NOVEMBER 17, 2008 – Sandstone to Sycamore

I awoke to the smell of smoke from the Sylmar fire about 10 miles to the north. EMC soon arrived and we drove through weird orange lighting and swirls of ashes to reach the 101. At the Sycamore Canyon trailhead we met GeoCraig, Don_J, BWidget, tozainamoku, robb_dogg and new cacher Albackore. We packed into 2 vehicles and drove S on PCH and then E up Yerba Buena to the Sandstone Peak parking lot / trailhead. Our 8 hour, 14 mile, 30+ cache hike began in intense wind which kept us cool most of the day. The views should’ve been crystal clear & scenic but the smoke sweeping out to sea reduced visibility and kept the skies a dull yellowish gray for the first 6 hours.

First on our hike was a photo stop for “Diamond in the Rough Returns,” (GC70B3). It’s a HUGE upright boulder called “balance rock” across the canyon. About 2 years ago I logged a ‘find’ using a picture of me holding my GPS WITH the rock in the background, which was the requirement at the time. I’m told that the volunteer geo-police listed me in the “Cheater’s Hall of Shame,” for not being AT the rock which is the current requirement.
111508_cheaters_club Two among us have not touched the rock.

At this point a setting on my camera got changed and I didn’t notice until 10 miles into the hike. None of the pictures ‘came out,’ until I fixed the problem. Others will post pictures on their own blogs. I recommend GeoCraig’s in advance as he’s a serious photographer. Also BWidget just e-mailed his flickr page.

After logging 4 caches for the Santa Monica Mountains History Adventure (GC18DXW) we continued to the outskirts of Serrano Valley. This area is known for the ruins of long abandoned homes and farms.
111508_19_20_21 Don_J in 19th century garb, festooned with 21st century technology, inspecting 20th century wreckage.

There are many caches in Serrano Valley but for today, we had to turn away toward Sycamore Canyon and the end of our hike.
111508_another_day Someday, we’ll follow this trail to more caches.

The sunset as we arrived back at the Sycamore Canyon trailhead.

RANT: As cachers we consciously or unconsciously train ourselves to see unusual things in our environment that don’t register in muggles’ brains. For years I was dimly aware of long thin unbroken wires stretching for miles atop various utility and light poles. Only recently I learned that they’re called “ERUV,” erected by Orthodox Jewish groups with appropriate safeguards and agency approvals. They’re symbolic extensions of walls and fences around “property” within which group members are exempted from specific Sabbath prohibitions. These are related mostly to carrying or moving certain household objects across the “property” line. The rules are complex and can differ between groups. For more information, ask a rabbi.
111708_eruv1This one broke in the wind & needs to be fixed.

Because ERUVIN (plural) encompass entire neighborhoods I wondered what non-Jews would think of being physically “enclosed” within the, symbolic to be sure, “property” of another religion. To find out I chose some random friends and acquaintances and explained the wires without editorial comment. The reactions ranged from barely contained outrage (few) to bovinian incomprehension (a few more) to udder disinterest (most). For myself, I’m definitely interested and DO understand what & why. As a devout non-believer of ALL religions, I was at first uncomfortable being surrounded by ANYthing religious. But upon reflection I saw that ERUVIN, are intended to be meaningful only to those who placed them and aren’t in any way related to proselytism. Furthermore, they’re unobtrusive (you didn’t know until I told you!!) and harmless unless you’re the hapless bird who flies into one. So there you have it. If while caching you see a long seemingly useless wire stretched overhead, there’s a good chance it’s an ERUV. Mazol Tov!!


3 Responses to NOVEMBER 17, 2008 – Sandstone to Sycamore

  1. the ruminator says:

    So what’s with all the cow jokes?

  2. Kuroneko says:

    I’m sure the jokes were only in reference to sacred cows, not to the general bovine populace.

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