Monday, July 6, 2015

Geocaching with Miragee ~ Hot hike up and around Mt. Woodson

The week before, when it was getting up to 107° in the Ramona area, Auld Pro, "lostguy", and I were going to hike Mt. Woodson. Thank goodness someone, Auld Pro, decided going closer to the coast was a better idea for that day.

So now, a week late, I met up with "lostguy" and Auld Pro in Spring Valley for our Mt. Woodson adventure. Shortly after piling into "lostguy"'s truck, I realized my GPSr was missing. I'm glad we didn't go back to my car for it since it turned out the GPSr was sitting on the ground where it fell off my pack as I put it in my car back at home.

The parking "area" for the Mt. Woodson trails is right along the busy 67 Highway, and we saw piles of broken glass, just like those at the Iron Mountain trailhead, where cars have been broken into by slimeballs who take advantage of people out hiking the trails. We made sure nothing was visible in the truck before locking it up and starting out.

My companions were very generous to me today because each of them had found nearly all the caches along the trails, yet they stopped at each location for me to look for the cache. Fortunately, the caches were easy to find, or Auld Pro would make sure I found the container, so it didn't take a lot of time for me to sign the log, except for one fairly long side-trip we had to take to get to "Ramona Breezes" where I took this picture of my companions.

I took a lot of other pictures during our many-mile hike. This was of the pond where a new cache "No Waterskiing Here" had been placed since Princess Toadstool and I were here in 2005 to find the "original" Woody caches.

The views were hazy today, but the panoramas we saw along the trails were frequently spectacular.

I really love the huge, spheroidally-weathered boulders that are found all over Mt. Woodson and which make the hike a fun one.

In the area that burned in last October's "Witch Creek" fire, there were many wildflowers blooming, flowers that don't get a chance to emerge in the dense, fully-mature chapparal.

Two of the caches I found in the burn area showed evidence of the fire. The other container and its contents, although it smelled "toxic" was in better condtion than the container for "Collette's Last View."

We took a different trail back that took us through many shady areas with mature oak trees and "healthy" patches of poison oak. This area was dangerous, but photogenic.

We emerged from the trail near the golf course, hot and tired, and somewhat anxious to see if the glass in the truck was intact. We had almost half a mile to walk up the busy road to see that it was. Thanks to Auld Pro, who sent me the tracks he recorded on his new Legend HCx, I have the Profile of our hike:


On our way back to the meeting place in Spring Valley, we stopped in Lakeside to get the recently-placed caches along the walkway in the River Park. There were ten caches along that trail, only part of which was cool and shady.

I wanted to be able to whistle for the truck and have it meet us where the trail emerged onto the road, but alas, it wasn't fitted with that option, so we had to walk, and walk, and walk back to it and the relief offered by its air conditioning.

All together, I found more than 30 caches today and it took a long time to log all of them as I attempted to write something unique for each cache.

I am very grateful to "lostguy" for doing all the driving today, and grateful to both "lostguy" and Auld Pro for their kindness in making sure I found the caches they had already found, even though I didn't have my GPSr. Since the location of my Vista HCx was a bit of a mystery throughout the day, I was happy to see it on the ground next to where I park my car back home. I'm sure glad when it fell from my pack it bounced away from the car instead of under it where it might have been crushed between the tires as I drove out at 6:45 in the morning . . .

Visit Miragee's blog here

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July aka Independence Day - OR IS IT?

         DID YOU KNOW THAT:        

During the American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe
that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.

Adams' prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.

One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The myth had become so firmly established that, decades after the event and nearing the end of their lives, even the elderly Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had come to believe that they and the other delegates had signed the Declaration on the fourth. Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776. In a remarkable series of coincidences, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States' 50th anniversary.

So my caching friends, in the spirit of John Adams who thought the holiday should be celebrated with parades, bonfires, bells and illuminations (aka fireworks), I raise my glass to you. And to all of the men and women who have helped us maintain our independence, I thank you. 
Have a safe and happy
holiday weekend.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Analyzing The Cache

Here's a shocker:  I went for a FTF today.  The cache was Kazer71's Not quite Evil, but close (GC3EF22).  I don't want to spoil the fun for those who may plan on searching for this cache, but let's just say Kazer was being modest about the evil part.  Today's post isn't about the FTF, though.  And, while the cache was well worth the "+1" I gave it, my inspiration for today's post came from something which happened a few hours after I made the (first to) find.

Shortly after arriving after work, I logged my cache, and relayed a private message to the cache owner.  In his cache description he solicited feedback on the difficulty and terrain ratings.  In my haste to get out and grab the FTF, I overlooked this.  I made a mental note of the star ratings, and to remember there was no hint.  I felt there was nothing in the description which was going to directly aid me in finding the cache, so I didn't bother to notate it.  Now, as I sat there at my computer, I thought about something which came to mind when I was on the cache trail earlier that morning:  did the cache warrant the 2.5 star difficulty rating?  It took me a while to find the cache.  It wasn't the hardest cache hide I'd ever seen, but I didn't just walk up and find it, as I suspect no one else will.  However, the fact the cache owner didn't go with a 1 or 2 star rating told me, as I was out there walking in circles, that I was in the right spot, and the coordinates were right on.  I was able to logically rule out the 20-30 different micro containers I normally have a pulse on when searching a cache in an environment similar to the I was at today.  The thought which came to my mind out there was this: does a higher difficulty rating actually make a cache EASIER to find?


A second cacher pulled up shortly after I left the scene and found the cache.  What does he write in his found log?  The 3-1/2 stars told me to look out side the box on this one, so that actually made it easier to find! So if it were 1-1/2 stars, it would have been harder to find, making it a 3-1/2 star...I think.

Great minds think alike, eh?

NOT 5-star worthy.  Nothing to analyze here.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks and analyzes stuff like this.  There almost seems to be a certain psychology about it.  A cache owner can place a container in a given hiding spot, and slap a 1.5 star difficulty rating on it.  How many cachers are going to be looking for the fake pine cone in the tree on that one?  Not many, I'd imagine.  The "it's natural to its surroundings, but with a bison tube holding the container" hide, at very least, usually gets a 2.5-3 star difficulty rating, at least around these parts.  Logic dictates a "common type" container is going to be used with a lower difficulty rating.  The same logic dictates a clever or well-camouflaged container is going to get a higher rating.  To me, going on a cache hunt where the difficulty is, let's say 4 stars, tells me what NOT to look for.  Once I rule out what I'm not looking for, I can generally rule out where those hides would normally go.  What's left is the out-of-the-ordinary.  Fake rocks.  Fake sticks.  Fake doo-doo.  I'll look for potential hiding spots for that kind of stuff, and take it from there.  It's almost as if the D/T is an extra hint provided to us.  Speaking of hints, isn't the lack of a hint like bumping the difficulty up a bit?  The cache owner could easily tell us the cache is fake brick, in the third row of bricks in the brick wall, but that would make it too easy.  What's the point of being devious when you give away your secret beforehand?  It's like a magician telling you how he saws the girl in half.  (It's a fake set of legs and a trap door.)

This all assumes, of course, the cache owner knows what he or she is doing.  Of course, the cache owner could employ reverse psychology.  But that would be quite evil, wouldn't it?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Careful Caching

An oddly popular place for geocachers to hide their treasures is in cemeteries.  Generally, hiding caches in a cemetery is allowed if you have permission to do so.  These geocaches are typically hidden on the edges of the cemetery or on the fence around the perimeter.  These locations make for some very interesting finds.  It is generally NOT good geocaching etiquette to put geocaches in a place that would add foot traffic on the graves or if the geocache is on the headstone.  That being said, here are some of the cemeteries that I have visited.

Most recently, my friend Nick and I took advantage of one of the dry days in our stretch of rainy ones and went in search of "At the Feet of the Dead."  We parked and walked carefully through the paths leading down toward a small stream that cuts the cemetery in half.  We had little trouble crossing and followed the path until we reached a low rock wall.  The rock wall runs perpendicular to the Kenduskeag Stream which we could hear and see rushing between the banks. The cache was in a large ammo box and was in excellent condition.  Nick picked up his first Travel Bug here and left one of his own. 

One of my favorite geocaches is in a tucked away cemetery in Lincoln.  The cache is part of the Sherwood Forest series and is dedicated to Guy of Gisborne.  In the story, Guy suffers a particularly gruesome death.  How fitting that this would be located in a cemetery.  What makes this cache particularly interesting isn't the location but the container.  I've also been able to locate Gwyn in a nice clearing near Bucksport.  I'm looking forward to discovering other characters such as Little John and Friar Tuck.  Searchers, beware!

Sherwood Forest: Guy of Gisborne

Recently I got a notification showing a newly posted geocache.  It's always thrilling wondering if you might be the first to find.  I searched the fence and small trees surrounding that separated the cemetery from the road with no luck.  The description of the geocache gave very little information and no hints.  The container turned out to be a small pill bottle hidden by personal belongings on top of a headstone.  This would be an example of where NOT to place a geocahe.  Later that same day, the geocache was disabled and not available for future visits.  It's a shame, too, because it was a beautiful area and there were several other places where the cache could have been hidden. 

Remember to tread lightly and always be respectful of your surroundings, especially when geocaching in cemeteries. 


This post was written by Jenny from her personal blog, Jenny Goes Geocaching. Stop by and check out some of her adventures for yourself. Jenny is a regular contributor here at CacheCrazy.Com.
Thank you!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

An Update On A Recent Caching Trip

A week ago REI had their great used-gear sale. I met a friend there and afterwards we went to get a nearby cache owned by a friend of mine. HMMMmmmmm! What I thought would be an easy grab resulted in a DNF after a lengthy search.

Without really planning our next caches, we just went to the nearest one according to the GPSr. It was an easy find. The next nearest cache was located in a canyon. I'm finally learning about these and how difficult it is to gain access. Most of the canyons in the San Diego area are surrounded by residential neighborhoods with cheek by jowl private property lines. I've driven around and around these areas with the GPSr saying the cache is only 258 feet away without finding any way to access the cache location.

So, after some of this driving around, we finally found a recreation area that offered a trail into one section of Tecolote canyon. We found "Druid Hollow" cache. In fact, I didn't even have to look for it. It was sitting in its spot completely exposed. After signing the log, I replaced it and hid it with some bark and leaves.

The next cache in the canyon was the "TecoloteMagnetExchange." This fabulous tree is located just downhill from the cache location.

It was somewhat ironic that I didn't have a magnet to exchange because when I started out Geocaching that is what most of my trades were. I got a whole bunch of refrigerator magnets at a Thrift Store and those were my early swag items.

We attempted to walk to another cache, but it turned out to be too difficult from the canyon, so we walked back to the car, getting a bit "lost" and losing the trail back to the parking area at one place. 

I've found that sometimes I look at the Navigation arrow so much on the initial cache hunt that I forget to make note of the trail and general surroundings as I would without the GPSr in my hand.

Maybe setting a waypoint for the car, even in such an urban setting, is a good idea . . .

This post was written by Miragee from her personal blog Musing About Geocaching. You'll find a lot of great articles and awesome adventures there. Karen is a regular contributor to CacheCrazy.Com.
Thank you! 


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