Why Did the Cacher Hike Down the Hill?

March 28, 2013

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So he could hike back up the next hill.

And that’s how it when today, hiking in the Simi Hills.  Last week, simiart placed his first caches in the hills on the south side of Simi Valley.  Today was a very nice day to go for a hike, so off I went.  Coastal Oak is located at the trail head.  I got out of the truck and no Coastal Oak appeared in the GPS.  And none of the other caches placed by Art.  So home I went to load the latest PQ.

When Art told me that he bought a handful of bison tubes a while ago, but was waiting to place them, I was worried that I would be looking for bisons in the grassy hills.  Nothing to worry about, though.  Art did a nice job crafting his hides.

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Today’s hike went UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, then Up and Down.  It was all good hiking fun, though.

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I’m surprised at how fast the grasses have dried out.  We didn’t get much rain this year.  The little rain that we did get greened up the hills, up it wasn’t enough to keep them green for long.  The green is quickly turned to California golden.

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And I’m surprised to see how so few cachers can make major geotrails in the grass.  It was pretty easy to locate Art’s new caches by following the beat-down grasses.

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After bagging all but one of Art’s caches, it was time to find Shasta, the Dog’s caches.  When I was finished with those, it was mostly all downhill from there.  The last time I hiked this trail, there were puddles of ice along the way.  No ice today.  Too warm for that.

I must have followed the road maintenance dozer today.  The road was freshly scrapped and my footprints were the only ones showing today.  I encountered a guy in a pickup near Shasta’s Watering Hole, looking for “the machine.”  We later both found said “machine” between Simi Hike #3: Lizards and G-hike.

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It was a nice loop, in spite of the ups and downs.  Thanks Art and coachkms and dennis2442 (KDS) for the nice loop of caches.

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2.88 miles, 11 geocaches found, no DNFs.


Coastal Caching

March 25, 2013

Today was the first day of Wendy’s Spring Break.  We celebrated by taking a day trip up and down the coast.  The primary goal–relaxation; the secondary goal–finding the mulit-cache, El MatadorEl Matador was placed in October 2002 and it one of the caches required for the Santa Monica Mtns History Adventure.  I’ve had my eye on it for a while, but it requires searching for WP1 at low tide.  We had a good low tide today at 3:00 PM, we were available, the weather looked good, so today seemed like a good day to go for it.

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3 Views of the Orchids at Gallup & Stribling

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California Poppies at Seaside Gardens

The first stop on today’s adventure was Carpinteria.  We enjoyed a stop at the Gallup & Stribling’s orchid greenhouses and the Seaside Gardens nursery.  Both had great displays of blooms.  Then it was time for some geocaching along Santa Claus Lane–now a strange name because Santa has taken up residence in Oxnard.

Found 6 quick caches in Carpinteria —Surf Watch, Seven Surfing Dolphins, Brick and Rock: GetA/SetA #87, 972 Lookin’ Back @ You, Eureka on Eugenia, and 150 Terminus: GetA/SetA #52 –and had one DNF–Padero Palms.  Then it was off to Malibu for El Matador.
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El Matador is a pocket beach in the State Park system.  Parking in the lot is $8.00.  I used a California State Parks Foundation voucher in lieu of forking over the dough.  Instead of the typical “iron ranger” collection system, there was a electronic kiosk that accepts credit cards.

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I figured that we would have the beach almost to ourselves.  Because of Spring break, the place looked like a weekend–lots and lots of visitors.

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We hit the tides just right.  The caves were fun to explore and we were able to get around the final rocks to site of WP1.  As we passed through the final tunnel, we came upon a topless photograpyh session.  Oh the things you find while geocaching.

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Searching, but not Finding

Finding where WP1 was hidden was easy; finding the WP was another story.   It took a bit a searching, even though the item is in plain sight.

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After entering the coords into the GPS, we explored the rocks and the caves on the way back.  Then it was up the 85 stairs and the path to the top of the hill.  While Wendy waited on the picnic bench, I went for the El Matador final.  It was pretty straight forward, except for the final approach to the cache.  It was way too steep.  There is a better way–I took it back up the hill–so if you are going to go for this one, instead of descending the steep slope, walk to the right about 100 feet to an easier path.

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The View of the Beach from the Final

The cache was in the open.  I’ve hidden it a little better than I found it.  I did try one more cache–Icebreakers–that’s located near the picnic benches, but the GZ has been used as a toilet a few times, so I didn’t bother looking too hard.

All in all, we met our goals for the day–relaxation and bagging El Matador.  It was a great day.


31 Days of Geocaching Challenge–GC35K8H

March 23, 2013

While visiting our daughter’s family last Thanksgiving, I found a Challenge cache–31 Days of Geocaching Challenge–with my grandkids.  It was a quick find, but qualifying for it was another story.

The challenge requires finding, in no particular order, exactly 1 cache one day, exactly 2 caches another day, continuing for 31 days.  It’s a total of 496 caches.  When I found the actual cache, I had already filled all but 3 days.  I still needed 26-, 28- and 30-day finds.  [Note:  If you use GSAK and are interested in seeing if you qualify for this cache, there is a macro available–FindPerDay.gsk]

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I got the 26-day taken care of on the drive home from Utah.  The 28-day was done on 2/6/13 when I hiked Happy Camp.  See that day’s blog here:  Hiking Happy

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Today was the day to finish the Challenge.  My wife and I drove through the citrus grove and collected the required 30 caches.

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It was an interesting Challenge.  I’m glad to get it finished.

An interesting note about the cache–it was placed by supertbone, the transplanted southern Californian.  He has found some of my caches and I’ve found some of his California caches that he placed before heading to Utah.


Here Comes the Sun

March 16, 2013

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Here Comes the Sun was an event arranged by Laber J K and K.  It was a tour of the NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Oxnard, California.

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We enjoy weather-related things around the GeoCraig household, so this event was a must-do.  Luckily, the day was clear for both my wife and me.

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The event was so popular that it had to be divided into  9:00 AM and a 10:30 AM sessions.  We arrived a bit early and had the chance to visit with some old friends and to meet in person some geocachers that I’ve known through their caches for years.  Between the sessions, there was a raffle for fun geocaching items and a chance for the entire group to visit.

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Thank you, Jayme, for setting up a great event.  We appreciate your efforts.

There is a great weather-related geocache outside the NOAA parking lot–Gauge the Weather.  I seldom award Favorite points, but I did this one.  Be sure to check out the URL listed just below the cache description.  Stop by and check it out.


10 Challenges Challenge

March 11, 2013

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I heard about 10 Challenges Challenge: A MetaChallenge from a log by Don_J.  The idea is that you need to find 10 challenge caches to qualify for the cache.  I checked my Found List and realized that I more than qualified for it.

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This morning, after getting some “must do’s” done, I drove over to the trail head located near GCMY93 Out on a Limb…  

I didn’t put a lot of homework into this cache, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  What you get is a couple hundred yards of asphalt, followed by single track trail UP the hill, then a cross-country (off-trail) approach DOWN the hill to the cache.  Then back Up and some Down to the trailhead.

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Once at the cache, you will find an Uber Ammo Can.  The thing is quite heavy.  I’m sure that fastflyer had a good time placing this one.  Speaking of fastflyer, he asked me to liberate a TB, so now Jeep 4×4 #2100 is out of jail and will soon be on its way.

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Lots of sunflowers  were on the trail and whatever that pink/purple bloom is.  And, unlike Wednesday’s hike, absolutely no poison oak today!

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The loop is about 1.25 miles.  The way I did it, as shown below, includes a bit of backtracking because I walked by Stick Around by about 250 feet and had to go back.  You can see the elevation profile below.  If you don’t care about getting Stick Around and would like to eliminate some of the elevation gain, you can bail off the side of the hill at UPUGO and hike to the cache in a more direct route.  However, the entire loop isn’t really that bad and the views from the top are quite nice.

10 challenges challenge

Now a quick word about my qualifying Challenge caches.  Here is my list:

GC2G3H3 10 Years – Geocaching Anniversary Challenge 8/18/2012
GC3TMZV 50 Oaks Challenge 8/21/2012
GC3GEFJ 5X5X5 Challenge 4/17/2012
GC23CQX 6 Birthdays Challenge OC 11/11/2010
GC15Y83 An Alphabet Soup Challenge for Utah 4/26/2011
GC3G7AD B’s Bingo Challenge 4/11/2012
GC1HNXT California ABC Challenge 11/11/2010
GC2N0QQ Challenge of the Century: Finds on a Date 4/28/2011
GC18W75 Challenge of the Century: FTF 6/19/2008
GC16KY7 Challenge of the Century: Trackables 8/8/2009
GC28YT2 Empty Circle 5.0 Challenge 4/1/2012
GC26395 Forgotten Cache Challenge 1/21/2012
GCZMBD Los Angeles County Quadrangle Challenge 5/24/2008
GC1BPDM Mystery Challenge 12/21/2009
GC1GC8Y One Busy Day Icon Challenge 4/17/2009
GC29JDW Quickie Challenge 11/24/2010
GC3V3J5 SFVG Alphabet Soup Challenge 3/7/2013
GC1B1JW Super Two-Per Day Challenge 10/22/2012
GC22CJJ Ventura County Quad Challenge 10/12/2011
GC1C4Y4  Spinal Tap 3/7/2009

I own Los Angeles County Quadrangle Challenge and Los Angeles County Quadrangle Challenge.  They are the only 2 of my caches that I’ve logged finds for.  Both require a find in each USGS quadrangle in each county.  That’s 81 finds for LA County and 40 finds for Ventura County.  I’m a bit partial, but I recommend both caches for some good adventure.

Perhaps my favorite Challenge cache is GC1C4Y4 Spinal Tap.     I almost forgot to include it because the word “challenge” isn’t in the cache’s name.  It’s a favorite because it’s a 100% hiking challenge; it requires finding all the caches on the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.

I recommend 10 Challenges Challenge: A MetaChallenge.  Check your finds for Challenge caches and then challenge yourself to come get this one.


Devil’s Canyon

March 6, 2013

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I had planned on doing this hike yesterday.  The power was going to be off most of the day at home, so it was a perfect excuse to hit the trail.  However, it just didn’t work out.  The SCE guys needed access to my backyard off and on all day, so I made other plans.  It was supposed to rain today, but when the forecast changed, I heard the trail calling my name.  [Actually, I just needed to get out of the house and do some serious exercising.  And I certainly got that.]

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I was happy to see that the wildflowers are starting a great bloom.  I’ll try to identify them and update this post with their names.  For the time being, I’ve named this one Wendy.
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At Devil’s Crib, I was impressed with the rock that Don’s is using to covering the cache.  It appears that it has Turritella ocoyana in the rock.  Pretty cool.

 

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I have ventured into Devil’s Canyon several times.  I’ve hiked the length of it once before and have entered from the north once and the middle a couple of time.  It’s always nice to get into the “wild” so quickly.

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My nemesis, poison oak, is everywhere along this hike.  This photo is of a very new leaf of it.  The poison oak in the canyon is in many stages of maturity.  If you are sensitive to poison oak, please take care.  I know that I got into it several times.  I “TechNu”ed up as soon as I got home.  Hopefully, that will do the trick.  If not, in a week or so, I’ll be remembering this hike for a while.

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There is plenty of water in the creek.  I lost track of how many river crossing I made.  I stayed dry until almost the very end of the hike.  I was having knee trouble all the way down the hill and that eventually caught up with me at one of the crossings and I missed the rock that I wanted to step one.

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I never did see the sun today.  Clouds, yes; sun, no.  And I did get some sprinklers off and on during the day.  It was actually great hiking weather.

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I had the trail almost to myself today.  I saw 2 women on horses at Devil’s Condos and passed them on their way out not too far into the canyon.  Other than that, it was just me today.

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I hiked all the way to He Made Me Do It!, a cache that I replaced for Don in May 2011.  The idea was to continue on to Angle’s View of the Devil (Cyn), a cache that was published this morning.  While to was only 1000 feet away, I decided not to go for it.  My knee was giving me problems and I just didn’t want to take the cache pushing my luck on the climb and the decent to get it.  I hate leaving a cache unfound, especially when I’m so close, but it was a good decision.  Every step down the canyon–for the full 5.5 miles–was painful.  The farther I went, the worse it got and the slower I went.

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I enjoyed the hike.  I would have enjoyed it better without the knee pain, but I still enjoyed getting out on the trail.  18 finds, no DNFs.

Here is a list of the caches (in reverse order) that I found:

Devil’s PlaygroundDevil’s Throat
Devil’s Acorn
Devil Hunters Reststop
The Devil’s Notch
The Devil made me do it
Devil’s Hillside View
The Devil Wears Purple
Hanging with the Devil
Love Letters
Devils Dam
Devil’s Heart
Devil’s Palms
Devil’s wall
Devil’s Crib
Devil’s Condos
The Devil’s Butt crack
Devil’s Tongue