DECEMBER 1, 2008 – Wildwood Park (Thousand Oaks)

Black Friday: I planned for an urban cache run in Santa Monica. Then I remembered the horrendous traffic/parking situation on that side of the hill, probably made 10x worse by crazed shoppers fighting to get to their next store. So I went the other way to Wildwood Park in T.O. Hiking in that 1,750 acre park would help me work off several pounds of turkey & stuffing -and- change a loop of 12 green boxes into smilies.

Starting from a little known trailhead on Wildwood Drive I went uphill and immediately entered a rock strewn area that was free of the usual plantlife. It looks like a fire in the past few years burned it off.
112808_destructionThe edge.

A few minutes further east, one plant was thriving, cactus.112808_cactus_wall

OF COURSE, there’s a cache at the top!! Cliff Micro (GCHMR5)

From the top, looking south: The lack of cover meant that there were no vegetation hides on the bottom ½ of my counterclockwise loop!!
112808_no_cover
The terrain abruptly changed after this point.

The top ½ of the loop began with a side hike east into an unburned area with a full complement of vegetation. Two caches required crossing inside a gated private driveway on a public easement:
Santa Rosa Valley View (GCWXD7) & A Sparky View (GCWXD1). There were no geopiles so these caches weren’t quick finds.

I continued on a single track overlooking the Santa Rosa Valley. The caches there were uneventful except the final one which I DNF’d. It hadn’t been found in almost 2 years so I think that it’s gone.
Wildwood Pod Races (GCHR7G)

112808_santa_rosaA long line of farm workers toiled down below.

On Saturday, I went back to Wildwood. Near the parking lot I saw this creepy oak which would be great for a Halloween hide.112808_knarley_oak
There’s already a cache there Magnetic Disturbance (GCA033) but I couldn’t find it.

After walking a mile west and then north, finding a few caches on the way, the GPSr showed a short .28 hike to the final, NW-most cache.
Wild West Wildwood (GCH6G8)

112908_it_is_up_there
Do you have ANY doubt where the cache was located? I had to stop every 50 feet or so on the very steep ascent. Eventually I found myself at the top with the cache container in hand. While signing the log I heard voices even though I KNEW no one was around.

Voices in my head aren’t unusual but they talk to ME, not to each other. And none of them is named Hailey. I finally found Hailey & her friend silhouetted on a neighboring peak to the south. A weird acoustic tunnel let me hear their conversation from a half mile away. I tried to talk back. They must’ve heard something because they paused suddenly before babbling on. Cheer up Hailey. Things will turn around for you soon.

It was a long walk back to the parking lot.
112908_long_road_back
I found 18 total caches in 4 hours (FRI) and 5 hours (SAT).

STUFF: I found another treasure at the 99¢ Only Store. LASER POINTERS for 99 cents!! The sticker states a 535nm wavelength at <5mw. If the output is anything approaching 5mw, it’s hefty for a “toy.”
img_1031These used to cost hundreds of dollars 25 years ago. Now they’re being sold as “Pet Toys.” They’re perfectly good for that purpose. A coworker uses his to wreak havoc on his 9 cats. Owning no animals I’ll be limited to lighting up distant trees and rocks on night caching hikes. With extra batteries at 3 sets for 99¢ I’m going to have fun for a long time.

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