Sunday, May 11, 2008

Scouting

I've been rethinking my geocaching goals for the year. A couple of years ago, I wanted to average at least one cache find per day for the entire year. I did that very easily and almost averaged 2 caches per day. The next year, I slacked off a little and found 18 fewer caches than the year before. This year, probably because of the surgery, I will probably average less than that. Well, gas prices are probably helping with that as well.

I guess what I'm really coming around to is that I'm thinking about getting back to the roots and looking for better hides as opposed to just going out and caching for caching sake and having that end up being just another numbers run. I want to try and get some more hikes into my caching repertoire this year. So I'm starting to scout out some areas that I haven't been in before to look for some possible hikes with caches.

Yesterday, the Tadpole and I went out into Riverside County to look for a dashpoint, actually two dashpoints. I ran a caching PQ around the second dashpoint which was out near Menifee in Team Hick@Hearts neck of the woods. I had considered emailing him to see if he wanted to come along, but then I remembered that he was planning on hitting the Flash Mob event down in San Diego. After Saturday, we'll probably be out many more times, so another oppotunity will present itself in the near future I'm sure.

At the first dashpoint, we struck out, getting only .18 miles from the point, not nearly to the magic 100 meters needed to claim the point. The point was located in the middle of a major trucking facility and there was no way in to get close, unless we wanted to trespass and risk prosecution. Nah, I don't think so. My sense of adventure isn't that high, especially when I have the youngster with me and he's probably going to be learning some life lessons any time he's with me.

So we headed out to Menifee, where I knew the dashpoint was a drive by. I wanted to see how close we could get. It was located near a road, but on the other side of a railroad right of way. We got to 73 feet, so we scored that one. The pictures are nothing to write home about, but it was nice and quiet out there. There were a couple of nearby caches, so we got those. The second one was probably the most memorable one of the day, being the only ammo can we found. As we were walking up the short trail to the cache, the Tadpole was ahead of me and I warned him to be on the lookout for snakes.

The trail split and he went one way around a bush and I went another way. We were about at ground zero at the time, so we'd both stopped to begin our search when I hear a "Whoa!" I asked him what's up and he just nonchalantly states, "Oh nothing, just a big snake in the trail up here." For a twelve year old, seeing his first "in the wild" snake," he was really cool about the entire encounter. I told him to back up and I came around. By that time, the snake figured that two of us was probably one too many, so he slithered off into the nearby bush. He was a fast booger too. I just caught the tail end of his act, but the Tadpole saw the entire two to three foot snake in the middle of the trail.

Fortunately, it wasn't a rattler. When we got home, I researched it a little and found what I thought it looked like based upon what I'd seen and when I pulled up the photo, the Tadpole said, "Yep, that's what I saw." Looks like he got a close encounter of a California Striped Racer. I'm still impressed at how cool he was about it. When I mentioned it to him afterward, he said, "Oh, I wasn't worried about it. I didn't hear any rattles, so I figured that it wasn't a rattlesnake or anything that would really hurt me." Yeah, well son....looks like I'll still watch out for him for awhile longer. What was really funny is the snake helped us find the cache, because it went into the bush and literally slithered right over the ammo can while on its full retreat. Oh, there it is.

We drove back home, finding several other caches in the local area, none of which were anything out of the ordinary small to micro variety of caches, but we did end up finding a nice trail that looked to have some caches up on it. It was getting toward lunch time, the Tadpole was tiring quickly and I hadn't been prepared for a hike of any magnitude, so we passed on them today, but as I look at the map, there appear to be about 23 caches spread out on a couple of hills. If the weather holds, I might convince the Tadpole to come out on Memorial Day, or possibly I can convince any of my other caching friends to either go that weekend, or possibly the next weekend. It's getting late in the season to go on something like that, but if the "May Gray" or the "June Gloom" holds, it'll work. If not, I can keep that trail in the back of my mind for a fall or winter hike. I'm sure the caches will still be there, unless a fire goes through.

Anyway, the first scouting attempt turned out fairly well. It looks like a good trail, with several good caches on it, with a nice hike to boot. Reminds me of my first caching experience - 7 miles away and a half mile hike.

Pictures were taken near the following cache:
Jack's Cache - by jeepnakd

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1 comment:

Hick@Heart said...

I know exactly where you were caching. The boy and I found a really cool geocoin in that cache where you saw the snake. There is a pretty hardcore hike right near there with "No Wimps GCPVA3" at the top. I've been putting that off until I can talk someone into going after it with me. If it's not to hot, I'd be happy to go out some trail next time your in town.

Geocaching With Team Hick@Heart