About a month ago, I took a marvelous hike in Mentryville with Spoondoggie and OLdweeb. Mentryville is an old oil drilling community from the late 1800s which is long since a ghost town. Its history can be found on Wikipedia , and one of the caches takes you to the plaque commemorating “Pico #4”, the first commercially successful oil well in California.
The area is now filled with a satisfying string of caches, and which you can easily see on the geocaching map of this cache:
The first leg of our hike took us back in to the canyon and to the old wells and drilling equipment.
Spoondoggie inspects the pipes:
and gets his picture taken by the informative plaque:
I’ve been out here before for caches and the hike, but knowing the significance of the history of the area always gives me a sense of connection with my home state when I’m out here. About a week later, I visited the Getty Museum with my sister where one of the exhibits we saw was an extensive collection of the first photographs of California, taken in the late 1800s. One of them was of the Pico #4 – fully functional and surrounded by workers! After having seen the site for myself, the photo brought all of the history to life for me.
Next, the three of us headed up the hill along a fire road. We saw bobcats tracks in the dried mud along the way:
The higher we got, the more spectacular the vistas we had:
We took a different trail on the way down, a rugged, narrow path that skirted a rocky, storm-torn creek bed:
The water and wind erosion had left some remarkable features:
It had rained recently, so I got to carry half the trail down on my shoes.
Yes, it’s time to get my car detailed again. The first time I hired the guy I use regularly now, he checked out the copious dirt and mud in my car and asked me if I were in construction. I love having evidence of adventure in my floor mats.
Until next week… cache on!