Albackore (Jeff) organized a caching loop hike in Thousand Oaks. But when he said, “7am at Trailhead Micro #1 (GC11CV7),” I opted for a later start and planned to cross paths with the group in the loop’s middle. Sometimes nothing goes as planned. I had insomnia, got up early and arrived at the trailhead at 7:15am. The group was still waiting to start! Where was Jeff? He’d stepped on a dead bee 2 days earlier and called in that he was still in too much pain to hike. We started without him.
It’s a rare caching hike around here where women outnumber men. But that’s what happened today. See below: sissopolis (Christine), capdude (John), EMC of Northridge (Elin, no not THAT Elin), (capdude+1) Ellen, Deborah (of The Lopez Family) & deeznutz® (Derrick).
Only 15 minutes in, it was obvious that whoever said, “it’s mostly flat,” was wrong!!
At least the trail wasn’t overgrown and the caches were reachable with minimal bushwhacking. The overcast kept the temperature below 80 degrees. It was more humid than I like. We saw rain cells in the distance too.
And whoever said, “it’s mostly flat,” was STILL wrong.
At I Wanna Rock! 3 (GC11CW4) our eyes brought us to the cache and our noses brought us to this rabbit carcass 15’ away. A few minutes later we saw our first rattlesnake coiled on open ground, 6’ from a cache. More about snakes later.
As usual, tree hanger caches didn’t stay hidden for long when multiple cachers searched for them.
This is the long road back, the west side of the loop, looking North. Notice that IT’S uphill too. Soon after we reached the top, found a cache and turned toward our cars, we ran into Snake Alley.
We’d already seen 1 rattlesnake earlier. Here we saw 6 more in rapid succession. One was 6” from the trail and the farthest was 6’. The pictures below are all DIFFERENT snakes.
The camouflage is every effective. A hiker could easily step on this one.
This one’s darker and easier to see. He’d eaten something big and wasn’t interested in moving around.
One snake moved away from us. He went head first into a hole, leaving only his rattle exposed. Then we saw 2 more snakes in a different burrow 5’ away.
Fortunately, there were no ophidiophobes in our group. It was still scary when the trail unexpectedly dead ended a few steps beyond the last snake burrow. We had to bushwhack about 100′ to reach another trail without clearly seeing our feet. But everyone got through alive to reach Lamp Post Pizza. Jeff and Albackore2 (Naomi) joined us to celebrate our escape.
Those who’d never hiked the loop logged 20+ caches today. I logged 12. We ended July 2011 with a very memorable hike. Let’s hope NOT to break our 1 day rattlesnake sighting record anytime soon.