Last Cache for 15 Miles were west of the trail we were taking, but most of us did the short detour to find them.  Then it was back to the parking lot and the main trail for the day.

Deerweed

I had hiked this section of the Backbone Trail twice and had already found about half of the caches along the trail.  When hiking with such a large group, it’s difficult to actually find a cache yourself.  I did, however, personally find several today.

Scott Spooner got a milestone cache–his 1000th find–with Eagle’s Eye.

Scott Spooner's 1000th Find

He brought his dad along for the occasion.  OLdweeb, retrofit, and Gummyfrog are in the background.

The day couldn’t have been any nicer for a hike.  The sun was out, but it wasn’t hot; the ocean breezes were gentle; the air was clean and the views were fantastic.

Someone laid out an interesting rock labyrinth.

I enjoyed the wildflowers.  I think the microclimate created by the proximity of the ocean prolongs the wildflower season in this area.

Indian Pink

Elderberry

Yucca bloom

Monkey Bush Flower

Toward the end of the hike, I fell behind a bit while taking photos, then fell farther behind when I stopped to help 3 slightly confused hikers.  By the time I got them going and gave them my topo map, I was behind enough that I never did catch up with the group until the parking lot.  That meant that I needed to find the remaining caches the old fashioned way–Earn them–and that also took some extra time.  I was successful with 3 of the remaining caches–DON’T GIVE UP, Below the Tank, and 101 on the BBT, but I DNFed HOLE IN WALL.  I guess that’s just another excuse to return to this nice section of the BBT.

After finishing the hike, I drove Albackore back to his car and several of us hiked up the hill to get the A Turbulent Time in History Earthcache.  We also picked up a cache just south of the parking area–Spanish Boom–that had been placed just a few days ago.

One the drive home, I found one more cache for the day–John Tyler Drive–a very challenging micro that didn’t take me too long.

Thanks to all that came along on the hike.  I had a great time.


Respecting the Land

May 4, 2010

The last couple of times out geocaching, I’ve come across places where we geocachers have damaged the area.  This post is a quick request for all of us to be more aware of our impact on the areas near geocaches.

Saturday I was hiking with a good group of geocachers.  We got a little spread out and I found myself out in front for a couple of caches.  There were several brand new caches in the area.  When I arrived at GZ at one of them, I was only the third or fourth person to visit the cache, yet the area looked like a herd of elephants had been there.  I learned today that the damage had been done by just one geocacher–the guy trying to gather a bunch of FTFs.  The cache owners were very cooperative.  The cache has been archived and other nearby caches have been moved to less sensitive places.

Yesterday I was looking for an ammo box in an urban park.  The cache was easy enough to find.  The coordinates were good; it was hidden under a large bush.  The problem was that to find the cache, you need to go down a few feet of a very  steep dirt slope.  The cache was placed as part of a 10th Anniversary for Geocaching Event, so in only one day, it had a lot of visitors.  When I arrived the following day, the geotrail to the cache looked like it had been traveled on for years.  It wasn’t very pretty.

So my request . . . .

To those of us placing a geocache:  Let’s think ahead as to what will happen after we place the geocache.  Let’s assume that our geocache will be visited by at least 100 people.  What will be the impact on the area?  Did we place the cache in a way will minimize the negative impact on the area around the cache?  Perhaps a good way to do this is to include a good hint as to where the cache is.  That will cut down on widening circles of damage as people look for the geocache.  Particularly sensitive areas are grasses in the wild and planted vegetation in an urban setting.  Steep slopes are also subject to problems.

To those of us looking for a geocache: Let’s think ahead as to what will happen when we look for a geocache.  What will be the impact of our search?  Can we find the cache without leaving any evidence of our search?  Are we willing to take a DNF if our search will cause damage to the area?

Let’s practice good citizenship and stewardship of the land in our geocaching practices.  We participate in a fun hobby.  Let’s not give geocaching a bad name because of how we do it.


Ahmanson Ranch–or Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve

May 1, 2010

A group of us, hiking under the moniker May Day Mob, had a very enjoyable trek through the Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space.  We met at the Victory Blvd. trailhead, the drove up Bell Canyon the the trailhead at the end of Saddlebow Rd.  Entry to the gated community was courtesy of Jeff, who was the hike’s organizer.

While I already found about half of the caches on today’s list, it was nice to revisit the area.  The weather was perfect–nearly cloudless skies, with a gentle breeze.

The area in grassland, with some very nice oaks.  Because fires seem to burn through the area on a regular basis, most of the oaks are scarred by fire.  Most do OK, but some don’t make it.

The grasses were drying out and starting to go to see.  Most of the wildflower were done, but we did get to see some nice blooms.

One of the highlights of the trip was spotting a rattlesnake having lunch.  Ken heard a rattle in the bushes on the side of the trail.  I first saw the squirrel (lunch), but it took some work to see the snake.  It blended in with the sticks very well.  He wasn’t too interested in putting on a show for us.  As we watched and took some photos, the snake decided to retreat.  It let go of the squirrel and backed farther in branches.  I assume it was for safety sake.  A snake in the middle to swallowing a large squirrel is pretty much defenseless.

Squirrel for Lunch

Pianofab’s video clip of the rattlesnake and the squirrel.

We had a few DNFs on the walk.  I was still able to some up with 16 finds for the day.  Here is the list and the track view of the day.

Capsbug’s 1k Cache

SURROUNDED BY PEAKS

SHADE & WATER

SOLAR PANELS

Too Lazy to Proceed

Beyond the Boundary

Crossover to Chesbro Canyon – viewpoint spur

A shady area on a Sunny Day

Another Ahmanson Bush

I WAS HOT !!

IT’S A HANGER

TOP OF GAP

ON THE HILLSIDE

BUSH NEXT TO THE TRAIL

IN THE TREES

SHOW ME SOME LIGHT