A Glorious Day for Geocaching

25 02 2010

It was a glorious day today, as Southern California is between rain storms: sunny, but cool, and with crystal clear air for beautiful views. I headed out with f0t0m0m this morning to take a hike in the Thousand Oaks area, then do a few caches along the main boulevard.

Starting cache for the hike:
Skelton Canyon Trailhead

Here are some of my photos from the morning. First, the view on the way up the hill:

Here’s one of the thousand oaks:

The wet winter will bring an abundance of wildflowers this year, and here are a few of the early bloomers:

My requisite short video of the panorama:

The bushes crowding the trail were still soaking wet from yesterday’s rain.

As a consequence, we got dripping wet, too!

We had lunch here:

… and I had the luscious bleu cheese burger…. nom nom nom! We spent the next three hours negotiating the streets of the San Fernando Valley to pick up a couple dozen of the newer, easy ones scattered around. The finds were quick and uneventful, except for a couple. At this one:
Parthenia #7

…the AT&T guy was working inside the electrical box. Turns out that this opens up to a whole room full of equipment about 10 feet down!

We also saw an extraordinary house not far from where I live:

Yes, that’s a big dragon in the front yard! Looks like he’s been fed recently….

May your caching lead to curiousities, too!

Valentine’s Chinese New Year Geocaching

18 02 2010

Since these two holidays fell on the same day this year, what better way to celebrate than with a geocaching event? Foomanjoo hosted a fun lunch at a top-notch authentic restaurant, Hunan Chili King, in the heart of San Gabriel.

Love Hurts (Burn Baby Burn)

There were several tables of hungry cachers:

and it was difficult to decide what to eat from the extensive menu:

We managed to pick a variety of great things, and they threw in a large serving of peel-and-eat shrimp as part of the holiday celebration. Gong hee fat choi! (Cantonese) Gong xi fa cai! (Mandarin)

After we polished off the tasty comestibles, I headed out for a handful of caches with Spoondoggie and OLdweeb.
Wet Ones
Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana (This is at a tiki-themed restaurant that’s been there for years, and looks very intriguing.)
Through the Eye of A Needle!
I LOVE Pizza-San Gabriel
Nana & Poppie’s Cache

One of the hides was appropriate for the day:

Spoondoggie had never been to the mission there, Mission San Gabriel Archangel, so we stopped by on the way back to OLdweeb’s car:

Mission Bells

Mission Door

Mission History

Mission Cemetery

Mission Cistern (yes, there used to be a cache a few feet from where I took the photo)

Mission Garden

It was a quintessentially lovely day,

and we enjoyed seeing all the snow in the surrounding mountains as we reveled in the sunshine.

Expecting the Unexpected

11 02 2010

Surprises are one of the best parts of geocaching, and though some are not welcome, most are really pleasant, lovely, or inspiring.

Seeing wildlife in urbans areas of Los Angeles is not uncommon, and I’ve seen a deer or two here and there, but OLdweeb and I encountered no less than six enjoying a relaxed time in someone’s front yard in Monrovia.

Los Angeles is a very photogenic city, and it’s easy to find vantage points for beautiful views of downtown and its surrounding valleys and mountains. A quick climb up a hill in South Pasadena yielded this:

Teddy Bear Bliss

and a short ride on a elevator to the fifth floor of an office building on Wilshire Boulevard led to a cache in the plaza garden, again overlooking downtown:

9-5 With a View

This is the city of the odd and eclectic, from the architecture:

California’s First Governor

to the yard art:

"Bug Out!" aka Ohana Pod #19

Of course, my favorite surprise of any day is finding great food in unlikely places. This one that OLdweeb and I happened upon in the heart of Eagle Rock turned out to have gourmet burgers and vintage wines, and was featured on “Drive-ins, Diners, and Dives” –


5 Easy Caches – NOT!

4 02 2010

Well, perhaps it was one of those days. I picked out five caches among the closest to my house to get me out on a hike and in to the fresh air. The first one had been recently replaced, so I was confident I would spot it right away:

Here it Bee

I couldn’t find it, and couldn’t get the geocaching app to work on my iPhone right there to read the cache page, so I went on to cache #2 for the day:

CTM in O’Melveny Park

I managed to make all of the wrong decisions along the way to this one. First, I saw that the arrow was pointing more or less up a trail and headed that way. I was able to access the cache page at that point, and read that it was up a steep hill, so I backtracked and headed up the hill to the south of the trail instead. A quarter of a mile later at the top of that hill, I was still 400 feet away and the arrow pointed to the original trail below, now separated from me by a non-negotiable ravine.

I backtracked again and got down on this trail.

When I got to the coordinates, they pointed about 20′ off the edge of the hill from there, and there were a couple of big trees that looked like good hiding places, so I slid down to look. Not finding anything, I checked the cache page, which said not to go down there. [*sigh*] I scrambled back up and spent several more minutes hunting in the tall grass at the top, and was very relieved to actually find the thing!

An even better reward was the view from there;

On my way back down, I checked the cache info and logs for the first cache, and noticed some new coordinates posted by an earlier finder. I went back with those and walked right to the cache! Now I was back to batting 100% for the day.

The third cache was a quick micro with a good hint:

east of the horse trail

It was fun to drive on the surprisingly rural kinds of roads up in the Porter Ranch area to get around to that cache and the next two:

Zelzah Fences
PR Estates Tennis

These last two were, alas, basic DNFs. It was a gorgeous day, though, and I’d gotten some exercise and away from the various things weighing on my mind, which was the whole point, anyway. The caches were not so easy after all, but it was a good day.