JANUARY 25, 2010 – the whole post’s a rant!!

January 24, 2010

A solid week of rainy weather had me in a dark mood. Instead of planning the next cache hike (I HATE MUD) or even an urban cache run (too cold & wet) I ended up thinking back on my most negative muggle encounters.

If you think that caching is all positive, fun and full of smiley faces, skip the rest of this posting. I don’t want to upset you.

I firmly believe that a huge majority of muggles are oblivious to our caching activities. Of those who do notice us, many are mildly suspicious but they’re busy with what they’re doing and soon lose interest. Most of the remainder who see us don’t care. The rest are split between those who know about geocaching and those who start confrontations and/or call the authorities. I divide these last into paranoids and haters.

Encounters with paranoids:

Lemonwood Park Cache (GC1EGJR).
While caching near the main sign at a nearly vacant public park, a group of small kids ran up, surrounded me and asked what I was doing. Within 10 seconds 2 parents rushed over and told me to leave the, “children’s playground,” or they’d call the police. Anxious aunts & uncles were striding forcefully in our direction and the situation could easily have turned ugly, maybe even violent. So I left.


A Bug’s Life (GCNBA2).
While signing the log a muggle yelled from the nearest house, well over 100’ away. “What’re you doing? You’re trespassing!” I asked & he ok’d for me to approach. I briefly explained geocaching and that the cache was on COSCA property. He claimed that COSCA had deeded the property over to him and that he wanted to keep arsonists out. By then a delegation of neighbors had joined us and all wanted the cache removed. Planning to relocate the cache, I asked for the location of the property line. The muggle was vague and couldn’t point to an exact spot. Whatever…


Encounters with haters:

Taylor Yards (across L.A. River from Elysian Park) forgot which cache: I found the cache and was walking to my car in the parking lot. A group of guys was having a tailgate party. One of them yelled to me, “Hey, this ain’t Chinatown.” and all of them glared. I was only a few feet from my car so I left.


Viva Las Vegas (GC1DZX5).
On multiple weekend visits to find a cache the GPSr always zeroed in the middle of the street. Each time the same muggle and 1 to 3 of his friends was standing around nearby. Thirty seconds into first visit the main muggle shouted in mixed Spanish/English. I understood “get outta here!” I finally found the cache when no one was around. Just as I was leaving, the muggle came around the corner eating chips from a bag. He was alone and he walked silently around me to get back to his apartment complex.

Thousand Oaks (somewhere near TO Blvd & Reyes Adobe) – don’t remember cache name:
When searching a telephone pole on a residential street, NOT in front of a house, a local walked around the corner and saw me. He stopped and started complaining about “city people,” and called me an “oriental terrorist.” I told him if that’s what he believed then he should call the sheriff. He said, “don’t worry, I will,” and walked back around the corner. Strangely, the guy was obviously half Asian…It was apparently a case of self-loathing.

A hybrid paranoid / hater (s)?


Kaitlin’s First Cache (GCGV8J).
A kindly looking old muggle man seemed to be genuinely interested in my explanation of caching. The rest of the exchange went like this. “Do you live around here?” “No, in the San Fernando Valley.” “Are there geocaches there?” “Yes.” “Then why don’t you go look for those?” “Are you telling me that I’m not allowed here?” “Noooo, I can’t say that. But this park is for local residents.”

Trekking Tapo #1 (GC1WCG4).
Strangely, I had a nearly identical encounter (it MAY even have been the same guy) 4 years later in Simi. This time he ended by claiming to be a retired Sheriff who wanted to keep foreign gangs out of Simi. What could that POSSIBLY have to do with me?! The entire series of caches seemed to be along people’s backyards so I decided to skip it entirely.

YES – IT IS a rant! After remembering everything above, all at once, my B.P. is sky high. I’ll calm down during the week. In the meantime, if you’ve got a muggle experience to share, please do.


JANUARY 18, 2010 – coastal Ventura

January 18, 2010

A series of 4 big storms was bearing down on Southern California. I took advantage of the last day of sunshine and went beach caching in Ventura with Don_J. We were lucky to find a space in the small free parking lot at Surfer’s Point Park.

We walked West and found no stopping tall people…(GC2104R). There was no stopping us either because we had hiking sticks. We DNF’d dead on the beach (GC1KQYC). There were multiple DNF logs so we’re confident that the cache was no longer there. At least the scenery was good.

Soon afterward we were blocked by a draining estuary. Hiking in soggy shoes & socks isn’t fun.

Here’s how we got across. On the return trip, at this exact spot, we walked up on a nude photo shoot. To get away, I went through with my shoes & socks on. The water level was lower then so the crossing wasn’t too bad.

We walked under and across railroad tracks. But we didn’t walk across the bridges like some stupid people we saw.

A Great Blue Heron wandered in the vacant Seaside Wilderness Park. Don found a hexagonal bison tube cache nearby.

We didn’t find the cache that was hinted to be in plain sight, at the end of this post.

Raccoon?

We spent the rest of the afternoon finding urban and urban-hiking caches. There are still a lot of caches in the area so I’ll be back.


JANUARY 11, 2010 – hiking & urban caching

January 11, 2010

Saturday was a combination hiking & urban caching day. The morning began with a ride in Elin’s (EMC of Northridge) Prius to the Greenbriar trailhead. I’d already found all of the caches except one. Five feet from one of them, something had taken up residence. Note the gnawed tree trunk on the ground at the right side middle.

Somewhere below we found Davey Jones Locker (GC223GH) an “unknown” cache. I’d DNF’d (Did Not Find) a week earlier. This time Elin walked right up to it. d’OH!! It was 1” from where I’d looked before.

Elin still needed to find “THEY!” (GC1CCB9) a fun, themed cache by Don_J. I’d found it 5 months earlier and wanted to see Elin’s reaction to the unique hide. Whether you hike from Mulholland Fire Road or from the South end of Vanalden Blvd you’ll walk along a 20’ drop off, literally within inches of the edge. Then you’ll turn and walk over the top of the Vanalden Caves.

The path across the top has some skylights!

As I expected, Elin screeched when she found, “THEY!” I highly recommend this cache.

After the fun we drove “over the hill,” to find the Million Tree series by dezdog. There are lots of sidewalk trees like the one to the left below. Currently 12 of them contain a cache. And they’re all non-vegetation hides. You’ll have to find the caches yourself to resolve this contradiction. Driving West to East is a must.
We also took a few short detours to find other nearby caches. Despite the Hollywood sign in the background, the area was somewhat less than glamorous.
A few last caches along Ballona Creek ended the day.


JANUARY 4, 2010 – Mulholland Dr. & surroundings

January 4, 2010

Since my pre-caching days I’ve made it a point to start every year with a New Year’s Day hike. After finding 214 caches in December & meeting my 2009 goal of 1,200, there was no self imposed pressure for ‘numbers.’ So I chose a short stretch of Mulholland Drive and a southward turn on a big (unnamed?) fire road. I started here Valley Views (GCRF92). I found this cache years ago but the trailhead is here and there’s lots of free parking.

It’s possible to continue driving westward to 3 caches but I hiked to them instead. The view to the east was unusually clear.

The Encino Reservoir was just north of the road. Several websites list it as a fishing lake. But as far as I know it’s owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and has always been off limits to the public. Does anyone know for sure?

I found 2 caches and arrived at the third, Cold War Cache (GC10BYG). It’s at a decommissioned Nike missile base. It’s open to the public.

Here’s a view of downtown Los Angeles from the top of the tower.

I took pictures and backtracked to parking. Then I kept going East. The sign below marks the southward turn onto a fire road and dshadovi’s 4 cache Canyonback series.
All are on a single track that parallels and sometimes crisscrosses the fire road. North to South the caches are numbered #3, #2, #1 and #0. Numbers 3/2/1 each contain a clue that’s used to determine the true coordinates for #0. All 4 are big containers and easy finds, out of the direct view of main trail muggles. Thanks David for a fun series.

From near the final cache Canyonback #0 (GC1MME3) downtown L.A. and snowcapped mountains were visible to the East..

…and to the Southwest, the ocean at Santa Monica Bay.
The Canyonback Tigertail series of 6 + 2 caches starts less than a mile further South. I’m going back for those caches soon.