Chivo Canyon

April 26, 2013

With several new caches in Chivo Canyon, I’ve had my eye on this hike for a while.  I enjoy this area.  The trailhead is only a few minutes from my house and in no time at all, I can be in the “wilderness.”

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After parking around the corner and walking down the street from the trailhead, you decent stairs into a flood control basin.  This is what it looked like today.  If there is any rain, this entire area is very muddy.  Foos’ Foos Simi Beach View is just on the edge of the photo on the upper right.

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There aren’t a lot of flowering plants left.  The few that are blooming are getting the full attention of the bees.

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 The Simi Oil Seep is lightningstar‘s new Earthcache.  The first time I saw this oil seep, it was quite small. I thought some jerk had changed his oil in the dirt. On my next visit, it looked more like it does today. Lots of oil.   I started to submit an Earthcache here several years ago. Got hung up on the “Land Manager Permission” requirement. I couldn’t identify who to speak to. I’m glad that Mike got it published.  By the way, an oil seep is where oil comes out of the ground all on it’s own.

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Sticky Monkey Flower

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Woolly Paintbrush??

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After hiking along the eastern ridge of the canyon, the trail descends to a spring that runs most of the year.  The narrow canyon is full of green at the spring.

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I completely zoned out and didn’t take any photos of the areas near Wasnt Foo and Pass The Sulfur.  Wasnt Foo is located near a creek that smells like you could light it on fire.  Walked by this one on the way up because my attention was on the other side of the trail, but I got it on the way down. But not too easily. I started by first looking exactly where the cache is hidden. But that didn’t keep me from looking for another 10 minutes everywhere the cache wasn’t.  Pass The Sulfur is in a small oak grove.  All the grass in the grove is already crispy.  I’ve already decided that I’m coming back next winter when it’s green.

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After Pass The Sulfur, I turned and backtrack to the trail junction that leads up the hill to Forgetful Blue and to CITO out the old and bring in a new cache.  The CITO cache is located near the two bushes on the ridge at the top left of the photo.  You can also look down into the canyon from this spot to see the elevation changes that this hike requires.

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This is the way to the top of the ridge.  After that, it’s kind of a roller coaster trail–steep ups and downs all the way to the road.  There are a bunch more caches on this loop, but I already had the others.  Today was just a clean up adventure.

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5.8 miles, with about 1500 feet of elevation change.

It’s a very nice hike.  However, I recommend doing it when the hills are green and the grasses are still soft.

The canyon is quite dry.  I have an entry for a Chivo Canyon hike in June 2009.  It’s here:  https://geocraig.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/chivo-canyon/ 

I think today was drier than mid-June 2009.

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Overlooking the Fog at Point Mugu State

April 13, 2013

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I had a great day hiking in Pt. Mugu State Park today.  I hiked the Overlook and Fireline Trails.  This was my first time on these trail and I enjoyed the hike.

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The title of the post is a bit misleading.  It is a play on the name of the trail.  It was impossible to overlook the fog.  I was hiking in it most of the day.  Also, the Overlook Trail didn’t overlook much either.  Again, too much fog.  In spite of the fog, it was an interesting hike.  And hiking in the fog was a change–often hiking in the hills of Pt Mugu State Park can be quite warm.  No problems with that today.

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The hike didn’t start out exactly has I had planned.  The free parking that I’ve used before along PCH is now signed No Parking and is barricaded.  Unless you want to park all the way down by the sand dune, you need to cough up the State Park Day Use fee.  Fortunately, I had some California State Park Foundation passes in the car and was able to use one instead of paying.

The next thing was starting the hike with a DNF.  Happy 29th Birthday Delo?? was the first cache I tried and I DNFed it.  However, it didn’t’ jinx the hike: it was the only DNF of the day.

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One of the reasons that I choose this area for today’s hike was the chance to find The Great Sand Dune.  Even with the fog, the views up and down the coast were nice.  I was a little concerned about finding the cache.  The first place I looked is where the cache was located, but I had to also look in, on, and around 10 other bushes before returning to make the find.

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After making the find, I returned to the main road and climbed up the hill and into the fog.  And stayed there, until descending into Sycamore Canyon at No Bikes Allowed.  I had a chuckle at some of the names of the caches:  Overlooking OFR and Thanks For The Show.  I can only assume that the views are nice–just not today.

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Fortunately, the views along the trail, especially the Fireline Trail, were good for wildflowers.

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The orange reds of the paintbrush were particularly nice.

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While the entire hike was a nice one, I preferred hiking on the Fireline Trail.  It’s a single track trail, without any of the ever-present mountain bikes that you see on the Pt Mugu State Park trails.

I finished the hike with 19 finds on the trails and 2 more on PCH on the way home.  7.1 miles, with 1450 ft of elevation change.

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A Couple Quick Caches and One Not So Quick

April 11, 2013

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Tuesday morning, after taking care of some business in West Los Angeles, I decided to go after Swingin’ Sullivan.  I had tried to do this cache in November, but the access was closed because of  a construction project in the canyon.  Tuesday, no construction and no problem.  No problem except for the parking situation.  Most of the streets near the trail head are posted “No Parking 7 AM to 7 PM.”  The few areas that aren’t posted had cars parked there.  So I had to park a ways away.  But, yea, I’m hiking, right?

Swingin’ Sullivan is a multi-cache.  The first waypoint was an easy find–it directed me more than 3000 feet farther up the canyon.  This was my first time in Sullivan Canyon.  While I spent much of my youth one canyon west in Rustic Canyon’s Camp Josepho, this was my first visit here.  I enjoyed the large oaks along the trail.

Swingin’ Sullivan’s final wasn’t too hard to find.  I walked by it on the first pass, but the hint helped my get to the correct spot.  Once that far up the canyon, I decided to go for the next 2 closest caches–curiously strong and Here, Ducky!

The only problem with that is that they are both UP the side of the canyon.  By UP, I mean that the “trail” they are on was put in before switchbacks were invented.  UP was about 800 ft of UP.  However, the views of Santa Monica Bay and of Catalina were very nice.  The photo above doesn’t do justice to the view.  The “bump” at sea is the full length of Catalina.

The photo below is the trail of Tuesday hike.  When I titled this entry “A Couple Quick Caches and One Not So Quick,” this is the cache that wasn’t so quick.  However, it was a very nice hike.  There is another cache is this area, but from the logs, it’s clear that the trail is steeper than the one I went up.  I decided to return via the street streets in lieu of going down a dangerous trail alone.

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April 10, 2013

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April 5, 2011

Wednesday’s hike was a quick 1.9 mile out-and-back on a trail off of  Tapo Canyon to find The Song Remains The Same.  There are plenty of caches along this route, but The Song Remains The Same is the only one that I needed.  I forget how nice it is to just hike–hike without stopping every 500 to 600 feet to look for a cache.

I’ve hiked this trail several times.  I was struck by how dry the fields and hills are this early in April.  The 2 photos above were taken 2 years apart.  Dry now versus green then.

Below is Wednesday’s hike’s track.

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Today’s hike was in Sage Ranch to collect  Holey Sandstone, Batman!    I enjoy Sage Ranch.  It’s the home of my first geocache find and is only a quick drive from home.  In fact, when hiking the Sage Ranch Loop, I can see my house.

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There still are some wildflowers blooming at Sage Ranch.  Here’s a sample of Bush Sunflower.

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Casting a Giant Shadow

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Holey Sandstone, Batman! is a nicely placed cache that is easier than I was planning on.  The view above is from the cache’s GZ.  Sometimes when a cache is hidden in the rocks, I can spend way too much time trying to find it.  This morning, I walked right to it.

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Vetch

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Parking on Black Canyon Road is free.  Parking at the top of the hill is $5.oo.  Keep Abraham Lincoln in your pocket and walk up the hill.  It’s not that bad of an incline and it will help you get warmed up for the rest of the hike.  Sage Ranch Loop is the home of 14 caches and 2 more, including today’s Holey Sandstone are in the interior of the loop.  If you haven’t been to Sage Ranch, come on up for a nice adventure.  If you have been there, you know what a nice gem we have in the Simi Hills.  Come on back.

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Happy Birthday Caching

April 6, 2013

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Today, to celebrate my 60th birthday, Wendy and I went for a geocaching adventure with the goal of finding 60 caches.  We found the 60, plus 1 more for good luck.

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Broom

We drove from Simi Valley to Santa Paula, then up the 150 toward Ojai.  We picked up 7 caches along the 150 before our lunch stop at the Ojai Cafe Emporium.

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After lunch, we decided to cache our way north on Highway 33.  It took about 4 hours to find the next 54 caches.

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Lupines

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Guarding Tule Creek–The final cache for today

The weather was perfect for our adventure today.  We were concerned that it might be too windy, but everything was just right for the birthday celebration.

Postscript–Sunday, 4/7/13–Happy Birthday GeoCraig 2013 was placed by shirconn for my birthday.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t published until after I went to sleep last night.  I did see the notification this morning and went out to get it right away.  I never rush out for FTFs and rarely geocache on Sundays, but I figured I had better jump fast to find this special cache.  Thanks, Shirley, for remembering.


Supergraphics at Santa Susana Pass State Historical Park

April 4, 2013

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Just a quick post regarding today’s foray into SSPSHP to get Don_J‘s Supergraphics.

I’m not a big fan of puzzles.  Don isn’t a big fan of puzzles.  So I was a bit puzzled when I saw that he had posted a nearby puzzle cache.  The puzzle was partly solved when I realized that the cache puzzle was a quickie.  I solved it last night and decided I needed a quick walk and going for the final would take care of that.

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Southern Pacific Rattlesnake

I had barely begun when I was met on the trail by my first rattlesnake of the season.  I wasn’t fast enough with the camera to get a good photo.  But here it is for your viewing pleasure.

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The walk to the cache is only 1.5 miles, roundtrip.  I won’t post the track for this one like I often do so the puzzle won’t be given away.

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My Friend–Poison Oak

There was a nice group of wildflower blooms within a few feet of the cache.  Here are a couple.

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Solve Supergraphics and get up here before all the flowers are only memories.  You probably won’t have to rush for the rattlesnakes.  They will be here all summer.

And Thank You, Don for the easy puzzle and nice excuse for a walk today.


Looping Around Nicholas Flat

April 2, 2013

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A while ago, I asked DonJ for some help with finding the best way to approach the final for the Santa Monica Mtns History Adventure cache.  He suggested that instead of sending me the track, I should just invite him to go with me and he’d show me where to go.  Today was the day.

On our way to Nicholas Flat, we stopped by Old School, the newest cache on the Backbone Trail.

This was my first visit to Nicholas Flat.  I’m impressed.  It’s a great area for hiking.  After Don showed me the way to the Santa Monica Mtns History Adventure cache, we did a clockwise loop of the area.  This path from the trailhead to the pond has been upgraded to handle wheelchairs.  It’s very nice.

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Nicholas Pond is more of a Nicholas Puddle/Mudhole.  We were able to walk across the west end of the pond high and dry.

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On our way to Nicholas Lake Guardian, we climbed up these rocks and encountered the only close up poison oak of the day.  Plenty of it.

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The view toward the Pacific from Nicholas Lake Guardian was pretty nice today.  I’m sure that the views were even better when it’s a bit clearer.

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The wildflowers were still looking good.

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So were the meadows.

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As were the mountains.

I appreciated the help that Don offered today.  He had found about half of today’s caches on prior visits, but we still had to search for most of them.  An extra pair of eyes is always helpful.  I would have DNFed a few without Don.

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It was a great day for geo-hiking.  Today’s loop was just under 4.5 miles, with about 1100 feet of elevation change.  24 finds along the trail, plus one on the way to the trailhead.