Real Gourmet Caching

28 01 2011

Since two of my favorite things are caching and culinary delights, days that combine those are ideal. Such was my adventure this week with Spoondoggie and BWidget.

Our goal was to get to Lake Casitas, a reservoir just west of Ojai, for a morning hike followed by scattered caching on the way back, but we ended up reversing the day’s plans when the opportunity for a few FTFs arose. We stopped at several new caches in the Calabasas area, and three had blank log books:

Hill side cache over Malibu Canyon
Pole Position

The last caches we did were along the Phantom trail:

By the time we got to Ojai, it was lunch time, so we found a local bistro that featured some very tasty treats:

There just happened to be a winery just across the street. We could not resist making a detour after finding the cache around the corner:
Libbey Park Walkway

After tasting their flight of 6 wines, I took home a bottle each of two of the local wines, a chardonnay and a syrah.

The hike around the lake after that was truly lovely.
Shoreline Lake Trail #1

Shoreline Lake Trail #2 Rock Slide

Shoreline Lake Trail #3 Fowl View

Holding up a tree.
Shoreline Lake Trail #4 Family Roots

Shoreline Lake Trail #5 "Wonder" if this is it?

Chickens in the neighboring vineyard, for some reason:

There were rumors of a dead pig near one of the caches. I don’t think it was this one:

The day was capped off with a spectacular (gourmet?) sunset:

Hot, Windy Winter Weather

20 01 2011

Winter weather in Los Angeles is wildly variable. When the coastal breezes or offshore storms are in play, it’s decidedly cold and we get our much needed rain for the year. It’s not freezing, but it’s the kind of cold that gets in your bones. As those conditions fade, the sun brings the temperatures in to the comfortable 60s and 70s, and we have our days of perfection. When the Santa Ana winds blow from the deserts in the east, however, the resulting hot weather is weird and sudden. In the span of a day this week, we went from our chilled rain in the 40s and 50s to the wild Santa Ana conditions in the 80s. That kind of switch does a number on one’s psyche.

The heat feels surreal. The air gets extra dry, and winds whip and gust at annoying, even destructive speed. A few trees blow over, palm fronds litter the roads (and those things can cost you a tire), and everyone’s sinuses get a workout from the dust and allergens that get stirred up.

The rain on the one end the the wind on the other also serve to clean the air, and this is the season to enjoy the spectacular views that are typically obscured by fog and haze. The hills turn emerald green with new grasses and budding foliage, and the sky is perfect shades of blue.

For my hike of the week, I chose Las Llajas Canyon in Simi Valley, just west of the San Fernando Valley. This area was originally bought many years ago to be developed, but that project failed, and it ended up as open space. The trail wanders gently through the narrow canyon, eventually joining up with the Rocky Peak Trail to the east.

I did a handful of caches on a modest 3-mile round trip, with a particularly challenging one as my piƩce de resistance.

Touch My Monkey
This one was surprisingly difficult to spot, even though it was hanging right in front of my nose. The rest of them along the way were much easier, and I happily and handily found them all:
The Return Of Marrgate
A Simple Las Llajas Cache
Keep Going…
Along the Way to As Far As I Wanted to Go
WRONG WAY to go to As Far As I Wanted to Go.
Some View

The last on the list was the first I found, and it afforded this great view of the dam at the bottom of the canyon:

… and of the canyon itself:

A couple of the caches were up this secluded side trail:

… and I enjoyed a few moments by the bubbling brook, active with the water from the recent rains:

A Pair of Panoramas

15 01 2011

The clear breezy days of winter here yield the best views of the year, and it doesn’t take much effort or elevation to enjoy them. I drove up to the Nike base for a hike on a cloudier day:

The Frog Prince
Billy Bob Yorick

and later in the week, found a cache on the top of a parking garage, which afforded a great view of the mountains to the north:

Don's 1/2 Century
Vincennes, Indiana

One of my favorite aspects of geocaching is that it creates little mini-vacations. Both of these excursions were oases in a busy week.

2011 Resolution

6 01 2011

I’ve been a real slacker this past year, therefore, my most important resolution is to be sure to take at least one hike per week, and get myself in better physical shape. The multitude of geocaches that continue to pop up in the hills around the San Fernando Valley make this a relatively easy proposition. Today, I took a perfect 2-mile hike up a canyon I’d not even known about! It’s amazing that there are still hidden trails in Los Angeles left for me to discover. Thanks to Don J for hiding a couple caches to bring me to:

Corbin Canyon

The trail was scenic, and ran flat and straight up the suburban canyon.

The first cache I found was a nifty treasure chest!

Corbin Canyon Chest
Bird Call
Dead Man's

The sky was perfect shades of blue:

… and the foliage was a wide variety of greens:

This unexpected stream crossing is a lovely, peaceful grotto:

More of the natural decor – bright green moss:

… and bright red berries:

All too soon, I was back at the car, refreshed and ready for the rest of my day and looking forward to finding more unexplored local territory.