JANUARY 24, 2013 – more RVs and a stop in Boron

January 24, 2013

Last month I found 48 of the 100 caches in the RV Series and ran out of time. On MLK day I went back with Don_J to find the rest. But just before arriving we stopped at a new cache that “not tom” (Jerry) named after me and hid the day before. Thanks Jerry!!
A quick crossing of Hwy 395 led to the RV Series. I needed the caches in the windshield section. Retrofit (Greg) warned earlier that they were barely reachable in his mega 4WD. So my plan was to hike. I parked at a likely starting point. Don_J first walked 200’ down the ‘road’ and found a cache I’d logged last month.
The temperature never reached 70 degrees and the hike was completely flat. The only breaks in the scenery were occasional Joshua trees, some living and some dead.
Deadwood worked well as cache covers.
Here’s a cache inside a stump.
This orange-turned-black traffic cone covered another one.
All 28 caches in the windshield were found. That left 24 more in the back section for another trip. We then drove N for a few non-series finds. Below, Don walks back after logging another one that I found last month.
Instead of returning home on the 15, we drove N and then W across the desert. Don took me to a virtual cache, Quick Trip Off 58 (GC5E6A) in Boron. Answering the 5 questions to claim credit was easy. One of the answers is the park’s name – which I’ve scrambled in the picture.
The last cache of the day was Don’s Confluence N 35° x W 118° (Redux). He performed container maintenance as I stared at all the onscreen zeroes. Note the official reflector-marker at the exact confluence.
I’m going back soon for the last 24 RV caches and the nearby Space Shuttle Series.


JANUARY 16, 2013 – Johnson Motorway

January 16, 2013

It was almost like caching in the ancient days of 5 years ago. Ten of us met at the S end of the 118 Rocky Peak overpass on a cold Sunday morning and carpooled to Johnson Parkeringplass (GC2RCNZ). We used a public easement through a gated community. An exiting black stretch limo stopped and a black tinted rear passenger window rolled down. A distinguished looking older woman, who seemed to be someone we should know, warned, “watch out for those mountain lions.”
What wasn’t like 5 years ago was that no one carried paper printouts and we all signed as a single group, “SFV Heathens.” There was no passing around of each log. Our group name was in honor of the (erroneous) mileage of 6.66 miles shown on a hike planning site. I AM A REAL HEATHEN so I was amused.

We walked on a path made for hikers, between the biggest houses I’ve ever seen in the SFV, to the remains of the Johnson Motorway. The view improved with our altitude gain. Far beyond the uppermost modern mega mansion we stopped at the ruins of an old one that was destroyed decades ago. Several people said it was a fire casualty. Some nice palm and pine trees survived. We replaced the missing cache there, “walking the edge” (GC2QZQ4). Owner Gummyfrog thanked us later.
We stopped at a flat spot for a group picture. deeznutz® is missing because he held the camera. By this time the temperature was up 20 degrees into the 50’s.
The page for a nearby cache called this “skull rock.” It looked like a vulture’s beak to me.
The surroundings were boulder strewn. The trail was much smoother.
Cavewall (GC2ZBP) was infuriatingly close to the trail but almost straight up on a small cave-like ledge. Only deeznutz® braved the scary final few feet to grab the cache. He’s crouched holding the container, dead center of the rock formation. And that’s sissopolis a few feet to the right waving with guppyk8.
Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo (GC1RF24) was Foo’s nemesis and everyone was glad that he found it this time. Here BWidget (Bill), Albackore (Jeff), deeznutz® (D) & Don_J (Don) left us and continued NW on the Chumash Trail to find many more caches.
Foocachers (Kenyon), capdude (Jon), EcuaDeb (Deb), sissopolis (Siss), guppyk8 (Kate) and me went S on the Rocky Peak Fire Road. On the way we diverted to Vertigo Peak (GC25C8), a virtual cache. Instead of risking damage to my recently repaired knee I stayed back and watched the others make the steep ascent – and descent.
Here’s the group at the top along with some muggle hikers.
We regrouped at the fire road and found a few more. That’s Simi Valley in the background.
My Garmin Montana read just over 9 miles at the ending trailhead. I logged 25 caches. Our new caching friend guppyk8 must’ve logged 40+! Eight of us dragged ourselves to McG’s Irish Pub & Grill. The very dark interior (we needed flashlights to read the menus) was cave-like and yet strangely warm and comfortable. The fish & chips were excellent too.

JANUARY 8, 2013 – “Secret Trail” (Calabasas)

January 8, 2013

Seventeen days after my surgery, I decided to beta test my knee with a NOT FLAT hike. I chose the “Secret Trail” series in Calabasas only 12 minutes from home. The first cache Secret Trail Head (GC1RXJ1) was a few steps to the left of the picture below.
The trail over the lone stream crossing was typical of the terrain in the first ½ mile.
Caches were found every 600’ or so. One of them was visited by time traveling cachers from the future.
I was surprised to see ‘onion rocks’ on a hillside. Years ago renowned naturalist Milt McAuley told me that they were unique to ‘Eagle Rock’ in Topanga State Park. I’m going to guess that both sets of ‘onions,’ 4 miles apart, are in the same layer of rocks. Are there any lithologic stratigraphers out there to confirm this?
At the ridgeline 200’ down the trail (S) from Secret Trail – Trailside Cache (GC1T0Z3) there was a great view of mega houses to the West. These are the same houses in the opening map sequence of Weeds.
Here’s a look back to the ridge from .25 miles farther down the trail. The “X” is where I took the ‘Weeds’ picture. The arrow is above the ridgeline animal trail that leads directly to Secret Ridge (GC1RXJD).
A few uphill switchbacks later the ‘Secret Trail’ met the Calabasas Peak Motorway, a really wide fire road. An old cache there, CCC Junction (GCM9FY), was completely exposed. The last names on the log were my geofriends EcuaDeb and sissopolis, 7 months ago. I know that THEY didn’t leave the container this way. Muggles must’ve found it and carelessly tossed it back. I re-hid it under cover, 3 feet away.
After going North on the motorway and finding a lone cache, I doubled back. 200’ past Mini Half Dome (GC3GVRV) I saw this cave house on the East side of the trail. How many people used it as a shelter over the past 10,000+ years?
This is the summit register on top of Calabasas Peak. The very well hidden cache was about 30’ away.
If you see this strangely out of place collection, you’re too far South.
Someone tried to chew their way into the cache. I’ve seen the exact same damage on multiple decon containers over the years. The narrow teeth marks seem to indicate a rat or similar rodent.
I stood up after signing the log and scared the crap out of a hiking muggle couple who’d just signed the summit register. They almost ran down the peak to get away. From their point of view, an unknown dweeb popping out of the bushes in such a remote location must’ve been scary. Oh well, their loss. I took in the scenery and then retraced my steps back to the car.
At the end, after 13 caches and no DNF’s, my knee felt fine and I now cautiously consider it completely healed. Thanks to the hiders and sorry if the ‘Secret Trail’ isn’t so secret anymore.