Walking in a Winter Wonderland

30 12 2010

It doesn’t take snow for one to take a walk with a sense of wonder. Winter in Los Angeles is brief, but still significant in the sense of renewal it brings. On Christmas Day, I took a hike along a ridge bridging the southwestern San Fernando Valley to the Pacific Palisades.

It was overcast and slightly foggy, which kept the temperature nice and brisk – perfect for hiking.

It was too foggy to get much of the view, however:

In winter, the hills get green from the rain:

The trees do go dormant, this one losing all its foliage other than the mistletoe:

… yet the buds of the new leaves are already beginning to form:

The lemonberry bushes are budding, too:

These flowers aren’t sure if it’s spring or fall:

The trail is mostly easy to follow:

… even though at times a web of side trails make a maze along the ridge:

The caches I found were hidden off the trail like Easter eggs:

Canyonback #3
Canyonback #2
Canyonback #1
Canyonback #0

It was a most satisfying way to spend my afternoon. Next: on to 2011, which is really a futuristic number, isn’t it?

Cachin’ in the Rain

23 12 2010

Gene, Debbie, and Donald barely scratched the surface of the fun you can have when it’s wet outside.

When the Primm Valley Resort sent several of us offers for free nights, no strings, we booked our nights. Just because it turned out to be raining cats and dogs was no reason not to go. As it turned out, the big day of caching in the desert was sprinkly, but it never got too bad, so we stuck with plan A, and found over 140 caches along a couple of power trails.

Early in the day, OLdweeb found his 8,000th cache. That’s a big number!

f0t0m0m, OLdweeb, Ventura Kid

Most of the scenery was similar to this:

… and no one was around, even though the dirt road was under some kind of construction, and we skirted big ditches, equipment, and supplies to get to some of the caches:

The caches were named mostly for places, both familiar:
Sacramento, CA

and unfamiliar:
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas

The rain served to illuminate some of the colors:

All in all, it was fun opportunity to get out and play!

Merry Playful Christmas to you all!

L.A. Rivers

16 12 2010

The L.A. River is currently (pun intended) running its course in a big, long cement ditch. It’s far from scenic, but until I found a cache next to it this week with an informational plaque on its history, I was unaware of the practical necessity of its structure. The river in its natural form is intermittent, and its course changes to the extent that city planning required that it be made to run a fixed course.

More on that here: HIstory of the Los Angeles River
… and the cache – Outdoor classroom

The river of water is tame compared to the rivers of traffic that flow through the city. In the same manner as its counterpart, cars are funneled along channels of cement:

Cross the 101 FWY
Here’s a brief history: Los Angeles Freeway System

At least there’s always this around:
Park Your Stagecoach Here?

… and the scenery nearby is much better than cement ditches:

A Hike to the Hollywood Sign

10 12 2010

It’s one of the most distinctive landmarks in the world and it’s right in my back yard:
The Hollywood Sign

The easiest way to get there, and the one we took, is up the fire road at the north end of Beechwood Canyon Road, right near an equestrian center. I’d been up there a few years ago, so it was nice to get back and find the new caches along the way.

Follow me to Hollywood: Stage 1 – Not Too Hard
Follow me to Hollywood: Stage 2 – Harder
Another Hollywood Cache
Another Hollywood Cache 2

Here we are all set to go:

Albackore, Walrus310, deeznuts, OLdweeb, BWidget, Spoondoggie, Yours Truly
photo by Sissopolis

The sign is very prominent the whole way up to the top of Mt. Lee:

The Road to Hollywood

Spoondoggie showed us how to support the entertainment industry:

The fire road winds around the hill, affording panoramic vistas of the entire Los Angeles basin, Griffith Park, and the San Fernando Valley:

At the top, you’re above and behind the sign – a whole new perspective. To the right, the dominant feature is the Hollywood Reservoir, surrounding by hillsides nestled with luxury homes.

To the left, the Griffith Park Observatory sticks out of the neighboring hill like the proverbial sore thumb.

The antenna display at the summit is massively impressive.

On the way down from Mt. Lee, we took a detour to the neighboring Mt. Chapel for an older cache that’s been taunting me for years.
Return to Mt. Chapel

Albackore and deeznuts

In the spirit of gourmet caching, we enjoyed a great hike and great fellowship, then topped that off with great food at Chili John’s in Burbank. Albackore and Spoondoggie made studied decisions on what to eat.

It’s ALL very tasty.

A Bit of Variety

3 12 2010

I didn’t get much caching in this week, but I did enjoy a pretty good variety of caching activity. The different types of caches and places to cache are one of the best things about it!

I solved some new puzzles that had popped up near my house, and all three were unique. One even featured an aspect of the piano keyboard that was new to me!

Zebra Keys

I also managed to snag an FTF, which is something I haven’t done in a long time.

Plasma Reflections

I got to O’Melveny Park for a short hike long on views. It’s one of several places I know of near my house where I can drive for 20 minutes, walk for 5 minutes, and feel completely away from the city and people (even though it and they are still all around).

Edge of O'Melveny

Up Bee Canyon were some of the first caches I found when I started. It’s a nice creek hike.

This old remnant of paved road now exhibits old traces of a previous wildfire.

I got to stretch my mind and my body this week.