An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveJust a Cache at Twilight
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Here is one of my web log entries, perhaps from my Yakkity Yak page, What's New page, or one of my Astounding Adventures from my Geocaching section:
Just a Cache at Twilight
Friday, 10 February 2006 6:45 PM MST
Cache Found: Cinder Cone Jar by Madness and Mayhem
Trave Bug Found: Hotspur the Dragon found by Percible (my brother)
Friday, 10 February 2006 - 6:45 PM MST (-0700)
It was late in the afternoon, and brother, whose geocaching.com handle is Percible, and I were both going a little crazy from being inside all day, staring a computer screens. He called me up and we made an agreement: He would grab his G.P.S. receiver then drive over from Hurricane to my house in St. George to pick me up. It was my job (And a tough one, I'm tellin' ya!) to pick a cache to go visit.
We didn't have much light left, as the winter sun was nearing the horizon already. By the time he arrived at my house and I was ready to go, it was well past 5:00 PM MST (-0700 GMT).
Anxious to go, I grabbed my stuff and was about to hurry out the door when I realized I'd not yet picked a cache and print out the description and coordinates. It was another 15 minutes, due both to the difficulty deciding which cache to visit and owing to some minor computer glitches that froze my web browser several times, before we had the coordinates to a cache atop a cinder cone near Diamond Valley and were away.
We drove northward out of St. George on State Route 18, past the road construction, new golf course, and beneath a new overpass Winchester Hills. The early evening sun was sinking behind the western hills, the last light beautifully illuminating the tops of the hills and mountains north of us.
Soon we were parked just off West Diamond Valley Drive where it meets State Route 18, at the northern foot of a very prominent extinct volcanic cinder cone.
The air was crisp and cool, but not freezing cold, which was a good thing as I only had a tee shirt for warmth while my better-prepared brother had brought a light jacket. We walked the short distance to the base of the cinder cone, and found a trail to follow.
I think we were both prepared to bushwhack our way straight up the side (with many-a-pause for me, considering the *ahem* baggage I carry with me), so it was nice to find a well-marked trail, marked with sign posts and everything.
The trail took a much less strenuous and leisurely route, spiraling slowly up the hillside as it wound its way first eastward, then southward, then westward, then northward, taking us completely to the back side of the cinder cone then up the back side to the summit.
The air was almost cold, but with the exertion of hauling myself uphill, I was plenty warm, except for my fingers. I thought that I should have brought some light gloves.
By the time we made it to the summit, to look down into the surprisingly deep cone-shaped crater below us, it was dark, with just a hint of light left in the western sky and a gibbous moon to light the landscape.
That was, until my brother whipped out his headlamp and we started searching for the cache.
It was a quick, easy find, my brother spotting the hiding spot first. He beat me to it, and called out, "It's now 6:44 PM."
Since I'd neglected to bring anything to trade, I borrowed the light and wrote an unusually short log entry on the log pages with fingers a bit numb from the cold air as my brother perused the cache contents. I believe he traded a slinky for the Hostspur The Dragon travel bug that was in the cache.
As for using the camera in the cache to take our photo, I'm sorry, there just wasn't any light.
Once we were finished and the cache was safely returned and hidden, we returned to the summit and enjoyed the night-time view, the cars along State Route 18 making a winding river of light reaching from St. George up around the base of the cinder cone, and northward toward Veyo. It was beautiful.
If we'd had more light, I would have stayed longer, and circumnavigated the rim of the cone. I need to come back sometime during the day.
Before we headed back down the trail in the dark, we sang a few songs together for the fun of it. Then my brother turned off his headlamp and put it away, and we started to slowly and carefully pick our way back down the trail in the moonlight.
I couldn't help singing snippets of random songs aloud as we headed down the trail, back the way we'd come. My fingers warmed right up once we were underway again. Before long, we were back at the side of State Route 18, walking along the shoulder.
My brother had noticed a full black garbage sack beneath the road sign that says "Diamond Valley" and had commented, "If we come back this way, I'll grab that and haul it out." True to his word, he grabbed it and stuck it in his car trunk.
Perhaps inspired by the Geocaching motto "Cache in, trash out", my brother wants to start a hiking club at Dixie State College that includes doing service projects to clean up litter in various areas where there are hiking trails. It's a good idea. I hate litter, and strongly condemn litterbugs bugs myself, and need to do more than just pack my own garbage out.
Although the trail is only perhaps 2/3 to 3/4 of a mile from the road to the summit, it does ascend about 400 feet vertically to the summit at about 4875 feet altitude (according to my U.S.G.S. topographical map). It was the perfect hike for me, not climbing too quickly, and in beautiful country, provinding stunning views from the top.
Thank you, Madness and Mayhem, for a fun cache to find, at the end of the perfect short hike. It was a blast. (Volcanic pun intended...)
P.S. From looking at several maps after having found the cache, I believe that this cinder cone and the surrounding area is within the boundaries of Snow Canyon State Park. No wonder the trail was so well-defined, with sign posts and everything.