March 12, 2010 – Bell Canyon & Castle Peak

Work, weather, PC problems and overeating kept my caching at a low level for the last few weeks. My only recent hike was a counterclockwise loop at Bell Canyon & Castle Peak.

I started at the trailhead at N 34° 12.262 W 118° 40.175. There’s a cache there that I DNF’d because I followed the hint. It’s so misleading that it’s disinformation. I should’ve just read the cache page. Which cache is it? I won’t tell because it’s “subscriber-only.” Its owner sets up nearly all of his caches this way. He must not want them to be found by casual, non premium member geocachers.

Though it’d rained the day before, there was very little mud and none of it was sticky. Bright red shiny poison oak was massively abundant just beyond the trailhead. For now, it’s easily avoided by staying in the middle of the trail.
There were 4 stream crossings. This was the 1st and worst one. After a few minutes I didn’t even notice my wet feet.
A few caches down the trail I saw a mini-waterfall off of an artificial stream bed of concrete and rocks.
The trail skirts the unfenced edge of a private park that belongs to the ‘gated’ Bell Canyon community. As always, I hurried through this section to avoid potential problems with the residents. So far, so good. No one’s ever tried to stop me or claim private property. Less than a minute uphill from the park there’s another subscriber-only cache near some ‘ruins.’

The effect of water was evident even far from the stream at the canyon bottom.

I reached the ridgeline and made a quick side trip westward to find 2 caches. One of them Quarry View (GC2411M) lives up to its name.
I turned back eastward and enjoyed looking at the cumulus clouds.
The best views of the day were from Lavender Fields…(GC1AGV6). Here’s Chatsworth Reservoir. I’ve heard for years that it’s going to be opened up for recreational use. So far it’s still heavily fenced and closed to the public.
A weird street layout:
The iconic cliffs of Chatsworth:
My next destination and the highlight of my hike was Castle Peak to the southeast. From this viewpoint it’s a straightforward hike with only minor scrambling for the last 100 feet. The cache near the top Castle Peak Turret (GC2410T) is well placed, out of sight from where partying muggles are likely to gather.
The trip down was very steep. The way was well worn so I didn’t have to backtrack, even once. This is the view from the bottom, looking back. And to think, I even went UP this way 5 years ago. I can’t do it now.
It was a short walk to the Vanowen trailhead.
Hiking alone, without a car shuttle, I had to walk a ½ mile on residential streets to get back to the other trailhead.

With a lot of internet research I solved most of my PC problems. Now maybe I can go back to caching:

MGI Photosuite wouldn’t load: Windows 7 has a “compatibility mode.” I copied the CD onto my hard drive and ran Photosuite’s install program in the WIN-95 mode. It loaded immediately and all functions work fine!

No video: Error message on EVERY video told me to install Adobe Flash Player. But the Adobe site says there’s no 64-bit version. Instead of messing with it I went to Mozilla and installed Firefox. All videos now play, problem-free.

Wireless was deaf: I reset the wi-fi router and got it off of the default channel (which is where 13 of the 22 nearby signals were parked). The new, less congested, channel works well from anywhere on my property.

Connection to GPS (Oregon 400t) is still intermittent. Sometimes I’m unable to “write” individual caches into my Oregon because the “Garmin Communicator Plug-in” is missing. It’s plainly NOT missing and it’s aggravating that the problem is intermittent. I think that it’s a Windows 7 security setting. I’m going to track it down, eventually.


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