JULY 31, 2013 – Sycamore Cyn & Overlook Trail

July 31, 2013

EcuDeb, BWidget and I took advantage of the continuing unseasonably cool summer weather to hike (lower) Sycamore Canyon and the Overlook Trail. It was just short of the Springs Fire’s 3 month anniversary. Our plan was to see the damage and recovery and to increase our Spinal Tap (GC14Y4) numbers. At 8:30am the Day Use Parking Lot was filling up rapidly. We still got the best space!
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The campground wasn’t full. Fire damage must be keeping people away. We walked through to the Sycamore Canyon trailhead. Those are “Special Rules” taped to the yellow sign in the middle.
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We remembered a previously found cache behind a suspicious bush. See the geotrail. At this early point in the hike we wanted to conserve energy for the long road ahead and mostly didn’t check the status of previously found caches.
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The hike was mostly flat up to this point. Some areas were only partially burned. The large number of bikers thinned out as we progressed North. Sunshine made a very brief appearance at our northern most point. There wasn’t enough to cause problems even though I forgot sunblock and my sunglasses.
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The burning was more thorough on the Backbone Trail (BBT) cutover. Despite the damage we managed to hide 5 new caches in the gaps created by recently archived ones. There were plenty of natural materials to work with to create effective hides. We took A LOT of consideration into the placements. They won’t be overgrown anytime soon and won’t be easily noticed by muggles.
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It was especially foggy and cool on the Overlook Trail going South. In some places water was slowly dripping off the tip of burned branches. That had to be helpful for recovering ground cover.
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And I noticed that Laural Sumac is often the first plant to recover. Here’s one at the site of a disintegrated cache.
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This very old cache was completely untouched by fire. Placement among rocks in a clearing saved it. Don’t have a cow. Deb covered it back with a rock.
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This cache was melted. Oddly, the “replacement log,” (dated after the fire) was melted into the lid. In any case the container cracked when I opened it so I replaced it with a mini-decon.
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On our way back down to Sycamore Canyon we found this Altoids cache. As bad as it looks, the log was fine once we freed it from its melted baggie. We replaced the baggie.
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Only a few feet away from the Altoids tin, this cactus was undamaged.
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Farther down the trail we found this forlorn scorched bison tube cache on the ground. The log was a charred cylinder that crumbled to ash. We added a new log and reattached the wire to what was left of the bush.
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The sun never broke through again. We descended back to the canyon, closer to the campground and the parking lot. Of course, that’s EcuaDeb & BWidget. I took the pictures so I’m not in them.
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We hiked just under 12 miles in 7 hours, placed 5 new BBT caches, repaired/replaced more and reported to an owner that one of his was destroyed with no good place to hide a replacement. I logged 11 finds and 3 betas.


JULY 23, 2013 – (west of) Malibu

July 23, 2013

It’s been awhile since I cache hiked with geofriends. Extreme hot weather, family vacations and weekend work schedules kept us apart for a long stretch. On Saturday, 4 of us managed to meet for a hike west of Malibu, between Yerba Buena Road & Mulholland Drive. Four hikers, 4 vehicles. BWidget, Foocachers and I left ours at Yellow Hill West T. H. (GC4FE5V) and EcuaDeb drove all of us a ½ mile east to Tin can alley trail head (GC458M2) to start the hike. Parking is the same as for Leo Carrillo State Beach.
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We knew that the total ascent was 1,600’+ in 2 miles. The overcast and unseasonably cool air gave us a good start. We found a bunch of numbered “Tin Can Alley,” caches along the fire road trail. It wasn’t until much later that I made the mental connection between that name and the Altoids “tin” caches.
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A few non-series caches were a short distance off trail. Feelin’ Loopy (GC46JAB) wasn’t one of those. It was all bushwhacking all the way to reach it. Here are Deb & Bill heading back to the fire road after finding it.
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Instead of the sun breaking through, fog rolled in and kept temperatures cool for the entire hike. No one overheated.
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Our ascent continued for 6 more caches beyond the #12 tin can and ended at this private property sign, 20’ from a huge estate. An unusual cache container Yellow Hill Privacy (GC4GRQ) was there. Too bad that no pills were left inside. I could’ve used one for my crabbiness.
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Half way back down we went west on a seldom used trail and found the Yellow Hill Mtwy series.
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On approach I thought that this was an animal trap. It turned out to be a protective cover for irrigation valves.
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Nearly back to PCH we paused to look at cactuses, palm trees, the ocean and surfers, all at once.
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Here’s a zoom in on the dots in the water. It’s the best that my point & shoot could do.
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It was a rare hike where none of us had previously cached in the area. In exactly 4 hours we logged 28 finds and no DNFs. Bill hid 2 new caches. Thanks!! I hope that the weather and our schedules will allow a few more group hikes this summer.