SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 – Hondo Canyon Trail (BBT)

September 23, 2010

This past weekend I tagged along with foomanjoo, forest22 and benandjayme as they closed in on completing the Spinal Tap (GC1C4Y4) Backbone Trail challenge. I finished the challenge in January 2009 but many new caches have appeared on the Backbone Trail BBT since then. I wanted to log some of those and get some exercise too. While waiting for the group at the Top of Topanga overlook a hungry rodent asked for a handout. (sorry – nothing from me)

We left a car at the upper parking lot on Entrada and shuttled in my Prius to the starting point Pole Caching Practice II (GCN0H2).

We started our “all downhill” hike.

Much of the trail was under canopied tree cover with sunlight streaming through gaps in the leaves. Without fill-flash, most of my pictures there “didn’t turn out.” Here’s one that sort of did. It’s benandjayme and foomanjoo waiting for forrest22 who’d backtracked to retrieve her forgotten hiking stick.

Jayme quickly found the very well placed cache here.

We reached the end of the Hondo Canyon Trail. As I’d expected I fell behind here at mile 6 of 7 where there’s an uphill continuing across Old Topanga. Then we crossed new Topanga toward benandjayme’s parked car. The group who are a ½ generation younger than me patiently waited while I hobbled up the steps cut into the trail. Fifteen years ago I used to RUN up and down these trails, often on night hikes. I hope to win the lotto, become unstressed, stop overeating and be able to do that again.

We found a few more caches. Forrest22 climbed a tree to retrieve one.

We reached Ben’s car and on the way back to my Prius we made another stop.

We found 1 more cache at The END :-).

SEPTEMBER 15, 2010 – MCSP & Killer Bees

September 15, 2010

I was invited to an early morning hike in Malibu Creek State Park (MCSP) on short notice. Though walking and talking, I was mostly asleep for the first few caches. So there are no pictures of the empty TWELVE DOLLAR parking lot or spooky foggy trails. A little later, as a prior finder I watched the group go up a steep hill for Pack 100 Malibu Creek Cache (GC19E5P).

We hiked the SE part of the park. We found caches and saw the remains of some old houses. This is the cache log signing at one of them.

There was no cache at this ancient fireplace. We checked it out anyway and then went uphill.

Shortly afterward the group split up. Me and Don_J continued on the trail while the others found C Bear’s Cache (GC14W2T). They tried a ridge top “shortcut” while I found a members-only cache with Don. From a convenient nearby resting spot we enjoyed the scenery and looked forward to visiting “rock pool” which is hidden in the bottom of the picture below.

We reached the Visitor Center and waited. The 4 shorcut hikers eventually staggered in with a wild tale of being swarmed and chased by marauding insects. In their panicked bushwhacking retreat they didn’t notice whether the bugs were bees or hornets. A stinger was pulled out of an earlobe so “killer bees” are strongly suspected. Here’s the group 20 minutes later, each with the number of times stung.

They’re smiling but the urge to continue onward to Rock Pool, Century Dam and M*A*S*H was gone and most of us went home.

Note: As always there’s free parking at Las Virgenes & Mulholland (get there early). But the hike-in access to the main part of the park (SE corner) is fenced off for native vegetation restoration.

SEPTEMBER 10, 2010 – EMC’s Extraterrestrial Adventure

September 10, 2010

Elin (EMC of Northridge) recently took a trip to Eastern Nevada with Albackore, robb_dogg and Team Perks (Perk 1). Their plan was to find 1,000+ closely packed caches on the Extraterrestrial Highway. Read her description of the trip: ET Highway.

Here’s a picture of what really happened to cut their trip short:

I hope that the group is better prepared when they go back to find the rest of the caches. Good luck!!

SEPTEMBER 4, 2010 – Long Beach

September 4, 2010

Long Beach is the part of Los Angeles County that I know the least about. A quick mid-afternoon trip there got me out of the valley heat. I arrived near the aquarium and convention center and immediately saw more walking muggles than I’ve ever seen outside of documentaries about China and India. Coupled with the utter lack of free or reasonably priced parking, even the lure of a dense 10 cache cluster wasn’t enough to keep me from driving away.

I ended up a ½ mile farther East at a small beachside parking lot. The ancient meters there charged 25 cents for 15 minutes. I had 4 quarters and a pocket full of unusable dollar coins. With only an hour on the meter I rushed to the nearest cache at this bus stop. The cache is placed so that it can be recovered unseen even when a dozen muggles are waiting.

Here’s the view from ground zero of the 2nd cache that I reached. The find should’ve been easy but I DNF’d.

Every vendor I asked along the way refused to exchange dollar coins for quarters, even if I bought something. So I had to run back to move my car at this point. I stopped to take a picture of 2 huge buildings, hotels &/or condos, I think.

The traffic and parking situation were better farther inland. I found about a dozen caches and especially recommend these 2:

Airplane Hill! (GCZ65D)
Long Beach Lifeguard Museum (GC1C9CE)

On the way home I passed a small fire in the Sepulveda Pass.

Monday = holiday. More caches, I hope.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2010 – something different

September 1, 2010

New green boxes are popping up all over on the map. But there’s been no convergence of free time and sufficient mental energy to go caching. As I sit here too tired to go out, I’ll look thru my caching photo library.

I’m always complaining about vegetation hides. A Wildwood Park cache in here would’ve had me ranting out of control. It was a good thing that the container was in the clear, nearby.

While caching in Manhattan Beach I found out where sunflower seeds come from. And no, they’re not salted at this point.

At a caching event I ordered kung pao chicken extra spicy. Despite the overabundance of peppers, there was surprisingly little heat in the dish. Picture by Roadkill.

In Griffith Park I found a nano cache in a drainage pipe covered by a snake skin.

Last week I drove past an exploded hydrant at Canoga & Califa in Woodland Hills. In the 110 degree heat, the firemen didn’t seem to be in a hurry to turn off the flow.

The 3 day weekend is coming up. I hope to break out of my malaise and find a lot of caches. See you on the trail – and good luck to those planning to cache the ET Highway in Eastern Nevada.