The magnitude 7.2 earthquake in northern Baja California on April 4 convinced me to cancel my annual April San Diego caching vacation. Why drive 2/3 of the distance toward the epicenter to cache/hike alone in the mountains?! Coincidentally some of my local geofriends were planning to cache the Trail of the Gods between Baker CA and Primm NV, a series of 600+ hides along a 40 mile stretch of unpaved utility road. Most of the caches were said to be Eclipse mint tins attached to the base of electrical towers…which is likely why NEARLY all of them were suddenly archived 3 days before the scheduled trip. Some cachers dropped out as a result, leaving only EMC (Elin) & Albackore (Jeff). I joined them. We started at 10:00am from EMC’s house and drove in 2 vehicles to Baker, CA. That’s the home of the giant thermometer which is also a virtual cache Some Like it Hot (GC436A).
We found all 5 caches in Baker, including the one at the sign below. We also had lunch at the advertised restaurant.
An hour later we’d checked into three 2nd floor rooms at Buffalo Bill’s and were walking around looking for the 3 caches in the back parking lot. Then it was a quick trip on 2 monorails, one of which looked like an egg, across the freeway to find a multi-cache The 500 Club (GCF552). This ended up as the ONLY DNF of the entire trip. Do you see why we had so much trouble?
After an hour of looking unsuccessfully for the final cache the sun was setting and we were thirsty. Buffalo Bill’s beckoned from across the (hidden in picture) freeway.
While Jeff & Elin had dinner (I was still full from lunch) I went on a short night hike along the border fence and found 4 caches. I stopped by again during daylight for pictures. An Earthcache is here.
Farther along the border fence there is an ammo can cache about a foot inside California.
On Saturday, our first full caching day, we drove through Whiskey Pete’s parking lot back into California to get a sense of the, now mostly archived, Trail of the Gods. We found the northernmost 2 active gods, Zeus and Nortia. For most of the 6 miles to Nortia, the powerline road was flat with gravel and small size rocks. My Honda Element had no problems driving on it.
Albackore holds up Nortia, a surprisingly large, non-tower cache while EMC takes a picture.
We also stopped at 2 random towers. Sure enough, there was an archived god at each of them.
Since the Trail of the Gods series was no more, we used my “plan B” list. We switched to Elin’s Prius and found 67 of the 68 caches in the Phobia series on the NV side of the border. We started here.
The 68th phobia cache was alone, some distance away. We didn’t make the side trip to reach it. Many of the 67 were mint tins or film containers attached to or very close to a tower leg. Apparently, the powers that be in Nevada are more tolerant of tower caches than those in California. But tower pictures are boring so here are some of the more distinctive plants that we saw.
We switched cars again after a short rest and found some non-series caches between Primm and Jean, then a cluster of 9 before heading back to the hotel. There was one last cache for me on the way that Elin & Jeff had found years earlier.
Then it was back to Buffalo Bill’s yet again where we had dinner at Tony Roma’s in the casino. I had misgivings about ordering a “pulled pork BBQ sandwich,” because it seemed like cannibalism. But I gave in and enjoyed the meal.
To be continued…