APRIL 22, 2018 – MARINA-2

April 22, 2018

Overnight I wondered if the cache behind the locked gate was being reached from the beach side. I drove back to Marina and tried to find where the trail presumably exited to the water. The beginning wasn’t promising.

Cables with signs stretched down the beach.

Finally, there was a small unblocked gap. The climb up was steeper than it looks in the picture.

This was the view inland from the top. If ever there was ever a sensitive area where people shouldn’t walk, this was it.

It probably would’ve been possible to reach the cache and the wrong side of the locked gate. Instead I enjoyed the view and climbed back down.

The geo map showed a cache on the other side of the parking lot. At least the trail there was open if somewhat buried.

The dunes there were less colorful. The trail is on an abandoned boardwalk.
My GPS agreed with the hint on the geo-page, at the red “X.” I rooted around for a long time but logged a DNF’d (Did Not Find). The cache owner contacted me the next day and said he found the container buried 1’ deep. Buried geocaches aren’t allowed by the rules of the game but considering the location, it’s unavoidable here. He moved it to the base of the pole holding the cable. I’ll get to it on my next trip.

With no luck geocaching I drove to a nearby park to try MAGNET FISHING. There’s a lake in there.

Access points were few and all of them were filthy. After completely circling the lake I gave up and drove back toward Monterey.

Halfway there I saw another lake just off the main street. 20 feet from parking I found a secluded section of walkway and dropped my magnet. The water was 8’ deep. Within seconds I felt the heavy click of metal and pulled up the bottom rack of a shopping cart. Note the crawfish on the right side who rode along from the bottom.

He was very very angry and snapped his claws at me. After the picture I plopped him back into the water.

In 15 minutes and only 2 steps in each direction from the starting point I found all of the junk below. The fishing hook, carabiner and Mexican coin looked new when wiped off. But everything reeked of sulfur. I dimly remembered that that type of rotting stench is produced by bacteria but not if it’s especially dangerous. I trashed the big pieces, bagged the small stuff and continued back the hotel. In the future I hope to find more interesting things like multi-tools, knives, fishing gear, etc…

Wind gusts grew stronger all afternoon long. I would’ve set up my ham radio loop antenna and tried to contact Pacific islands and Australia if the air was calm.

Instead I walked 2 blocks to the beach at Cannery Row. Last year on a walk through, I noted lots of sea glass there.

This time in full view of the restaurant diners above I spent 20 minutes collecting. Several other people did the same.

For now, all that I collect is accumulated in a glass jar for yet-to-be-determined future projects.


APRIL 17, 2018 – Point Lobos & Marina-1

April 17, 2018

After almost 3 months of mostly vegetating indoors I took a much needed 5 day trip back to the Monterey area. The first main activity was hiking in Point Lobos State Reserve.

I started with an inland leg, skipped for time last year. The sounds of Hwy 1 traffic faded as the trail led toward the ocean.

When turning to face a large movement in the bushes (Ewoks?) I walked into a hanging branch of poison oak. Of course, the only person I saw on this part of the hike rounded the corner at that moment. A know-it-all, apparently seeing me as a foreign tourist, he tried to explain poison oak and Tecnu in ‘easy English.’ I said, “I’m immune,” and kept walking to a bench where I sat down to use alcohol wipes, just in case. Minutes later poison oak was forgotten as the ocean came into view.

The trail emerged at Bird Island. Maybe it was the wrong time of the day or year but there were only a few birds, not the thousands that I’d hoped to see.

On a steep ledge was an example of my favorite species, the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-crowned_night_heron Black Crowned Night Heron. I’ve also seen them at San Diego Bay and in the Sepulveda Basin in Van Nuys. They’re nocturnal hunters. At 2’ tall they’re hard to miss even when zoned out during the day.

Pairs of harbor seals, all 1 large & 1 small, swam slowly below this viewpoint. Mothers with pups?

Visitors gravitate to the more famously scenic forested North and South ends of the reserve. That leaves the middle tidepool area mostly muggle-free.

Last year, early in my rock tumbling hobby, I was disappointed that rock collecting is prohibited.Since then multiple trips to less restrictive beaches gave me the experience to identify the best and worst tumbling rocks. The ones here erode out of the cliffs.

And all were poor tumbling candidates. It was easy to walk away with empty pockets.

Two hours earlier, parking was hard to find. Now half of the spaces along the shoreline trail were open. Hint, early mornings are crowded. Mid-days, far less so.

North end views were as remembered. This time there were fewer tourist muggles and no need to wait for prime photo taking positions.

Sea lions barked. In the distance whales spouted and swam North. Bring binoculars! At a place like this you won’t look dorkish with them hanging around your neck. Those without will be envious.

Last year I had no patience to log the 3 shoreline earth caches. This time I was ready. But they’d been archived in the interim, another sign that the geocaching hobby is declining.

I enjoyed the views again on the reverse hike back to parking.

At 1pm I drove 15 minutes North, through Monterey to the City of Marina. I found a geocache at the edge of a beach parking lot that I’d DNF’d last year and then tried metal detecting. My Garrett AT Pro sits for months between each use. Something seemed to be broken. Even with new batteries (4 x AA alkalines) it was erratic. Finding nothing, I dropped test coins and they weren’t detected correctly.

I switched back to geocaching and drove one block to a cache I’d tried to visit 3x over the years. Again, the trailhead was closed. Finds are being logged by people who go over or around the gate. Not me!

Beyond the cul-de-sac end of the street, 3 new caches in a row were in an area that I thought was also closed. A careful look behind sidewalk trees led to a ‘hidden’ open trailhead!
I hurried to beat the impending rain, pleased that nothing hurt after hiking & ‘hobbying’ outdoors all day.

The first 2 caches were difficult vegetation hides found only after reading the hints. The third was an old Play Dough container easily found at the base of a fence post.

I returned to the hotel just as it started sprinkling. Still feeling energetic, I set up my Alex Loop ham radio antenna and low power transceiver in my room to test it for the next day. Unfortunately there was extremely heavy manmade static across all frequencies. This indicated the nearby presence of a lot of cheaply made unshielded electronics, especially wall-wart chargers. Only a few super strong ham stations were heard over the static. There was no way they’d hear my puny signal.

During a break in the rain I walked outside to find dinner. My vacation meal rule is to eat local. No chain restaurants. One block from my hotel, the seafood chimichanga was great as was the pizza the following night.