It was a nice Sunday morning so I decided to head up the foothills to the west of Blodgett Open Space area. I have been pushing further up the ridge with each trip and then looking to see where I have been on the map.
Starting from a small trail head on Coldwater Drive, the trail climbs and climbs and then climbs some more. I have been trying to discover the best route to the top of the ridge. Up there is a spot knows as lone pine. From the other side, there is a jeep road that ends at that point. It is also an alternate route to Blodgett Peak.
Today's journey ended when the weather started to get bad. Clouds were building rapidly and I decided it was time to head back down. Later, the lighning and thunder is the area confirmed my decision as being the prudent course of action.
But in the beginning, the weather was great, the wildflowers were in full bloom. Plenty of bluebells and paintbrush with many other varieties. The terrain was steep enough that it was mostly a fast hike on the upward trip especially after the first mile.
There were several things that I learned today.
First, I had loaded the locations of some of the geocaches in the area so I could see if I could find them. This means that I had to learn some of the navagation features of my forerunner 205 which I knew existed but I had never tried to use.
In the watch I could see a little triangle where I was located at the point indicated the direction I was moving. There was a light circle about at a set distance. As I got near a geocache, I could tell about how far and in what direction the cache was located. It is kind of funny to look at the GPS track of trying to figure out how to use this to find the location of the cache. Since it was the first time for me, I was literally all over the map....
Of course once you have located the approximate area of the cache, it does not guarantee you will find the cache. There are generally hidden in some manner and the trick is to figure out how. I will not go into any detail as that I think is part of the fun of geocacheing. If this sounds interesting, go to http://www.geocaching.com and join the fun.
I met a mountain bike rider in the area of the geocache who also is an experienced geocacher so it became a team effort to find the cache. He, for some reason did not have this cache loaded in his unit so by using mine, we found the cache. Thanks "OLDATBPRO"...
From this point on, there was no clear indication of where the trail to the top went so I started just bushwacking. Some people have indicated that there is not a regular trail after this point.
I almost made the top but it was getting pretty steep and rugged with lots of fallen trees and scrub. And with the weather starting to get bad, I decided to head back down.
This is where the second part of my learning took place. As I was bushwacking up, I knew that it was be impossible to find my way back down by the same route so I remembered that the GPS unit has a "breadcrumb" feature. When I was ready to head back down, I just kept my little triangle in the area of the "route" line that was my track coming up and lo and behold, I returned to the cache site with no problem. From there I could just follow the trail back down.
Learning to use the navigation features of the watch has inspired me to follow other lesser know paths having the confidence that I will be able to backtrack and not get lost. I use to go up the Hitezer trail out of Cascade into the resevoir area but could never seem to find the way back and would end up on the Pikes Peak Tollroad and have to hitchhike back to my car. I think this will solve that problem.
On my next trip up, I plan to angle a little north from the area of the , it look like there may be a better route to the top in that direction I was so close today...and would really like to crest the next time I do up.
5 years ago