An Article from Aaron's Article ArchiveRevisiting Shinob Kibe
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Revisiting Shinob Kibe
Saturday, 05 March 2005 5:05 PM MST
Cache Maintenance: Shinob Kibe Cache by Astounding (That's me, of course! *smile*)
Benchmark Visited: Airway Beacon 37B or HO00622 of the Los Angeles to Salt Lake City Airway route (circa 1930)
(For a larger resolution version of the photo, visit my Wallpapers web site section.)
Saturday, 05 March 2005
Between 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM MST (-0700)
With the weather so nice (it was cloudy and overcast, but not raining, and the temperature was nice and cool), I had to get out and go hiking somewhere. But where? I recalled having read a recent cache entry mentioning that my Shinob Kibe Cache had some junk in it, so I decided to go replenish the cache -- a perfect solution to my hiking needs.
On my way through Washington (the community immediately to the east of where I live in St. George, Utah), I stopped at Wally's World and picked up a few cheap trinkets to replenish the cache with, then crossed the busy Telegraph Road and checked out the Gandolfo's Deli there (I'd never been to a Gandolfo's Deli before) and ordered a sandwich, bottle of water, and some chips. Since I hadn't had lunch (though it was getting late in the afternoon), I would have a one-man picnic atop the mesa.
Fully equipped with cache-replenishment supplies and food, I wound my way quickly through Washington, across the Virgin River, and into the neighborhood where the trail head is at the foot of Shinob Kibe. I parked my car in the cul de sac, grabbed my camera, food, and trinkets, then headed up the hill.
The hike up Shinob Kibe is short, but it climbs rapidly. My seemingly eternal state of being out-of-shape makes hikes like this one a sequence of hike-then-rest, hike-then-rest, at least during the steepest parts, with lots of associated huffing and puffing. As I started out, a dog in the back yard of one of the homes decided that I might be an intruder, barking earnestly at me, until the owner called out, "Stop that! Be quiet!"
I took the first part of the trail a little too fast, wanting to get up the trail quickly. By the time I took my first pause, I realized that if I wanted to make it up the hill, I'd better slow down and not try to do this anaerobically, or else I'd be exhausted before I reached the bottom of the cliffs above.
During my pauses, I extracted my camera from the plastic Wal-Mart bag I was carrying everything in, and took some pictures. None of them turned out very interesting, so I won't bother uploading any.
Recent rains have made the deserts of Southwestern Utah turn green. Hearty desert mosses that cling to the more protected nooks on rocks that are so often dried out and black, were a rich, verdant green. Desert grasses and plants were sprouting everywhere, carpeting the landscape. The rain-soaked clay of the hillside was deeper and richer in color compared to the dry summertime hues that seem more washed-out, almost as if sun-faded. Tiny desert flowers were beginning to bloom. I expect that as springtime comes this year, the desert is going to be stunningly arrayed with color and life.
Even with all my pauses to catch my breath, it wasn't long before I was above the line of the cliffs, atop the lower side of the mesa, where the trail then takes off across the top, still climbing the sloped top towards the southeast. Here, where the trail wasn't as steep, progress was much quicker, and I didn't have to stop and rest so much.
Before I knew it, I'd arrived at the concrete arrow at the summit, the higest point of the mesa along the southern edge, just a few feet from where I'd hidden this cache almost five years ago. (Well, a bit over four-and-a-half years -- Has it been that long ago? How times flies when you're having fun!)
The first thing was to check on the cache. There it was, the container hidden where it should be, looking a bit more weather worn, but still in excellent shape. I extricated it from its hiding spot, and took it and my sack up to the big rock near the edge. There I sat down and opened the cache.
I quickly thumbed through the log notebook. It appeared to be about half filled with log entries. Wow! I opened my sack of goods and pulled out my sandwich, and began to read the log entries of the many visitors to the cache while I munched a delicious Gandolfo's sub.
That was fun. Sitting on a rock, enjoying a sub, and reading the comments so many visitors left. It reminded me how much I enjoy cache hunting, particularly when I'm not rushing from one cache to the next, but instead take the time to linger at an interesting cache site and enjoy the surroundings.
Shinob Kibe is a beautiful spot. And the winter precipitation has really renewed the surrounding desert. My eyes lingered on the new colors the moisture has brought out. The sky was mostly cloud covered, with gaps here and there, and Pine Valley Mountain to the north stood out, bedecked in white with snow. The sandstone hues of Sand Mountain to the southeast, of the foothills below Pine Valley Mountain north of Washington, the black basalt of ancient lava flows now exposed atop ridges surrounding St. George's cental valley, the unusual greenish carpet covering the gray lumpy hills immediately below and south of Shinob Kibe, including Washington Dome where I'd been with my brother just last week, all of the interesting topography gloriously arrayed in rich color, softly lit by the cloud-obscured sun -- it all combined to bedazzle my senses. It was beautiful. The solitude was peaceful, in spite of the white noise of traffic rising from the community nearly surrounding the mesa and the noise of the freeway to the north.
After finishing off my sandwich and salt-and-vinegar chips completely, having only managed to read perhaps two-thirds of the log entries, I decided to check out the cache contents and add the trinkets I'd brought with me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the cache was in reasonably good shape as far as contents went. I cleaned out a few trash items and stuffed in a slinky, deck of Phase 10 cards, wobbly-bouncy-colorful-ball-like thing, and four toy cars. With my additions, the cache box was quite full, with barely enough room left for the log book.
I stood up to stretch my legs after sitting so long. I took out my camera and began wandering around the rocks, taking snapshots randomly. Then I meandered back to the concrete arrow. There, beside the concrete, was a patch of deep red Indian paintbrush blooming. I'd not seen any Indian paintbrush anywhere else on my hike, only this little patch by the arrow. I took a picture of the arrow, then got down close to the ground, put my camera in macro focus mode, and snapped a close-up of the paintbrush.
I tried to take a few more shots in hopes that one would turn out nicely, but my camera informed me that my memory card was full. Curses, I'd forgotten to put in my gigabyte flash card, and was instead using my older 256 megabyte card, which had shots still ono it from the January flood.
Back to the rock where the cache lay exposed, I sat down again and took out a pen, thumbed through the notebook to the previous finder's entry, then began writing a new entry of my own. Before I had much more than a paragraph written, movement caught my eye.
Below me, winding their way up the trail across the top of the mesa, was a family, heading my way. Out in the lead were some children, the parents further back along the trail with another child. They were heading my way. "What if they are looking for the cache?" I wondered. I didn't want to deprive them of a search, so I abruptly ended my log entry, repackaged the cache, and lept down off the rock and scrambled in a round-about way back to the hiding spot.
With the cache safely secreted once more, I returned to the rock, gathered all signs of my picnic, stuffing the trash into the Wal-Mart shopping bag, tying it closed so nothing would fall out on my return trip, then headed down the trail.
In a few moments, I'd reached the hiking family's forward scout, a young boy. I smiled and said hello, and he politely replied. Next was a young girl, then the rest of the family. They too were pleasant in exchanging greetings, but I didn't pause long enough to talk. I hope they didn't think me rude.
The trip back down the hill went very quickly, as downhill treks often do. Back at the steep part, though, my knees reminded me that I don't do this often enough, that the muscles used going down steep terrain don't get used in daily life. (As I finish this several days later, it's those downhill braking muscles that are a bit sore.)
Even though I'd taken a bottle of water up the trail with me, I'd finished it off during my picnic. So when I reached my car, I was grateful for the large cup of water I'd brougt with me and left there. I guzzled it down in gratitude.
My dashboard clock read 5:55 PM MST (-0700). I must have been up on top for almost an hour.
That was a fun hike!