FEBRUARY 16, 2015 – Upper Las Virgenes (Northeast)

February 16, 2015

While the Northeast and Midwest froze under several feet of snow, I hiked in 85 degree sunshine, 15 minutes from home. This is the Victory (Blvd) Trailhead to the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve (the former Ahmanson Ranch). Free street parking is a block away.
021515_01_trailhead
Inside, the parking lot costs $3.00. From there I hiked up this trail for the first time. It’s steeper than it looks in the picture and I struggled to keep from being overtaken by a 20 something couple and their small children.
021515_02_uphill
At the top the trail was mostly flat. The family went North and I went South. I DNF’d the first 2 caches, Take Five (GC5KZCF) and Raptor Ridge (GC5KZCG) when coordinates led to unlikely spots.
021515_03_ahead
It rained twice this year, enough to turn the area from brown to green. The East-West trail down below is so well maintained that it looked like a paved road. Most park visitors hiked there and very few were above on the single track trail with me.
021515_04_ahead
Caches were all a few steps off trail. Those steps were scary because the greenery was invariably sock top high. I used my hiking stick to make very sure that no rattlesnakes were underfoot. Surprisingly, the only non-flying wildlife I saw were fence lizards, lots of them.
021515_05_west
The trail turned North and went steadily uphill. I was glad that there were lots of butt friendly rocks to sit on and rest. At one of them, I forgot my last pair of As Seen on TV “HD” sunglasses. They’re the only brand that comfortably fits my oversize head. Oh well, they were only $10. I bought 5 pairs and went through them in 2 years.
021515_06_North
I replaced the cracked lid of this cache. Baring muggling or fire, it should be fine for years to come.
021515_07_fixed
Here’s a water tank that rolled downhill a long time ago. Tank Down (GC5MT6G)is a few feet away.
021515_08_tank
I’d found 6 caches and decided that I didn’t want to hike several hundred more feet steeply uphill for the rest. This is the view South from my turnaround point.
021515_09_SW
A few minutes later, as redtail hawks and crows fought overhead, the view East reminded me how close the park is to suburbia.
021515_10_East
The 2 caches I DNF’d at the beginning were easy finds on the way back. It helped that the arrow pointed 30’ away from the original ground zeroes. Sometimes it just happens that way.