Geocaching along the Santiago Trail
As an aid for my work as a reporter for Local Hikes, I recently obtained a GPS and got addicted to the sport of Geocaching. If you don’t mind trying to figure out how to follow arrows which often point straight through the middle of housing tracts, prickly pear cactus, and clumps of poison oak, you may enjoy this sport.
My wife and I planted a cache on Saturday, then went looking for three others in the vicinity of Portola Hills on Sunday. We found all three. Midnight marked the hour when we found a black-spray-painted container named “Betty Crocker’s Doom” near the intersection of — well, to be fair, let me call it N 33° 40.404, W 117° 38.216. Stuffed inside the former frosting container we found an assortment of small quarter-sized knick-knacks and crumpled CD directories on which previous visitors had written their arrival times. In went a small wooden collectable and out came a large catseye marble which I hope to place in a cache very soon. We returned it to the bush where we found it and then went to bed.
The following day, we set out along the Santiago Trail towards Vulture Crags in search of two other local caches. At the first — known as La Luna because the view of the full moon astounded the planter — we found nothing of interest but left two topographical maps of the trail. The second, called High Road to Fossil Hill, took us off the main trail to a sharp crest. This particular cache had a Guardian, a rather nasty Spanish Dagger plant poised to bayonet intruders. Lynn spotted the ammo can shoved against a large rock and, with my help, opened it. We’d struck it rich! The cache held rubber animals, toy cars, buttons, pens, beads, and a cool chameleon which stuck its tongue out when you squeezed it. Lynn took a fancy to one of the cars, so we dropped off a charm in the shape of a pair of sunglasses for it and another map of the Santiago Trail. Throughout our plunder, the Guardian slept. We signed our names in the log, listed what we’d traded and went on.
Not too far from High Road, our first cache, Seven Yuccas, waits for finders beneath the low cover of the chaparral. No one has been there yet, but I do not doubt that the legendary cachet of the Santiago Road caches will draw visitors soon. If you get there soon, there’s a signature toy rhinoceros waiting for you. Be sure to leave something good in trade.
I want to draw our readers’ attention to the plight of a hitchhiker now sojourning in Lake Forest, California. A hitchhiker is an object which moves from cache to cache with a purpose. In this case, the baseball card of Jimmie Foxx wants to visit every major baseball park in the country. He’s been trying to get to Angels’ Stadium, apparently, without success.
If you can help him make the World Series, you can either fetch him yourself or contact me. I don’t need tickets — you just take him along and have him photographed with the scoreboard or something.