Las Llajas Canyon to the Steam Shovel

November 8, 2013

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Last Saturday, Bart/Gummyfrog organized a group hike to Trogdor’s Shovel AKA: P&H Model 206, located high on the west ridge of Las Llajas Canyon.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join them because of a bad cold.  I was having a hard enough time breathing sitting on my couch to try to hike up that hill.  Today, breathing much better, I gave it a shot.

I had a telephone interview for a job at 10:30, so I wasn’t able to start hiking until about 11:00 AM, much later than my usual practice.  Starting at 11 meant that I would be hiking up the steepest part of the trail at high noon.  Luckily, there was a nice breeze today and, while it was a sunny day, it wasn’t too hot.

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This was my third trip up this hill.  The first time was in March 2004, when Trogdor’s Shovel AKA: P&H Model 206 was only a couple months old.  The area had recently been burned over by a major wildfire and the trail had been exposed for the first time in a long time.  The trail was partially blocked with burned bushes.  When I came home, it appeared as if I had lost a battle with a charcoal sword.  Today was much different.  The trail is in good shape almost the entire length.  The only problems are a couple of washed out stretches.

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My goal today was to pick up the 4 caches that were placed by Gummyfrog’s group.  The first cache of the day was Honey Bee Rescue.  There is an area just around the corner setting up with quite a few hives.  The word is that the owner of the hives isn’t very hiker-friendly.  He drives a white truck.  Give him a wide berth if you see him on the road.  bleed_blue_LA got the FTF yesterday.  I got FTFs on the other 3 finds today.  3 FTFs in one day–that’s something that I haven’t done in a long time.

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The next stop was Gummyfrog’s Legs like lead.  I know the feeling.  My “lead legs” at least waited until I was almost back to the truck.  Legs like lead is placed with great views up and down Las Llajas Canyon.

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The third cache was View of the Model 206 shovel.  I think Mike slightly misnamed it because you really can’t see the shovel from the cache.  This was my turn around point.  Because of my late start,  I needed to turn back before getting all the way to the shovel today.

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The favorite cache of the day was the Earthcache Coquina Limestone.  Mike/lightningstar has done a great job with the Earthcache.  I always appreciate a well done Earthcache and this one is well done.  Mike teaches a great geology lesson.  I highly recommend at least reading Coquina Limestone, even if you don’t want to hike up the hill to log it.

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The round trip was 5.8 miles, with a healthy climb from the canyon floor to the top of the ridge.  Total time was 3 hours, including stops for lunch, caching, and photography.  And some well earned rest breaks.

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