CacheCrazy.Com: July 2015

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hiking to St. Mary's Glacier

Editors Note: This awesome post was from Kim's blog, Snug Harbor Bay from July of 2011 but hey, it was so good we just had to bring it back again! Wait until you see the glorious pictures of family fun, awesome landscapes and geocaching too! Let's go!

We just got back from a quick little trip to Colorado.  I've been wanting to get out there for ages, so I cashed in my credit card miles for my ticket and for my birthday my husband bought my daughter a ticket so she could join me.  Talk about the perfect gift!

We crammed a ton of stuff into our 5 day mini trip, but I'm going to tell you about THE highlight first.  On Sunday we decided to take a hike up to St. Mary's Glacier.   The glacier is located just outside the town of Alice.  We drove up the mountain to one of 2 parking areas and then walked over to the trail leading to the top.  

This is what it looks like at the beginning of the trail...
The higher we went, the more rocky it became.  The hike wasn't bad at all.  If I were to do it again though, I'd be sure to wear hiking boots and take a walking stick.  I hadn't brought my hiking boots with me, so I did it in gym shoes.  Going up wasn't bad but I did a little more sliding than I cared to on the way down.  Lesson learned - no more trips without hiking boots and I need to buy a collapsible walking stick.

At the top of the trail was a crystal clear lake....

We posed around the lake for awhile, but the base of the glacier in the distance was calling to us, so before long we were headed up another trail.  Chablis & I took turns carrying the pack.  You can see "Travelling Snoopy" who always goes along for the ride.
At the base of the mountain it was in the high 90's that day.  
By the time we reached the lake, the wind was blowing with a vengence and it was very comfortable temperature wise.  We were anxious to go play with the snow in August.

Skiiers and snowboarders were hiking up and down with their equipment and enjoying the snow.

We continued up a trail leading to the glacier.  There was a steady stream of people up and down the trail so apparently we weren't the only ones trying to beat the heat that day.
Half way up we enjoyed this view....
When we hit the base of the snow, this is the view that greeted us!
We played in the snow for awhile....
And then continued climbing upward....

Yes, that lake in the background is where we had taken pictures earlier.

Each view was better than the one before it.  We kept scrambling around from rock to rock and kept snapping picture after picture.  Personally, I could have stayed up there for hours.  It was so beautiful up there, the sky was so blue and the air was incredibly clean.  All too soon it was time to start heading down.

We took a break by the lake to catch our breath, drink some water and take some more pictures.  

I decided that I should walk barefoot in the lake since I may never get another chance to wade in a glacier fed lake.  Within 30 seconds my feet were frozen.  That water was COLD!

After one last look around, we headed back down....
And wouldn't you know it, but there was actually a geocache hidden along a side trail, so we hurried over and found it quick....

I can easily say that this was one of the "best days" of my life.  I was hiking on a mountain and playing in the snow, higher up than I had ever been before, with my daughter, my sister and her family.  John Denver's song "Rocky Mountain High" kept running through my mind.   I was on Cloud 9 the rest of the day.  I would go back and do that hike again in a minute.  

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?


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