Friday, December 31, 2010

Finding caches I couldn't find

Last October, I hiked in the North Etiwanda Preserve (NEP) for the first time.  It was another instance of geocaching getting me to explore something in my own back yard.  On that day I found 12 caches and DNFed five of them, a very high DNF rate in my opinion.

For whatever reason, I kept having difficulty finding some of the caches I was looking for that day.  It wasn't because of tree cover, since there was little tree cover around.  I just couldn't find them.  Yesterday, I went back out again to hike that trail for several reasons, one of which was to rectify those DNFs.  There were several new caches along the trail as well, the weather was beautiful and I had cabin fever.

It has rained for most of this vacation and I really haven't been able to get out and do any kind of hiking this past couple of weeks.  The weather was finally cooperating and I was going to take full advantage of the situation.  The NEP provides a 3.25 mile loop trail, but with spur trails you can walk a lot longer.  I ended up walking just over 5.6 miles for my morning hike, with an elevation gain of over 2000 feet.

Fortunately, the gain was very gradual, so it didn't seem like I was gaining much in elevation, yet every mile marker post I came upon, it told me I was climbing.  Had I gone the other way on the loop, the gain would have been steeper and more intense, but I knew that from the last time I'd hiked the loop.

With the mountains as a backdrop, I was able to get some really good pictures, more than I can probably post here in three different post, so I'll have to post them gradually over the coming weeks.  There was a lot of snow on the peaks, which top out at around 8800 feet.  I was hiking at 2300 to 2500 feet above sea level so you can see there's quite a bit of snow on the mountains.  Last night, the overnight low got down to 29˚, which is quite cold for our area, which also means that the snow will stay there for awhile.

The daytime temperatures were warm enough that I was able to hike in shirt sleeves yesterday.  That also means that once again, people back east will watch the Rose Parade out here tomorrow and see people enjoying the wonderful weather and wonder to themselves why they live in the snow.  I think the single best advertisement for Southern California year after year is the Rose Parade and to a lesser extent, the Rose Bowl.  Only once since I was born has it rained on the Rose Parade.  That's a pretty good track record.

Needless to say, I enjoyed the weather yesterday.  The setting was perfect for a good hike and for some caching.  I was able to find those caches that I couldn't find over a year ago, plus all of the others that I had planned to find.  I saw several deer, one that crossed right in front of me on the trail and two others who watched me warily from a good distance away.  It was a good day, one that was a fitting end to the old year of 2010.

Tomorrow begins a new year, one that I'm sure everyone hopes will be the best year ever.  Resolutions will be made and some will be kept.  I resolve to continue to have fun while geocaching.  I found more geocaches this year than in any past year.  It's quite an achievement, especially since I was out of commission for several months due to personal reasons.  I was just lucky the rest of the time I went caching I guess.

I will not resolve to find a certain number of caches.  In my opinion, resolutions should be self improving.  Finding more caches next year, does nothing to improve myself I believe, although it will probably get me on the trail more so I guess I can resolve to continue to be more physically fit than in the past.

I also resolve to post more often here.  As I look back to when this blog was started, I can see my post counts fall every year.  116 in 2008, 100 in 2009 and only 80 this year.  I plan to reverse that course this year.  And so to all of my readers out there, please enjoy tonight, make it safe and may 2011 truly be the best year ever.

Pictures were taken at or near the following geocaches:
NEP_pd4 - by Ranger Rick
Washed Out Plumbing - by bustindustin

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