Completing the SuMMit Challenge motivated me to also finish the Santa Monica Mtns History Adventure (GC18DXW). The object is to find & log the 64 oldest, still active caches in the Santa Monica Mountains, all published before May 3, 2003.
When Paleolith & Don_J created the challenge in 2008 I had 38 of the 64 required caches. But many of the remainder were remote and isolated, away from other caches. Over the years I picked away at them slowly. I made no effort to go after the last 5 caches for over 3 years, until this month. Then I found them all and the final cache in 2 weekends.
The first was Night to Remember and Then Some (GC9EF9). It’s a letterbox hybrid designed to be reached by using cache page clues. Instead I used the pictures in the gallery and my trail knowledge from pre-caching days to hike to GZ. This is the starting trailhead. Years ago I almost broke my leg walking into the yellow bar on a night hike. It was painted black at the time.
Anyway after the find I drove West to Rancho Sierra Vista in Newbury Park. I hiked from the parking lot, across the top (N end) of the Sycamore Canyon Trail to So Close Yet So Far (GC5244). This one is an offset cache, listed as a “traditional.” The coordinates lead to a high viewpoint bench. The cache is in the burned out canyon below. A GPSr issue and NOT reading earlier logs caused me to look for an hour before finding the cache. Read the page! And then find the cache within a minute of reaching GZ.
It was still mid-afternoon and I drove South on Portrero Road, next to CSUCI to PCH and then to El Matador (GC97AD). This is a 2 part multi cache. I’d driven by dozens of times over the years, either rushing to a trailhead for an early morning hike, or on the way home exhausted after that long hike. And until recently I didn’t know about the free street parking on both sides of PCH. EcuaDeb & mini Deb-2 joined me here and we walked down to the beach for waypoint 1. As planned, it was low tide. We saw starfish, snail shells, olive shells, anemones and some chitons on the way. The final cache was very close to where I’d guessed from seeing the gallery pictures.
The next day saw me at the other end of the Santa Monicas for Swinging Sullivan (GCA30). It’s another 2 part multi cache. I’d avoided it because of the complicated drive through a residential area to reach the trailhead. Once there it was a short flat hike to the first waypoint. The coordinates to the final were quickly seen and followed.
It was a 5 minute drive South to Sunset Blvd and then to the North end of Chautauqua Blvd to reach this easement trailhead for Reservoir Dog (GC577C), a straight forward traditional cache. I walked up to the ammo can hide, 40’ short of GZ. Now, only the final cache remained before I could claim completion of the challenge.
I spent a restless week waiting for Saturday to find the final cache. This is the trailhead. There were no other cars in sight. Don_J supplied me with the most efficient route to GZ. Once I was there I looked and looked for the cache. Of course, I hadn’t learned from experience. Without reading the cache page I didn’t know that this was another offset. I cursed the muggle (or cache saboteur) who stole the container and starting walking away with a DNF. Then I read the page…and found that the actual cache was an undisclosed distance up a hill to the South.
The hill was partially overgrown with dried out vegetation. On a bushwhacking scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being impassable, the uphill hike was a 2. My alligator-like skin got a few scratches. I was again extremely lucky to almost walk into the cache container. Had I gone through 10 feet in either direction, I would’ve missed it. After 6 years I was FINALLY DONE!! THANK YOU to everyone who hiked with me to many of the caches, to all the cache hiders, to fellow seekers whose logs I continue to read and enjoy, and to Paleolith and Don_J for creating the challenge and maintaining the cache page.
With the final find, I became the first cacher to complete all 3 local mega-hiking challenges: Spinal Tap (Jan 2009), SuMMit Challenge (Jan 2014), SMMHA (Jan 2014). Wheeeee!!!