JULY 16, 2016 – Las Vegas (north – desert)

July 16, 2016

When my dad was alive I used to tag along on his annual seniors’ bus trip to Las Vegas. I cached on foot while everyone else gambled. Nearly all of the seniors are gone now and the trip attracts families with children. I still go with my brother’s family. This year Las Vegas local Kris32 agreed to take me caching. This was great for me because over the last few years I’d almost run out of caches reachable on foot from the hotel.

Kris picked me up at 9am and drove us to 2 caches placed the prior day. We ended up being 2nd to find on both. We cached along the northeast edge of the city. Wheel goes round & round (GC6JC3Y) was her milestone 14,000th find! Weirdly I saw the cache walking up. Due to the placement you had to be exactly my height. An inch taller or shorter and it was invisible without contortions. Here’s Kris looking thru the wheel with her truck in the background. She found the cache after 10 minutes and lots of hints. 🙂
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Kris didn’t abandon me in the desert for laughing during her epic attempt. She continued taking me to some of the best caches she’d already found. Here’s one that’s a small box under a cast concrete giant tortoise. It was completely exposed in a random spot .2 miles from the outer edge of a paved parking lot.
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After lunch at Red Robin we took a break from the desert to cache on foot around the lake at Floyd Lamb Park. The greenery and water made the 105 air temperature feel cooler. We found 5 of 6 here.
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Along the way we walked through an assortment of tame species while carefully avoiding their land mines.
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Back in the desert, now northwest of downtown, we took unpaved roads to a cache that looks like a giant bison tube. Pulling on the spring loaded red ball and releasing it launches the cache container out of the other end.
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Here’s another fun cache the Kris had already found. She waited. I followed my arrow and then stopped because from a distance it looked like a coyote or other large animal was resting at GZ. A few cautious steps later it was obvious that the ‘animal’ was a realistic fake deer.
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I ended the day with 20 finds. Kris dropped me off at my hotel at about 4pm. THANK YOU!! I’ll drive you to L.A. caches if you ever visit.

Later from my hotel window I noticed a strange lenticular cloud. See the tip of the Stratosphere below the left edge of the cloud.
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There’s more summer caching fun to come, I hope.


JULY 6, 2016 – Point Mugu State Park, above PCH

July 6, 2016

I didn’t cache or hike for almost 2 months. Then at a biometric screening to apply for an insurance discount I was classified as “OBESE.” I got the first time participation discount but won’t qualify next year unless I’m less rotund. So I re-started doing the only exercise that I enjoy, cache/hiking. On the 4th I drove down the Camarillo Grade to PCH and found 6 easy park-&-grab caches.
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At the Ray Miller Trailhead parking lot in Point Mugu State Park I immediately saw that the popular La Jolla Canyon Trail was still closed due to last year’s rock/mud slides. (‘aerial’ photos later) Possible penalties for being caught on that trail were posted as expulsion, citation and arrest. Still, hikers and dog walkers ignored the sign and walked in.
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But my destination was a hike in the other direction, toward PCH and the beach.
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Here’s the trailhead that I’d never noticed on previous visits. It was probably overgrown and hidden before the 2013 Spring Fire. Though I didn’t encounter another hiker all day, there were many footprints. And I’m still not convinced that it’s an official trail.
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The initial climb was rock strewn and very steep. Here’s the view South along PCH. Note ‘The Great Sand Dune’ in the background and that no beachgoers were in the water. California tourism officials probably don’t want potential visitors to know that So Cal beaches in summer are often overcast. And the ocean is COLD.
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The trail continued on a ridgeline with a drop off on both sides. I knew that a sudden blast of cold ocean air could send me flying over, rolling through cactus to the bottom. So it was a relief when the still steep trail grew wider shoulders.
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The inland (N) view from First Flateau (GC4T1ZX) showed the rock/mud slides on the closed La Jolla Canyon trail.
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This is a closeup near the top arrow. It’s what’s left of the waterfall and the trail going across and above. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be passable anytime soon.
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Back to caching…
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The last of the 4 trail caches was here. I found it by geosense because the coordinates bounced weirdly, more than I’ve ever seen.

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Instead of continuing on (& upward) to Mugu Peak which I’d already visited via another trail, I turned around. On the way back I sat on a very flat rock to appreciate the view.
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The inbound hike was a 750’ climb in 1.4 miles, unexpectedly easy for me despite being “obese.” Trekking poles are recommended, especially for the downhill return trip. Note to Spinal Tap cachers, from the same parking lot the BBT western terminus trailhead and the trail itself are open.