Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #3: Arroyo Verde Park

Well, the rain was delayed so I decided to squeeze in a nearby hike. The Matilija Trail I was going to do was too far and the chances of getting caught in the rain far away from the car was too high. Instead, I headed for the Arroyo Verde Park in the hills overlooking Ventura and did a hike there. I have hiked this trail two times before. I had debated not doing hikes that I have already done but, after checking for nearby geocaches, I located eight along the trails that I had not done so off I went.

The skies were still blue when I got there and I warmed up quickly while I hiked. I remembered my bug spray this time but ... I forgot the darn water AGAIN! I do not know what my problem is. Anyway the trail is about three miles long. I managed to stretch it out to 3.81 miles. The extra distance is probably due to the caches I hunted since many of them were located on spurs off the main trail that added a little distance. The trail is a dirt trail that climbs up in the hills. Since our rain levels are still low, most of the vegetation is still brown and dry. The cacti seemed healthy. As I worked on the caches I eventually got off the main trail and bushwhacked up to the top of the park that borders a small avocado grove. There were a lot of dead avocados on the ground - victims of the brief freeze we had in January. I made my way back to the car and bought some water before heading back home.

Here are the caches that I did:

  1. "Ventura Toy Cache" : This was the first. My GPS was off by 40 ft but the hiding spot, a large tree, was kind of obvious. There was a baseball in the cache that you could sign - I signed it. A lady saw me while I was looking at the cache. I waved at her so she wouldn't think I was spying on her or something - kind of awkward.

  2. "Iraq" : This cache gave me trouble. I got to the coordinates and saw a rock that looked like the hiding place. I looked under it and found a paint can opener bu no cache. I looked around some more but kept coming back to the rock. Finally, after looking at the rock for the third time, I looked at the underside of the rock. The hider had carved a hole in the bottom of the rock and glued in an altoid tin. There was also a magnet that was suppose to keep the paint can opener held to the rock. The opener was need to open the tight fitting tin. I signed the log.

  3. "Island Grenade" : This is another cache from the guy who hid the Iraq cache. The cache a small can with a lid that was disguised as a pineapple. It wasn't too hard to find. In this cache a found a travel bug. A travel bug is an object with a numbered dog tag connected to it that allows cachers to track the item as it moves around from cache to cache. This one was called NASCAR Rules! I will put it in another cache on a future hike. I left a couple of super balls in the cache.

  4. "Iran" : This cache was a plastic cylinder stuck in an old tennis shoe. It was hidden on a narrow, 10-12 ft wide ridge. Nice view. The contents were a little damp.

  5. "Danger Explosives" : This one was really clever. Hidden by the same guy who hid Iraq, Island Granade, and Iran, this one was disguised as a no trespassing sign hanging from a barbed wire fence. I stared straight at it several times before I realized it opened up like a book and there was a sheet of paper inside for the log. Signed the log.

  6. "The Last Shall Be First..." : This was an easy micro cache. Nothing special. Signed the log.

  7. " Toy Soldiers" : A container full of toy soldiers. I signed the log.

  1. "Log This" : This was the last cache of the hike. While I was looking for it I came upon a cardboard box full of wood chips half buried in the ground. The box was torn open and there was a small Christmas stocking on top of the box with the name Coco written on it. Next to the box was a stone with the name Coco and the words "You will be loved forever 2001 - 2006." I'm not sure what is sadder - the death of a beloved family pet or the fact that it's body was carried off by some wild animal. The cache was nearby, under some logs and I signed the log.
It is now the evening and the rain still isn't here. They just can't forecast weather out here.

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