Spring Fever!

28 02 2008

Yes, spring is here in Southern California, and I love being spoiled by its early arrival. When I lived in Europe, those five Marches and Aprils were torture, as I was conditioned to have warm weather and flowers by then, but had to wait TWO more months!

Below are some photos I took yesterday while geocaching at a park in Camarillo.

Large Blooming Bush with f0t0m0m:
bigbloomingbush.jpg

Close up of the flowers on the bush (the fragrance of these is overwhelming):
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Different yellow flowers:
yellowflowers.jpg

White flowers:
white-flowers.jpg

Pink flowers:
pinkflowers.jpg

f0t0m0m and I found 36 caches in Camarillo yesterday, as well as as 30 in Hollywood on Saturday and 12 in La Canada on Tuesday, so I’ll just list the highlights.

Camarillo:
The Enticer We spent way more than 7 minutes looking for this easy one. The bonus was more time to look at the amazing view across the valley to the west and of the Channel Islands.
Real Kites I got to climb around on some lichen-covered rocks to search for this one.
Mission Oleander- Button Cache The first waypoint is a winner for creative camouflage.
Creekside: Absorbent Robert This is one of my favorite cache titles. Can you figure out the theme of the trade items inside?
Tie one on Excellent, blending camouflage!
Knee High The title finally lead us to observe this very sneaky hide.
Bacon and Eggs This has a challenging and unusual puzzle with an appropriately place cache.
Ventura County International Shoe Museum This brought us to a rather weird place where people are hanging their old shoes along a barbed wire fence.

Hollywood:
Lake Hollywood View A very clever and funny container!
JENNY & PETER AT THE OBSERVATORY We ran into other cachers here, which is always fun, and it’s really easy to find a cache in another cacher’s hand. 😉

La Canada:
Views of VHH Views This multi was nicely done, with a special camo for WP2.
Belly Tintin Getting all the way up to this cache provided great exercise and spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and cities.

I also had time for two quick finds in La Mirada after my performances there on Sunday:
The KEE
Wheelchair Accessible Cache

Geocaching this week will take me to the Joshua Tree area and back out to Oxnard… I hope! Happy caching!

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Square Dancing and Geocaching

21 02 2008

Last weekend, I got to combine my two hobbies: square dancing and geocaching. I went to a 2-day square dancing event in Solvang, and still had time for over 2 dozen caches on the way and between workshops. Solvang, Buellton, and Santa Ynez are in extraordinarily beautiful areas, so although the caches were mostly not out of the ordinary, the scenery certainly was.

The highlight of the weekend was a quick trip to Nojoqui Falls and the Earthcache there, which explained the unusual feature of the falls. The rock behind it is actually growing from the mineral deposits in the water, more than it’s being eroded. This give the falls a unique structure. I discovered it before geocaching, and have been looking forward to getting back to watch it again. There’s something transfixing about waterfalls, and this one is really tall, mossy, and hypnotizing.

This link will take you to more information and photos: Nojoqui Falls,
as will the Earthcache page below.

Other highlights included an emu farm, a fairytale “prince”, a winery under construction, a little mermaid, a creepy adobe, and historic mission grounds.

Gaviota “Hot Spring”
Las Cruces Adobe Stage Stop
Easy find
Nojoqui Falls – Advancing Falls

Flag View
No Clydesdales Here
Ranch & Country
Park and View 2
Industrial Revolution
Oak Park
Riverview Park
“E”mu Empery Redux
Little Mermaid
Bus Stop
Theater View
Splashing the bling
The SY coin Hotel
The Mystical Body of Christ
“F” is for Fairy Tale
“E” is for Enchanted
Lions in Solvang
The Lunch Break
Play View
El Rancho
Park and View
Santa Ynez View
John Deere
A Great Park

Earlier in the week, I went to the Elysian Park and Echo Park areas with f0t0m0m. The best part of that day was seeing the large collection of Victorian houses at the “Painted Ladies” cache. We drove around and admired them for several minutes. Here’s one of the photos from GeoCraig’s cache page:
victorian.jpg

What color is the little brown jug?
Glendale’s Oldest Streets – Glendale Avenue
Forest Lawn’s Funicular
By George, What a view!
Dream Center
Echo Park . . . Echo Park
Los Angeles’ Painted Ladies
EASTSIDE
Montecillo de Leo Politi
Elysian Park TB Motel
Nature, Meet Civilization
Dorris is waiting for the bus!
There’s Something About Shakespeare…

I got out for a wonderful hike on Monday, up Weldon Canyon. Four caches and six miles later, I was tired, yet refreshed back at my car. The views were extensive and varied as I walked up, then along the ridge from I-5, past a busy local landfill, and west away from civilization and toward Mission Peak. At my turnaround point at the trail junction from East Canyon, one can see north into the Santa Clarita Valley and south into the San Fernando Valley. It was a glorious day for it, too. I neglected to bring my camera, but I did get these two shots with my cel phone:

trailview.jpg
From whence I came…

deadgate.jpg
Dead gate….

Where’s Ursula the Bear?
You Are My Sunshine
Well Done Cache
Got a Match?

Finally, yesterday I got out to the historic Ridge Route with f0t0m0m. It was chilly and sprinkly, with just enough sun and visibility to make the scenery stand out. The hills are emerald green now, and there was even a seasonal waterfall at one of the caches. This was my third time along the Ridge Route, and it’s one of my favorite local getaways.

Ridge Route – Power Benchmarking II
Snakeskin
Blockhead
Ridge Route – Canyon View
Head’s Up 7UP “Beware of the Crazy Lady”
Paradise South
The I-5 / Templin Hwy Travel Bug Hotel (I stop here pretty much every time I pass the nearby freeway exit to swap TBs and coins.)
Dopey (One of the Seven Dwarfs)
Aqua DuckDuck
Don’t Get Too Close!!!
Kid’s BIG Bucket Cache!!
Quail Crossing
Quail Lake
Old Ridge Route – Old Homestead
Old Ridge Route – Can You Hear Me Now?Old Ridge Route – Backroad, Benchmark & Water
Nauseating Twists and Turns
Whispering Pine
Old Ridge Route – Sandberg Inn
In the Meadow
South of Sandberg
Old Ridge Route – Backroad, Benchmark & Boulder
Old Ridge Route – Horseshoe Bend
Old Ridge Route – Breezy Pine
Old Ridge Route – Rex Farmer
Ridge Route Panorama
Old Ridge Route – Backroad, Benchmark & Boulder II
Old Tumble Inn
Gobble Gobble – Turkey Day Cache
Doc (One of the Seven Dwarfs)
Hi Karate!
Bridge, Benchmark & Freeway
Porky’s Corner

I didn’t get any photos myself, but about a month ago, Team Perks came up here after they’d absconded with the SGC trophy travel bug. Since they “borrowed” it from me while taking car of my cats when I was out of town, I “borrowed” this photo that they took of it to share here.
trophy.jpg

They took a photo of it at every cache they visited that day (which included all of them on our Ridge Route list), from artistic to goofy to, er, head-scratching, so it’s worth checking out the travel bug page to see ’em all!

SCG Trophy

What a great week of geocaching!





Power Caching with the Masters

14 02 2008

Ahhh… power caching…. the madcap mayhem… the frolicking frivolity… the addictive allure….
of…
75 finds in one day!

This was actually a conservative day for the Ventura Kids, with whom and f0t0m0m, Showstop, and I went geocaching on Sunday. I rode around in their jeep with f0t0m0m while Showstop did his best to keep up in a second car. We laughed and signed logbooks as we wound our way around the Inland Empire and ended up at an event that evening.

For a complete list of our day, click the link to my profile on the right, but we all agreed that our favorite cache of the day was

Bluejay #1221 (It was a creative container, indeed!)

and our favorite DNF was

Gecko insurance (We so wanted to find the lizard in the empty field!)

Other highlights were:
– finding one hanging in a storm drain that was too slimy to open so we put our stickers on the string
– finding a couple of clever fake weeds
– finding two caches at the same location as one was thought to be missing (we returned the extra to the replacer at the event!)
– finding geocache #14,700 for me

The event was quite something, as it included a dance contest as well as a raffle. I dined on fine Mexican food and caught up with several geocachers I hadn’t seen in a while as well as one I’d cached with recently, Ellistruss.

The rest of my week was pretty mild. On Thursday, I took my favorite hike up Towsley Canyon, as there was a new cache to find along the way:

Precarious Perch

The air was clear and glorious as it often is in that canyon. I caught an airplane flying over in the distance in this photo:
airplanetrail.jpg

I sang a couple of concerts in Carlsbad on Saturday, and had time for two caches, one I found and one I only found 2 of the 3 waypoints… bummer!

The Great Windmill of Carlsbad
BOOKS, LETTERS & PACKAGES

Yesterday, I ran up and got the newest closest cache to my house. It’s in a lovely park overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

Master Plan

The weather in Southern California is looking to continue to be spectacular this week, so the geocaches beckon me. What geocaches beckon you this week?





Caching Between the Rains

7 02 2008

Rain in Los Angeles does happen occasionally. I look forward to it for two reasons: I like having a day indoors with the sound of the rain on the roof, and the next couple of days will afford spectacular views with the newly cleaned air.

I began February with a 3-mile round trip hike on the west end of the San Fernando Valley, just off Roscoe Blvd. The trail climbs fairly quickly to a ridge, then follows it up and down toward the west and some exclusive houses. It was overcast, but the views were still marvelous.

Peanut Butter Preztels with a View

Looking East

The newer caches on the western end were accessible by a trail more in theory than in fact, but that added to the sense of being an explorer.

Mezzanine With A View
Skull Mountain
Delta Quadrant – Beyond the Pale
Rock Garden Surprise – I was FTF!!

ftf.jpg

The next day, I headed to Santa Monica and Venice with f0t0m0m, OLdweeb, and Ellistruss, who joined us all the way from Hesperia. I clocked 37 finds, the others a few more or less, depending on who had found what before. I won’t list them all, but here are the highlights:

My Penance – the camouflage on this was expertly done. It’s one of those that looks like it really belongs there.
J’D SESAME – this has a unique puzzle to solve, a funny and creative first waypoint, and a surprisingly big container for an urban hide.

Sunday was a very rainy day. That and a slightly scratchy throat kept me at home and not at the THREE events that happened in Orange County. A group of crazy people did get out for a soaking wet and muddy hike anyway!

WestwardHo’s Mardi Gras Trail Mixer

I’ll wait for the next event down there in nice weather!

The next day was clear and dry, and so were my sinuses, so I headed back to the Westside to do a few more on the list we didn’t do on Saturday. The first two involved long and lovely walks, one at the Ballona Bird Reserve, and the other along a fire road with just enough elevation to afford vistas of all the mountains to the north. The remainder were quick, easy urbans at interesting spots around Culver City.

Bird Heaven
No Bluffin’
Sawtelle Ballona
Sepulveda Ballona
I Have Seen The Light
Crossed Currents
I Wouldn’t Send A Cache Out On A Dog Like This
Bambino
THIS OLD WORLD
Across the block

The coming week promises more spectacular weather for a hike or two AND a day of superpowercaching with the Ventura Kids! Whee! Be sure to check in next week, or better yet, subscribe! Your comments and questions are welcome here, too, as well as suggestions for topics.

Oh, and thanks so much to Geocaching Online for featuring me in one of their articles. They did a very nice post about me and this blog, and have lots of links to geocaching informations and other geocaching blogs worldwide. You can link to their site in my Blogroll to the right.