NOVEMBER 30, 2013 – Black Friday loop

It was Black Friday, time to avoid mall madness. Albackore, BWidget, Don_J, EcuaDeb (+ Mr. EcuaDeb), Foocachers and I ventured to the Planet Series on the Western Plateau, North of Newbury Park. Once again my lifetime of eating cheeseburgers, pizzas, burritos and kung pao chicken let me hike without the insulating layers needed by normal people.
112913_group
Light rain the night before kept the dust down in the new parking area and throughout the 8 mile counterclockwise hike, without producing mud.
112913_parking
There’s a bridge at the trailhead: Western Gate to the Western Plateau (GC38VEQ).
112913_bridge
The hike South was mostly flat. It was strange to see a stream flowing North. I’m used to them flowing South, directly toward the ocean. I think that this one originates in the water treatment plant to the East and eventually turns West and South.
112913_stream
A coyote calmly watched us, showing no fear of people.
112913_coyote
There were many trail junctions with caches in all directions. We turned East into a canopied area.
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Here’s the first of 2 ancient abandoned cars we passed between caches.
112913_car1
The Planet Series was hidden by Blig in late 2005 and later adopted by chaosmanor when Blig moved out of the area. I was lucky enough to log the entire series on a group hike with Blig in 2006. So, for me, the hike was to find the non-series caches hidden afterward. I ended with 13 finds while those new to the area found 30+. This is GZ at Earth (GCRPWM).
112913_earth
The hike was NOT mostly flat on the Southern part of our loop.
112913_not_flat
Near the top, there’s a convenient bench close to A House Overlooking Mars (GC3A6W8). This is Mr. & Mrs. EcuaDeb.
112913_EcuaDeb
This is part of what they saw looking down.
112913_view
We had (2) DNFs toward the end of the loop. I’m going to watch the listings to see if someone else can find those caches. Orbiting the Lemonberry (GC421V7) and Black Hole (GC3954). This is the trail back to parking. We closed the loop in exactly 4 hours.
112913_wayout
I’m 228 caches short of my annual goal of 1,200 finds. Finding 228 is a morning’s work for some cachers. But I’m SLOOOOW. Like last year, I’m going to cache frantically next month to reach 1,200. Pictures and details to follow.

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