There are some areas that have no geocaches…and some areas that have so many you wonder how they all got there, and how many trips it would take to get all of them.
Mission Trail Regional Park (MTRP) is one of those areas in San Diego. There are 389 geocaches in a 3 miles radius shown below classified as the MTRP Hall of Fame challenge in May 2010. You can read about this challenge put together by FlagMan as 7 Halls of Fame around San Diego. There are more that that now and in a wider area….in case you need more to keep you coming back to Mission Trails.
We had completed the Black Mountain Hall of Fame in time for the June deadline – in fact we found the last one that day, emailed FlagMan, and drove to the celebration awards. The write-up of that crazy week with early morning, late night, and “just one more” adventure is here.
Tackling MTRP is not something to be done in one day…perhaps there are some crazy geocachers that can get 300+ in a day (that makes me wonder what the most is….), but I’m more of a 10-20 geocaches in a day type person. Especially when there is 2,000 elevation and lots of hiking involved.
So we took a section of the area, marked above in the red circle, packed up our hiking gear, put the geodog on his leash, and off we went hiking in this area – called Sycamore Canyon. Up and down….up and down….and more up and down….
I also used this hike as practice on reading topographic maps and not relying on the GPS. In fact the GPS does not really show the level of detail of the contours and trails that the topographic map does, so it can be better to look at trail maps rather than just that GPS device.
The map above shows the double dotted lines which are considered ‘jeep trails’ or trails that are good tracks you can see easily with the eye. They might look like these trails in this photo.
Now geocaching would be too easy if they only put geocaches on these trails, so you often have to be brave and go off trail. One way to make it easy on yourself is to follow ‘critter trails’ which you will never see on a map but will be fairly distonguishable out there in the field. Take a chance and see where it takes you!
6 hours, 6 miles, and 2,000 elevation later – we ended our trip finding 21 geocaches on the day and 7 DNF (did not find) which was frustrating. Because it leaves these gaps in the smiley faces map. I guess it’s a good reason to come back and hike the trails again. I foresee a lot of Mission Trails geocaching in our future…