A Rocky Cache

January 31, 2012

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This morning, I wanted to knock off another cache inside my 5-mile radius.  I had one cache in mind, but needed some special equipment (which I didn’t have with me), so the backup cache was Rocky Ragoo.

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Rocky Ragoo is located in the Santa Susana Pass Park area.  There are a number of ways to approach the cache, none of which are that great.  Quoting the cache description, “There are multiple ways to get to the cache, most of which require the use of animal trails, moderate bushwhacking, and boulder climbing.”  It’s all true.

After a false start or two, I got going in the right direction.  As I climbed the hill, I could see the cache location, but not a great way to get to it.  I decided to circle around to the north and then approach from that direction.  It got me there, but it wasn’t the best way to get there.

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Once near the GZ, I looked around for the cache, but came up empty.  The GPS needle was pointing over the cliff and I didn’t want to believe it.  After a while, I found a way to the bottom to the cliff and found a likely spot for the cache.  Yep, there it was, nicely tucked inside a small cave.

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I decided to take a more direct approach back to the road.  I’ve posted the track; the reception at ground zero must have been bad.  I looked around in circles, but certainly not as much as the track would indicate.

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As far as emptying my 5-mile radius–I got down to 20 caches, 7 of which might be MIA.  With lightningstar‘s series of five new caches in the Hummingbird Trail area, the count is now up to 24.


The Five-Mile Radius and Me

January 25, 2012

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In my efforts to find all the caches in a 5-mile radius of my home, I set out this morning to get one or two finds.  I’m getting within striking distance–after the 2 finds this morning, I only need 25 more finds.

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I started the morning going for Trail Marker.  I did it an easier way–drove up Bell Canyon to the trail head at N 34° 12.826  W 118° 42.568, then hiked in from there.  The hike was 1.75 miles round trip and took just under an hour.

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bell to trail marker

Here is the track and the trail profile of the hike.

I also checked if Bill’s Rule can be accessed from the west.  It can’t be done–at least not easily or safely. I got within 800 feet of the cache, but the approach from a vacant lot ends with a very steep drop into a gully, then an even steeper ascent up to a road that would access the cache. I guess I’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way.

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I then drove to Chatsworth to find D_J 3-K.  I was a little concerned about how to approach this one, so I contacted a couple of previous finders.  They both said pretty much the same thing–there are lots of trails to the cache; pick one you like and go for it.

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I took the hard way–mostly climbing the rock near the east opening of the tunnel.  The easier way is to approach from the south and the west. That’s how to returned.

I was hoping for a passing train while I was up there. My grandkids love trains and it would have been nice to send them a video of a train entering/leaving the tunnel.  No such luck this morning

I found the cache right away, once I got to it.   It was the getting to it that was the adventure.

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Unfortunately, most all the “trails” in the area lead to places to deface the rocks with graffiti.  I didn’t waste the time to take photos of the messes made on the rocks.  I prefer beautiful over that stuff, so here is a shot of some wildflowers.

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Here is the track of the hike/climb to D_J 3-K.

817 caches down (602 active and 215 archived) and 25 to go!


Forgotten Cache Challenge–GC26395

January 22, 2012

I’m always looking for interesting geocaching challenges.  This cache–Forgotten Cache Challenge–is one of them.

The logging requirements for the cache are simple; the execution, not so easy.  You need to find a cache that hasn’t been found in 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, etc. all the way to 12 months.  Only months count, so a cache found on December 31, then found by you on January 1st would count for a cache that had been forgotten for 1 month.

Fortunately, there is a way to automate the search through your finds to see how you are doing with the challenge.  Edward–paleolith of Spinal Tap fame–has written a program to be used in connection with GSAK.  His detailed instructions can be found at paleolith and the Forgotten Cache Challenge.

The final cache is an easy grab in the South Bay, not far off the 405.

It’s an interesting challenge.  Please be forewarned about downloading the logs into GSAK according to paleolith’s instructions; it can take a long time.  I have over 7300 finds, found over 10 years.  It took gc.com more than 20 hours to download all the logs for all my finds.

Have fun!


Geocaching the Simi Hills

January 20, 2012

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Today, my goal was to get some of the nearby geocaches that require hiking.  Rain is supposed to be coming tomorrow, so today is a good day to avoid the muddy, slippery trails.

My original plan was to start in Sage Ranch, but before left this morning, I noticed a new cache on the Chumash Trail.  Watch for Bikes 2.0 was my first stop, just as the sun was rising over the Rocky Peak ridge.   Watch for Bikes 2.0  took me a little longer than it should have.  My GPS was pointing to the wrong side of the trail; I could find anything there, so I looked where I would have placed it.  I first found the remains of GC189W2 Watch for Bikes, then I found the replacement cache a few feet away.  It was then time to head down the hill and drive up to Sage Ranch for Lower Sage Ranch park.

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Sage Ranch is the home of my very first geocache find–GC2CC Sage Ranch Park–found in May 2001.    Lower Sage Ranch park. is the latest in a nice series of cache located on a loop trail.  Today, I hiked clockwise from the parking area to the cache.  Going in, it was very foggy.  I could hear jets lining up to land at Burbank overhead, but couldn’t see them.  One the way out, the fog started to dissipate and I could tell that it was going to be a very nice day for hiking.

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The next set of caches are along Woolsey Canyon Road.  Four of a Kind and ubbidubbi are both puzzle caches and require solving simple puzzles.   I tried finding  Four of a Kind a few of weeks ago, but came up empty.  I later learned that the reason that I couldn’t find it was this it is no longer there.  I got permission from the cache owner, Capdude, to replace it the next time I was in the area.  That is exactly what I did.

ubbidubbi was an interesting find.  It’s hanging by a long chain.  When I was replacing it, I said, “I”m glad I didn’t have to go down there to get it.”  Then I noticed that the cache wasn’t on the chain, but lying on the ground.  The chain came apart while I was putting the cache back.  So down I went anyway.  Luckily, it wasn’t too much of a trek to the bottom.

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The next series of caches was on a hike in Santa Susana State Historical Park.   Cornholio, Chatsworth Oaks CD Exchange, Above and beyond the chatty oaks – The Successor , and Owl’s Den are located above Chatsworth, along the trails in the Park.   Cornholio was the most challenging, mainly because of its placement.  The cache is located uncomfortably far out on a sloping rock.  I knew that it was going to be a bit tricky when I read the past logs mentioning doing a “butt scoot” to get to the cache.  I called BWidget to make sure that I was on the right track.  He vectored me in safely and I had the cache in my hand without raising my pulse too much.

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Chatsworth Oaks CD Exchange and Above and beyond the chatty oaks – The Successor are both on the ridge above the homes in Chatsworth Lake Manor neighborhood.  Even though it was a hazy day, the views of the Valley were still nice.  I also saw some of the few blooming wildflowers of the day along that part of the trail.

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Owl’s Den is located not to far east from Cornholio.  I saved it for last because I needed to head that way to get back to the truck.  The cache requires a bit of bushwhacking and boulder hopping on the approach.  Once in the area, it helps to be skinnier than and as least as tall as me to be able to reach the cache.  The “Don’t reach where you can’t see” rule had to be violated to grab the cache.  I banged my hiking poles around to make sure that the cache wasn’t sharing its space with a rattlesnake.

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Instead of backtracking to the private road or to the trail that I came up on, I decided to just follow the gully down the hill to the trail at the bottom of the ridge.  It wasn’t too bad of a bushwhack, but, in hindsight, it probably would have been easier and faster to take the road down the hill.  I also saw some of the smallest poison oak leaves ever.  They probably leafed out yesterday.  Perfectly formed leaflets of three, each smaller than a quarter of an inch.

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The next cluster of caches was in and around Orcutt Ranch.  Orcutt Ranch was the home of one of my earliest finds–#9–Caja D’oro (Gold Box) @ Orcutt Ranch–made in 2002.  Today it was Purple Feet?‘s turn to be found.  It was trying to be found–at least for me.  I spent too much time looking in the wrong spot.  It took a phone call to move this cache into the Found column.

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The Many Faces of Geocaching and Orangewood Heights are just outside the ranch and were both interesting finds.  After the visit to Orcutt, it was time for the final stop of the day–Corriganville.

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Corriganville is the home of quite a few geocaches.  I had two in the area that I still needed to find–Hikin’ Wild Blue and Blue Turkey Habitat.  I hiked through Corriganville to the Rotary pavilion, then up the hill toward the wildlife corridor that passes under the 118.  I walked by Blue Turkey Habitat by mistake, but decided to just get it on the way out after I found Hikin’ Wild Blue.  The better sequence would be Blue Turkey first, then Hikin’ Wild Blue, then return via the trail on the south side of the canyon.

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Hikin’ Wild Blue is my least favorite type of hiking cache.  It’s a bison tube located inexplicably off the trail in a location that requires bushwhacking on a fragile hillside.  We geocachers need to sometimes be a little more thoughtful about our impact on the environment when placing geocaches.

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The final cache of the day was Blue Turkey Habitat.  This cache was placed in honor of blueturkey‘s annual CITO event which cleans the area around the wildlife corridor.   Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to attend this work party because each year I’m involved the same day with a Boy Scouting event.

 

It was a great day of geocaching.  About 6.5 miles of hiking, with about 1600 feet of elevation gain.  13 finds, no DNFs.  And I lived to tell about Cornholio.


A Long Way to the Shovel

January 14, 2012

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Today’s hike was to Long Way To The “Shovel” .  The last time I hiked this trail was March 13, 2004.  It seemed a lot harder then than it felt today.  That’s probably one reason why I have been putting this find off.  Long Way To The “Shovel”  was a 5.5 mile round trip hike from the trailhead on Evening Sky.  There was also a 1250-foot elevation gain.  So it’s not really that long to the cache, but it is pretty steep in places

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I got started this morning about 10:00 AM.  The trailhead looked like the 405 at rush hour.  Even with all the cars at the trailhead, I only saw a few people along the Las Llajas road–mostly bikers.

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When I did this hike in 2004, it was shortly after a fire.  The only vegetation on the hill was charred black.  Nothing was green, only charcoal.  Even the oak trees at the cut off were burned to the trunks.  I was amazed how quickly the trees and shrubs regenerate after a fire.

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Today, 7 years after the fire, you wouldn’t even know that I fire had been through this area.  I’m assuming that without the fire, the hills would have denser vegetation, but what is there is very healthy.

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I didn’t go all the way to the shovel today.  I needed Long Way To The “Shovel”, so that’s what I got.  However, the shovel is only a few minutes farther up the trail.   Now that I know that the trail isn’t as tough as I remember, I wouldn’t have a problem returning up this trail for a nice adventure.

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The views from up the hill are very nice.  I apologize for the quality of the photos.  My hiking camera is down and a replacement is one its way.

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If you want to do some geocache hiking, Las Llajas Canyon is a great place to do it.  There is a strings of caches from the trailhead all the way to Rocky Peak Road and beyond.  I’ve placed many of them myself.  I recommend that the caches off the main trail (Trogdor’s Shovel AKA: P&H Model 206 and Long Way To The “Shovel” ) be done on a separate hike.

Here is the track—5.5 miles round trip; 1250 feet elevation gain.

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Devil Canyon

January 9, 2012

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This morning, I decided to go after Devil’s Offset, the 15 Second Multi,  It’s located in Devil Canyon, just north of where Topanga Canyon Blvd intersects the 118.  I’ve hiked into Devil Canyon twice–once on a through hike up the canyon and then down Rocky Peak Road and once in from the north to pick up a couple of stay caches–GC146V4 He Made Me Do It! and GC1348R Daniel Webster.  Today it was just a single cache on the list.  I’ve put it off because the access to the cache is a little muddled.  In the past, access was granted from the Poema Place gate of the gated community.  Now, access is only permitted from the gate at the end of Iverson Rd.

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I noticed that Los Angeles County has put up fancy new trail signs since I visited the area last.  The tall poles and large signs seem a bit of overkill, but that’s nothing new for the government.

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The trail down into Devil Canyon is quite steep and the trail is a bit ripped up.  Once at the bottom, the stream bed had some water in it, but not enough to appear to be flowing.  The cache is located in a small grove of oaks.  Because of the steep canyon walls and perhaps the trees, GPS reception is spotty.  That’s why Don made the cache an offset cache.

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I got to Ground Zero and followed Don’s directions to find the cache.  However, no cache was to be found.  After rechecking everything and widening the search area, I decided that the chances that the cache is MIA are very high; it hasn’t been found in a year.  I decided to replace the cache and call it a Find.  After receiving permission from Don, I logged the find.

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Here is the track and the trail profile.  The roundtrip mileage is about 2.4 miles.  Don’t believe the middle zigzags on the profile.  I think it is inaccurate because of the GPS reception issues in the bottom of the canyon.  As you can see, the bulk of this trip is walking through the neighborhood on the way to the canyon.  I should have taken some photos of the houses; they are very large and pretty nice places.

Thanks, Don, for other nicely located geocache.


A Fine Morning of Geocaching

January 6, 2012

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In my quest to clean up the caches closest to home, I went out today with 4 caches on my list and got all 4, plus a few more.  There are 3 caches along the ridge above Chatsworth that I’ve had my eye on for quite a while.  The last time I hiked along here was May 2, 2009–I was running short on time and didn’t do Box Canyon Bluff or Picnic Golden Time then and Not This Way wasn’t placed until after my hike.  [For an account of my hike in 2009, check out Hiking Along the Chatsworth Cliffs.]

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Since these remaining caches were all on the west end of the ridge, I approached from Box Canyon.  There is a very steep concrete driveway rising from Box Canyon Road.  It doesn’t really lead to anything; it’s just a convenient way to get to where I needed to go.  I parked at the end of the concrete and started hiking.

The first cache of the morning was Not This Way.  It’s an interesting name because it was located along the exact path I took in 2009 to get off the ridge.  The way to Not This Way was down the hill, almost back to the road.  It was the story pretty much repeated throughtout the morning—up, then down or down, then up.

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It was then on to Box Canyon Bluff.  The views along the way to the cache were spectacular.  The San Fernando Valley has been very clear.

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I was concerned that the trail to Box Canyon Bluff was going to more of a “trail,” but it really isn’t that bad.  It is quite steep, but at least it is a trail.

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My final unfound cache on the cliffs of Chatsworth was Picnic Golden Time.  It’s the highest in elevation of the 3 caches and the height mention some nice views.

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I’m surprised how many houses are tucked up in this hills.  Even though they look like nice homes, I don’t think that I would like to live on the rocks of these cliffs.  Especially during a fire.

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After Picnic Golden Time, it was back down the trail to the truck and on to the next caches.

Here is the track and trail profile of the hike through the Chatsworth hills.  It was 2.o miles, with more than 900 feet of elevation change.

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I needed one cache along the trail that leads along Bell Canyon Road–CREEKSIDE CACHE.  I hiked directly from the trailhead to the cache and found it quickly.  As long as I was in the area, I went a little farther up the trail and tried On the Way to Shady Lane.  I’m pretty sure that it’s MIA and I’m sure that it’s not where the owner described where he placed it.  On the way back to the truck, I picked up Shady LaneSTICKS AND STONES (ROCKS), and BELL CANYON PARK TRAILHEAD EAST.

Then it was on the the American Red Cross in Warner Center to donate platelets.