Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Day 3

Sunday, today was the day!

First, though, as the organizer of the cache explosion upon Tonopah, I needed to do some maintenance. Understand, prior to October 20th, 2007, Tonopah had two active caches, three total that I knew about. After that date, Tonopah had 67 caches throughout the town and surrounding area. That's what happens when you bring 56 cachers to a town that has nothing. There's even been a few added since which will make my next trip down there a fun one.

Anyway, so we ran around checking on the caches I knew had a problem, cleaning up the ones that had been archived due to lack of maintenance (I'll get down there eventually!) and generally checking up on things. SKWERL, who missed the event, was able to add a very quick 20+ to his count in those few hours before we finished with what I knew had to be worked on, and we headed out of town.

First stop was Orizaba. Neither Dad nor SKWERL had been there and I was able to enjoy the site under the morning sun. Still a spectacular location. We then debated if it was easier to turn around and head back by Montezuma's Revenge, or continue north and bag a couple up by Gabbs.

If you aren't a Nevadan, or haven't been here, grab a map. Find Tonopah (about the center of the page) look northwest until you find Hawthorne, then go a bit east till you see Luning, then look north to Gabbs. Yeah, that's what we were considering heading out to. Measure it. This is a big empty state (to anyone but Texans and Alaskans).

So, the vote was to head back to Miller's rest stop along the power line road. We bounced our way along, grabbing the caches out that way, and when we got to Montezuma's Revenge, we discovered the road turned to a mucky muddy soup. So, once the cache was found and we were lined up on the powerline road again we headed out. Imagine if you will one Jeep Rubicon, and one Toyota Tacoma, and add in one long stretch of muddy road.

Yep, the boys had fun and this gal got pictures!

Once at Miller's, SKWERL couldn't resist pulling his nasty muddy filthy Jeep right up next to a beautiful showroom shiney Rubicon. Clean Jeep, Dirty Jeep - I know who the Dirt Gods favored that day!

Then we were off to another earthcache, this time up in an area of eroded lava flows. Breathtaking scenery and wonderful formations! Plus some scrub cactus growing throughout the area. But the day was growing late and the goal of the whole trip was still ahead of us. We hit the pavement, grabbing one more cache along the way, then made it to our thank you to Skwerl for all he's done, and for his Delorme Challenge that got us out exploring the state.

Two years, almost to the day, this little cache has sat out in the desert awaiting this moment. I'll post here SKWERL's log as this was all for him:

November 30 by SKWERL (2970 found)
WOW! There is no other way to describe this location, the cache or the people who placed it for this old SKWERL. I guess I could blame my misty eyes on the dust in the air, but I really enjoyed looking through the container that had patiently waited out in the desert for me to come down to visit. Acorn the Squirrel was unusually quiet as well, a sure sign that he, jaded as he is, got choked up too.

The entire journey was filled with great caches, and memorable trips, in the mountains, through gullies, across the flats, in the daylight and in darkness.

My sense of anticipation continued to build as I travelled into The Sump to document my journey and claim the FTF prize. The prize was great and I will use it to find a memorable keepsake, but in truth I already received the most wonderful gift....

Thanks for the cache and for the adventure guys!

(and yes I did originally submit this with a three word log for anyone who had this on a watchlist )

Yeah, he submitted a mere TFTC originally and that's what popped up on my Owner email. The rat.

We hiked through the Sump in a speed race of only an hour. Managed to get to the opposite end before we had to turn back, but I know that all of us will continue to visit over the years.

There was one last cache to get and that was up above the Sump. I hadn't been there before and now am recommending both to simply get a feel for the sheer scale of the place. Down below, everything towers above you and you don't get to see much beyond the area right around you, above everything is laid out before you but looks so amazingly small that one could be fooled into thinking that the Sump is a minor footnote. I highly encourage you to visit if you can.

Finally, we headed back, took the pavement up through Hawthorne (a visit better forgotten) and then turned to head to Yerington. Here SKWERL had to leave as he was heading home and to continue following us would have put him home really really late. Dad and I continued on to grab his other letterbox in Wilson Canyon and I ended up climbing the slope of the canyon wall in utter darkness with only moments of the Mega-Spotlight illuminating the hill. Found the cache using the light of the GPS and once back at the truck, spent another endless time staring straight up at the stars framed by the black canyon walls.

It was a great ending to a fantastic weekend. I'm glad we were finally able to sync our schedules and I'm glad that SKWERL has taken it upon himself to get us lazy desert rats out of the cities and into the wilds of the Great Basin.

NevadaWolf discovered "Nomans River (FL)" Red Jeep Travel Bug

NevadaWolf found Tuff Stuff, Volcanic and Sedimentary Rocks of the Monte Cristo, Brothel Junction, De Sump "mini Grand Canyon", (Letter) Box Canyon

NevadaWolf posted a note for Orizaba Express, Gateway to The Sump - SKWERL's DeLorme Challenge

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Day 2

Woke up early and did my exercises before heading downstairs to meet up with SKWERL for breakfast. We were out the door first thing in the morning and our goal was to desert all traces of modern life and head into the distant past!

First stop, Golden Arrow, historic ghost town that has been reduced to ruins. But still in an interesting area and one can certainly seen the mark left by man. Even saw some antelope, but that'll get better later on.

Then we headed to 37th Fighter Wing, a great cache that took us through a narrow valley, through a sage forest, and bouncing up a rocky hill, only to hike the easier section of the road. That cache, while uninteresting on its own, was placed it a truly wicked location. A sweeping overlook of the entire valley, perched above the northern part of Nellis Air Force Base. Sadly, didn't see anything in that regard.

Down the hill again and we followed a new road out to head back to Golden Arrow. It was along this stretch that we saw tons of wild horses (truly wild as these bolted at the sound of our engines, unlike those near VC that could care less about vehicles) and another herd of antelope that ran straight across the road. SKWERL got some cool pictures of that one! We were making out way towards Bellehelen, where we scored our first FTF that weekend (not counting the beta-testing for Letter's to Diana.

Back on Highway 6, we headed out towards Project Faultless, another underground atomic detonation site, with far more visible results. We puttered around there for awhile, taking a ton of pictures and generally ensuring that if radiation was still in the area, we would all glow nicely. We checked out the virtual there, the nearby traditional, the close Earthcache and the other traditional. Not bad for one site. But seeing the devestation that the explosion wrought on the valleys natural fault lines really drove home how powerful those bombs are.

Continuing out Highway 6, we made a stop at Lunar Crater and gave SKWERL a chance to see that marvel, then headed over to Easy Chair Cinder Cone. The earth cache was easy, though I don't approve of the traditional as I think it's in a poor place without any prior warning on the cache page. But that's my opinion, it was still an awesome location.

Across highway 6 we came to the Black Rock Lava Flow. Imagine taking a paper cup filled with chocolate syrup, cut a slit in the side of the cup, and watch the syrup flow out into a big ugly mess. Now imagine that on mountain scale and you'll have a picture of this flow. The earthcache was a quick one, and we headed back to the traditional that was hidden up inside the flow. Per a prior log, it's actually hidden, not in the cooled lava, but in a piece of the actual volcano itself. COOL!

As the sun started going down, SKWERL announced he also wanted to get the earthcache at Meteorite Crater, so we headed that way, racing the waning sunlight. As we approached ground zero, there was almost utter darkness around us. I pointed off to the right, SKWERL swung around and our headlights simply vanished into a gaping hole in the desert floor. I won't give the dimentions as they are the answer to the cache, but needless to say, the thing is HUGE! It took two rigs with beams on high, plus Dad's ultra-powerful million watt spotlight to light up the opposite rim and all we could see of SKWERL was his tiny headlamp way on the other side.

Spent considerable time there before turning back and heading back into Tonopah. A long drive there, and I think I crashed out about halfway back. Whoo Hooo, day 2 was a complete success and the finale hasn't even happened yet!

NevadaWolf found 37th Fighter Wing, Bellehelen, Project FAULTLESS, Don't Worry Be Happy, Volcanic Rocks near Project Faultless, Nuke 'Em, Easy Chair Crater Cinder Cone, Nye County, Nevada, Easy Now, Black Rock Lava Flow, LavaFlow, A Meteorite Crater, or Not, Blackbox, Warm Springs Cache

NevadaWolf placed The Unknown Soldier geocoin standing watch

NevadaWolf retrieved Blake's Bike Bug

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Day 1

After a great dinner with b0neZ's family, went home and failed to get to sleep all night so simply stared at the ceiling waiting for 3am.

Once "awake", Dad came by to pick me up and then we were off to Fallon to meet up with SKWERL who had arrived last night. A quick breakfast in Fallon started our great adventure!!

First stop, Project Shoal. You can read more about it here: Project SHOAL Wow, just saw that my first tip to the site was four years ago! Time sure flies!! Anyway, we scouted around the area for awhile, taking pictures and exploring odd pipes sticking out of the ground throughout the site. Then we were off towards Austin, of course picking up a few caches along the way. Quick drive-bys that didn't require much thought or effort. The nice thing about having numerous State Historical Markers is that, while just as easy as a LPC, there's a least something interesting to learn and they aren't located in boring parking lots.

Out past Austin, we hit the new cache at the reststop closest to the Geographic Center of the State along Highway 50. Churm used to have one there, but now there's one just jinxed95. Quick stop to stretch the legs, then it was time to hit the dirt.

Heading south on "highway" 82, little more than a dirt trail, we come to the true Geographic Center of Nevada. Having done this before, Dad and I learned the trick to the multi and he waited near the final while SKWERL and I headed to the start. A tromp through the desert, going from point to point, was a great way to work out the kinks of driving so long. All three stages are in dire need of repair, but at the time, we didn't have anything suitable.

Afterwards, it was onto Diana's Punchbowl. Unfortunately, the cache there had been archived due to lack of maintenance (and oh boy did it need it! I went to pick it up and took the top half while leaving the bottom half stuck in the dirt. Oops). SKWERL had brought along his letterbox replacement, so the final cache for the Oldest Cache Challenge is now in place. Spent a lot time at the hot spring. It's one of those marvels of the desert you don't believe in till you see it!

Continuing south, we needed a way to hop over from Monitor Valley to Big Smoky Valley, but none of the roads looked reliable on the map. Eventually just went, "Take the first one!" and we began the trip through the dry streambed / road until we came to the base of a huge strip mine - where there was a sign "Big Smoky Valley 14 miles" Whoo Hooo! That turned out to be the coolest road and one of the most beautiful canyons I'd been in. I think Ripley Canyon is the only comparison.

Coming out of the canyon, we hooked up with Highway 376 and got the Big Smokey Valley cache. Our goal was hitting as many of the oldest caches we could over the course of the weekend. Then it was onto Tonopah!

By now, the sun was going down, and we were once again heading to XKD-380, the oldest active cache in the state, in the dark. Thankfully, I'd been out with MooseMob and Company during the Tonopah event in the daylight and knew the shortcut up the outcropping. Took a long time to find the cache, I came near to fearing a DNF!! But SKWERL found the red thermos and the cache was ours!

Back at the trucks, we took advantage of the fact we were in the middle of nowhere, far from any towns, or highways, or lights, and just stood leaning against the truck staring at the star-filled sky. Horizon to horizon, a full thick Milky Way stretched over our heads, millions of stars glittering in the moon-less night. We even saw the International Space Station! That moment, in utter silence, was absolutely perfect!

It was back into town with us, grabbing a few other caches along the way. A very full day and it's only Friday!

NevadaWolf discovered Acorn's Rides

NevadaWolf found It's Lonely Out Here, SHM #111 Edwards Creek Valley, SHM #135 New Pass Station, 50 Rest, Letters to Diana

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slight break

Not much has been happening since the flight. Mostly picking up a few caches here and there. Fun little FTF game myself and three others have got going lately.

Picked up a few caches in Tahoe when we went up there for a birthday dinner.

Attended the Flash Mob and fished in the Atlantis fountain, then had breakfast afterwards.

A run out highway 50 to check on one of my watched caches who's log was full and then some caches in Fallon on the way home.

But it's all right, come this weekend, I'll finally be able to head to Central Nevada with SKWERL to pick up his DeLorme Challenge final and grab some caches in the remotest part of the state.

I'm jazzed!!


NevadaWolf found Abe's Prize Geocash


NevadaWolf found Wood-boring Bivalves

NevadaWolf found Alien Sighting Guaranteed, Loneliest Rock, What the Huck!!!, Fly Navy

NevadaWolf found Right in Front of Your Face!, Mind Over Matter, Poleter-gist

NevadaWolf adopted Como Over Here

NevadaWolf found North Park
NevadaWolf didn't find Goni Trail

NevadaWolf found Check Out the Tome Collector