JULY 25, 2010 – Santa Barbara / Goleta

It was already 80 degrees at 8:30am in the San Fernando Valley when I left for a day of coastal caching in Santa Barbara. Don_J went with me on short notice. We sped through our more familiar caching grounds of Oxnard and Ventura. Soon we were enveloped in coastal haze that didn’t lift until well after noon. This was a good thing because it kept the temperature in the low 60’s. I don’t know the City of Santa Barbara so we had no formal plan or routing. We took a likely offramp and started looking for nearby caches on the right side of the road. This is almost always a formula for a low numbers day. And so it was today.

Our first successful find was 1,000 Steps (GCWVQF). The cache was at the top of the, far fewer than 1,000, steps. We descended to look around.

At the bottom there was a lighthouse view to the North and people were digging for Pismo Clams to the South.

A dead California Spiny Lobster was an interesting sight. I (very) briefly thought about turning it into a cache container.

Then we ran into a string of caches with multiple DNF (Did Not Find) logs. We ranted about unmaintained caches, especially ones that the owner doesn’t ‘disable.’ This was a common theme throughout the day as we encountered as many multiple DNF (presumably missing) caches as active ones. BWidget recently told me that GSAK has a function to remove multiple DNF caches from pocket queries. Maybe it’s time for me to look into this. To get out of the immediate area we drove a few miles to the breakwater. We were very lucky to find free parking. One of the hides was at a locked walk thru gate for boat owners only. WHY? Anyone lurking there would be instantly questioned and probably detained for the police as well. We skipped it and continued on to the other breakwater caches. The last one was a rock hide cache at the very end. It was a very long walk (.2 miles) on the 12” wide strip below to reach it.

Boats passed by as we searched. We gave up after 20 minutes.

We walked back to the car and drove 8 miles to a bike path in Goleta to improve our luck. How could we go wrong with a bike path series?! But the first part of the path was along a swampy estuary and the caches were “smalls.” We found only 1 of 4, a 35mm film container, before turning back to our starting point and continuing in the other direction.

This is a Little Blue Heron in its juvenile plumage. It’s the same species I saw (& pictured) in San Diego last month. For a non-native species, either I was lucky to see 2 individuals 200 miles apart, or maybe it’s not so non-native after all. Do juveniles migrate?

Several caches mentioned a waterfall.

Solar powered lights are seemingly an oxymoron.

Directly across from the solar powered lights was a solid wall of “jungle.” If ever there was a place where ammo cans are suitable cache containers, this was it. Unfortunately the largest cache was a decon container buried under the leaves. Every cache here took at least 15 minutes to find.

I thought that Don hates vegetation hides even more than I do but he crawled on his belly into the undergrowth more than once. He’s in there someplace.

You’ll never see MY shoes-only sticking out of the bushes unless I’m dead. [:P]

Did I have a good day? Yes. I got out of the valley heat for much needed outdoor exercise. And for the messy caches I poked around safely with my hiking stick while Don_J dived in to find them. I also reached my milestone 7,500th cache and day 115 of my 100 day caching streak. Thank you to the hiders of all the Santa Barbara & Goleta caches that we found.

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