Viewridge Trail

31 03 2011

I love how the San Fernando Valley is ringed with mountains. I’m encircled by a multitude of opportunities to get in to nature without driving more than 20 minutes. This week I chose to head to the south west corner, where I found a short string of caches along the Viewridge Trail in Topanga Canyon. I’d hiked all along this trail before, for another series of caches that have since disappeared. It was great to have an excuse to enjoy a quick 1.5 mile round trip escape here.

Viewridge Floo
Santa Maria View
Santa Maria Crossing

Viewridge Trail

These stairs are at the trailhead… but that’s not the trail I took – whew!

Here’s the nice shady gently sloping trail:

a mud-colored lizard

LPFs (aka little purple flowers)

the dreaded poison oak, lurking just off the trail near the creek (as usual)

at the turnaround spot, looking south

and looking north

Finally, a short respite with bird sounds, from the beginning of my escape:

Happy Campers

25 03 2011

At long last, I took a long hike through the Happy Camp area just north west of Simi Valley. I had heard raves about this place ever since I started caching, but before I had a chance to get out there, it was destroyed by one of the local seasonal wildfires. It’s now back in full vegetation, and lives up to its great reviews.

The loop around the park is 12.5 miles, which is about twice as far as I’m normally willing to hike, as it takes me a couple of days at least to recover, but this was mostly flat and on a wide fire road or trail. It was more like a really long walk than a really strenuous workout that some trails can be.

Here’s the cache at the trail head:
Happy Camp Trailhead West

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The Calendar Challenge and the Chatsworth Hills

18 03 2011

When I first noticed this cache –
Geocaching 365 Day Challenge
I figured that with over 24,000 finds at the time, and having cached for over 8 years, I would easily have qualified. To my surprise, I was missing three days!

I marked the open dates on my 2011 calendar and determined to make sure I got them all done. Otherwise this cache would haunt me, nay… TAUNT me for another year. I would be nagged every time I took a trip to Chatsworth or Simi Valley: “Here I am, and you can’t find me… hahahahaa….”

Mission accomplished earlier this month to fill the grid:

and I headed out for a much needed outdoor recess to claim it. I also found two nearby caches on that perfect spring day, each taking me to favorite views of the San Fernando Valley and the rocky hills of the Santa Susanna Pass.

Simi and Chatsworth Hills – this earthcache is located at one of my favorite easy-access view points

Santa Susanna Pass – a .20 mile stroll down an old road through the hills

view from the 365 Day Challenge

looking eastward from the earthcache

some of the many big rocks strewn around the hills

overlooking Santa Susanna Pass just to the south of my position

the inviting trail to the third cache of the day

Daylight Savings Time and beautiful spring weather are the perfect recipe for hiking! More to come soon….

Fresno Flats

10 03 2011

It was my sister’s choice for the geocaching locale this week, and she suggested a small town on the way to Yosemite, now called Oakhurst. It was originally Fresno Flats, and it boasts an old virtual cache in the town’s historic park.
Fresno Flats

The park has several buildings from the mid 19th century.

The grounds are well cared for, indeed, including a seasonal display of flowers.

There are a couple of picnic areas, one overlooking the little stream out back.

The numerous displays vary from a collection of old horse-drawn buggies to rooms with detailed vintage decor to this “original” jail cell.

Several plaques and framed information sheets provide a thorough look at the founding era of this town. What are these numbers carved in this tree?

It’s an antique benchmark!

This is a split log house.

It features a nice audio narration:

We spent a good half hour here exploring all of the nooks and crannies. After that, we dined on local Japanese cuisine, then stopped for coffee and dessert in the neighboring Coarsegold, where we stopped for another virtual cache.

Old Gazebo

The spectacular blue of the sky in these photos is accurate, as is the emerald green of the hills. There’s just nothing like California in the early spring, and I look forward to another excursion out in these colors very soon!

Cache Critters

3 03 2011

This week I came across a few curious creatures disguised as caches. I’m not telling you which photo belongs to which cache, though.
Rancho Conejo
Second scare
Snow Job
Ugly Duckling
Ventura Kids go for a very short hike

Look at those teeth!

Son of Shelob?

Eeeeewww, I almost didn’t want to touch this monster!

It doesn’t get much more creative than this. I’m not sure what he is, but he blended in very well in his hiding spot.

I found all of these in the middle of Thousand Oaks and Newbury Park, but I still was afforded some refreshing scenery:

This road was along a stream with a variety of little waterfalls providing some relaxing, natural music: