Spring Break 2002
What a strange Spring
Break this turned out to be.
It contained the worst of times and the best of times.
start off with the week leading up to Spring Break
April 1 ~ 5
Usually I am the one with
the washed, waxed, and packed Vanagon, raring to go but this year?
No! I am sick. I'm flat on my back in bed for several days
before “lift off”. Ed, on the other hand, has spent the whole
week getting ready. He has installed a new cabinet in his
Vanagon. He has washed, waxed, and compiled Geocaching data
(more about this later). He and Suzanne are the ones raring to
go but I’m sick. I have come down with a virus or something and
I am whacked. Plus there is the ongoing concern about what to do
about my dog Sarah.
Sarah is over seventeen
years old now. She is deaf. Her rear end is shot.
She can’t scratch herself with her hind leg without falling down.
She has a very hard time laying down and getting up. She leaks.
For months I have known that the time is getting close to put her down
but I just can't do it.
The week before Spring
Break I have a discussion with my partner Lolli and Ed and Suzanne
about Sarah's condition. We decide to take her with us rather
than put her down. Yes, she is a pain in the butt and yes, she
has to be lifted in and out of the Vanagon but hey! We will give
Sarah her last Spring Break! She has been on every Spring Break
vacation and she has always loved going. We will take her on
this trip and like always I will throw the ball, but this time,
Ed will go fetch and Sarah can sit back and enjoy the show!!
Since Sarah has recently
become incontinent most of the time I put a yellow tarp over our bed
in the Vanagon so she can ride on that while we are driving along.
Before we leave I go to Safeway and buy a bag of Depends. The
evening before "Blast Off" there is a dinner party at Lolli’s
apartment. I cut a hole for the doggie tail in one of the
Depends and put it on Sarah. By golly… it might work. She
seems to be a bit indignant about her new bloomers but she
doesn't try to rub them off.
After dinner we load the
last of Lolli's clothing and food stuff into the Vanagon, toss in the
dog, and head for Ed and Suzanne’s in Fort Bragg. We are going
to spend the night camped in their back yard and be ready for blast
off in the morning. I'm still feeling rather sick, the dog is
wearing bloomer, but by god we are finally on the verge of
Spring Break 2002!!
With the crack of dawn
Spring Break 2002 has officially arrived! A quick pot of coffee,
Ed has already bought sweet rolls for us, we climb into our Vanagons,
fire up our matching Subaru engines, and head out of Fort Bragg at
7:45 am. We turn east on HWY 20 into the gray overcast. By
the time we reach Willits it is starting to get sunny. We turn
onto HWY 101, head south, and by the time we reach the turnoff onto
highway 20 again near Ukiah the Red Bud are showing up. I still
feel crappy but so what! Spring Break is under way and the sun
has come out! E-ha!
During the past six
months Ed and I have become intrigued with an Internet game called
Geocaching. Suzanne is into it and Lolli sort of tolerates it.
Geocaching is a game of hide and seek using handheld GPS units.
Folks hide cache, post the latitude and longitude on the
Geocaching.com website, and then other folks log onto the website,
download the details of the cache they find interesting, or near by,
and try to go find them. Ed and I have each spent several
evenings checking the website and downloading a bunch of cache
coordinates and their "detail" pages for cache sites along the route
of our Spring Break trip. I have concentrated on the possible
cache between Williams and Death Valley; basically down the I-5
corridor and then East to Death Valley. Ed has collected the
ones from Death Valley back to HWY 395 and then up to Reno and home.
have "hyperlinked" the names of the cache we found or placed during
our trip so you can now check out the details page for each one, if
you wish, and see what it was all about and what our comments were.
We are approaching a
cache we already know about. It is one that Ed placed several
months ago. He has decided to move it because it is in a
location where parking is rather tricky because of traffic.
Ed named it "Konocti
(G5)" and it is part of his geology series.
We stop to check it out
and as I go to hop up on the rock the cache is hidden behind Suzanne
hollers at me! She has spotted a rattlesnake right at the base
of where I was going to jump!!
Big sucker! We
gather around and take a look. It seems to be rather docile
because the air temperature is still on the cool side. The snake
lays there watching us and keeps testing the air with it’s tongue!
I take its picture. Then Ed goes around the snake, around the
rock, and removes the cache.
We hop back into the
Vanagons and hit the road. Soon Suzanne comes up on the CB and
reads to us from her snake book. Because of the banding on the
tail Suzanne has identified the snake as a Northern Pacific
Rattlesnake. It is a member of the pit viper family.
Highly poisonous and very aggressive. Whoo Eee!! It sure
could have ruined our day!
We press on but after a
few miles I have to call a halt to our progress because I needed a
bathroom real bad. My stomach is still unsettled. The
attendant at the gas station points out the restroom. I rush
Once I am back out of the
restroom our "traveling nurse" Suzanne prescribed Imodium A-D and a
coke. I buy those items and start taking them and soon, by
golly, I start to feel better. I just might live after all.
Next event is Ed’s “Lake
Colusa (G4)” cache and we stop to see what the NC Flyers put in
place after Ed’s cache got ripped off. The NC Flyers are
Geocaching fools that live north of us and they have been swooping
down and tagging Ed's and my cache left and right but they also
provided the service of placing a new cache at this spot for Ed when
his original cache was ripped off.
We find the cache and log
into the log book. We will claim this one as the first cache hit
of our vacation since it is a brand new container located in a
slightly different location from where Ed first placed it.
We continue our stunning
drive out highway 20 and down into the Central Valley. Beautiful
spring pastel colors of green changing to brown with Lupine and
California poppies blooming here and there and all over the place!
We stop at
Granzella’s in Williams, like
always, and buy some last minute munchies for the road and then pull
onto I-5 for the long grind south.
I have my cache folder
with me containing all the “detail” pages I have printed out for
various cache sites along the way. Ed and I have set our GPS’s
to the waypoint for the next possible cache; “Cache
For Kids”. Since Ed and Suzanne have DeLorme maps with them
plus Ed has maps loaded into his Garmin e-Map GPS. I follow
After an hour and a half
of driving we are south of Sacramento and nearing the cache location.
Ed takes a freeway exit, I follow, and we end up driving county roads
towards the cache site. Soon a sign appears that says the bridge
ahead is out!! We press on and just before we reach the bridge
we enter a bird refuge area and see lots of bird watchers out in their
regalia with their binoculars and spotting scopes and goofy hats but,
as for the cache? It apparently is on the other side of the
bridge. It looks like we will have to go back to the freeway,
drive around, and approach from the south. On the way back to
the freeway I see my first “No Birding” sign. I point it out to
Suzanne; our resident bird watcher. I mention that "evidently
the local farmer has had enough of environmentalists tramping through
his field gawking at birds". Cool!
I always give Suzanne a
hard time about birds. She always replies,
"They are watching you!"
Back onto the freeway and
south we go to the next exit. This time I take the lead and
drive right to it.
It is a big mayonnaise
type jar painted brown, located about eye level in some branches!
It is full of stuff for kids because it was put together by a group of
school children in Arizona. Evidently some grandparents live
nearby. It originally contained a bunch of self stamped and
addressed post cards that finders could fill out
and sent to the school children but by the time we find it all the
post cards are gone. We log in.
I take a toy spaceship and leave a McDonald’s musical flip-phone toy.
We punch in the
coordinates for the next cache site; “I
Hate I-5 II”, and head back to the freeway.
After an hour or so of
driving we arrive at the rest stop where “I Hate I-5 II” is hidden.
We poke around following the coordinates and finally Ed finds it.
We log in and hit the road again.
As boring as reading this
might be, hunting cache has vastly improved what in previous years has
always been a totally boring first day drive to Bakersfield and
beyond. Time and distance has zipped by. Of course the
beautiful weather helped our spirits a lot too. This has been
one of our prettier Spring Break drives down I-5.
Soon we reach the
Buttonwillow turnoff for Bakersfield. There is a cache hidden
between Buttonwillow and Bakersfield. We have the coordinates
punched in. We start looking for “Kern
We look and look for the
Kern River Bed cache but we keep coming up against either a canal full
of water, barbed wire fences, or "Keep Out" signs. Soon it is
after five in the evening, the sun is going down, and we are getting
hungry. Time to forget cache hunting and head for Bakersfield to
enjoy our "Last Dinner in Civilization" at a Basque Restaurant!
After a fine family style
dinner I take the dog for a walk in the parking lot. One whole
side of her is wet from laying in dog piss on the yellow tarp. I
should have put a Depend on her sooner. I walk her around the
parking lot looking for some grass for her to piddle on but it is all
blacktop and perimeter fencing. She can’t see in the dark very
well and basically gets lost wandering around the parking lot. I
have to go grab her and steer her back to the bus and then lift her
back in. My hands stink of dog piss and I wash them. Oh
boy, I hope the yellow tarp has kept it off our blankets.
We drive back onto HWY 58
and head East up the hill towards Tehachapi Pass. We can tell
that the orange groves are in full bloom; the fragrance is wonderful.
Up over the top of the
pass and down into the Mojave Desert. No moon. We zip
through the town of Mojave and then head east on HWY 58. After
about five miles I start looking for what I call "Two Hills" and our
usual turn off for our first night. Soon I spot the hills
backlit by the light glow from the city of Lancaster. I slow
down and find a dirt road heading off into the desert. We drive
far enough away from the highway to get away from the road noise.
We circle the busses and call it a night. Perfect. The
wind is blowing but it is not cold. It is around 11:00 pm.
It has been a long day.
We let out the dog, I
pull the wet tarp off our bed and put it out to dry. Our bedding
is dry. I undress and crawl in. Sarah is out drinking
water, eating her dog food, and rolling around in the dirt. I
have given her special "doggie accelerator" leftovers from the Basque
dinner. Bits of lamb meat and gravy.
As I arrange my pillow I
see Sarah standing just outside the sliding door looking in. I
think about getting up to lift her back into the bus but don't.
During our drive through Bakersfield I had to come to a quick stop a
couple of times on short notice because of changing traffic lights and
both times Sarah had slid off the bed onto the bus floor with her head
ending up in the book bag. Both times she was able to get sorted
out and hop back up onto the bed. I figure she can hop into the
Vanagon when she wants to so I remain in bed and try to ignore my
No joy. Soon I have
to get up and rush out into the night around and behind the Vanagon.
When I finally come back to the Vanagon I don‘t see Sarah but I don’t
care. I’m sick.
I lay back down but soon
I have to get up and again race around behind the bus.
That taken care of I head
back to bed. Still no dog. Still lots of wind. I
should get up and go look for her but I just can’t bring myself to do
Out on the highway I hear
a car horn honk. I think of Sarah.
I try to get to sleep.
I keep thinking about Sarah. Has she wandered off? Can she
find her way back? Should I go look for her? I still feel
Finally I ask Lolli if
she is still awake. She is. I mention my concern about
Lolli says she will get up and go look for her.
I give Lolli the
brightest flashlight and she heads out into the desert wearing her
nightgown The wind is still blowing. Several times, while
Lolli is gone, I think I hear Sarah outside the door but... she isn’t
I’m still thinking about that car honk.
Lolli comes back after
about fifteen minutes of looking around in the cool wind. No
She says she is going to go check out by the highway.
I feel a bit better and
decide to get up and drive around and look for Sarah too. I get
up, get dressed, knock on Ed and Suzanne's Vanagon and tell them that
we are out looking for Sarah.
As I drive along I see
Lolli’s light and turn towards her. She is walking back from the
highway still looking around for the dog. I stop and Lolli hops
in. No Dog.
I plug in my halogen
light and hand it to Lolli. She uses it to spotlight out her
side window as I drive around. We circle back out to the
highway, take a right, and drive along the shoulder of the highway on
up to the next dirt road and then take it and circle back towards
I decide to drive on past
our camp and continue further West towards Mojave and then turn back
out to the highway. No sign of her. It would be hard to
see her because the sage brush is about three feet high and Sarah is
about two feet tall. Once again we arrive at the highway.
I pull up onto the
highway, turn East towards the turn-off to our camp and drive slowly
along the shoulder of the busy highway. Lolli is spotlighting
the sage brush out her passenger window looking for reflected eyes or
that old familiar white face and then… I see her. She is in the
slow lane of the four lane divided freeway and she is dead. She
has been slammed by a car. I roll past her and after a few
moments tell Lolli “She’s gone”.
Lolli says, "What?"
I say. “She’s
gone. Sarah is dead” and then I tell her what I have just seen.
I coast to a stop by the side of the road. “Oh shit, oh shit.
Lolli says, "We
must go back. We must get her".
I shift into reverse and
slowly back up along the edge of the highway until Sarah comes back
I stop, tell Lolli not to look, and get out to get her.
It is Sarah.
I drag her around in
front of the bus and off of the road. We decide to wrap her in
the plastic mattress pad cover that Lolli had brought along for doggie
to lay on. Lolli spreads out the pad and holds it down in the
wind. I lift Sarah onto the pad, wrap her up, and put her in the
We drive slowly back to
our camp. Ed and Suzanne are waiting. I tell Ed and Ed
It is just unbelievable!
Sarah is dead.
We decide to bury her now
instead of waiting for morning. I have a shovel. Ed has
his army folding shovel. We find a place beside some sage brush
that looks like folks won’t likely drive near and we dig the hole.
I lay her in. We gather round and drop handfuls of dirt over her
and then Ed and I fill in the hole. All of us are crying.
I move her dog dish and
doggie water dispenser over and place them on her grave as a marker.
We wander off in
different direction to be by ourselves and to cry and morn our loss.
Finally Suzanne gathers
us back together for a round of port and a toast to Sarah, "Our good
ol' desert dog".
We sob some more and finally head for bed. It is the wee wee
hours of morning.
It is a rough night. The wind has finally stopped.
Up to a sad morning.
I go for a walk in the
beautiful rising sun.
Thankfully, Ed thinks to record a waypoint for Sarah while I am gone.
"Waypoint" has a whole new meaning to me.
Rest in peace good ol'
Sarah at Two Hills.
N 36° 01.*** W118° 05.***
(I'm keeping the actual
coordinates to myself.)
We reluctantly pack up,
sadly start our Vanagons, and move on.
Ed and I decide to punch
in the coordinates for the next cache. What else can we do.
Sarah's passing was tragic and also a blessing. She is at peace
and somehow we must regain peace too.
Life goes on.
Vacation is now.
We soon have a virtual
cache to log near Boron. It is called: “The
Jug Factory”. We get close to the coordinates and pull off
and stop beside the freeway. On the westbound side of the freeway
there is a solitary sign. It is all that remains of a former
restaurant location. Since it is a virtual cache the person who
posted it is asking the question,
"What does it say on the sign"?
From our side of the
freeway it looks like it says CAFÉ. Ed and I cross over to it
and discover that
up close it says something else!!
Here is a picture of the
sign with Ed and his Garmin e-Map measuring the coordinates. I
have modified the sign using PhotoShop incase you are a Geocacher and
trying to get a quick hit! Nope! You are going to have to
drive out east of Mojave to log this one!!
Ed and I record the
answer which we will e-mail to the person later. We return to
the Vanagons and head for Barstow to load up on groceries, ice, and
last minute supplies. We take the old 58 highway turn-off into
Barstow rather than stay on the new freeway which wraps way around
Barstow. The old highway is much more interesting and peaceful.
Once in Barstow we pull
into Von's and do our shopping.
Groceries onboard and new
coordinates loaded into the GPSs we head out.
next up “Tortoise
Confluence”. According to our GPSs it should be somewhere
10 miles north of Barstow. Off we go.
Tortoise Confluence is
our first "confluence" cache. Confluence cache are rare and
unusual in that they are determined by zeros rather than a particular
location feature. The coordinates for Tortoise Confluence are:
N 39° 00.000 W 117°
We look at our DeLorme
maps to get an idea of the general location and then find the right
road heading in the right direction. Soon we see some power
lines that have maintenance roads that may help get us closer to the
cache but the question is.., which power line road should we follow?
After some trial and error we find one that looks good.
Yup! Let's try this
Off we go.
Confidence is high. When my waypoint arrow swings perpendicular
to our direction of travel, with about a third of a mile left to go,
we park. Ed and I get out our "Geek Bags" (more about them
later) and we all start walking.
It turns out that we are
approaching the cache site on a diagonal and so we can see our
numbers decrease in both Latitude and Longitude as we go.
35° 00.030 / 117° 00.030
35° 00.025 / 117° 00.025
35° 00.017 / 117° 00.017
35° 00.008 / 117° 00.008
and so on down to all zeros. Finally I spot it. It is a
good thing a bit of the white garbage bag it is
wrapped in still shows because both Ed’s and my GPS have us off to the
southeast by about 13 feet!
We unbury the cache,
picked through the contents, read previous logs, and entered our log.
Back to the Vanagons.
We look at our notes. The next cache will be “Coon
Canyon Cache”. Over that way!
We retrace our route
along the power line road and then drive over to a correct dirt road
in the right direction. "Coon Canyon Cache" is less than 10
We follow the directions
on the detail page for this new cache rather loosely in that we do
drive past the entrance and exit of Rainbow Basin as mentioned but too
soon we turn up a dirt rut because our GPS units are pointing that
way. According to them the cache is "over there". Only
about a mile away!
Up the dirt rut we go
worrying about the soft sand and getting stuck. Suzanne points
out that we are not driving up a canyon like the detail page says we
should but soon the rut enters a wash and confidence becomes high.
Higher we go and the wash
becomes a canyon and the canyon starts to get narrow. Finally Ed
stops just short of two large rocks in the middle of the wash.
End of the drive! I turn my Vanagon around, put up the sunshade,
and we gather up to consider the situation.
According to our GPS
units we are now within .62 miles of the cache.
Discussion ensues about whether this is the right canyon or not.
Ed enters the waypoint
for the canyon turn-off as stated on the details page into his GPS and
we discover that we have not driven far enough on the main dirt road
to encounter the correct turn-off for Coon Canyon!
We have jumped the gun and are now in the wrong canyon.
Ed wants to hike up and
over to the correct canyon. Lolli, Suzanne, and I think this is
a dumb idea and want us all to turn around, drive back out of this
canyon, and continue on around to the correct canyon.
Finally a compromise
emerges. The ladies and I will drive back down, around, and up
the correct canyon in my Vanagon. Ed will hike over the top and
meet us and then we will all look for the cache together. If and
when we find it Ed will then hike back over the top to his Vanagon,
drive out, and meet us on the main dirt road. It sounds like a
plan. We divide up the two way radios and split up. Ed
with his Geek Bag hiking up the hill. Lolli, Suzanne, and I
motor back down the canyon.
Watching my GPS we
discover it is .7 miles back down the wash to the main dirt road and
then just over a mile on to the waypoint that we should have taken.
We drive to that waypoint and sure enough there is the road up Coon
Canyon. Ed comes up on the radio and says he can see us.
We scan the ridge tops and soon spot him. We finally park the
Vanagon at a point where I feel the sand is getting too iffy for
further driving. We have .8 miles to go. I want to get the
Vanagon turned around before we head off up the wash and in the
process back into a rock with my oil pan! Damn!
Fortunately it doesn’t seem to be ripped and leaking.
We slather on sun screen,
grab the water bottles, and up the canyon we go.
When we get to the side
canyon mentioned in the detail page Ed comes out of it! We
gather up in the shade and take a break. After our rest stop we
start searching for the cache. We are very close.
Soon I find it in an
alcove behind a suspicious pile of rocks!
I bring the ammo can down
to where everyone can see and open it up.
It contains various
goodies but what I really like is the BLM Junior Ranger badge!!
I take it. Perfect! I leave a carbineer and log in.
Sagefox does likewise. I put the cache back in its alcove.
Ed hikes back the way he came.
We walk back down the
canyon to the Vanagon.
We will all meet back at the base of the false canyon.
By the time we get there
Ed is already parked, sitting in his lawn chair, reading a book,
and listening to classical music. Smart ass!
We decide to drive to a
petroglyph area called "Inscription Canyon" to spend the night.
We have camped there before on a previous trip. Ed and Suzanne
have the maps and so we follow them and away we go. It turns out
to be a much longer drive than I remember and by the time we get there
it is getting late in the day and I am upset. I had wanted it to
be a easy day, I had wanted to take a nap, and I had wanted to get the
solar shower bag heated up but no, here we have been driving for hours
and hours and I am getting weirder and weirder. It's probably
because I am still sick and it's probably because of the shock of
losing Sarah. Anyway. I'm just getting nuts and becoming a
We finally arrive at the
petroglyph site and everyone can tell that I am in a "state"!
Everyone gets low!!
Lolli takes off to go
look at the petroglyphs. Ed and Suzanne drive off to find a
place to camp. I sit in my Vanagon totally steamed!!
Finally I get out, catch up with Lolli and join her on a walk through
the petroglyph canyon. We talk and I finally explain why I am so
upset. Lolli, as always, talks me down from my pinnacle of
pissyness and I begin to settle down. We continue on walking
through the petroglyphs. Interesting stuff.
After a while we drive
over to Ed and Suzanne's camp site, get out the wine, and soon the
chicken goes on the barbeque.
Life is pretty good.
The wind comes up and cancels the evening fire so we move into my
Vanagon for dinner. Left over chicken bits brings Sarah the dog
back to mind and sadness returns.
Dinner over we fall into
bed. Everyone is whipped, emotionally and physically. It
has been a big day
of caching adventures and emotional ups and downs.
We wake to another
Suzanne goes off with her
watercolor painting kit to the petroglyphs while Lolli and I do the
lazy get up. I heat up some water to top off the solar shower
and take showers. Finally we pack up and drive over to the
petroglyphs to see what Suzanne has painted.
She has done a wonderful
watercolor copy of a petroglyph of a big horn sheep .
We look around some more
in Inscription Canyon and I take a picture of Lolli by one of her
To her left is a image of
Soon we load up and move
on. I borrow the Delorme from Ed and Suzanne so I will know
where we are and where we are going. Yesterday afternoon drove
me nuts following Ed and Suzanne and not knowing how much further we
had to go.
We headed for the Black
Canyon petroglyphs. First we have open desert driving and then
enter narrow canyon washes. Soft sand in places. Rather
hairy at times. We find a well that is marked on the Delorme and
arrive at the Black Canyon petroglyphs.
Here is Grumpy the
"Old Fart" proudly wearing his new BLM Junior Ranger badge and
wondering who shot up the Black Canyon sign and also wondering if he
should duck and cover!
An un-named road takes us
straight as a string down the alluvial outflow, out across a playa,
and up to a pile of rocks on the other side.
I take this photo looking
back at where we have been, somewhere up in those mountains off in the
distance! It was miles of driving from there to here!
Unbelievably, up on the
pile of rocks, out here in the vast desert, there are some flowers.
More incredibly, on the
flowers, are tiny butterflies about the size of my thumb nail!
I take a picture and then we hit the road back to old highway 58 and
zoom back into Barstow.
Back to Von’s for more
ice and odds and ends. We fill up the gas tanks and hop onto
I-15 heading for Las Vegas. In only eight miles or so there is
the turn off to the Calico Ghost Town and our first cache of the day.
We drive along and soon park with-in 400 feet of it. Following
the arrow on my GPS I basically trip on a pile of rocks when I reach
the coordinates of the "Calico
Ghost Town Cache"!
"Thar she be"! I
take a Heavy Metal Rock cassette and a Barstow pin and leave a
Lolli reads through the log book.
When we get back to our
vehicles and are about ready to leave a white SUV pulls off on the
opposite side of the road. The driver gets out with a GPS in his
hand. His wife hops out the other side. Ed hollers across
the road and asks, "Are you guys Geocaching"?
We gather round and talk
for a bit. Turns out they are on their way back from Las Vegas
to their home in Ventura. They go by the nick names; "BBQ-Stain"
and "Bullseye Ron"! It was fun to meet them!
Onward. We know
there is another cache close by called, "Oregon
Soon we find a canyon
road turn-off that heads in the right direction and up a canyon.
The canyon narrows and then it dwindles down to a narrow sandstone
slot. Our vehicles could just possibly fit through but Suzanne
walks on ahead up the canyon and soon returns saying that rocks are
blocking the way. We find a place to pull off to the side and
park the Vanagons. Time to start hiking.
Suzanne elects to stay
with the vehicles. Ed and I put on our Geek bags and "do rags"
for sun block.
Here is Ed in full
Okay. I guess it is
time to talk about our Geocaching "Geek" Bags. Several months
ago I happened to find a shoulder bag made by JanSport that I thought
quite neat. It has more room than a fanny pack and it is easier
to access than a back pack. It has pouches for the GPS, the FM
two way radio, the water bottle, Geocaching toys, and a pocket for the
record book and detail pages. In other words. Perfect!
Soon Ed gets one too.
Ed and I have taken to
attaching key chain goodies and carabineers to the various zipper
pulls so we now clank and jingle as we walk! We think they are
way cool. The ladies, for some reason, call them Geek Bags!
Okay. Onward up the
Lolli slathers on some
sun screen, puts on her sun hat, and away we go. And go.
It is a beautiful, much varied, meandering canyon. Quite
amazing. Also amazing are the marks and groves in the rocks
where folks have tried to get vehicles up. And then we come to
an area of remnant blacktop!
Unbelievably this route
was once blacktopped!! !
We finally arrive at a
point where our GPSs show we are getting very close. The trouble
is… the cache is just off to the left about forty feet but straight
up! We have been seeing evidence of mining activity above us
here and there and the Oregon Mine Cache must be up there but how to
get to it?
I walk on ahead a ways
but the canyon turns away in the wrong direction. Finally Ed and
Lolli decide to continue on up the canyon. I decide to stay.
After a while I decide to see if I can scramble up some tailings to
the upper level. It is a tough scramble and the higher I go the
hairier it gets. Finally I have to give up. I can’t safely
go higher and I can just barely get back down. My muscles are
shaking. By the time I am almost back down I hear Lolli holler
at me. I look up and they are up on the higher level! I
tell her that I am going back to camp. It is 5:00pm and it is a
20 minute walk back down.
I arrive back at the
Vanagons and Suzanne and I move the busses to a flat spot and set up
Soon Ed and Lolli come
walking out of the canyon. They could not find the cache.
Either it got ripped off, unlikely, or, it was well hidden. We
did not have the details page for this cache which makes finding it
Ed said there were mine
shafts all over on three different levels and it was very hard to tell
which level the GPS was indicating. We were "Bagel-ed", as Ed
says. Oh well. Ya can’t win them all.
Time to kick back, take
our showers, play a bit of Petanque, cook dinner, and have a campfire.
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