AUGUST 25, 2014 – Antonovich Open Space Preserve

August 25, 2014

It’s almost September and I have just over 200 finds for the year. As it becomes increasingly obvious that I’m going to miss my annual goal of 1,200 finds for the first time in 10 years, I find it harder and harder to motivate myself to go caching/hiking. On a rare free day I MADE myself go. I chose the Antonovich Open Space Preserve, a lightly used area at the pass between Santa Clarita and the San Fernando Valley. This cache by Don_J is just above the trailhead: Northbound and Down – AKA Trucks (GC13B4Z). There’s free street parking.
Here’s the view from Don’s cache looking N toward Santa Clarita. A major southbound accident slowed traffic to a trickle.
The first 3/10 of a mile are steep. Cooler than average temperatures made the hike possible. The trail levels off at my cache, Ursula’s Unhealthy Buffet (GC1HRGM). The red arrow points to the magnetized Altoids Tiny Tin. I placed it 6 years ago and it’s never been muggled! I replaced the worn out log and moved on.
A landfill is beyond the gate. The hike continues in the other direction. Geography makes the area windy. The smell of methane wafted up from below.
A half mile later at my cache, Where’s Ursula the Bear? (GC189YD) the air was clear. This is the view from there, again toward Santa Clarita.
Beyond this point there were 2 short steep sections, but the hike was mostly flat. I found 2 caches placed since my last visit in 2010 and continued E. The eerie quiet was broken by sudden wind gusts. Sometimes the wind passing through vegetation made sounds in the same frequency range as human voices. Several times I turned around when I thought I heard other hikers and saw no one.
This was my turn around point in 2010. See my post. The area looks very different when it’s green. This time I found the cache here and turned S toward Mission Point.
The Gas Company has plans for more development. At least a few trail users aren’t happy.
Lots of old gates straddled the trail. Most of them were broken and non-functional. All of them were open. I placed a new cache, Lots of Gates (GC5BJJR).
I found 7 of 8 new (to me) caches. The 8th was 135’ off trail through an ocean of foxtails. I’d already spent 15 minutes removing foxtails after the 7th cache (30’ off trail) so I didn’t even attempt #8.
I faded fast. Instead of hiking another ½ mile to Mission Point, I turned around. Even then I needed a 45 minute rest laying down in a clearing under an oak tree. This would’ve been impossible if there were red ants or ticks.
After 9.3 miles in 6.5 hours I was very very glad to reach the trailhead.

For someone who’s never cached here, there are 25+ caches on the route I took. I saw 1 mountain biker a lone runner and near the end, 3 creepy people who stood off trail completely motionless facing random directions. I’m glad I noticed them from 300’ away.