Saturday, September 6, 2008

Last summer run

This weekend, I'm taking it easy. It's probably the last weekend that I actually have the entire weekend to go caching and yet I'm staying home. The first couple of weeks of school have done a number on me and I'm tired, so I just decided to rest. The next couple of weekends, I'll be attending my son's cross country meets, so I'll be getting a couple of caches here and there near his meets, but no large cache runs will happen until sometime in November I suspect.

This past weekend, I drove up to the mountains near Crestline and Lake Arrowhead with my friend Chaosmanor to do a end of the summer caching run. We did a run right at the beginning of summer and so it seemed rather appropriate to create a bookend on the other end of my summer vacation. One cache we found has already been archived. Apparently, someone was taking issue with the placement of a metal container uphill from a turnout, hidden in a waist high stump of a dead tree. The cache had been destroyed, the owners had come out and replaced it and within three days, the cache had been destroyed again, since that's the state we found it in last Saturday. There's no way the container could have been interpreted as trash; there was nothing else around to indicate that this was a dumping ground. This was just someone's attempt to spoil other people's fun. That's sad in my opinion.

One cache that we did find that was intact made it to my top 5% list. Red Rock Wall is located at a turnout on Hwy 18 which is also called Rim of the World Highway in this area. The turnout is huge and affords at least a 270° view of the Inland Empire located below. We could see the former Norton Air Force Base located in San Bernardino. Had it not been so hazy, we probably could have seen all the way to the Palm Springs area, a distance over 75 miles. We could also see the thunderheads that were building in the mountains to the east of us, mountains where we would eventually be and rain from which we would eventually get wet.

The coordinates for the cache were almost dead on, the hide was well done. It became apparent rather quickly that one of us was going to have to go over the Red Rock Wall in order to retrieve the cache. We couldn't see the cache from our vantage point, but our GPSrs were pointing us about 15 feet beyond the wall. This could be tough since there were a lot of muggles at the overlook, but it appeared to both of us they were more interested in the view than what two middle aged men were doing down on the far side of the lookout. I started thinking how I wanted to do this, so I grabbed my camera and went for a walk. I took pictures at the main overlook, then slowly worked my way back taking some pictures and feigning other shots until I got to a spot where I could go over the wall.

Once on the other side I spotted the well hidden ammo can attached to a strap that prevented it from sliding down the hill. There were plenty of bushes so I wasn't in any danger myself, but I could see where it could become a problem for the ammo can due to where it was hidden just beyond the main line of bushes. During a lull in muggle activity, I made the grab and then gave the ammo can to Chaosmanor who placed it in my car where we could make trades and sign the log more easily than trying to do it on the other side of the wall.

It's really interesting watching people at a large turnout such as this. You would think there would be a constant stream of people, making retrieval or replacement of a cache nearly impossible. That didn't seem to be the case here, or at least it wasn't the day we were there. The muggles seemed to come in waves, all coming and then all leaving at the same time. There were times when it seemed quite crowded and other times when we had the entire turnout to ourselves.

The replacement was just a reversal of how we'd made the original grab. Chaosmanor handed me the ammo can, I hooked it up to the strap and then placed it behind the bush where it had been hidden when we first got there. I took a couple more pictures (some of which turned out quite nicely I think), then made my way back over the wall. I wanted to make sure I'd hidden it back as well as when I found it so I walked back and forth along the wall, looking down to see if I could see the can. Nope. It was a good replacement. Afterwards we both commented on the audacity of placing an ammo can in such a busy place. The cache has been there for over 2 and a half years, so I guess the audacity of hostile bob has been rewarded.

My top 5% list is a very subjective list. It's a list of the caches I've found over my 7+ years of geocaching, that I've found particularly rewarding. Sometimes they make the list because of the view. Others make the list because it was a good hike to get to the cache. Some caches make the list because they made me laugh when I finally found them. Caches get added from time to time and they do get deleted from the list as well. It's an evolving list. I try to edit the list on a regular basis, removing the caches that have been archived, while adding new ones to the list that I think merit inclusion. I've kept a couple on the list that have been archived because I enjoyed them and thought others would enjoy the area and experience where the cache had been originally hidden without finding a cache. If you ever get to my area of caching, I hope you find my list useful.

Well, my summer has definitely ended. I'm back into the routine of school as our my children. My oldest is away at college. My middle child is starting his last year of public education and will be graduating next June. My youngest has just started his last year of junior high school. It's amazing to think about the fact that next year at this time, he'll be in high school and I'll have two children in college. I look back on the times we've had with a smile on my face. Although the time has seemingly gone quickly, in reality it has been a slow journey to now and there are still many more good years ahead of all of us.

Pictures were taken at or near Red Rock Wall - by hostile bob

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