NOVEMBER 27, 2010 – Nicholas Flats

For many, Black Friday is a day for crazed shopping or laying comatose from the previous day’s over indulgences. For me it’s a day to work off excess turkey and to NOT spend money on more stuff I don’t need. This year I tried to recruit fellow cachers to geo-hike with me. Only Sissopolis (Christine) & BWidget (Bill) could go. We chose the Nicholas Flats area of the Santa Monica Mountains. None of us had been there and the map showed 26 caches.

This is the trailhead at: N34 04 .397 / W118 54 .396

Sandstone Peak, the site of many previous hikes, was visible to the North in the cool clear air.

The trail was obvious and not overgrown. There was no bushwhacking and we found caches in rapid succession. Soon we rounded a low hill and saw the ocean.

The scenery kept getting better and better.

We arrived at the very top at exactly 12:00pm. The view of the ocean and 4 of the Channel Islands: Catalina, Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz was so spectacular that finding the cache Surf’s Down (GCH8EA) became secondary. We took pictures and ate lunch before seriously looking for the cache. Group photo by Christine’s Lumix camera on timer.

Here’s 1 of 2 meadows that we skirted. I often see deer in places like this. They must’ve heard us coming.

We tried to skip stones but there were no flat rocks. All of those are probably already at the bottom of the lake. However there were some small salt water crab legs and claws. The area isn’t an estuary so how did they get there? Dropped by passing birds?

While rock scrambling above the lake we passed a burial site for a pet cat.

I lingered to look at the grave offerings and caught up to Bill & Christine as they found a scary cache Nicholas Lake Guardian (GC1GHD4) on a ledge above a big dropoff.
We even found 2 multi-caches. One of them was ancient: Rock ‘N View Surprise (GC6DA2). Each stage is a fully stocked ammo can!!

Always ready for more adventure, we stepped through a miniature stargate.

But it only led back to my car.
In 6-1/4 hours we found 1 park-&-grab and 26 hiking caches. We didn’t know the area, didn’t have a formal plan and weren’t sure if a loop was possible (it is!!). But EVERYTHING went right. The weather was perfect. Every decision we made was correct. Every choice led to the next cache. There were no wrong turns, no unplanned backtracking, no dead ends and no DNFs. It was a great day.

And then I went home and ate another turkey meal.

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