Just noticed that I have 7777 finds. Today should be my lucky day.
Inspired by Saturday’s hike in Topanga State Park, I decided to return to the Backbone Trail for a few more finds. After I took care of some business in West Los Angeles, I drove up PCH to Topanga Canyon and parked at the parking area listed in Free TSP. It was the first time on this spur trail that connects with the BBT.
I accidentally walked by Free TSP, figured I’d grab it on the way out. and continued on to Marvelous Manzanita. The manzanita was looking good today. I really enjoyed its shiny, smooth red bark. It was then on to Low Bone. With that in the Found column, I have all the BBT caches in the immediate area.
The photo above is of a shrub oak. I’ve never seen this stage of the plant. I thought it looked pretty cool.
The area is extremely dry, but there are still some ferns doing OK in the shadows.
Saturday, I noticed that a lot of poison oak is either in the “Fall” stage or just plain dead. I saw the same thing today.
The original plan was to do the 3 BBT caches that I needed along the Fossil Ridge Trail, then cross the road and get 4 more along the BBT that are west of the trail head. As you can see from the photo, it was very clear today and a lot warmer (read HOT) that I had figured for a trail so close to the ocean. What looks like a dark cloud on the horizon is Santa Catalina Island.
If you want to hike the BBT east from this trail head, walk along the Topanga Ridge Motorway until you see this sign. From the parking area, it looks like the trail heads steeply up the ridge. That’s the way I went in, but then spotted the correct trail once I got to it.
The first stop was “Hid It By Some Fossil Shells”. The cache is hidden close to these very nice fossils. Each shell is about the size of my open hand. It was then on to The Backbone Triangle and Tiny Treetop Temptress, both nicely done caches. I then returned to the trail head. Because of the heat, I decided to skip the BBT caches on the Saddle Peak section of the trail. Instead, I hiked up the Topanga Ridge Trail for a few caches.
There was a lot of poison oak on the shady side of the road that looks more like what I would expect for this time of the year. Just hoping that I stayed far enough away from it.
Here are the two tracks for today’s hiking. I got 5 BBT caches and 4 others. I was a nice morning of hiking, in spite of the heat.
Albackore, BWidget, EcuaDeb, Foocachers, OLdweeb, sissopolis, and I (signing the logs as TTT) did a nice loop on the BBT and Topanga Fire Road today. No DNFs and a good number of Finds for everyone. Everyone had a different number of finds because we had all hiked in this area before and had a variety of caches on previous visits. I ended the day with 23 finds.
We carpooled from Woodland Hills and parked at NACMR with free parking. The morning was on the foggy side. No one complained because the clouds kept the temperature down.
There weren’t too many blossoms along the trail this time of the year. However, the buckwheat was the predominant flower. The flowers were a dark rust.
We hiked up the hill from the trail head and quickly connection with the Backbone Trail. The main purpose of today’s hike was to find BBT caches so some of us could qualify for Spinal Tap GC1C4Y4 and the other could play catch up with the new BBT caches.
My loss of conditioning from laying off hiking for a couple of months was soon apparent as we climbing up the hill toward Eagle Rock. Being in the back of the pack, by the time to got to a cache, it had been found, logged, and ready to be replaced.
When we arrived at The Hub, the rest of the crew headed south for two caches that they had missed on their last BBT adventure in this area. I stayed at The Hub and enjoyed eavesdropping on the mountain bikers that were taking a break before heading out again.
When everyone was back, we headed down the trail toward Eagle Springs. When we got to the junction of the BBT and the Topanga Fire Road, we had a quick discussion as to where to go next–go south on the Fire Road or return back to the cars the way we came. Soon everyone was on board with the Fire Road option. The road is mainly downhill and I was able to keep up with the group. That, combined with the fact that most of the group had already found many of these caches along the road, allowed me to do some geocaching and a actually find a few caches myself.
The Fire Road took us to Trippett Ranch. We then headed north on the Musch Trail back to the cars.
I would love to report on the total distance I covered today and also post a track map of the trail, but the tracking feature on my GPS didn’t record the hike today. We did start hiking at 7:00 AM and finished about 2:00 PM.
For OLdweeb‘s take on the hike and for some more photos, please check out his blog post here: http://oldweeb.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/august-27-2012-backbone-trail-bbt-north/
I noticed a log by bleed_blue_LA on a cache on my watchlist that she is working on a new Challenge cache that requires finding 50 caches with “oak” or “oaks” in the cache name. The cache is 50 Oaks Challenge by chaosmanor. I checked my list of Finds and learned that I qualified for the cache already with 55 “Oak” finds. The cache also requires that the 50 finds also have at least 3 different cache types. I was good to go on that one too–2 Virtuals, 2 Multi’s, and the rest Traditional. I decided to find the actual cache quicker than my last Challenge find. (See the entry above.)
This morning, I hit the trail for the first time in way too long. The combination of my unwillingness to go hiking in 100 degree weather and a cough/cold that has refused to go away has kept me off the trail. The walk from the truck to the cache only took a few minutes, but it was still good to walk on some dirt.
I quickly found the cache and signed the log–#2, behind tozainamboku. The only problem I had with the cache is that I think it really should have been hidden on or in an oak tree. Why not stick with the theme?
I’ve included a random collection of photos of oaks that I’ve taken while out geocaching. Oaks are great trees. They can support more than 300 species for food and shelter. In fact, a dead oak supports even more species than an oak that is living.
Here is the list of my qualifying caches, including the date that I found the cache.
05/23/2012 GC2JN4P BACKBONE OAK, NOT
03/23/2012 GC1J130 Lonesome Oak
01/20/2012 GCTB8N Chatsworth Oaks CD Exchange
01/20/2012 GCRM0V Above and beyond the chatty oaks – The S
11/15/2011 GC34J7N Leaning Oaks
05/26/2011 GC2ATJ1 Pick an Oak Retro Fit’s
04/06/2011 GC2Q7B6 Marrland Oak
12/21/2010 GC1E1FD LJ Parks – Brazos Oaks Park
11/13/2010 GC240TC Sunset Hills – Scrub Oak
10/02/2010 GC2APYA Eye of the Oak
09/11/2010 GC274FD Oak Knoll
05/18/2010 GC25B8T Grounded on White Oak
01/23/2010 GC22TET OAK HIDE CACHE
12/19/2009 GC1RBR9 OLD OAK CACHE
11/21/2009 GC1YWRR The End of Dead Oak
11/21/2009 GC1YWT3 Matilija Split Oak
11/13/2009 GC20Z1N Another Oak
11/12/2009 GC1Z4B3 G.A.M.C. OAK DECON
10/03/2009 GC1AQEQ Wired on Oak Glen
08/29/2009 GCC4FC Oak Flat
01/02/2009 GC1JACF Lonesome Oak
11/11/2008 GC1G8EY Cracklin’ Oak
04/28/2008 GCWKDZ Dead End Oak
03/08/2008 GCWY7D Charred Oak Hill
06/07/2007 GCT044 Alone Among the Oaks
06/07/2007 GCND93 Ahmanson Oaks
12/15/2006 GCZQKB Brown’s Canyon – 3K Oak
12/15/2006 GCZPA7 Brown’s Canyon – The Oaks
10/14/2006 GCYBP4 Lone Oak
10/09/2006 GCYNBN Devil’s Oak
08/25/2006 GCNBEH Wind Power, Poison Oak Cache
03/23/2006 GCTB8A Chatsworth Oaks Park, The Westside!
01/14/2006 GCRY2X Chatsworth Oaks Water Truck
01/14/2006 GCRXTQ Chatsworth Oaks East
01/06/2006 GCNQDJ Gnarly Old Oak
12/26/2005 GCRM0Z Chatsworth Oaks Rejuvenation Cache
12/12/2005 GCRK8W Victorian With Cork Oak Plus a Mystery
11/29/2005 GCQYYA Gather Around The Old Oak Tree
11/11/2005 GCP36Z Fishing for An Apple A Day in Oak Glen
10/13/2005 GCN9CW Hub Series – A Walk Among The Oaks
08/20/2005 GCKHPK Thousand Oaks Dolphin Star
05/25/2005 GCNWAX Sentinel Oak
04/23/2005 GCNHP2 Chatsworth Oaks Park
04/07/2005 GCMTYB Wild Oak
04/07/2005 GCMTY0 Under Oak
11/20/2004 GCKH90 Four Oaks Chaminade
06/02/2004 GCJEP3 MAGNOLIA OAK
11/12/2003 GCGJCB Yet another Sherman Oaks Micro
06/16/2003 GCG1JF Sherman Oaks Lunch Break
11/29/2002 GCAD4E THE OAKS #1
08/03/2002 GC7636 1000 Oaks
10/17/2002 GC9C17 Virtual Oak Virtual (Virtual)
09/07/2002 GC42B8 Rocky Oaks (Virtual)
12/09/2008 GC1JAC4 Herritage Oak (Multi)
03/11/2005 GCMZP8 Mboys Oak Tree (Multi)
You wouldn’t know it by this blog, but I still am geocaching. Just not so much. I guess the combination of not wanting to go on long hikes in 100 degree heat, just being plain tired of looking for caches in the city, and being busy with life in general has conspired to keep my numbers down.
I did finally finish a Challenge cache yesterday. 10 Years – Geocaching Anniversary Challenge is a challenge that requires finding a cache placed each of the first ten years of Geocaching. I completed the challenge when I found Santa Barbara One GC106 on 5/28/11. My account of getting Santa Barbara One is here: Year 2000–Santa Barbara One. It has just taken me 15 months to get down to Torrance and log the find.
I’ve been itching to go hiking for a while, but have been down with a bad cold/cough for 3 weeks. As soon as that clears up, I’ll be back on the trail and will get this blog active again.
Until then, Happy Caching! And stay out of the poison oak!