Geocaching Hike in Historic Mentryville

29 01 2009

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:
Mentryville #1

The first leg of our hike took us back in to the canyon and to the old wells and drilling equipment.
oldpump

oilderrick

Spoondoggie inspects the pipes:

inspectorspoondoggie

and gets his picture taken by the informative plaque:

oilplaque

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:
moreprints

The higher we got, the more spectacular the vistas we had:
viewfromtop

snowmountain

canyon

We took a different trail on the way down, a rugged, narrow path that skirted a rocky, storm-torn creek bed:
ruggedtrail

The water and wind erosion had left some remarkable features:
funkyfeatures

It had rained recently, so I got to carry half the trail down on my shoes.
mudshoe

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!

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3 responses

3 02 2009
P.J.

Awesome. How long of a hike is that? I don’t know if I’d make it all the way through just cause it seems like I’d be stopping all the time with photography etc. Looks like one heck of a place to fill a couple of memory cards!

5 02 2009
Martina

Such a nice trip. Amazing to see the erosion area. Looks good.

I took you on my blogroll. Soryy for deleting your comment. Never again (-:

See u
Martina

11 03 2009
ShowStop

Just did this hike last weekend. 7mi RT from the fee parking lot to the top and back. 1100ft elevation gain. Mostly steady grade climb starting at Oil Field #5. Took us 2:15 up and just over 1hr down (all caches were found on the way up). The hike was a real burner for us since we don’t do lots of hikes like this, but we survived!

Thanks to EMC for posting this blog segment, otherwise we might not have known about the trail.

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