I had a mostly horrible holiday weekend. On Sunday I walked to a disabled (guideline violation) cache and then continued on to a small market. I put my Oregon 400T into a hand basket. At the single checkout line I took out my purchases and then got distracted, restacking the basket with my Oregon still inside. I realized my mistake almost immediately and ran back to the store. But someone had already taken my GPSr.
On Monday, with my old Magellan eXplorist 600 in hand I went with a small group to find the dragon series of caches, north of Las Virgenes and Chesboro canyons. It’s 11 new caches by pianofab (Fabrizio) and a very old one that I’ve wanted to find for years. I concentrated so much on relearning the old GPSr that I forgot my camera. BWidget let me use his. Thanks Bill! We started our 9 mile hike on good trails. The first thing we saw was a fully intact dead rabbit; not a good omen.
The going got tougher as we approached the base of the hill for the dragons.. Capsbug (Ellen) caught up below. Later it was me who fell waaay behind.
This sign looked stupid growing out of the bushes. I don’t think there’ve been any vehicles there, authorized or not, for many years.
The dragon series is a right turn at the sign below. It was going to be uphill from there to reach the dragons so 3 of us turned back. I kept going with 5 others, reasonably thinking that the return trip would be downhill.
Only Albackore (Jeff) & Tozainamboku (Marty) bushwhacked 0.11 miles through the area below to reach the ‘final’ of Piede del Gigante (GC2466). From here we were swarmed by flies and other annoying insects. A large black fly bit my arm and drew blood. We flicked off ticks and weirdly, some earwigs too. It was somewhere around here that I learned the hike was now a loop and that we were going back a different way.
The hint for this dragon cache said, “minor rock climbing.” Albackore found it. It was one the few “easy” ones.
This unusual rock towered 20’ over the trail.
The dragon here was a bison tube 50’ off trail, up a hillside through foxtails and thistles. The guys with long pants were delegated to make the find.
It took a few minutes to get this horny toad to pose for a picture. Even in near ideal lighting conditions his camo was extremely effective.
The horny toad seemed happy. On the other hand we were more miserable with each overheated step. After a DNF at Dragon Wing (GC28DVF) yet another off trail cache we decided to give up and skip the rest. We turned east and from there the ‘trail’ was little more than an overgrown up and down animal track. With each uphill I fell farther and farther back. This happens toward the end of long hot uphill hikes. I stopped every few hundred feet and layed down for several minutes, somehow without getting a single red ant sting. Don_J and BWidget knew that I’m OK in this situation but some of the others probably thought that I was about to go into heat stroke.
Before we finally reached the fire road back to Bell Canyon, Marty left 2 caches. There’s no chance of muggling. Unless you’re a geocacher you’ve got to be out of your mind to be back there.
I showed up at the (private) trailhead, different from our starting point, and joined some of the others who were waiting for the rest to return with vehicles from the original (also private) trailhead. They soon arrived and all of us went to a great BBQ dinner, which was a perfect way for me to close out an otherwise terrible weekend…and then I woke up the next morning with a scratched cornea – again!!