In early December I became aware of the SuMMit Challenge (GC4R94P). The object is to find at least 1 designated cache on or near 24 named summits in the Santa Monica Mountains. Thanks to 9 years of non-stop caching I’d already logged a qualifying cache for 22 of the 24 summits. But my priority was to find 200+ caches to reach my annual goal of 1,200 finds. After that was accomplished on Dec 23, I hiked to log the last 2 summits. First was Mt. Cahuenga.
The parking area at the North end of Beachwood Drive was full of loud tourists and cars were lined up waiting for others to leave. So I drove around looking for another access point. One false start led to a nice overlook above the Hollywood Reservoir. Later I found free street parking on Lake Hollywood Drive. The cars there REALLY looked like they belonged to outdoors people. Sure enough a carload of well-equipped hikers arrived. I followed them up what turned out to be an easement through a long private street to an official trailhead.
The hike was a steep switch backing single track up the side of Burbank Peak. I didn’t need this peak for the challenge but I didn’t want to pass up logging Ben & Jayme: For The Love of Caching (GC2DD3H) hidden just a few feet from this viewpoint tree. I looked for a long time, ignoring the big tool chest summit register at the tree base. Eventually I found an ammo can which I thought was the cache. I signed the log and took the ladybug travel bug. Then I walked along the ridgeline and down to a Mt. Cahuenga cache, Cahuenga Flat (GCHPVW). Peak #23 down. A few hundred feet later I noticed that my Garmin Montana was missing. It’s such a troublesome unit that I briefly considered abandoning it. Remembering that it cost $600+ made me retrieve it.
Back at home I was stunned to discover that the ammo can I thought was “Ben & Jayme” was really Thoughtful Spot (GCHPVW) a cache that was last found on 1/29/2009 and archived on 7/11/2010. The TB listed in that cache was in my hand!
Three days later I found myself near the SuMMit Challenge “final” cache. Its page states that finding it before logging all 24 summits isn’t preferred but is acceptable. Here’s the trailhead at the Northeast corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes.
The trail runs along and above Las Virgenes Blvd. This bench is close to the trailhead. The water fountain doesn’t work.
I wonder what’s being grown below.
In my first find of the day I left the TB that was stranded for 5 years in the archived cache.
I found more caches and then the challenge final. I logged a note for it. Then I continued North, hiding 4 caches of my own:
The Fence Walker (GC4W55B)
Split Rock Decon (GC4W55P)
The Friend Zone (GC4W56T)
On the way out I took a side hike and found a cache here Foundation! (GC1N3C7).
Then on January 1, I woke up early and left to find peak #24, Tri-Peaks (any of 4 potential caches in the same general area).
I reached Tri-Peaks from Sandstone Peak about 20 years ago after a big fire by walking across burned out ground.
But 2 tries in my caching years were unsuccessful due to bad weather and my inability to find a trail. This time I was glad to see signs and thought that the hike might be easy.
But I lost the trail over loose rocks.
I ended up at the eastern edge of the May 2013 Camarillo Spring fire burn zone and had to descend into a ravine to keep moving forward.
I hiked through narrow gaps and passed cave entrances.
I carried my pack to squeeze between these small trees. It could be days before anyone getting stuck there is found.
Here are the first footprints I saw after crawling through a rock hole and out of the ravine.
Then the way to South Approach to Tri-Peaks (GC1DRCN) was clear!
It was an easy find and the cache counted as peak #24. Notice that the container is heavily fire damaged. The contents were unburned.
From there it was an easy walk on a visible trail to Palos Verdes to Santa Barbara View (GCF3B5), a cache that also counts as peak #24 for the SuMMit Challenge. I chose to list this one as my official #24. Additionally, it also counted as a required find for the Santa Monica Mountains History Adventure (GC18DXW).
Hiking back was scary because I was tired. I avoided the ravine and got through by carefully hugging rocks above it. Somehow I found a marked trail and got home at 5:15pm.
I then logged the SuMMit Challenge as “found!”