Last cache hunt of 2004

Well, I had brief hopes of reaching 200 finds by the end of the year, but the disaster in Bakersfield (0 finds) and weather and family responsibilities made that not possible. However, 150 presented itself as a possibility.

Having worked out solutions to a few puzzle caches during the Christmas holidays, today I set out to find them.

I started with Black Bart in Pleasanton. The two tricky parts to figuring out the coordinates are the caliber of the original Smith and Wesson Magnum handgun (web research pegged it as a .357) and the model year of the T-Bird shown in the photo (again, web research nailed it to a ’56). So the coordinates are: N 37° 39.357 W 121° 53.756. This puts it in a little rose garden park in a new development off Bernal. The coordinates seemed to put me in a logical place. I searched for a while, then used the clue which just indicated it was where I was already searching. Finally found it–the smallest cache I’ve ever found. The log was so wet it was impossible to unfold it. I put my signature on a small strip of paper and stuck that in. Don’t know how this one will survive the winter, but I think the cache has to be what it is in order to work in this location.

Next I tried Pick a Card, also in Pleasanton. This puzzle is based on a card trick, and it’s a simple matter to follow the directions and come up with the coordinates. I did the trick twice to confirm the answer. The coordinates are: N 37° 41.515 W 121° 53.075, which puts it in Creekside Park. It was a quick find under the garbage can. This park has a neat play structure which I think Cortnie would enjoy.

After this, I looked for Beneath, Between, and Behind. While it was a difficult puzzle, I’m certain I was searching in the right place. I believe I know where the cache is (and perhaps can see it), but the retrieval method makes me want to have a buddy around. It’s strange how isolated this place seems, even though there were lots of people very close by. Anyway, it will have to wait for another day.

Moving on to Dublin, I searched for Petroglyphs. Actually, this is a pretty straightforward puzzle. I know I was in the right area of the Outback, but was being frustrated by a thorny bush and lots of trash. Then I was completely surprised by an employee(?) who drove up without my knowledge, and sat in the car. I left.

My final puzzle cache of the day was Computer Art in Danville. The puzzle was easy and quick for an old EE like me. Finding it was a little harder. I tried for a bit, then went off and found another close-by cache: El Cerro. After thinking about the hint, I went back and with just a bit of mehtodical searching, I found it.

El Cerro was closest to Computer Art, and I accessed both from the same parking space. The general hiding place was fairly obvious, but it took a couple of minutes (or more) to spot it. It’s tucked under a fallen tree.

Wolves is on the Iron Horse Trail behind the San Ramon Valley High School athletic field. The trail was quite busy today, but I timed the grab and return well. I did get some funny looks while I was just standing and signing the log. “Why is that guy writing on that small piece of paper out here on the trail?”

Another cache on the Iron Horse Trail is Iron Horse Trail–Part 9. I searched for a while, then stepped away from the trees to get a new GPS reading. Then I saw something that turned out to be the cache hiding place. It’s under what looks like the stump of a small tree.

Leaving the Iron Horse Trail, I headed for a Las Trampas trailhead and the Camille goes to Trampas cache. After a short, up-hill hike I got to the location and searched for a little bit. Details in the description helped me find it.

Then I was back into Danville for 5000 Found, so named in honor of Team Alamo on August 6, 2004. Today, Team Alamo has over 6100 finds, a prodigious amount. The ammo can cache in a cemetary was an easy find.

On my way home, I stopped in San Ramon to look for Dog’s Revenge. Had I read the log’s and seen the high number of DNF’s, I probably would have skipped it. Nevertheless, after scouting the area for less than 10 minutes, I found it. It was a 35mm cannister at the base of a tree. I suspect the original container, as described, is something a dog would leave behind–hence the revenge part of the name.

The final cache of the day (number 150) was Garden Variety in the park at San Ramon Community Gardens. There is a lower part of the park down by the creek under such heavy tree cover that the GPS doesn’t work. So I had to find this one using just the description and a couple of provided photos. There are tons of hiding places. Finally I stepped back and aha, look there… and there it was. It’s in the base of the standing tree clearly visible in the photo.

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