Seven Hours of Father Son Time is Priceless

There was a time when I used to go out by myself, before my caching partner came, and I would pick up 15 to 25 caches in a day. Part of the reason for this was that when I started Geocaching there were many caches to be found in my area. As the years have rolled by, almost five years in total, the number of available finds for the Hkrs around Flagstaff decreased to a trickle. The Hkrs have let the local caches build up in the last year so that we can go and grab a cache within a 20 mile radius again. Sunday we did just that.

Flagstaff, AZ is blessed with forest access and beautiful summers. We took advantage of this and accessed the local trail system. We decided to grab just four caches today. All four of these caches are located in an area called the Dry Lake Hills. This is a depression left when a lava dome was built up under the soil. It raised up the earth above it some 1000 ft. Eventually the overlying soil was eroded away and we were left with the forested hills just to the North of Flagstaff. During the whole experience we were never more than 4 miles from our home.

This is Johnny strollong down the Sunset Trail on our way to the Brookbank Trail and Cache

This is Johnny strolling down the Sunset Trail on our way to the Brookbank Trail and Cache

We arrived at the Sunset trail head at close to 900 hrs and started up the hill. We made it to the top of Sunset Trail #23 within an hour and a half as we always have a tendency to just check things out. Shortly after the trail tops out it swings downhill until it meets up with the Brookbank Trail #2. Our first cache was on this trail. It was called Brookbank Trail surprisingly and was a pretty easy find. We rested here for a while as mountain bikers whizzed past us not even seeing us sitting near the cache location. We drank some water and headed out again.

Brookbank Trail Map

Brookbank Trail swings around a hill and then it is up hill again before it heads downhill one last time towards Elden Lookout Rd. We jumped off on the West side of the nob and followed a trail that led us down into the depressions that are known as the Dry Lakes. There are times in the spring when there is water here and sometimes after a good monsoon rain the lakes will fill up as well. In the spring the area is full of wild flowers.

This is the old road that leads through the Dry Lake Hills

This is the old road that leads through the Dry Lake Hills

We walked halfway through this area past the first lake to an overlook. It overlooks our home and work and school. We kicked back here in the shade for at least a half hour eating our lunch and drinking more water. The whole time we ate we were only 250 ft away from our second cache, Dry Lake Hills. The beauty of this location is that my daughter and I had lunch here close to 10 yrs ago when we first moved up to the area. I had talked her into going for a hike and we had lunch in the same place. Times and the company changed but the view and area were just the same. Johnny thought it was neat that I had been here before with his sister.

An old grove of Aspens

An old grove of Aspens

We grabbed the Dry Lake Hills cache which required bushwhacking. This is the type of geocaching we enjoy. We love to be in the forest with the feeling of no one being around. There are no trails to follow except game trails. For those not familiar with bushwhacking, you generally look for trails that deer or elk use to travel through the forest. Animals have a tendency to use as little energy as possible to get from point A to B. A 500 lb elk leaves a very easy to follow path where the undergrowth has been trampled already, making forest travel much easier.

Johnny found this cache and then we bushwhacked our way to Celtic Ridge. We followed game trails the whole way to a rather tangled mess of tree trunks and branches. I found this one and then off to the last cache of the day. This was 500m of bushwhacking and down a rather steep grade. From this location we were able to see the beginnings of the Taylor Fire that had started the night before. It looked enormous already and was throwing up a bunch of smoke and ash.

This is the Taylor Fire Smoke and ash after only 12 hrs of burning. Forests on fire are a fearful site.

This is the Taylor Fire. Smoke and ash is clearly seen after only 12 hrs of burning. Forests on fire are a fearful site.

Now it was back to the Pot_Bellied Pig. Three  miles later we were sitting in the Pig and unwrapping tootsie pop suckers and cold drinks. Some cold Gatorade for Johnny and my traditional post hike Quart of Buttermilk. We rolled home and cleaned up and had a nice dinner with the family, my daughter even came over with her boyfriend. After dinner and when everything died down I looked at the track-log on the GPSr. It read a little over 10 miles. We were tired and now I knew why. It was a great day though with lots of exploration and father son time.

7 hrs of Father/Son time ... Priceless

7 hrs of Father/Son time ... Priceless

Seven hours to do four quality geocaches? If we had our way all our geocaching would be just like today.

Until next time,

Mark & Johnny
The Flag_Mtn_Hkrs


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] Flag_Mtn_Hkrs have a neat post about a recent geocaching excursion. Nice […]


  2. Posted by geonarcissa on August 26, 2009 at 13:09

    Looks like a great day. Thanks for sharing!


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