Thursday, May 24, 2007

Begin with a hike, end at 1300

I decided to go for a hike today.

Inviting Mamma Gravy and Newbi Nikki (she swears this is going to be her name), we chose to tackle the Deadman's Creek multi. I told Nicole "It's a well-maintained level hard packed trail leading up from Washoe State Park to the top of Duck Hill. It's a steady incline, but no up/down/up/down." So, we all met at 9am to try this.

Both Gravy and I have a goal of getting back into shape, so we figured a moderate hike would be a good way to begin this program. Apparently we didn't pay attention to the terrain rating.

The first stage is easy enough, it's across Eastlake Blvd just where the gap in the fence labels the trailhead. After that it's a half mile hike up into the hills. Made that one fairly easily, but we were joking that if the third stage was up on the hill with the flag, I was marching back down to the road to retrieve my truck and I'd drive up there. But, once we found the second stage, we found that the third wasn't on the hill with the flag. Nooo, it was near the top of Nine Hill, at 6077 feet (we began at the parking lot at 5078 feet).

Since we found the second stage near an old, rutted Jeep trail, we decided to use that to hike up. Surprisingly, though we stopped after every 50 steps to rest, we scaled that road quickly and had enough energy left over to look at the peak a mere 100 feet away from us and walk over there. I figured I was that close to the summit, I was going to stand on it!!

The cache took some scrambling to find, but eventually it was spotted, retrieved, logged, and replaced. Nicole had brought lunches for all of us, and we sat up in the hills between Washoe and Carson and ate our sandwiches while we admired the view. Then it was back down. Instead of the steep trail, we took a side road that wrapped around the southern side of the hill and spilled out into an area that Nicole says her step-daughter came up and partied at. The graffiti bares witness to the things that happen in that clearing. We stuck with the road and made it back to the trucks - still moving, none of us stiff or exhausted, and all of us feeling elated that we made it.

My GPS showed a 3.6 mile hike with a 1000 foot elevation gain/loss, taking 3 hours and 45 minutes with all our mini-breaks and our lunch. WE DID IT!!

After I took Nicole back home, Gravy and I headed into Reno once we cleaned out the rest of the new caches in east Washoe. Dropping my truck off at her work, we continued to pick up caches, eventually ending up at (where else?) Qdoba to meet Moonchaser. Along the way, we stopped by to find Cache Loan - and was once again skunked. However, lying shoved into the rocks was what looked like one of Ephy's million dollar religious bills. Figuring it was from the previously muggled cache, I reached down to grab it before noticing it was short a few zeros.

There were only two....

This had just become a very very good day.

We met up with Moonchaser and decided to get some more caches before it was time to meet up with LostInReno (have I mentioned I'm becoming quite the social cacher?). We decided to try for "Little Big Ben" since none of us had that already. A quick and easy first stage if you have Moonchaser along - that woman has eagle eyes when it comes to micros - led us to the second stage. WELL DONE! The second stage was brilliant, though one additional cut made the camo easy to see through. A lot of hard work went into this cache and it showed as both the construction of the container and the location were fantastic!

Soon, though, it was time to head back. We grabbed my truck, Gravy headed home, and we met up with LiR to swap out the vehicles and all pile into my truck. They've done enough driving. We headed out to north 395 to hit some of the caches along there. Moonchaser and I had done a lot of them already, but still we were able to get about 7-10 caches each out there. We also got the B52 that's up on Peavine since my first trek up there resulted in the sad news of a muggling. Then it was back into Reno.

By this point, if I counted the cache-hiders cache (which I'm not) I was at 1299. One more! I need one more! So we found one of the Movie Title series before calling it a night. Once I dropped LiR off, I realized that that was only 1298 (see, I'm not counting it), so I needed one more. Driving out, Mamma Gravy had told me about where another B52 cache was, and I kinda knew how to get there. Kinda as in the daytime, by now it was 10pm.

So, I gave myself a half hour to find the access road. Making my way towards Sagehill Gun Club, I drove back and forth along the construction road looking for a way to cross over to the powerline road. My half hour was almost up when I spied the only opening without a gate across it. I eased in to make sure no one was waiting for me, realized that this was a road through the zone as gates lined the openings to the side of the road. I made a bee-line for the cache.

Parking 60 feet away at the base of the outcropping, I hiked up with my trusty flashlight to the top and began searching. I don't think I've ever been that on edge around a cache before - not only was I listening for snakes or other wildlife, but also for cars or approaching people. The buzz of the powerlines above me weren't helping. At 10:45p I made the find and signed my name.

1300 caches found. YAHOO!!!

Home, James, it's late and I'm whipped. My calves are going to kill me in the morning.

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