It was the first day of my vacation and I wasn’t about to get up even earlier than on a workday to attend a 6:30am pre-hike event Geo_Connection in Simi Hills (GC21KJK). The hike itself, a loop at Chivo Canyon (northern edge of Simi Valley), was scheduled for 7:45am. After staggering into my car I plugged the parking coordinates into my Nuvi 500 –and- drove…to the wrong place. There were no cachers and their vehicles were nowhere in sight. Fifteen minutes later I finally spotted some familiar trucks. I parked next to them and walked around the corner to the unmarked trailhead at the stairs below. Fresh footprints in the cracked mud at the bottom showed that the big caching group had gone toward the riverbed, to the left. I had little chance of making up their 20 minute lead, especially if I stopped to find caches. Instead I hiked up the short paved path on the right, starting the loop counterclockwise.
The first cache I found Chivo Canyon Trail Head (GCRVBY) didn’t contain the group’s signatures on the log sheet, confirming that they’d gone clockwise. The pavement soon ended and the, now, dirt trail went steeply uphill. Clear windy conditions produced great views. A backward look shows the trailhead stairs in the middle of the picture below.
It’s a running joke that Tozainamboku (Marty) often logs that he saw Ooper’s Cache in the distance from various other cache sites. He then uploads a picture to prove it. I’m thinking of doing the same with robb_dogg’s Ladyface Mountain Goat Cache. See? It’s in the background!!
The upward trek was made easier by temperatures in the low 70’s and hindered by super strong gusts. One of the caches was only 3’ from a 300’ dropoff. I crouched down low to minimize my wind profile. It worked because I didn’t get blown over the side. Approaching the top (northern edge) of the loop I looked down to see the group, about 3/10 of a mile away, obviously searching hard for a cache. I don’t know for how long they’d already looked but I had time to find another cache and wait there before they started arriving.
I joined the group for 3 caches at the top of the loop. A very small rattlesnake was found slithering underfoot. When someone poked at it with her hiking stick, it coiled up defensively. It was time for me to go.
The group continued their clockwise loop. I went counterclockwise by myself.
I reached the spot where the group had searched for a long time Alone Again (GC20RWG). The area was predictably trampled flat. While their 41 eyeballs had eventually produced the cache, I couldn’t find it by myself even after 20 minutes of searching. It was my only DNF of the day. Continuing onward, the trail became narrower and more confined. At least it wasn’t as windy on this side of the loop.
One cache was ridiculously obvious.
The trail led to the canyon bottom / riverbed. The area was strewn with rusting mid-20th century relics. Does anyone know what this was? The “wheels” are welded onto pipes so they couldn’t have turned.
What I first thought was a filthy puddle turned out to be an oil seep (click for video).
There were more relics south of the seep. They didn’t appear to be for oil drilling.
Finally, I reached the last section of the riverbed. The trailhead stairs and the end of the loop are just beyond the picture.
I found 23 of 24 caches attempted. I need 144 more finds to reach exactly 1,200 for the year. More posts will follow as this (rare for me) goal is pursued.
QUESTION: Why are the majority of hiking caches in this area “subscriber only?”