Sometimes hiking is more important than finding caches. (OK – not so often for me…) So even though I’d found almost all off the caches, I joined Albackore’s hike from a private trailhead in Bell Canyon through the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. After a car shuttle, 12 of us, including Sissoplis and her 3 tween students got onto the trail just after 8 a.m. The super bright clear weather made colors especially vivid. Seventy degree temperatures and the almost entirely gradual downhill route kept me content.
The group found a steady string of caches, many of them were mine! Then I heard the unmistakable rattle of an annoyed snake as we passed by just out of striking range. We stopped and watched in horrified fascination as a large rattler tried to swallow an unlucky ground squirrel much wider than itself. Pianofab (Fabrizio) took a video. Eventually the snake had enough of our noisy picture taking and slithered away. I hope that it went back later to finish its meal in private.
The squirrel wasn’t the only one who had a record bad day. This California King Snake was killed by a bicycle.
We saw some new life too. During several shallow stream crossings we carefully avoided adding to the carnage by stepping around the tadpoles.
A little later, while I sat in the shade, most of the group went up a small hill to find my cache, Crossover to Chesbro Canyon (GC16V89). They came back and reported that the cache is present and in good shape.
Gummyfrog, Reinshadow and Spoondoggie marched to the next cache after a short side hike.
The eastward leg of the hike, toward the Victory trailhead was especially colorful. In another week everything will be brown except the oak trees.
Albackore led the group on another side hike to an older cache, Fortune Cookie Cache (GCNBGQ). Some of us who’d already found that one stayed on the main trail.
We regrouped at a place so scenic it looked like an impressionist painting.
We continued on to find new caches placed by T&A Divers a few days earlier. I ended with 7 finds while those caching here for the first time found 30+.
I won’t add a picture of the ugly parking lot at the trailhead. We’d parked just outside anyway to avoid the $3.00 fee. Our customary ritual of confused car shuttle return ride scrambling was duly performed. SOMEday, someone is going to be left out at this step and stranded. But not this time. We all found rides back to our cars in Bell Canyon.