DECEMBER 26, 2011 – Lake Eleanor, Westlake Village

December 26, 2011

EcuaDeb suggested a caching hike near Lake Eleanor just South of Westlake Village. It fit perfectly into my plans to get outside every day of my yearend vacation.

I had trouble finding the unofficial trailhead in a residential cul-de-sac and arrived 20 minutes late to find Deb and pianofab waiting patiently. At least the views were good immediately into the hike.

There were no “micros in the woods.”

The completely off limits Las Virgenes Reservoir was to our left. (East)

I felt less self conscious about being unable to find the parking spot after Deb announced that she’d left her GPSr at Go, Gordon, Go! (GCNACB) the southernmost cache. Go, go going back for it added a ½ mile but the weather was great and the ground was flat so we laughed our way through it.

With the GPSr recovered, we looped westward to Enjoy the View 2 (GC24B7G) which was hidden next to this barren area.

Directly across from the moon rocks is an impressive outcrop. The gc.com map shows 2 caches on it. Good luck getting up there.

And immediately below is the famous Lake Eleanor. I think that it’s yet another one that’s completely closed to the public. Too bad.

The last cache of the day was The Knob (GC24B7N) AND – it wasn’t at the rock below, even though our arrows pointed to it. The cache was 200’ beyond.

We hiked just over 5 miles and found 11 caches (6 for me) with no DNFs. I’m hiking more in the next few days.

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DECEMBER 24, 2011 – Point Mugu State Park (North)

December 24, 2011

I’m taking advantage of the confluence of cool, super clear weather and a 17 day yearend vacation to hike and cache as much as possible. Yesterday I hiked with pianofab (Fabrizio) just under 10 miles in Newbury Park. From the big paved parking lot at Rancho Sierra Vista we walked 0.3 miles to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center.

I found a rare National Park Service geocache, SAMO ParkCache 4 (GC2MPVZ) in the center’s garden. As a prior finder, pianofab walked around and took photos in the meantime.

This traditional Native American dwelling is a highlight of every visit.

Leaving the center we walked South on the pavement and crossed into Point Mugu State Park.

We found the newer caches along the way and descended into Sycamore Canyon. From past experience I didn’t look forward to the uphill return trip.

At Log Log Log (GC2JAZ4) we turned West into a cluster of unfound (by us) caches.

An idiot on a motorcycle sped by. A few minutes later he came back with a dozen yellow shirted bike patrol volunteers in hot pursuit. One of them stopped and said they’d been trying to trap the motorcycle for some time. They’d radioed ahead and expected law enforcement to be waiting at both ends of Sycamore Canyon. We don’t know what happened in the end.

We cached westward until Coyote Rest (GC2FC9) and then left the pavement for a different route back to Sycamore Canyon. We DIDN’T take the trail below but we DID see a coyote later.

Back on the main trail we passed what I think is a ranger’s residence. There’s a string of caches on the trail behind (E) it.

The uphill wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Temperatures in the low 70’s (at most) and the non rocky terrain during the entire hike left me with enough energy to get to the top without much difficulty. Once there we were rewarded by the sight of a big coyote. Seconds after this picture, he squatted and then jumped to catch a ground dwelling rodent. He missed and then wandered away slowly.

I ended the day with 18 caches. There are still several times that many green boxes on the map of Sycamore Canyon, enough for multiple return trips.


DECEMBER 19, 2011 – Hummingbird Trail, Simi Valley

December 19, 2011

Earlier this month a group of 10 cachers hiked the Hummingbird Trail at the East end of Simi Valley. The 7am start time was too early so I didn’t go. Today was the first day of my extended holiday and I went to the trail to find the string of unfound caches so close to home.

There was plenty of parking at the Kuehner Drive trailhead and a cache too No Smiles (GC1ZXZV). With Jack of McCachers Simi I ascended the steep and unfamiliar trail. It was overcast and very cold. The medium range view was good.

There were red arrows painted into parts of the trail. But still, without Jack who’s familiar with the area, I would’ve had trouble staying on course. I’ve never seen Jack’s picture on a blog post so in case that’s by request…

There were lots of caves and even some pseudo petroglyphs.
There were lots of places for caches to hide. But the coordinates were perfect on all except 1.

We understand that this view has special significance for some local cachers. Someday soon we hope to learn the secret.

Light rains last week left some interesting rock pools.

There were some horizontal holes too.
I plan to cache a LOT in the next 2 weeks. More posts to follow…


DECEMBER 17, 2011 – Vasquez Rocks & Palmdale outskirts

December 17, 2011

8 SFVgeocachers were expected at Vasquez Rocks County Park this morning. Instead, 22 and 1 geo-dog showed up at 9:00am.

I’d been there several times already and only needed to find 3 of the 20 caches. Coincidentally, the group’s first cache, X Marks the Spot (GC1AQZD) was one of the 3. After finding it I left the group to search for the other 2 by myself. Temperatures in the low 50’s kept the park almost empty of muggles.

They probably wouldn’t notice this cache anyway.

All 3 caches found, I drove to the (apparently unofficial) Redrock Trail on the edge of Palmdale to search for 4 caches. Parking was at a random unmarked spot at the corner of Sierra and Pearblossom highways.

There’d been a brush fire in August and much of the ground cover hadn’t grown back.

Red Rock Trail #1 (GCV9R0) was a fire casualty. Only a decon container clip remained.

The fire also exposed an old benchmark a few steps from the missing cache.

The adjacent cache on the top the hill survived 100% intact because it was hidden in a rock outcropping.

Finding only 2 of 4, next I drove 1.5 miles to Barrel Springs Trail where I’d last cached in 2005. There were new hiking caches to find.

One of the back trails ran along the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

The southern part of the area was near-pristine desert. I was impressed by a Buckhorn Cholla cactus (Apuntia acanthocarpa).

But the northern part was literally a garbage dump. It’s unfathomable how people can make such a mess. Even while I was there a black pickup truck drove by and added a bunch of old dvd cases. If you hike here be very careful not to step on any trashed lumber and paneling. A lot of it is studded with rusty nails.

It was a relief to get away from the garbage and back to my vehicle. I ended the day with 10 finds and a lot of exercise.


DECEMBER 13, 2011 – TSP: Cheney Trail, Temescal Fire Road

December 13, 2011

I needed to get on the trail to work off the daily milkshakes consumed during a 10 day cold. And with heavy rain expected in 24 hours there was no time to procrastinate. I drove to the end of Cheney Road and found a great parking spot for my 6 mile roundtrip hike.

A 300’ walk up a rough dirt road brought me to Free Parking (GCTYK8). Despite the cache name, GZ is no longer reachable by car because of debris, maybe deliberately placed, on those last 300’. See the cache site:

Continuing ESE the unnamed track merged with the Cheney Trail and 6/10 of a mile from the cache I emerged onto the Topanga Fire Road.

The very familiar Eagle Rock was a few hundred feet W.

But I turned E and hiked to “The Hub” and the Temescal Fire Road.

Here’s “Cathedral Rock,” just S of “The Hub.” There’s a cache and amidst the rocks a large, clear, wind protected area where a big group can have a relaxed lunch.

There was no lunch today and I hiked S. The poles and wires look foreboding in the picture but they were barely noticed while I searched for (5) majorjarhead caches. After the first one, I knew what to expect and the rest were easy. Though they’re listed as micros, in my opinion, they’re smalls.

My last cache going S was This One’s for Jill (GC1CVR2) (a non-majorjarhead cache) 0.12 miles beyond the marker below. It was my turnaround point. There I met Pianofab who’d started his hike later and caught up.

On our way back N together, we took a short side hike to reach a cache that neither of us had found. Gus Gus (GC1EAA0).

Back at “The Hub,” we noticed a very red Toyon bush.

I know that birds, deer and coyotes eat the berries. Not me! If anyone’s tried them, let me know how they taste.

My final cache of the day was the oddly named She Came Through the Bathroom Window (GC114RR) by Chaosmanor. I ‘zeroed,’ reached down and picked up a tube with gc.com & NRA stickers on it. I opened it and signed the log. Pianofab stood 30’ away pointing to a camo’d match container hanging in a bush. I signed the log there too. The cache page seems to indicate that the 2nd container is the real cache. Anyway, a few hundred feet later we emerged at the official Cheney Trailhead.

On the 1/10 mile walk back to my car I looked up at some interesting tanks. I wondered if they’re still in use.

There were 17 caches on this hike and I found the 10 that I needed. It was much better than staying home and watching TV. It poured rain the next day and probably filled the route with impassable mud puddles.