Mission Creek

12 05 2011

It’s so nice when the weather cooperates. My planned trip to take a hike out in Desert Hot Springs was all the better for the cool wind blowing from the west off the ocean. I’d been out here a couple of times before, but a handful of new caches and the lovely desert scenery enticed me back.

Here’s a link to more on the Mission Creek Preserve.

The caches were a nice variety of containers, most regular size for easy finds, and a few typically crazy creative ones by the Wheeler Dealers. I ended up with a 4 mile round trip on my trip odometer, mostly on a gently uphill graded dirt road, and with an annoyingly large number of foxtail stickers in my shoes and socks. ‘Tis the season…

The 1920 Resort Getaway

Al Capone's Treasure

What a Crock

Relic from the Dale

As you can see, it’s the perfect time to head out in to the desert. Not only is it still cool, the flowers are at their peak.

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Winter Geocaching in Southern California

22 01 2009

January is probably my favorite month to be here.

It starts with the Rose Parade on the 1st, which almost invariably has perfect weather that much of the rest of the country gets to watch on TV between bouts of shoveling snow or braving subzero temperatures to go to the store.

My sister came down to visit this year, and we got tickets in the bleachers to see the parade. It’s something to be experienced at least once, as it’s one of the most spectacular events of its type anywhere. Only in person can you get a sense of how large the floats are and how truly ornate the decorating is. The marching bands are big, too, some stretching for over a city block. The horses and Western roping, the celebrity grand marshall, the general feeling of celebratory renewal of the new year, the opportunity to eat bacon-wrapped hot dogs (we were SORELY tempted, but passed on those!) are all best seen/felt/smelled while sitting right there. We got bags of free snacks from a local grocery chain: Stater Brothers. We saw an overly fatigued tuba player in the USC band sideline himself and have to wait for a rescue van. We marveled at the motorcycle cops showing off their synchronized driving skills.

Yes, we found a geocache, too! It was at the Burger KIng across the street from our bleachers, even!
The King and I

I’ve been out to the parade a couple of times before, and already knew what my truly favorite part of the morning would be: the flyover of the STEALTH BOMBER. It looks like a work of art floating over. f0t0m0m (Karen) got a superb photo of it on its practice run this year:

stealthbyf0t0m0m

I got to watch it a couple of years ago flying around the Lancaster area as I was geocaching out there one day. It never fails to leave me stunned, impressed, and moved by its beauty and power.

Winter in Southern California means clear air for great vistas and cool temperatures for hiking. Here are just a smattering of photos I’ve gotten so far this month:

sunrise in Lancaster (taken by Andy of Team Perks)
lancastersunrise

fog in Sycamore Canyon
fogbits

crunchy trail in the Santa Monica Mountains

the view of Catalina Island from Charmlee park in Malibu
malibucatalina

looking out from the summit of Saddleback Peak in Palmdale
Saddleback
on-top-of-saddleback-peak

snow on the mountains west of Joshua Tree National Park
snowmtns

trainspotting in Palm Springs
trainsnowmountain1

sunset over I-10 westbound near Cabazon
sunsetoverfreeway

a bucket of “snow” in a cache at Desert Hot Springs!!
You’ve got to be kidding, this is the desert!
snow-in-the-desert1

Does anyone know what this stuff is?? It felt cool to the touch, was not sticky, but felt like it would make a nice snowball! It was way too funny to find this in the warm, dry desert. You can always count on the Wheeler Dealers for surprising and entertaining hides.

January is also a great month for working on that tan!
tanning

I did find cache #18,000 this week, too! f0t0m0m and I made a 63-cache run in Palm Springs and this Wheeler Dealer hide was the milestone! The container was even a little gecko. I liked choosing this one, as I found my first 10,000 or so caches using a Garmin Geko – actually two of them – and I wore them both out!
One Heck of a Gecko
gecko

Until next week, keep on caching! (if you’re not buried in snow … Ha!)





The Big Bear Cache Bash

28 08 2008

Earlier this month, a whole bunch of geocachers made the now-annual pilgrimage to Big Bear, in the San Bernardino Mountains just north of San Bernardino, for no less than SEVEN events, 4-wheeling jeep parties, and various hikes and urbans in the area. I scooted up on Friday afternoon and stayed through Sunday evening, bagging all of the events and over 100 finds all together.

On the way up, I had time for 14 caches along the windy road up the hill. Most were guardrails at turnouts with an increasingly broad view of the valley below. My favorite was actually a short hike out on the road between Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. I walked down a fire road to an overlook of an adjacent valley, and soaked in the solitude and scenery:

Wood Chip View Hill

The first two events were held that evening, one “normal” pizza event, one wacky flash mob at the nearby Motel 6 where many geocachers (not me!) were staying:

Pizza In Da Woods With Da Big Bears
"We’ll Leave The Lights On…Friday Flash Event 2"

The following morning, I hopped into BWidget’s jeep and we heading out to a trailhead for some 4-wheeling fun:

– BUT – there in the lot, he discovered that one of his shocks had become unattached! Alas, there were no seats in the other jeeps, so we had to abandon that plan and go with Plan B. We spent the day finding a couple dozen around the lake instead.

Here I am at the lake:

Somewhere in Fawnskin, we encountered the most tacky fountain I’ve ever seen!

Now I love fountains, and it’s really hard to make one that’s just not pretty. Wow.

That afternoon was the centerpiece of the weekend, the Big Bear Cache Bash.
BIG BEAR CACHE BASH IV

I finally got to hand off the So Cal Geocachers trophy to none other than the Wheeler Dealers!

(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)

The trophy was created by FishPOET a few years ago, is a travel bug, and is passed around to the local geocachers who have been the most inspiring. Here we are with a few previous recipients: shirconn, garagedude, Mighty Dee.

We had a potluck with some, er, unusual treats.

I got to see a bunch of folks I only get to see at these events, such as Mighty Dee, Pacholik, Mandy’s Mom, MissAmerica1, lite rod, Flagman, Rantan, shirconn, garagedude, Westward Ho, FishPOET, HippieG, Dave W6DPS, lovesreward, aerospacecase, ellistruss, among many others! Here are a few more:
Badgerdawg

(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)

BWidget

(photo courtesy Badgerdawg)

Esquimaux

Altigenman

After this event, I headed up the hill for the next event, and got the next photo at this cache:
Boulders galore

The next morning, many of us gathered for TWO flash mobs in a row!
Lucky # 7
MOONridge Flash Mob Event

The second flash mob event was also at the beginning of a nice 3-mile RT hike up a trail at 7500 ft elevation. Following that, I jumped into jeeps with MIB Alienhunter, BWidget, Baad Daata, and Showstop for an afternoon of miles and miles of scenic driving on a some rocky jeep roads. The finds were easy and the company was fun, focussed, and frivolous – the best!

The weekend concluded with a final get together at a local Mexican restaurant:
Big send off to Big Bear


clockwise from me: MIBAlienhunter, Baad Daata, Showstop, Showstop’s future better half, BWidget

Thanks to all who organized all the fun!