A couple days ago, I noticed a new power trail pop up close to home. Gummyfrog and lightningstar had loaded the Johnson Motorway with a new crop of caches. I posted a note at San Fernando Valley Geocachers that I thought the trail would be another good excuse for a group hike.
This morning, I started early working on my job hunt. [Side note: If you know anyone that needs an accomplished human resources professional, please keep me in mind and pass the information on to me. End of unpaid announcement.] I knew that I wanted to get in a short hike today for the exercise, but when I noticed what a nice day it was becoming, I thought of the Johnson Motorway trail and its new caches.
I decided that I would take my dog, Trout, along on the adventure. The last time he was out, we needed to take him to the vet because he charged up and down the hills so fast that he ended up with tendinitis. He also is grounded from the hills once the foxtails are sharp. He once inhaled some and when they started coming out his belly, we knew he had a problem. The vet had to open him up and clean out the foxtails. One even worked its way into Trout’s liver.
To get from the parking area to the car, you need to walk through a very exclusive neighborhood of giant houses. When the area was subdivided, the developers were required to establish an easement for hikers and mountain bikers. Signs on the gate remind the hikers that if they leave the county trail, they are TRESPASSERS. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the houses.
When we arrived at the first cache, go left young man and found a blank log, I realized that I was probably in for a string of FTFs. I haven’t tried going for a First to Find in probably 7 years and today I racked up 12 FTFs. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I had a few DNFs and also didn’t go for all the caches that Gummyfrog and lightningstar placed, so for you FTF hounds, there are still a few caches along the trail looking for a find.
It was a beautiful day for the hike. Sunny, clear, an easy breeze–perfect conditions for hiking up the hill. Because of the recent rains, the trail was muddy in places, but, for the most part, was in good condition. One added bonus of the soft ground was the ability to do a little tracking. I was able to find several caches by following the owners’ foot prints to the caches. Many of the caches don’t have hints, so the help was welcome.
One important note: Many of the caches are located exactly where I would expect to find a rattlesnake. Fortunately, no snakes today. [Normally I like spotting snakes, but with a very curious dog “helping” me today, I was happy not to encounter any rattlers today.] Please take appropriate caution–don’t put your hands anywhere you haven’t checked out; use a hiking stick to bang on the couple of metal culverts before reaching in; well, you know the drill.
You didn’t know that you can find Trout in the streams on the trail, did you?
I had trouble with a few of the caches. flat top was my first DNF. I looked for too long, then e-mailed Bart for some help. He called me back and described where to look. I tried it again on the way down the hill and got the same result–DNF. The description for Cavewall warns of danger if you take a misstep. Since I was hiking solo, I didn’t want to push my luck. I checked out the appropriate and decided to wouldn’t even give this one a try today. Johnson and Johnson also gave me some trouble. I checked a lot of places, but just couldn’t find the right spot. I did find quite a bit of poison oak leafing out near GZ. I came to the same conclusion as I did with the previous cache–maybe another day.
Even with the few DNFs, I had a great adventure today. I will hopefully return soon with some cachers who have better skills and eyes to find the caches that I missed today.
The out-and-back hike from the parking under the 118 at Iverson to the turnaround spot at Johnson and Johnson took me 5 hours exactly, covering 6.74 miles or so. (The last part of my track was recorded as a straight line.) Got 12 finds, 3 DNFs, and 1 DNA–Did not Attempt.