Sunday, December 5, 2010

Desert creatures and other things

My last cache hide was a multi-cache hidden up on my favorite trail.  It's now been hidden for over a month and has a grand total of two finds, one of which is the beta tester who went with me when I was laying out the final coordinates.  It's really too bad that the cachers around where I am aren't more of a hiking bunch.  I think they're missing out on some very nice hikes and caches all in the same boat, but that's another story altogether.

The reason why I bring this up is while on that hike, CraigsOutside and I encountered a tarantula on the trail.  That's not necessarily surprising since the area is know to have tarantulas, but what is surprising is before that hike, I've seen a tarantula in the wild only one other time and it was about 2 weeks before that when I spotted two others.

One was on the trail and was actually discovered by a couple of bicyclists coming down the hill.  One stopped about 50 feet up the trail from me and pointed it out to his riding partners who were behind him.  By the time I got up there, it was just ambling across the fire road.  Later on that same hike, I nearly stepped on one at ground zero of the first stage of my multi-cache.  If that doesn't get your adrenaline up, nothing will I guess.  Either that, or you're just a calmer person than I.

I've encountered my fair share of creepy crawly things while out geocaching.  I've spotted snakes from time to time.  Once, while out hiking we came across a very large rattlesnake.  Unfortunately, it wasn't really pleased with us being there, but there wasn't a whole lot we could do about it at the time, since we had it surrounded on a couple of sides.  We did the best thing we could do and that was to back up and make wide circles around it.  This snake encounter was in May, when the environment is becoming more habitable for all creatures in this area, but particularly reptiles, since they rely on the air temperature for warmth.

My friend CraigsOutside was bitten last year by a rattlesnake (read about it here).  This happened in November, which seems a little strange since you would think most snakes by this time in the year would have gone underground and started hibernation.  Southern California is a little bit more temperate and so in this area, we need to practice caution at all times.  One can never tell, obviously, when a snake could be lurking nearby.

Before last year, I wouldn't have had rattlesnakes on my mind at all in November or December or any of the cold months of the year.  Craig's encounter had me a lot more cautious yesterday while I was looking through a pile of rocks on the side of the road.  I keep thinking that I really should get a hiking stick of some kind to carry along with me.  Many of my friends take one along when we go on hikes.  I've never found the need to carry one, mainly because it's one more thing in your hands while you're walking.  Maybe I need to rethink that.

I'll be hiking out in the desert over the next couple of months.  It's the most pleasant time to be hiking out there.  It's cool and comfortable, much more pleasant than during the middle of the summer time.  There's another figure out in the desert that we're going to create.  I've written about the Smiley series and the Groundspeak logo in the past.  Now, in the same general area to the west of the Smiley Series is a large PacMan.  There are 30 caches, plus one mystery which makes up the eye of the PacMan.   I have this feeling after we go out and find all of those, we might be singing "PacMan Fever" for awhile.

It appears as if each cache is about two tenths of a mile from the next cache, meaning this will be a 6 mile hike.  That will make for a good hike if we do it all in one day.  If we spread it out over two days, it'll be two good hikes.  Anything over a mile is a good hike, in my opinion.  And since one of our proposed hiking dates happens to fall on one of my open cache dates, that's always a bonus.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
Give or Take 20ft - by madmaxxawr
Curiouser and Curiouser - by Terra Girl, Bean Dog, and my faithful sherpa Max

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