Thursday, July 26, 2012

I hate Mount Woodson

This is a hiking post!

 Last week my hiking partner and I went out with the intent of finding the last 22 caches hidden in the Mount Woodson/Lake Poway area. This would complete my very first Hall of Fame and also bring my finds up above 300. We decided that since it is JULY in SoCal it would be smart to break the day up so we started at about 7am (I wanted to sleep in) break at 12ish, then go back out about 330-dark 8ish.

One car was parked in a private community and the other was parked on Hwy 67 in designated parking for hikers. All went well for that first leg. I was moving a little slower then I would have liked but I was moving none the less. Over all this first part was nice. Met another hiker/runner on the trail and sat with him while talking under a tree. I only mention the tree because it is about the only tree on the whole trail. This part of cali isn't known for trees.

 We had it planned out so that a puzzle cache at the top of Mount Woodson would be my 300th find. We had been working on the clue for weeks and neither of us or anyone I had asked for help could crack it. So D had been emailing every cacher who has found it and one finally responded with the helpful coords. With out that helping hand I would have not been able to make STATIC! my #300.  Then from there it was the pavement path alllll the way back down woodson and to my car parked on the 67. First leg was a success!

One of the ways that I keep myself entertained while hiking is I play the cloud game. You know where you look at the sky and see what images pop in your head from the shapes. Well since SoCal has such boringly clear skys there are very little clouds to look at. However there are TONS of rocks in the area. A few of the sights I have seen recently are: Foot standing on the toes, whale with a mustache, cycolps with a bad comb over, and a Cylon. D saw a rock that even I agree looked exactly like a boob. Sorry no picture of that one.

This has all happened before and will all happen again.
After lunch and rearranging cars and whatnot we headed out again. Its about 4pm when we get back on the trail. This time we parked one car in front of a house (we have permission) and the other out on the 67 in a different location. Because of the afternoon sun I was melting. It was soooo hot. My whining and bitching increased significantly on this leg of the hike. Then I saw the girl and two boys who were walking around just the Lake Poway area, and I didn't feel so bad. They were not prepared and the poor girl was struggling hard core. I don't think any of them had a drop of water to drink on them. 

We start to do the cross over from the Lake Poway area to the Mt. Woodson area and there is this ONE DAMN CACHE that is off to the left. So the discussion starts...."Should we go straight and see if we can loop around and get it of should we go left and bushwack down a little to it?" Of course we opt for #2 and start hacking through off the trail to reach it. Now California is hilly, they call it Mount Woodson for a reason. They also tell you to stay on trails for a good reason too. Once we got off the trail it got treacherous. I put my poles away and used brush and shrubs for stability.  Even got a nice sized thorn in the palm of my hand too (still there 7days later.) Finally we get to the bottom of this ravine and there are boulders all over the place. D just hops up and then off of them but I'm little and scared so on this one I decide to go over in a different place. Bad idea! I jump up on rock to get over it and there are no hand holds for me but I'm totally on it for the moment. Then I slip....falling on the rock below. My right foot twisted in a way I am used to but is NOT NORMAL by any means. This is where I can tell D is getting concerned. (Later he told me that he thought I was gonna have to be helo'd out of there.) I take off my gear, get a drink to calm myself a little and then twist and yank my foot out of there. Thank god for my EDS at that moment. It didn't hurt then and it still hasn't hurt at all. My butt on the other hand, I have a nasty purple bruise from that fall. Off we go again. Find the trail about 100ft down the way and pop back on it. We even found a cache right there. To bad it wasn't the one we were looking for.

Some of my battle wounds. That's the hazard of hiking in shorts.
Since it is my goal to get every cache in this damn place and it is only about 6pm and we still have a lot of light left I say we try again for this damn thing. So we back track again and try staying on the trail this time, for a little while. Get the cache but now we have to get back and since it is getting later we don't want to back track anymore we decided to bushwack it again. OH NO we really should learn not to do that. Have you ever heard of "soft granite"? I hadn't. We are going along fighting bushes and so forth when we get to a slope. It isn't just a slope its PURE ROCK and its slippery. D goes first and I just slid the whole way down. He said its soft granite, it was rock and smooth like a clean counter top. Very weird stuff. Only mishap was me sliding and getting poked in the butt by a tiny cacti. It didn't leave any quills behind but it wasn't pleasant. Now its getting dark....

We start hoofing it moving as quick as we can but I'm guessing we are still about 4miles from the 67. Trail marker says 2 but I am sure that is as the crow flys and not as people walk.  Here is where I am going to cheat on this blog, I am going to take D's description of what happened and paste it here for you all to read. He just wrote it so well and he says nice things about me.

We got to this cache at ~2045 hours. The sun was way gone and there was no moonlight to help us. Our headlights and flashlights did not allow us to make the find. Although we searched every possibility according to the hint, we simply weren't able to come up with the smiley . I think I was mostly looking out for P(oison)O(ak) more than I was the cache. I did see some and I'm sure I brushed up against a little. I, we actually, busted out the Technu a little later near Warren Canyon Jr. Trail.

With the time being what it was, and knowing that we're going to have to return to avenge this DNF, we decided to forgo the remaining 5 caches for the HOF and just head for the car.

With this being my last log for the day, I might as well tell our story here . . .

As stated, we forgoed "Alien" and made a left at "Fork you." Seeing on the GPS only two caches and about 1100-1200 feet to the car on what appeared to be a clear trail, I was feeling pretty good and confident about getting back to the car in just minutes. After Warren Canyon Jr., we soon found ourselves apparently off-trial and in a small valley of large boulders and, as we would discover, PO!!! This is when we basically bathed in Technu. Ask us this weekend if it worked . . . (It did for the most part, D got some on his elbow and forearm and I got it on my left ear only. I think that is a success)

So after totally losing the trail (I don't think I've ever gotten lost, so I was getting really irritated with myself) and being all up in the PO (leaves on ground and vines in the air - R got smacked with one vine and that's when I really got pi$$ed at myself!!!), we headed back to where the fence ends, I decided to call RS. I told him we're kinda lost and needed a way out. He suggested that we go back to "Fork you" and then make a left. He said the trail will take us more south, but would be much easier to find the 67 from there. Following his advice, we got to the 67 at ~2145 and walked .25 miles to the car. I took R to her car and gave her the advice to shower, SCRUB actually, with Dawn and hope for the best ...

So that is the whole story of Geocaching on July 19th 2012. After that I needed a break which is why I am home today writing (and pasting) this blog instead of out hiking. I also finally tackled doing the laundry from last week and took serious precautions. You never know if those clothes are still covered in PO oils. I don't want to take a chance of getting it.

Hopefully next week I will be back on the trail with more adventures.