JULY 28, 2012 – Backbone Trail (BBT) East

July 28, 2012

BWidget, Albackore and I wanted to find caches on the E end of the BBT that were hidden after our last hike there in 2009. EcuaDeb needed ALL of the caches for the (GC1C4Y4) Spinal Tap challenge and Foocachers wanted to hike anywhere, caches or not. Of course we ended up going on the rare day where it DIDN’T GET COOLER hiking toward the ocean.

EcuaDeb drove us, minus the Foos, to a little known, hard to find trailhead at Free Parking (GCTYK8). We learned by phone that the Foos had themselves dropped off at the wrong trailhead 1.7 miles away. So we started up the Cheney Trail intending to meet them later. Here Deb unloads her gear.

At the intersection of the Cheney Trail and the fire road, Deb hid a cache. We waited there for 1.75 hours until the Foos finally arrived!! Passing hikers and mountain bikers looked at us strangely for standing around aimlessly, squandering prime hiking time. Someone even asked us if we needed help.

I was so zoned out that I don’t remember how the Foos made their appearance; only that Foo Sr tried to explain that the 1.7 extra miles were really 3.4 by winding trail. Giving the Foos no chance to rest, we all hiked to The Hub. Note the new outhouse under construction. It’s dead center in the picture.

After a few minutes the steady stream of chastisement directed at Foo Sr died down. Here, he and Deb log an old cache.

Wildlife is rarely seen during our (noisey) group hikes. But this guy was in no condition to hide from us.

We passed a temporary camp for state park workers. Their equipment was seen along the trail for the next ½ mile. Thanks for all the trail maintenance!

We preemptively hid new caches wherever we noticed a 0.2 mile gap between caches. Even then we missed 2 gaps and someone else put caches in them a few days later. So those of us ranked in the BBT cache finders list on the Spinal Tap page will have to go back to find them. Anyway, a 6’ high cactus was very conspicuous. Thankfully, no cache is hidden there.

By the time we approached the bridge (mile 8), I’d fallen behind as usual with my bad knee. Stepping on a wobbly rock made things worse. I caught up to the group as they enjoyed a few seconds of rare breeze from the middle.

We exited the official eastern end of the Backbone Trail.

It was another ½ mile to the parking lot where Foo’s dad (Cameron Sr) collected us, gave us drinks and drove us back to Deb’s SUV. Thanks!! I achieved my goal of “catching up to the Conejos,” by breaking into the top 10 on the Spinal Tap page.


JULY 25, 2012 – Leo Carrillo (loop)

July 25, 2012

Continuing heat in the SFV keeps our caching hikes close to the coast. A larger than average contingent gathered at the Leo Carrillo Kiosk (GCY0FF) for a 14 cache counter clockwise loop. (L-R Don_J, Foocachers [jr/sr], Albackore2, Albackore, sissopolis & BWidget). Note that parking is $12./car in the State Park lot but free along PCH.

The trail started uphill right away and stayed that way. After a minute, no one was cold. The view was good too.

Hiking inland the group found caches that I’d logged more than 5 years ago. I was glad that everyone wanted to cross a cacheless gap to reach Leo’s Lunch Spot (GCWXBA). I’d skipped it in 2007. We found that there were plenty of big flat rocks to sit on. It would’ve been a great lunch spot. But it wasn’t even 10am yet.

We didn’t want to finish too early. So we went another 0.1 miles up the ridgeline where Foo (sr) hid a new cache. Then we backtracked until the turnoff to the downhill part of the loop. Even though I’d found all of the remaining caches except 1, I couldn’t remember where they were hidden. I was useless as an in person lifeline.

Here’s the view toward parking from the bottom of the loop.

After the hike 62.5% of us went a few miles S on PCH to Malibu Seafood. This was the view from our patio dining table.

I had fish & chips. I think that everyone else ordered scallops & chips. Pescatarians, all!!

More hikes to follow.


JULY 14, 2012 – Sunset Park (Las Vegas, NV)

July 14, 2012

For the 2nd year in a row I tagged along on my dad’s annual post holiday senior bus trip to Las Vegas. While the seniors did what normal people do in Las Vegas, I again went inferno caching. This time I made SURE to get to Sunset Park. It’s diagonally across from the SE corner of McCarran International Airport. Last year I just couldn’t reach the park on foot from Downtown. So I got smart this year, waited until late afternoon and took a cab to the N end.

There was a winding paved path through much of the park.

But nearly all of the caches were off trail.

There were lots of big ones including some ammo cans. It was so hot that rattlesnakes weren’t an issue. The hike was mostly flat with a few small sand dunes to keep the scenery interesting.

Continuing S I stepped out of the desert, crossed railroad tracks and walked into a developed part of the park. There was a dog park cache (GC3A46M) 0.1 miles ahead. As I sat and signed the log 2 loose pit bulls rushed at me snarling & barking. By the time their frantic owner came to grab their leashes 2 minutes later I was playing with them.

Back in the desert part of the park I found more off trail caches. The sun was very low on the horizon and the temperature dropped below 100 degrees.

I rushed to find as many caches as possible before the park’s namesake sunset.

I found 10, DNF’d 2, skipped one (under a bridge) and didn’t reach one. After hiking 4 miles in the park I called the cab back. It picked me up at 8:10pm, at the park sign.

I’ll go back to the park when I’m in town with a car. By then I hope that the fenced off middle section, including the lake, will be open.

All pictures in this post were taken with my phone camera.


JULY 3, 2012 – La Jolla Canyon (PMSP)

July 3, 2012

As the weather heats up our hiking options decrease to those close to the ocean. This time we chose the La Jolla Canyon loop in Point Mugu State Park. From the paved parking lot at the Ray Miller trailhead, 7 of us started up the wide trail into La Jolla Canyon. Here’s Kenyon, the elder Foocachers, at the gate.

We hiked a counter clockwise loop with a short side trip. After 7 hours our GPSrs averaged just over 10 miles at the end.

“It’s mostly flat,” going N toward the waterfall.

At the waterfall, the trail shrinks to a narrow, steep single track. The picture is the top of where the falls would be if it wasn’t completely dry. Also we didn’t see the big scallop fossils that some of us remembered from past hikes. I hope that we just missed them and they weren’t broken off and stolen by fossil hunters.

The single track soon turned back into a flat trail along the E end of the valley. Does a bear **** in the woods? Apparently so.

Finding caches on the way, we turned E and literally ‘walked the extra mile’ to the Guadalasca/Overlook/Backbone Trail to find some newer caches, including an FTF and 2 new BBT caches. Here’s Tri-Peaks, Boney Mountain to the E.

Kenyon & Bill signed FTF for our group: Bee Leed Bleula On the Guadalasca (GC3PCXN). Along the S part of this side trip we were almost run down by a crazed mountain biker going downhill at super speed. We also saw and heard a hiker down far below shouting in an unknown language and blowing a whistle. He didn’t respond to our shouts back and he was still walking so we decided not to call 911.

Back in the valley, we crossed paths with the shouting/whistling hiker. He was with a big group. They didn’t really speak English but they weren’t in distress. So we continued, walked through a nice empty campground and found more caches. One was at a major intersection of trails. No one objected when it was suggested that we turn S here to cut through the middle of the loop. There were fewer caches along this route but it was a shorter distance back to the parking lot.

The way back… We confirmed a missing cache for its owner who then archived it that night.

The Laguna Peak Tracking Station stood out to the W.

We reached the beach overlook. EcuaDude took my picture. See! I was really there.

The ocean breeze was especially cool and appreciated at the Southern end of the loop. Here’s EcuaDeb, BWidget, sissopolis and (the elder) Foocachers. Foo (the younger) had walked far ahead and EcuaDude was off to the side admiring the view. Out to sea it was juuust foggy enough to hide Catalina Island.

Even though we were very close to the top of the waterfall again, the trail led back inland 0.3 miles before it crossed La Jolla Canyon back onto the single track to the falls.

My extra 40 lbs caught up to me in the last ½ mile and I reached the parking lot 15 minutes after everyone else. Depending on who’d been in the area previously we found between 21 and 40 caches.

It’s becoming a tradition on our group hikes to go for drinks and a meal afterward. Nearby Neptune’s Net was completely jam packed with a line out the door. So we ended up at Ladyface Alehouse at Kanan Rd & the 101. The food menu was limited but everyone found something to eat and there were no complaints.