July 6, 2016
I didn’t cache or hike for almost 2 months. Then at a biometric screening to apply for an insurance discount I was classified as “OBESE.” I got the first time participation discount but won’t qualify next year unless I’m less rotund. So I re-started doing the only exercise that I enjoy, cache/hiking. On the 4th I drove down the Camarillo Grade to PCH and found 6 easy park-&-grab caches.
At the Ray Miller Trailhead parking lot in Point Mugu State Park I immediately saw that the popular La Jolla Canyon Trail was still closed due to last year’s rock/mud slides. (‘aerial’ photos later) Possible penalties for being caught on that trail were posted as expulsion, citation and arrest. Still, hikers and dog walkers ignored the sign and walked in.
But my destination was a hike in the other direction, toward PCH and the beach.
Here’s the trailhead that I’d never noticed on previous visits. It was probably overgrown and hidden before the 2013 Spring Fire. Though I didn’t encounter another hiker all day, there were many footprints. And I’m still not convinced that it’s an official trail.
The initial climb was rock strewn and very steep. Here’s the view South along PCH. Note ‘The Great Sand Dune’ in the background and that no beachgoers were in the water. California tourism officials probably don’t want potential visitors to know that So Cal beaches in summer are often overcast. And the ocean is COLD.
The trail continued on a ridgeline with a drop off on both sides. I knew that a sudden blast of cold ocean air could send me flying over, rolling through cactus to the bottom. So it was a relief when the still steep trail grew wider shoulders.
The inland (N) view from First Flateau (GC4T1ZX) showed the rock/mud slides on the closed La Jolla Canyon trail.
This is a closeup near the top arrow. It’s what’s left of the waterfall and the trail going across and above. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be passable anytime soon.
Back to caching…
The last of the 4 trail caches was here. I found it by geosense because the coordinates bounced weirdly, more than I’ve ever seen.
Instead of continuing on (& upward) to Mugu Peak which I’d already visited via another trail, I turned around. On the way back I sat on a very flat rock to appreciate the view.
The inbound hike was a 750’ climb in 1.4 miles, unexpectedly easy for me despite being “obese.” Trekking poles are recommended, especially for the downhill return trip. Note to Spinal Tap cachers, from the same parking lot the BBT western terminus trailhead and the trail itself are open.
April 30, 2016
From Warner Springs I drove to San Diego for 2 days of bike caching. First stop, Mission Bay. Immediately the front brake assembly fell apart. So I rode around with the rear brake only. I was careful to not roll off the dock at (GC5ZWW0) Barbras Previous Intention [no typo].
Some caches weren’t so scenic or easy, Bike Bridge (GC3HNYB).
The next day I worked my way south by vehicle along San Diego Bay, unloading my bike near cache clusters. This is Harbor Island. Oddly, there’s no bike path here even though there are bikes for rent.
I stopped at a random parking lot to get my bearings and stepped out to find an easy cache just a few feet away, Marina Gateway: National City (GC1WB6J). I think that this is Supergirls’s adopted home city.
Most of the caches along a stretch of the New Bayshore Bikeway seemed to be missing. I wondered if someone removed them. The one here, a magnetized tin, should’ve been easy, Friendly Fisherman (GC4JZ4B).
The view from just a few steps away made up for the DNF. There was no cache on the pier but I rode to its end.
My luck was better along desolate parts of the bikeway where there were no muggles.
As a non-athletic 55 year old, I count myself fortunate that in 5 days I hiked 25 miles, biked 10 and found 57 caches with no bodily breakdowns. Someday if my luck runs out I hope that it’s on the trail, hiking or biking and not attached to a bunch of machines in a hospital.
March 24, 2016
After finally admitting that it’s impossible for me to miss 5 months of work to thru hike the PCT I decided to day hike as many contiguous miles on it as I can, finding caches along the way. I went back to the innermost parking lot (all free) at Vasquez Rocks and walked to the same spot where I started southbound hikes. It was so close to the lot that I was able to turn my car alarm off and on from it.
This time I hiked North, along the edge of the park where there were few people.
But, of course, there was family playing with RC cars at the first cache. I kept hiking. Here’s a picture of the Star Trek themed container that I found there 4 hours later on my way back.
The well marked trail led to the park’s entrance/exit and continued East across the street.
This extended rural road walk was a first for me. At this point traffic was light and I could hear approaching vehicles from a thousand feet away.
The trail turned right on Agua Dulce Boulevard through the middle of ‘downtown.’ This is the supermarket (L) and pizzaria (R) of PCT through hiker legend.
Directly across the street…burgers! They serve cold drinks in Mason jars, very welcome for those who started their hiking day 11 miles away near Acton and for cachers who spent the day at Vasquez Rocks.
On the same block there’s a liquor store and a not-yet-open restaurant. Sadly there are no geocaches.
The PCT continues beyond the businesses. There’s more traffic and one potentially deadly stretch for hikers. I made sure no cars were approaching from behind and then ran through it.
Even though the trail is wider on the East side of the street there are some hard to walk sandy parts. On my way back I found that the narrower West side has less sand and is easier on the feet.
At Sierra Highway the trail turned West and then North again.
It was a relief to finally be completely away from pavement and hiking uphill toward a cache, even if the scenery still wasn’t so great. The upper hilltop in the picture is where I hiked (from the other side) in my February 29 post.
2-1/2 hours after my start I reached my destination cache, one that hadn’t been found in 3 years and 5 months. The Backpacker’s Cache (GCG5QG). I’d expected an ammo can but read on the log that the decon container I found was a replacement hidden more than 4 years ago. The decon didn’t look new but it was still completely intact. And the logbook looked like it was placed the day before even though it hadn’t seen the light of day since December 2012. I would’ve continued up the hill but there were no more caches.
I sat for 5 minutes, turned around and did a reverse hike. The round trip distance, including some side hikes in the park, was 10.05 miles in 4 hours and 40 minutes. The hike was mostly flat and slightly downhill going back. The temperature never breaking 70 and cool breeze made it even easier. The earliest Class of 2016 PCT thru hikers were still more than 200 trail miles South. By the time the main ‘herd’ arrives in May and June it’s going to be much hotter.
February 29, 2016
I’ve been obsessed with hiking the PCT for about a year. On the offhand chance that I’d win the lotto I prepared for the 5 month 2,653 mile “thru hike” from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. I researched & bought all the gear, all the books & maps, read the blogs, watched youtube videos and immersed myself in thru hiker culture. But I didn’t win and therefore have to keep working. So I’m relegated to hiking small pieces of the PCT on weekends.
This time I chose a trailhead where the PCT crosses Bouquet Canyon Road. Cacher Vanichiro51 had very helpfully placed a string of PCT caches extending several miles both north and south of Bouquet Canyon Road. I parked in a small dirt lot, hung my Adventure Pass on the review mirror and walked a few feet to the south side trailhead. For PCT enthusiasts that’s: Section CA E2, mile 465.55. The trailhead cache is: P.C. Trail # 1 (GC2EF7J).
From the beginning the trail went gradually but relentlessly upward. The greenery was evidence of recent rains though there were no trail washouts or mud. Conditions were excellent throughout.
A cool breeze kept the 85 degree temperature from becoming uncomfortable. The Bouquet Reservoir, closed to the public, was visible for the early part of the hike.
I started finding caches with Don_J’s signature last on the log. I stamped underneath and left a memorial wooden nickel. Back at home I saw that there were online logs dated after Don’s finds. But those people didn’t sign the paper logs. Hmmm…
In addition to cache/hiking, I scout for “forest hikes” for my friend Christine (cacher sissopolis). I’m sorry to report that this hike definitely doesn’t qualify.
Finding caches every 600’ or so I arrived at a place where the soil abruptly changed from grey-brown to reddish. The vegetation became more dense at that spot.
Fortunately the caches were mostly very large containers, not too far off trail. But they were old and in various stages of decay.
This one was destroyed.
Just before the top of the last hill a forest of sorts appeared for a few hundred feet.
At the top the ‘forest’ ended in a wide plateau.
This is the view South from just beyond the sign on a dirt road. The town of Agua Dulce and Vasquez Rocks are in the middle. And the white line across the center is the 14 freeway.
I walked around for the best view, sat for a few minutes to enjoy it and hurried back down in order to reach my car before sundown.
The RT hike was 7.4 miles with 1,200’ elevation gain. Going up and searching for 15 caches, finding 12 took 3 hours. Coming back down and searching for & finding 2 caches took 1 hour & 20 minutes. Eventually I’m going back with an earlier start time to find the many caches along the dirt road at the top. Maybe I’ll start from the other (South) side.