6 12 2012

On my way from Colorado Springs to Phoenix, I drove through some of the most gorgeous scenery on the planet. Durango was a perfect place to stay over night and get a sense of the history of the area as well. It’s a mountain mining town, and reminds me of my own home town of Yreka, CA.

I stayed at the General Palmer Hotel, built in 1898 –

The Victorian decor and atmosphere was relaxing and charming.

In the morning, I took a stroll up Main St. to find the only cache within walking distance.

The architecture is a classic mix of old and new.

The buildings all have basements. I note this, because they are uncommon where I live in Southern California.

Along the street there are a number of plaques with photos of highlights of the town’s past.

I’m not sure if this place is there, or if there’s someone to take a reservation… ha.

Mountain view

Another beautiful historic hotel

Next time I’m in town, I’ll have to take the train through the scenery!

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train

The Jasmer Challenge

15 11 2012

The Jasmer Challenge (Northern California Edition)
This is one of the most difficult challenges to complete because of the rarity of the earlier caches, therefore, I was relieved to see that I could pick up my three remaining qualifying finds on my road trip this summer. The penultimate cache was Mingo, the oldest existing geocache, and the final one was placed later that summer in one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever been.

I drove from Colorado Springs to Durango, and took a long detour to the Spanish Peaks. Several miles up a graded dirt road, I got to the trailhead and parked my Prius at 11,200 feet.

The cache is only about a half mile from parking, and the trail is mostly flat, so I knew I could accomplish the hike, even with no acclimation to the elevation.

I signed in at the trail head and struck out through the tall trees.

It was not just the scenery taking my breath away.

My goal was not to ascend the peak, but it was always in view.

The colors of some of the flowers were vibrant blue…

… and purple…

I’m glad it was a cloudy day, as the temperature was perfectly cool.

The cache was surrounded by ducs, but I’m not sure if they all were put there by geocachers.

THIS is the view from the cache.

A photo is clearly not sufficient.

I spent about a half hour up there, enjoying some salami and cheese and the surrounding spectacularness.

New Mexico

16 08 2012

After spending the night in Santa Fe, I made an obligatory stop at the Opera House.
GRF270 Santa Fe Opera

We couldn’t get inside at the time, but we could enjoy the view that it affords.

The gift shop was open, and I was tempted to by this, but settled on just taking a photo.

Our route took us along the original Santa Fe Trail, and one cache was at near this marker where history meets geology.
Pooches' Party Palace for TB's

It was also surrounded by the seemingly ubiquitous little purple flowers.

This is the view from said cache!

As we headed down that highway, the views got even more spectacular.
As Close As We Can Get

The video shows it better:

Ojai Road

2 09 2010

Heading north from Ventura, you go through the quaint town of Ojai, then on to a lovely curving highway that winds gently up and over the mountains and eventually into the western San Joaquin Valley. As it heads on through the valley, this highway, 33, is a secluded alternative to I-5, and I like to take it when I can to avoid truck traffic. The section just north of Ojai was somewhat recently caked with caches, and I finally took the opportunity to go get ’em on two separate days over the last couple of weeks. The finds were mostly easy and quick, yielding over 50 finds one day and 30 the next, both days with late starts and home for dinner.

Some of the caches were part of a series:
33 on 33 # 33 Area Closed
and some were memorials:
Dr. Jack Dunn – Roadside Memorial
One was an earthcache:
Mass Wasting on Highway 33
Some had creative camo:
Another Stinky Badfeet Sneaker
Pick It Up,,No You Pick It Up!!

The road ahead:

The road through:

The road around:

The view from about as far north as I got:

Dramatic rock scenery:

I got a note from my uncie (the one who got me started doing this!) with a copy of this blurb from the AAA magazine published in his area. I did the interview a while ago, and it’s mostly accurate:

It’s always nice to get good publicity!

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.

How to Be a Geosponge

16 07 2009

There is an art to being a geosponge, and it’s not as easy as one might think. There are other permutations of it, but I usually use this term to mean that I’m tagging along with other cachers and have not done any of the research or prep work. Oh, I may have solved a puzzle or two and will have the bookmarked caches loaded in my GPSr as a backup. Mostly I just show up, ride along, sticker/sign log books, and enjoy the day with geofriends.

The art is in how to relinquish control, be a team player, and get in and out of the BACK seat of a car. It can be exhausting!

Prepare what you want to take the night before as you will be rising at the crack of dark:

Get picked up in your town car by another cacher who happens to have one:

Have a healthy breakfast:

Watch the other cachers hunt and take photos:

Find one of the caches early on, so you feel like you’ve actually contributed to the day:

Wonder why people spend so much time at farmer’s markets:

Wonder why people go kayaking or boating:

They could be looking for geocaches in bushes:

… and finding creative containers like this one:

Take a photo of unusual architecture:

Then turn around and take a photo of everyone else looking for the cache:

Watch everyone else look for a cache that you’ve found already. This is especially entertaining when the cache has gone missing and they end up not finding it (oops!):

Have a healthy lunch:

Keep going since the goal is to find well over 100 caches for the day:
#50 = Naughty Root
#100 = Riley’s Treasure Chest
Last one, #112 for me = Puzzle LPC

Celebrate a milestone or two:
My #19000!
f0t0m0m’s #17000!

Interact with your surroundings. Sandy carries special horse cookies with her, in case she sees one along the way that needs a snack:

Don’t interact with some of the surroundings. We saw this bee cluster along one of the country roads, and I took this through the CLOSED car window:

Update Facebook and Twitter and keep up on your e-mail as you ride along between caches.

Enjoy the scenery:

Admire a local artfully-designed establishment:

Be the human retrieval tool, and take a walk up a bike trail to grab one while the others wait in the car, parked illegally, and enjoy more scenery:

Sleep well that night, and be prepared to return the favor and do the planning to lead the next expedition! Or not…. heh…..

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Geocaching (more or less)

28 05 2009

I got out for a hike on Saturday with Albackore and Capdude by taking the kitten to a cat sitter! She still needs a bottle every 3 hours, and the drive and hike took us about 5. In a couple of weeks, after she’s learned to eat more regular cat food, this won’t be necessary, but meanwhile, my schedule revolves around the still tiny feline.

Capdude did the research on the hike, but none of us were aware of the gnarlyness of the trail! We did a car bridge, parking one car at the bottom, driving another to the top, then hiking down, and this turned out to be very wise. The hike started out on a nice fire road, ascending to an old lookout, but most of the descent was along a rocky ridge. There was much rock clambering and steep parts and “where’s the trail”. We all had a blast, though, finding all of the caches on the list, some of which I’d already done, but 7 were new for me. It was a great workout, and just right for my re-entry in to hiking after being away from it for a couple of months!

100,000,000 BC
Hole in the Wall
Skunk Rock
Evil Lurks at the Root
Meadow View
Cloud City
Bite the Bullet

The views ranged from foggy to spectacular, as is typical for spring hiking around here. Albackore got this nice shot of me workin’ the poles, not exactly skiing, more like creeping down the slope. Pay more attention to the view!

I gave up on this section and did a spider crawl to get down. Where’s that view?

No cache in here, Capdude! (photo by Albackore)

At the end of the hike, Capdude placed this one in honor of the kitten – La Divina Gattina Marzapana, aka Marzipan, aka Marziboo:
Marziboo (Traditional Cache)


Until next week, mew mew!