Monday, May 25, 2009

Geocaching and waymarking

This past Saturday, I was able to get out for the first time in a week to do some geocaching. The Tadpole and I met up with Chaosmanor near Hollywood to do some GeoVexilla and some geocaching up north of Lake Castaic. The afternoon was primarily a cache run with a strenuous hike along the lake shore to find a couple of caches.

Along the trail, on a ridge overlooking the lake, we came upon an old water tank. I'm not sure what area or town was being serviced by this tank, but it was clear that this tank had seen better days. As you can see by the picture, the tank has been struck by graffiti numerous times. Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of trash in the area, probably because the narrow road leading up to the tank and beyond had a locked gate on it. Too often, less populated area tend to become dumping grounds for people that either can't afford the fee to take their trash to the dump, or don't want to be bothered. Places, that could be very beautiful, become blighted in the process. At least this hadn't happened here outside of the graffiti.

The tank was situated in a copse of pine trees. The trees were obviously planted to obscure the tank, making it less of a public nuisance. I decided I'd waymark this tank, since the water tower category is one of my interests at We continued our hike beyond the tank and came to the cache we'd set our sights on earlier in the day. This particular cache gave us a lot of trouble because it was well hidden. My GPSr kept telling me I was at ground zero in the middle of the trail, only about 6 feet away from the cache, yet I never did spot it. All three of us probably walked right by it several times. Eventually, Chaosmanor spotted a small portion of the lid of a decon container peeking out and we had the find. The view from the cache site was spectacular.

After finding that cache, we headed down below our parking area to another cache. This particular cache had been hidden west of a former picnic area overlooking Lake Castaic. Unfortunately, the area had been closed for some time. The road down was in disrepair and the picnic area were overgrown with weeds. The two bathrooms had been totally trashed and it was evident that the local graffiti artists had been at work on several of the structures.

We would have actually missed most of this had we paid better attention to our geosenses and GPSrs. At one point, we had the opportunity to either stay on the road, or take an overgrown trail. It looked like the road was going to take us to the same place, so I opted for that route, since the main overgrowth on the trail was foxtails. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I detest foxtails. In reality, we encountered foxtails all day long so it really wouldn't have made much of a difference and had we taken that particular trail, we would have avoided all of the graffitied buildings, etc. that we passed on the hike.

Eventually, we ended up out on a point overlooking the lake. The GPSrs were pointing us in a variety of directions, but we didn't have much room to maneuver around because the trail became, in Tadpole's words, "Uber steep." and would have become treacherous had we continued, so I figured the cache had to be close. I needed the hint on this one, but eventually I was able to put a couple of pieces of the puzzle together and I went around a large bush and finally found this cache. The views, again, were great and I decided to leave a travel bug that I picked up in Stockton last weekend in this cache. I couldn't think of a better place to put a fish than in a cache right by a large lake.

The hike back up was strenuous, but we made it up without too much difficulty. In a couple of months, the trail will be very difficult because of the summer heat. There was little to no shade. Hopefully, someone else will be down there to pick up the travel bug, otherwise it might stay there awhile. All in all, it was a good day. But then again, when I go out caching with the Tadpole and/or Chaosmanor it usually ends up being a good day.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Lake View Cache-taic - by Team Magpie
Below the Castaic Overlook - by Don J

Profile for Webfoot

No comments: