The Big Bear Cache Bash

28 08 2008

Earlier this month, a whole bunch of geocachers made the now-annual pilgrimage to Big Bear, in the San Bernardino Mountains just north of San Bernardino, for no less than SEVEN events, 4-wheeling jeep parties, and various hikes and urbans in the area. I scooted up on Friday afternoon and stayed through Sunday evening, bagging all of the events and over 100 finds all together.

On the way up, I had time for 14 caches along the windy road up the hill. Most were guardrails at turnouts with an increasingly broad view of the valley below. My favorite was actually a short hike out on the road between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. I walked down a fire road to an overlook of an adjacent valley, and soaked in the solitude and scenery:

Wood Chip View Hill

The first two events were held that evening, one “normal” pizza event, one wacky flash mob at the nearby Motel 6 where many geocachers (not me!) were staying:

Pizza In Da Woods With Da Big Bears
"We’ll Leave The Lights On…Friday Flash Event 2"

The following morning, I hopped into BWidget’s jeep and we heading out to a trailhead for some 4-wheeling fun:

– BUT – there in the lot, he discovered that one of his shocks had become unattached! Alas, there were no seats in the other jeeps, so we had to abandon that plan and go with Plan B. We spent the day finding a couple dozen around the lake instead.

Here I am at the lake:

Somewhere in Fawnskin, we encountered the most tacky fountain I’ve ever seen!

Now I love fountains, and it’s really hard to make one that’s just not pretty. Wow.

That afternoon was the centerpiece of the weekend, the Big Bear Cache Bash.

I finally got to hand off the So Cal Geocachers trophy to none other than the Wheeler Dealers!

(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)

The trophy was created by FishPOET a few years ago, is a travel bug, and is passed around to the local geocachers who have been the most inspiring. Here we are with a few previous recipients: shirconn, garagedude, Mighty Dee.

We had a potluck with some, er, unusual treats.

I got to see a bunch of folks I only get to see at these events, such as Mighty Dee, Pacholik, Mandy’s Mom, MissAmerica1, lite rod, Flagman, Rantan, shirconn, garagedude, Westward Ho, FishPOET, HippieG, Dave W6DPS, lovesreward, aerospacecase, ellistruss, among many others! Here are a few more:

(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)


(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)



After this event, I headed up the hill for the next event, and got the next photo at this cache:
Boulders galore

The next morning, many of us gathered for TWO flash mobs in a row!
Lucky # 7
MOONridge Flash Mob Event

The second flash mob event was also at the beginning of a nice 3-mile RT hike up a trail at 7500 ft elevation. Following that, I jumped into jeeps with MIB Alienhunter, BWidget, Baad Daata, and Showstop for an afternoon of miles and miles of scenic driving on a some rocky jeep roads. The finds were easy and the company was fun, focussed, and frivolous – the best!

The weekend concluded with a final get together at a local Mexican restaurant:
Big send off to Big Bear

clockwise from me: MIBAlienhunter, Baad Daata, Showstop, Showstop’s future better half, BWidget

Thanks to all who organized all the fun!

Supplemental: The Green River Odyssey Tour

22 08 2008

My adventure down the Green River with 25 strangers was also an historic look at the original exploration of the area by John Wesley Powell. The tour was led by Clay Jenkinson, a humanities scholar and author, who gave programs each evening on Powell’s life and work, among other things. I heard about this tour, because I’ve been listening to his weekly radio show for several years.

(Note: if you crave intelligent, civil discourse on politics, government, history, and a variety of other topics, I encourage you to check out his radio show in which he portrays Thomas Jefferson, and answers 21st-century questions from the 3rd president’s perspective. For more information, go to The Thomas Jefferson Hour.)

The scenery on the river was spectacular, so although there were no geocaches along our 5-day route floating through the wilderness, I wanted to post some of the photos I took.


my tent

our first campsite

our second campsite

the big paddle boat

a typical day on the river

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Road Trip!

21 08 2008

I recently took an amazing rafting trip down the Green River in Utah. Most of the group of 25 flew in to Salt Lake City, but my philosophy, of course, is “why fly when you can drive and geocache”!

I took two days to get there and one to get back. I couldn’t resist stopping for a Wheeler Dealers cache, especially one placed at this classic 50s diner in the middle of nowhere:

Peggy Sue’s Diner

The food is pretty good there, too. My next stop was a cluster of caches in Primm:
Ivanpah Dry Lake Earthcache
Just over the fence
Out in the corner
Shopping in Nevada!

Here I am at the Earthcache. I put the camera on the roof of my car to get the shot:

One of the big highlights was halfway there, in St. George. There is an outstanding museum featuring local preserved dinosaur tracks, and I found the Earthcache there:

Dinosaur Tracks in St. George Earthcache
This is one of the most amazing exhibits I’ve ever seen, and I highly recommend a visit!

One the second day of the trip there, I grabbed a nice string of caches near the I-15/I-70 junction:

Sulpherdale TB Terminal stopped and swapped
Guarding Tess another ammo can
Decon in the Corner Pocket as advertised
The Cove Fort-Sulphurdale Geothermal Field unusual power source here
Cattle Guarding the Cache guess what this cache is one?
Baltimore 2200 the west end of the interstate that goes all the way to Baltimore
old cove fort I found this one easily this time after DNFing it in the snow last winter

This next cache afforded me a spectacular view of the town of Green River, UT, my destination, and what lay ahead:

Spotted Wolf Canyon

The first day of the group tour, we went to Arches National Park. I was the only geocacher there, but I still managed to bag 5 caches, all virtuals and earthcaches, as we cruised around in the bus. It’s one spectacular scenery overload:

Arches National Park- The Arches
The Windows Section: Arches National Park
Balanced Rock: Arches National Park
Arches National Park- Balanced Rock
Delicate Arch

Landscape Arch:

Delicate Arch:

Video Panorama:

That afternoon, I found a handful of caches in Moab:

Mill Creek Bridge
Parkway Cache (kinda) nanotized
Scout House Cashew
Cross Creeks Trail

a classic motel in Moab:

some local artwork:

a charming and mysterious creekside path:

The following day, we flew from Moab to a dirt air strip up the Green River where we put in for 5 days of rafting and kayaking, following part of the journey that John Wesley Powell took when he first explored the area. My next post will feature information and photos from the rafting part of my week, but now – back to the geocaches!

There is a cache at the landing strip!

Desolation Canyon Airport

It’s at the trail head down from the airstrip on the mesa.

After our incredible week on the river, we returned to Salt Lake City for a farewell dinner, and I made a mad dash home in one day to get back for some work.

Brown River the cache by our hotel in Green River – it has a nice cache guardian

I introduced a tour member to geocaching in SLC. He’s now babj615 in Seattle. Heh. The infection spreads:
Say Your Name, Dear Jane
SLC Degrees of Confluence #45 8S8W
Classic Cars

I grabbed these easy ones on the drive home:
Dillen’s Pit Stop
Magnum’s Manderfield Multi Microcache (#7)
20 to 89
South Rim of the Great Basin
Hog Heaven
Pit Stop
STOP… it’s a Dead End
Run Down Station
Ready For Action Figures
TIP TOE CACHE 1Drive Thru Meds

It took FIFTEEN hours to drive from SLC to LA, rather than the 12 I was expecting… there was a ton of weekend traffic… but the geocaching along the way kept me sane and awake!

Since I’ve been back, I’ve had time for one geocache in Hollywood, at a small group of cottages built by Charlie Chaplin with a rich history of famous residents:
The Tramp Camp

Next: the Big Bear Cache Bash weekend

Supplemental: more Mt. Shasta photos

19 08 2008

Theses photos are courtesy Michael Zippel, one of my compatriots on the climb.

Two Excursions with f0t0m0m

14 08 2008

I have the pleasure of caching with a number of different locals who enjoy the sport/hobby/obsession as much or… dare I say… even MORE than I do!

f0t0m0m is one such person, and our mutually flexible schedules allow us to sojourn out every week at least. We recently headed out to Palm Springs for an event, and found about 50 caches that day. This day turned out to be not so much about the hides as about finding a bunch in a series that was entertaining:

Creation #3: Light
Creation #19: Woman
Creation #14: Creatures of the Sea
Creation #9: Sun
Creation #18: Man

Camo – Element 27
Recreation – Element 86
Friends – Element 26
Hidden – Element 2
Nano – Element 11

The caches pages for the Element series are all very humorous, and it’s worth taking the time to go check them all out. Kudos to tntc for that!

The event was the usual treat hosted by Wheeler Dealers, with a container packing contest, welcoming stories, and great local food:

Oldtimers meet the New Guys in town

We even got the FTF on their new cache in the parking lot!
Geo Gas Cache

A couple of days later, we headed back out easterly to Lake Elsinore to complete the 58 California Counties Challenge cache! We had each visited all the counties on various and separate excursions, and were eager to log the final cache.

Discovering & Logging California’s 58 Counties

As it turned out, the effort to get to this one left us with only enough time for a handful more in the area, but here are some photos from our successful find!

f0t0m0m approached the cache through the dry creek bed:

Not really a spoiler:

Here I am near GZ, celebrating our mutual victory:

Many thanks to Team GeoRangers for inspiring me to visit ALL of the counties in this incredibly diverse and scenic state!