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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.