Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #5: Los Robles Loop

Today I went for another hike. This hike, the Los Robles Loop in the Los Padres National Forest, is what I consider an Urban hike. The trail starts in a suburban neighborhood and winds it way up into the hills. Most of the views are of the mountains or the city of Thousand Oaks and highway 101 that passes through it. While the hike is a nice one, the experience is diminished somewhat by the constant hum of the freeway traffic. I was hoping that would fade into the background once I moved into the valleys but it never completely went away.

The day started off overcast. It looked like it was going to rain but as the day went on the clouds thinned out and the sun shined through. The chill breeze kept me from sweating when I was in the full sun. There were few hikers on the trail. There are many geocaches in the area and I planned to find ten of them. The caches I found were:

  1. "Sherwood Forest" : A cleverly hidden micro-cache. This was a round altoid tin that was attached to the bottom of a rotting log. Micro-caches, called micro because of their small size, can be hard to locate because there are so many places they can be hidden.

  2. "The Retirement Plan" : This was yet another clever cache. The hider had woven a bird's nest and zip tied the nest to a tree (Get it? Nest Egg ... The Retirement Plan?!). There was nothing in the nest. I assume that it was raided either by wild animals or dumb humans. Still, it was a cool cache.

  3. "The Bench" : This cache was located near a bench located at the top of a ridge that overlooked the city on one size and the hills and fields on the other. The picture above is of the lonely bench. I sat and rested on the bench for a bit and took in the views. The cache was located about 75 feet from the bench. I took the Geocoin called "chaosmanor's Golden State - Gold #2" A Geocoin is a numbered token that can be tracked similar to the Travel Bug I have mentioned before. The geocoin is shaped like the state of California. I will move it along on my next hike. I placed the NASCAR Rules! travel bug that I picked up in the Arroyo Verde Park in the cache.

  4. "Know Strings Attached" : Yet another clever hide. This micro-cache was suspended down a hollow branch - you had to pull the cache up by the string.

  5. "Sugar Sweet Smell" : A simple hide. Nothing special.

  6. "The Pine Something" : This one was a plastic thing that looked like a cross between a pine cone and a pineapple. The hider cut out the bottom and glued a film cannister in it. The whole thing was handing from a tree branch. A good hide.

  7. "The Quiet Canyon #1" : This one was a mystery. It was supposed to be a camouflaged ammo can but all I found was a plastic ziploc bag full of geo-treasures. I guess someone liked the ammo box more then the stuff inside.

  8. "The Quiet Canyon #2" : This one was another simple one. A family came by while I was looking through the cache. Not sure what they thought. I hope they didn't think I was taking a dump or something.

  9. "1,2,3,4 ...?" : This one pissed me off. It was easy to find but it was hard to find the log. The plastic container was filled with film cannisters (many film cannisters) and it took me a while to find the one with the log. This was supposed to be fun - I just found it annoying. To make it worse, the log was in the last one I opened. Sigh.

  10. "Oxymoron" : The last one was also a Micro-cache (The fifth one on the hike). It was also hanging in a bush. For some reason the hanging ones are the hardest to find. It took me awhile to find.
Even with the encroaching civilization, I enjoyed the hike and the caches. This hike was supposed to be 3.1 miles long but I stretched it out to 5.58 miles with all the spurs I took to find the caches. I can't wait for the next hike next weekend.

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