Christmas Eve Caching

December 24, 2011

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I have had my eye on Seared Sumac for quite a while.  The cache has been MIA, so when I saw a Found log on it this week, I was curious.  It turned out that it was really a DNF.  I asked the cache owner if she would like me to replace it and her wrote back that she gave Gummyfrog permission to replace it.  So I did what any good geocacher would do–I contacted Gummyfrog and invited myself to join him on his hike.  Bart was gracious to say yes.

Bart, Mike, Sherry and I met at the corner of Valley Circle and Roscoe at 7:00 AM this morning and were driven up Woolsey Canyon Road by a friend of Bart’s.  We started hiking just as the sun was lighting the sandstone rocks.

I had already found all the caches on this trail, except for Seared Sumac.  It was fun trying to remember where the caches were stashed.  On most of my other visits, it was much warmer than this morning so it felt like a different experience.

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I had always hiked down the trail and then returned back the way I came.  Today was the first time I made this a one-way trip.  Getting out of the canyon was a little tricky; the end of the trail has been fenced off by a development company.  Bart found a gap in the fence along Valley Circle where we could exit the area.  Then it was on to Part II of today’s adventure.

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Part II was the reverse of Part I; I had only found one cache along the trail.  As we climbed up the hill from the trail head, we realized that we had another hiking companion–the wind.  It was really blowing hard, especially went we were hiking along the exposed ridgeline.

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After a false start with Witchy Wealth , we continued UP the ridge for Mezzanine With A View, Room with a Vue,  and You’ve Got Mail.  At You’ve Got Mail , we decided the even though we had 4 more caches to find along the trail, we would save them for another day.  The “trail” after You’ve Got Mail is very iffy and the wind wasn’t.  It didn’t seem very safe to continue today, so we turned back.

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On the way DOWN the hill, we hold a game trail that led to a little larger path to ON THE TRAIL TO BILL’S RULE .  In spite of its name, it really isn’t one on the trail.

After that find, we gave Witchy Wealth another try.  We had it in name without must of a problem.

I had a great time hiking today with nice friends through a very nice area.  I got 5 new finds, while the rest of the group found a total of 11.  We also put out 2 new caches along the upper trail and replaced a cache that has been under the weather for quite a while.  All in all, a very good day of caching.

Total mileage:  4.5 miles

112124 track

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Simi Hills Earthcache and Bill’s 5-Star Rule

December 21, 2011

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In my efforts to find all the caches close to my home, I put my sights on 3 caches today in the hills on the north side of Simi Valley–Simi Hills, Bill’s “Five Star” Rule, and Three Tank Trip – #3.  All three required hiking up some steep hillsides.

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I parked at This is the End and headed up to the Earthcache.  It’s a pretty good climb–285 feet in about .6o miles.  When I got close to the Simi Hills GZ, I met a Ventura County firefighter.  He was cutting samples of brush to determine their moisture content.  Every 2 weeks, he samples brush in 5 areas across the county.  He weighs the samples, then bakes them for about 12 hours and weighs them again.  The comparison allows him to determine the moisture content of the vegetation.  By the way, he got up the hill much faster than I did.

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I considered going cross country from Simi Hills to Bill’s “Five Star” Rule by hiking a clockwise route around the backside of the ridge.  I’m glad that I didn’t do it.  It was probably quicker (and certainly safer) going back to the truck and starting fresh.

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The trip up the ridge to Bill’s “Five Star” Rule is another steep climb–345 feet in .67 miles.  Because you can see the route (most of it, anyway) from the trail head, the route might be a bit intimidating.  The tail goes up and then UP some more.  Luckily, Don’s hint helps avoid the “crazy” part of the trail.

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The cache is beyond the summit because of the proximity requirements of gc.com–no caches within 528 of another.  When I was figuring the best path from the summit to the cache, I heard some noise in the bushes and saw 2 very healthy deer.  They weren’t too interested in having me invading their territory and took off in a hurry.

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I was a bit concerned about finding the cache, but Don’s coords were spot on and I had the cache soon enough.  Then it was time to go back down the hill, enjoying the views all the way.

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Here is the track and the trail profile:

111221 Simi Hills and Bills 5 Star Rule

The final cache of the day–Three Tank Trip – #3–is a quick walk up a steep, paved road to a water tank compound.  It was a quick find.


Cleaning Up a Few Caches

December 14, 2011

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My goal today was to find 3 nearby caches that have been on my to-do list for a while–crash pad, Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo, and A Space in Time.  I’ve never tried crash pad and have DNFed the other two.  I was only to do this hike a couple of weeks ago but there was too much wind.

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It was chilly when I started up the Chumash Trail a little before 8:00 AM.  However, it was sunny, clear, and there wasn’t much wind.  The trail was in pretty good shape–not too much mud from the recent rains.

The bonus to doing the hike today instead of a couple of weeks ago was Dark Shadows.  It was hidden last week and I got the FTF this morning.  I haven’t had one of those in a long time.

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crash pad was a quick find and then it was on to Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo.  The owner, GoinHikin (Mark) offered me his phone number to use if I ran into trouble.  After about 30 of looking, I gave him a call–voice mail.

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I moved on to the next cache–A Space in Time–and found it fairly quickly.  Then I gave Mark another call–more voice mail.  I tried very nook and cranny that I could think of hiding a cache in, but still came up empty.

I finally gave up at 11:00 AM and started back down the hill.  Almost an hour later I got a call from Mark.  He had been hiking this morning too and had been out of phone range when I tried calling him.  He gave me some more directions.  Hopefully, next trip up the hill I’ll have enough info to finally count this one as found.

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Tonight, I attend the SFV Geocachers Holiday Party M&G #23 and was able to meet some geocachers that I’ve only known by their names.  Also got to talk with Mark about today’s adventure.


A Dragonfly and a Hummingbird

December 10, 2011

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What do you do when you know you will never find 2 nearby caches? You put them on your Ignore List and forget about them. That’s exactly what I did with Viper’s Hummingbird Mystery and the dragonfly scroll. The Hummingbird Mystery has been around since 2004 and the dragonfly scroll since 2002. Both are very difficult Puzzle caches and I had absolutely no idea how to solve the puzzles. Hence, the Ignore List.

A couple weeks ago, Bart posted his intention to go for these caches on the San Fernando Valley Geocachers board and both caches moved from the Ignore list to the “Let’s go get them” list.  And now they are both in the Found column.

The group met at 7:00 AM at No Smiles the trailhead for the Hummingbird trail and headed up the hill.  Besides the two puzzle caches, there were 6 other caches along the trail.  Since I had already found them, my only goal today was the two puzzles.

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Because we had an early start, almost all the hike up the hill was in the shadows.  The morning was clear, cool, and no wind–fine conditions for the climb up the hill.

The Hummingbird trail is steep in spots, with quite a bit of slick rock.  Unfortunately, the mountain bikers have cut their own trails down the hill, so there are quite a few “scars” along the trail.

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While the group was looking for Cache Twentytwo, I hiked ahead to the next cache–All holed up.  Unfortunately, I was too clever by half.  I noticed the group leaving Cache Twentytwo and heading off the trail–heading to Viper’s Hummingbird Mystery.  So down the trail I went,  arriving just in time to arrive for the signing of the log.  Then it was back to All holed up .

After All holed up , it was time to bag the main goal of the hike–the dragonfly scroll .  We were only using photo clues from previous finders.  The heavy lifting here was done my Bart (gummyfrog) and Mike (lightningstar).

After arriving in the likely area, we spread out and started looking for the dragonfly petroglyph.  Unfortunately, while I was looking on the west side of the rocks, I slipped on some grass and a twisted my knee.  A few minutes later, Bart yelled that he found the dragonfly.

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My thanks to Bart and Mike for figuring out how to locate the dragonfly scroll .  I never could have done it alone.

It was also good to hike with the group and get to meet some cachers whose names that I knew for a while, but didn’t meet until today.

After the Dragonfly find, the rest to the group continued up the hill.  I decided the more prudent direction for me would be back down.  The trip down the trail was a bit awkward with my bum knee.  I’m icing it now and hopefully it will be a quick heal.  I also know that I got into some poison oak.  It was only the woody sticks, but that is enough for me to break out.  I cleaned up with Tecnu as soon as I got home, so hopefully I won’t have a unwanted souvenir from today’s hike.

Again, thanks Bart and thanks Mike for helping me move these two caches from my Ignore List to the Found column.