Good Bye to 2012

December 31, 2012

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Above Chatsworth

2012 is all wrapped up.  It was a nice geocaching year for me.  Not one of the biggest years in the numbers area, but I had a very good time on the trails and byroads.  I had a total of 857 finds for the year; averaging 6.2 caches per caching day.  The 859 caches were placed by 183 different cachers.  I cached in only 2 states this year–California and Utah.

I finally got my first CITO cache:  Simi Valley Hummingbird Creek Trail CITO Event–a great clean up event hosted by lightningstar.

I spent quite a bit of time on the trail–my favorite part of geocaching–focusing on 2 areas, the Backbone Trail and the Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge.  I completed the Spinal Tap Challenge on 3/14/09  with 95 finds.  The challenge requires finding all the caches along the Backbone Trail.  There are now 249 active caches.  My goal was to pick up the caches that I hadn’t yet found.  At year’s end, I have 222 finds (213 active) on the BBT.  Perhaps I will be able to get the rest of them next year.  I think the trail is about saturated–the only new caches will be caches that will replace current caches.

The Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge requires finding all active caches within 5 miles of your home.  Because of the location of my home, many of the caches within this 5-mile radius require hiking.  A few caches required several visits before I was able to move them into the Found column.   When I completely the cache, I had found 643 active caches and 235 that had been archived within my radius.  26 of these finds were FTFs.  I also have 27 active caches within that radius.

I usually hike alone, but, on occasion, join other cachers in a group effort.  During 2012, I’ve enjoyed sharing the trail with Albackore, BWidget,  Don_J,  EcuaDeb,  FoocachersGummyfrog,   lightningstar,  ltsed,  majorjarhead,  OLdweeb,  pianofab,  simiart,  and sissopolis.

I hope you also had a good geocaching 2012.  Please enjoy the following photos that I took while out on geocaching adventures in 2012.

Happy New Year.

Craig aka GeoCraig

P1000051

Simi Hills

P1000088

Santa Susana Pass Historical Park

P1000119

Seaching for Serpents Cave 4/4

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Long Canyon

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Atop Simi Peak with simiart

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Hondo Canyon

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Looking Across Topanga Canyon from the Backbone Trail

P1000385

On the Chumash Trail

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Saddle Peak area on the Backbone Trail

Ormond Beach
Ormond Beach

P1000795
Along the Backbone Trail

P1000820
Point Mugu State Park

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Antonovich Caching

December 11, 2012

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While returning from West Los Angeles this morning, I had a few errands to run in Porter Ranch.  It was such a nice morning, I decided to do a little geo-hiking before going home.  Luckily, I had my hiking gear in the truck.  I made my way over to the trailhead for Antonovich Regional Park at N 34° 17.222 W 118° 35.520 and changed shoes and checked my pack.  No water.  At least not in the pack.  I had some emergency water in the truck, so that became my hiking water.

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Because this was an unplanned hike, I didn’t have my camera with me.  All these photos were taken with my GPS camera.  They turned out OK, but not that great.  However, better than nothing.

I had considered doing this hike on Friday or Saturday, but life got in the way.  Today was a great day to be on the trails.  I had the place to myself . . . almost.  When I was making my way to Conglomerate, I saw an equestrian group when I was making the hairpin turn before heading up the hill.  And then there was the LAPD.  More on that later.

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Whenever I hike through an area with home ruins from another era, I wonder what the place looked like back in the day . . . .  and what caused the abandonment.  I’m guessing that a fire when through here, destroyed everything, and rebuilding wasn’t allowed.  The only sign of occupancy today was a set of very heavy barbells at Conglomerate and a very vigilant coyote that wouldn’t stop checking me out as I approached that cache.  I spotted the coyote from The Forgotten Town as he was patrolling his home turf.
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The little bit of rain that we recently had has started greening up the hills.  This photo doesn’t do justice to the green sprouts, but you get the idea.  After the rains that are coming this week, I expect the hills to really look good by New Years.
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While coming down from The Forgotten Town, I stepped on something that went through my shoe and into my foot.  At first, I thought my hike was over.  It hurt bad enough that I was expecting to find a bloody foot inside my shoe.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my foot was only nicked.  It still hurt, but not enough for me to finish my hike.

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I needed to call LAEd for some phone-a-friend help and he encouraged me to continue complete the loop by doing the month-old caches that lead back to the trailhead.  Because I hadn’t properly prepared for today’s hike, I didn’t realize that it was easier to complete the loop and get 6 more caches than to just return to the trailhead via the road.  It was a good call because I always prefer single track hiking to walking along roads.

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While up on the ridges near Lonely Tree and Dinosaur Hills, I could hear and see the LAPD doing training exercises on Oat Mountain at the old Nike facility.  At first, it was interesting, but after a while, it was annoying.  Lots of automatic gunfire and endless helicopter noise.  As soon as I descended the trail toward Brown’s Canyon Approach – Quail’s Perch, tranquility was restored.  The canyon blocked the sound, which was fine with me.

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Here is a better shot of the grass that is now greening the hills.  No White Christmas for us; it will be green.

As I was hiking down the trail, I thought that I may have hiked this trail before.  Sure enough, I hiked up this trail on September 30, 2004.  I found 4 caches that day which was considered a good haul for a hike in 2004.  SUPERVISOR MIKEY LIKES IT and BROWNS CANYON are history, but The Hills Are Alive and Ambush Quarry are still active caches.

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There is a single plant of Tree Tobacco in a clearing along the trail.   It was standing there all by its lonesome.  Usually we see it along firebreaks and roads and usually in clumps.

I had a great time on the trail today.  It seems like it has been months since I’ve been hiking.  I was glad to get the hike in before the rains that are supposed to start tomorrow night and may last through the weekend.

No DNFs today!  Here are the caches that I found:

A special thanks to Don_J, lostpup4, bleed_blue_LA, and Foocachers for placing the caches and giving me an excuse to have a very nice hike.  The loop is about 5 miles, including walking in circles at some of the caches.  Today’s track in below.

browns 121211