The Road to Mt. Shasta…. continues with Sawmill Mtn.

26 06 2008

My next hike to train for Shasta was past Mt. Pinos and on to Sawmill Mountain. I camped overnight at McGill to acclimate a bit to the elevation so I could walk farther at least little more comfortably. This hike was 8 miles RT, and turned out to be quite a workout. The first leg to Mt. Pinos felt easy, but the next peak involved more elevation loss and gain than I had thought. I really had to descend about 400′, then back up 300′ in a couple of miles. The views up there are just as nice, though.

Sawmill Mountian (sic)

This is the last of the snow!

I noticed this odd plant, which appears to be fungal. The color is really brilliant, though:

I made it! I ran in to one other person today, just in time for him to take my picture.

Summit Log

After bagging this peak, I went on to find a cache further on and back down a hill. This meant my return trip was up, down, up and across! I was SO tired after that… and my feet were really hurting. (sigh) I’ll need to break in the boots more…

So, that last cache was also an Altoids tin in a rock outcropping! I despaired of finding it, but decided to get really determined, and did after some searching. I had forgotten to bring the spoiler photo! At least I was successful… whew!

Sheepish Grouse

16,000 Geocaches!

26 06 2008

Last Tuesday, I took a half-day run at 26 caches with f0t0m0m in the great downtown area of Los Angeles. Among other places, our course took us to a large fountain near Griffith Park:
Some More Kool Aid Fountain

an historic bridge in Silverlake:
Shakespeare Bridge

a couple of odd, abandoned staircases:
Mystery Stairs
Mystery Stairs – The Sequel

an odd, abandoned historical marker:
The Genius of Paul Landacre

and the site of the original settlement of Los Angeles:
El Balero
She’s a Grand Ole Lodge…

After finding a classic cache in a branch of the local library:

and assorted others, our day culminated in my 16,000th find!
City in Transition #04
which was placed by my good friend OLdweeb. It was fun to make a big milestone a rather random urban cache, but this one was across the street from a significant Buddist temple.

(Note: I wanted to get photos of the temple, but my camera battery died. Rats.)

5 years – 16,000 geocaches. wow.

The Road to Mt. Shasta… begins with Mt. Pinos

15 06 2008

Last week, I began my training for climbing Mt. Shasta in mid-July. I’ll be ascending that singular mount with local guides, but really want to be physically prepared by hiking and sleeping at higher altitudes as much possible between now and then.

My first step was to summit Mt. Pinos, which is almost a drive-up, but still requires about a 3 mile RT walk up a road from the parking lot. The peak is at 8831 feet, and coming from sea level, that’s enough to make the walking rather strenuous, even with only a gentle 500 foot elevation gain!

I know I have my work cut out for me to prepare for Shasta!

Here are the caches for the day:
Once A Pond, Almost A Pond
Pinon Pines Pit Stop
Pine Mountain Wildlife
Per Ardua Ad Astra
Space Mountain
Mt. Pinos Cave Dweller
Mt. Pinos – 8831 ft
Peace Valley – B44
Peace Valley – 297
Peace Valley – 107
Peace Valley – Panorama
Peace Valley – 108
Peace Valley – Benchmark

Here are the photos for the day:

Above is the summit benchmark. These are a couple of the wonderful vistas from up there:

Here’s a sign about the trail ahead, but not taken today:

On the way back, I managed to get a photo of a local:

I continued my adventure here this week, so more on this area in an upcoming post!

The Road Home

14 06 2008

After a lovely visit with the family, I headed back to L.A., staying with my friend in Sacramento again. I found the requisite handful of caches along I-5 from Yreka to Sacramento, then began the following day’s journey with a walk/hike along the nearby American River.

LC77’s Path
Bend in the River
The Next Bend in the River
Billy Pond Resurrected!

On my way south, I took a side trip to grab a cache that hadn’t been found for at least a week before I left, and I still ended up being FTF!
Newmans Historic Homeless Distric:Take 2

Among the handful of remaining caches along the way, I really had to put my thinking cap on to figure out how to retrieve this one:
Where Cachers Are Mean
I’m glad no one was around in the park to notice my repeated trips to the car for various tools!

The Road Beyond GeoWoodstock VI

13 06 2008

After the two madcap days of blitzcaching with the VKs, I continued north to spend a few days with my parents in and around Yreka, CA. The caches I picked got me off on a wonderful side road alternative to I-5: Highway 45. I exited near Woodland, grabbed some caches in Zamora and Knights Landing, then cruised up the aforementioned county road. In contrast to the busy freeway, there were hardly any other cars. There were also no stoplights, even through the few small towns along the way, so I made great time AND got to see some marvelous, peaceful scenery.

On my inevitable way back to the freeway (Highway 45 doesn’t go all the way north, darn it), I passed a nice plaque at a pullout just east of Willows. I pulled over to read it as it covered the history of the establishment of the town. As I perused the information, I wondered… hm… could there be a cache here? It was a prime place for one. I walked around to the back of the monument, and saw a small pile of rocks! Alas, there was no cache in it. I did cast my eye down the adjacent road marker pole, however, and there – YES! – was a Hide-a-Key!

The cache owners had noted the name on the log, so it was easy to find it later to log online:
The Watering Hole

I drove away feeling like the Ultimate Caching Machine. Ahh… that made up for a lot of DNFs.

I found 19 caches along my route, ending with a couple in Weed. As I drove through that town, I saw this marvelous totem pole in a grocery store parking lot, and recalled that I had seen it as a kid.

The best cache of the day, though, goes to one I found just north of Sacramento, which involved a creative retrieval mechanism, and was quite entertaining.
RubberPaws Tree

This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend 2008, also was the 5th anniversary of when I found my first geocache! What an amazing journey this has been so far! I’m looking forward to the next 5 years and beyond of fascinating, fun, and frivolous finding!

Favorite Geocaches of the GWVI Weekend

7 06 2008

Well, I’m all out of photos for the weekend (see my previous post for those), but here are the standout caches of the 175:

2008 – A Year of FTFs
7 Days of First-to-Finds
Each of these provides multiple oppotunities for First To Finds. I like this idea, and may just hide a couple like this locally.

9-ball B – Snookered by the O.C.G.
A nicely crafted camo job.

Going Fishing
Wonderfully creative use of camo tape on the container!

The One That Got Away
A rubber chicken in near a KFC. (lol)

And finally, a pair of caches that only let us find ONE – NOT both!! This was hard…. but we obliged.
I Promise…
Self Control

OK, so this is a pretty short list out of so many, but speed comes with finding lots of easy, normal caches. They are all fun, and more fun when done fast with friends. Whee!

Geocaching Lessons with the Ventura Kids

7 06 2008

It’s always exciting to find 100 caches in a day, and my two days with the Ventura Kids and Zombie Tribe over the weekend at Geowoodstock were no exception, finding 100 one day and 75 the next!

The Ventura Kids like to say that they are bringing me along to teach me to geocache. They ARE the inventors of the “7-minute Rule”, after all. Here’s what I learned this time:

Zombie Tribe, aka Robert, searches while Ventura Kid Steve supervises. This is a good use of resources:

Meanwhile, the other Ventura Kid, Sandy, finds the cache on the other side of the street. This is teamwork:

Sandy opens the log while everyone else has stickers at the ready. This is efficiency:

Note: if Sandy is not there on any given day, we all stand around and wonder who’s supposed to open the container. Hm.

This is some nice scenery near a cache, but there’s no time for that! As I took this photo, they were all in the jeep and pulling away. I had to run to catch up! It was just a 10th of a mile to the next cache anyway, so I made it. Whew!

We have to find 10 caches per hour or we don’t get lunch. Fortunately, we did this day, and enjoyed some great burgers at this local joint in Wheatland:

Uh oh… I think Steve’s DNFing this one… where is it??

OK, I’m pulling your leg with some of the above descriptions, but I’ll let you guess which. Above all, a day of caching with the Ventura Kids is a day of complete fun. It’s a day full of laughter, looniness, and signing lots of logbooks. It’s an experience I highly recommend!

(Just don’t believe anything Steve says!) 😉