A series of 8 new hiking caches by VanIchiro51 in the Michael D. Antonovich Open Space Preserve caught my attention. Instead of the usual car shuttle hike with geofriends from the trailhead to Mission Peak (Point) & Neon Way I hiked in & and back out, alone.
At the trailhead a friendly pit bull stopped by. I played with him for a minute. Then in a perfect example of the saying, “no good deed goes unpunished,” he peed on my tire and walked away.
The hike starts at about 1800’ elevation and quickly gains 400’ before leveling off to a very gradual uphill. Even though it’d rained briefly the day before, there was no mud on the trail except in a few easily avoidable tire ruts.
This is one of the spookiest trails that I know. Its broadside orientation against the Santa Clarita to San Fernando Valley pass amplifies strong irregular wind gusts. They whip through the trees and cause unusual noises. Often it sounds as if someone is right behind you. I still turn around every time, just in case. The one time I don’t will be the time I’m mauled by Ursula the Bear. Anyway, the landfill was as ugly as ever.
The wind has ripped the overhead netting off of my favorite resting spot. I put my stuff down and walked a few feet away to check my cache, Where’s Ursula the Bear? (GC189YD). After 2 years it’s still in good shape.
A dry and almost flat trail kept me eager to go forward. Eight of the 9 new (for me) caches required stepping from 10 to 40 feet off trail through shin high grass. I don’t like to step without seeing the ground. Somehow I didn’t roll an ankle or squash any snakes. A bit of advice…go now while the grass is green and the abundant foxtails are still firmly attached to their stalks.
For the 9th and only non-VanIchiro51 cache Christmas Tree at East Canyon (GC226BR)I turned right (N) into East Canyon.
My Oregon 400t ‘zeroed’ at a small pine tree festooned with a leprechaun’s clothes. I was distracted by the fake gold coins sprinkled on the ground. These were a good pre St. Patrick’s Day conversation topic with the only 3 people I saw on the trail. All of them passed by separately while I looked for the cache. I almost gave up and then saw the cache in an unexpected place. My geofriends and me wouldn’t have put the container THERE. Be careful with the retrieval especially if you’re crazy enough to be caching here in wet or windy weather.
There were 2 more caches ahead but I didn’t want to lose more altitude (from a max of 2500’) that I’d have to make up on the return trip. And, of course, knowing that a naked leprechaun was lurking nearby was another major incentive to NOT continue. So this was my turnaround point. I got back to my car just as the sun set. I drove home and washed off my tire!