Sunday, February 22, 2009

Maintaining Caches

Yesterday turned out cool and cloudy. After last weekend, which saw rain and/or cold temperatures all weekend long, it was a welcome respite. The Tadpole and I had thoughts about caching out near the Rose Bowl yesterday and were well into our plans when a perusal of the sports page, of all things, put the kibosh on that little trip.

One of the reasons for going yesterday was to grab a virtual flag just north of the Rose Bowl. The flag actually had been placed by the computer in between two fairways of the Brookside Golf Course close enough to the clubhouse that it looked like we could score from the driving range of the golf course. However, I noticed in the paper that the Tour of California bike race was to end in Pasadena yesterday with several trips around the Rose Bowl. That would surely cause logistical nightmares and parking problems for us, so we decided to pass and do a couple of other things that needed to be done geocaching-wise.

Tadpole's first cache, Vic-Tree, had apparently gone missing. With the weather and his Dad's schedule, it made it a little difficult for him to get up there and check it out, so I suggested that we do a maintenance run on his cache and one of mine that had two DNFs (Did Not Find) reported in the past month. Both caches were located along our favorite trail in the Claremont Wilderness Park, so it wasn't much of a push to get either of us out the door and on our way to a strenuous 3+ mile hike round trip.

We came with two decon containers in case either cache was indeed missing. Both had been pretty much filled with stuff from our collection of swag. Yesterday was the first nice day of weather on a weekend we've had in awhile, so the parking lots were both jammed for the park, so needless to say, there were lots of people and dogs on leashes roaming the trails.

Vic-tree lies off the main trail in a canyon wash area. The wash makes a nice right hand bend from the trail affording cachers some privacy without having to worry about muggles while looking for the cache. Tadpole had picked the site out on one of our other hikes and was very proud of his placement. This is why I wasn't too concerned about it being missing since it was well hidden in the stump of a tree up above the wash area around shoulder high to me. You'd really have to be looking for it in order to find it. Yet, when we got there, it was gone. We searched all around the tree to no avail.

At that point in time, Tadpole also decided not to re-hide another cache there, but instead opted for a different hide. I suspect that part of the reason for that was his Vic-tree wasn't in a victorious mood anymore. The cache was so named after Winston Churchill's victory picture taken many years ago. The tree had a V shape to it and it was a natural name for the cache. However, in the recent rains we've been having, a nearby tree had had its roots undermined by the water running in the wash and had toppled, taking one of the V branches from Tadpoles tree with it when it fell. One could still hide something there, but I think he wanted to let it go for now and hide some new ones.

We hiked back out to the main trail and continued further up the trail, checking on my Scenic Value cache and then finally to, Today, I saw a Lizard cache. Both of these caches are decon containers that I have added camoed duct tape to and they, for whatever reason, are extremely difficult to find. I had to search for a minute or so for Scenic Value and I knew where it was. I wasn't too worried about it since someone had logged a find on the cache on Friday, but the same person had logged a DNF on the Lizard cache as well, so I knew there could be a possible problem with that cache.

As we walked, we also scouted out locations for another hide for Tadpole, but none of the spots that we looked at really suited him, so we kept going up to Today, I Saw a Lizard. As luck would have it, there were two muggles back near Lizard, so we kept walking back to another cache that the Tadpole ended up finding. I'd already found this one awhile ago while out hiking with friends of mine. We then walked back down the trail and got to ground zero for Today, I Saw a Lizard.

As noted above, this one is another decon that is hard to spot. Once again, my eyes failed me and I couldn't spot my own hidden cache. All at once, the Tadpole announced he'd spotted it and even as he pointed it out to me, it took me a good 30 seconds or so before I could see it. At least that mystery was solved and it was still there. When we got back home, I ended up posting a note to the page and sent two emails to the last to DNFers letting them know that the cache was still there.

The mile and three quarter walk back to the car took most of the rest of the morning, so we decided that our stomachs were more important than trying to find hiding spots for the two caches that we'd brought along on this hike. I started thinking about my own record of cache maintenance and decided that I need to make sure and check my caches from time to time, especially if there have been DNFs logged recently. I know that I don't like it when I get out to a cache site, try to find the cache and then notice on the cache page a string of DNFs logged. The maintenance run on Today, I Saw a Lizard started that process. After all, maintaining caches is part of the game.

As a side note, all of the pictures were not taken yesterday, although in hindsight, I really should have taken some pictures because the views from up there were gorgeous. In the last picture, the mountain in the background is covered with large amount of snow at this time.

Pictures were taken at the following caches:
Vic-tree - by Tadpole95
Today, I Saw a Lizard - by Webfoot
Scenic Value - by Webfoot

Profile for Webfoot

No comments: