OCTOBER 19, 2014 – Monterey, Jacks Peak Regional Park

I jump started my caching with a 5 day vacation to Monterey. I left home early Monday morning. North bound traffic on the 101 was surprisingly light. After relaxed stops at Gaviota State Beach and Bulleton to find a few easy caches I arrived in Monterey in mid-afternoon, early enough for a short bike path cache run. Thankfully, no caches were in eucalyptus which is messy, sticky, and smelly to search through.
101314_01_eucalyptus_path
The next morning I drove down the block through Cannery Row.
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The beach just beyond is in Pacific Grove. Several caches hidden since my last visit 2 years ago were easy walks from plentiful free shoreline parking.
101414_03_beach
Just before 10am I turned around for the less than 10 minute drive to Jack’s Peak Regional Park (opens at 10am) for some deep forest caching. As usual, mine was the only car in the parking lot and I didn’t see another human until the very end of my 5 hour hike.
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It was my third visit since 2008. So even without a trail map I wasn’t cluelessly lost. There are about 25 caches in the park. I needed 10, new or not found on previous visits. No matter which way I went at various trail junctions, I eventually ended up at a needed cache. Poison oak was so abundant that I couldn’t avoid it altogether. It’s a week later now and my immunity is still holding.
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The forest isn’t my natural element. I’m never 100% relaxed there. Limited visibility and complete lack of manmade sounds kept me slightly wary all day. Unseen animals moved around and birds unexpectedly exploded out of the bushes when I got close. This recently fallen tree was a welcome diversion.
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A hiking stick was a must because most ground zeros looked like this.
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Later down the trail, part of me was convinced that this would fall like the Sword of Damocles at the moment I passed underneath. But obviously it didn’t.
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OK, enough fallen trees… This cache was especially evil. I was EXTREMELY lucky to see it on my first poke. A smart phone newbie has no chance.
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Another cache involved climbing 8 feet up a sap dripping pine. My standard carry alcohol wipes worked perfectly on my hands. 400’ from the parking lot I saw (2) 2-legged bears holding paws, walking happily down the trail. Sorry I didn’t get a picture of them.

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