"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Where the Wild Things Roam

Placerville, CA
Storm Valley Ranch

This cold foggy, morning found us roaming at sunrise as we were on the hunt to be "First to Find" on a cache 30 miles away.  Are we crazy?  Kind of.  It's very difficult to be the first one to find a geocache as there are people who will go out no matter the time or weather or location.  We're not that crazy, but we did want to find this one and spend the day doing some hiking by Auburn.  So with a Starbucks and breakfast sammy, we were off. 

The fog and the sun danced and created beautiful scenes all around us.

The last of the fog lifting over the American River.
After several false starts, due to the cache owner publishing incorrect coordinates, we were finally on the correct trail.  Luckily she responded to our questions quickly as we got up awfully early to find this cache.  She felt really bad about that.
Loved the color on this twisted old Manzanita tree.

There are a lot of large, colorful mushrooms growing this time of year in the dampness.

We covered about 5 miles on the trail before we found it!  YES!  A blank log!  We couldn't wait to sign it and claim it as First to Find.  Problem was we dropped our pen somewhere along the way.  Oh no!  What to do when you don't want to hike back to the truck to get another?  You sign with an acorn of course!  OL 12/16 is all I had room to write as I didn't want to tear the paper and I wanted it to be legible. Our geocaching name is Outdoor Lover.  We also put a note to the cache owner letting her know what happened and to leave proof we were actually there.
On the drive back we did several more caches.  One took us near the Foresthill Bridge.  It is the highest bridge by deck height in California, and the fourth highest in the United States at 730 feet above the river.  It opened in 1973 and spans the North Fork of the American River.  The bridge can be seen in the beginning of the 2002 film XXX in which Vin Diesel's character, Xander Cage, is seen driving a stolen red Corvette off of it, then jumping from the car mid-flight and parachuting to the bottom of the American River Canyon.  Unfortunately it has also been the site of more than 70 suicides since its construction in 1971.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article85417052.html#storylink=cpy

"X" Marks the Spot was another cache.  Almost.  Turns out someone had stolen it so we'll have to wait for the cache owner to replace it.

More hiking and caching with my friend Tina brought us to a mudslide along the trail with Placerville's lovely red soil.  We planned another stop at Timmy's Brown Bag afterward to try out another sandwich. 
The Apple Corned Beef was another winner!
Tina's husband, John, was promoted to Grand Master of the Placerville Masonic Lodge.
Congratulations John!  Thanks for inviting us to the ceremony! They hope to go fulltime as well in the near future.
Our niece, Courtney, works at the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.  What's the difference between a Zoo and a Zoo Sanctuary you ask?  Well Courtney informed us there are no breeding programs at a sanctuary. 

They were having a special Festival of Lights at the sanctuary so we went to see our niece at work.

Here is Courtney by the Tiger enclosure telling us all about Misty.

The bear is very well trained and knows this command, UP, means he gets some nutritional treats.

Henry, the bear, knows to put his snout part way through the cage.

This is the best picture I could get of one of the wolves as he was pacing back and forth so quickly and my iPhone just couldn't keep up.

This little guy was so stinking cute!  Too bad I could not get a good picture of him at night.  he is a Kinkajou.  They are tree dwellers and related to raccoons.
And back at the Ranch, this hen Mallard named  Quackers is quite spoiled!  She'll follow you around and she loves to come in the house and watch TV.  My brother is a duck hunter and poor Ruger, his black hunting lab, has had to learn to put up with the duck which has decided she loves to sleep in his doghouse too.  Oh the shame of it!

Merry Christmas to all my faithful blog readers!  Soon it will be New Years and then we'll be back on the road with so many other fulltimers heading to warmer locations.  For us, that's back to Arizona.    Here is an appropriate Travelers Blessing:
May the wind always be at your back
the sun always upon your face.
May the wings of destiny carry you aloft
to dance with the stars.


  1. Wishing You and Steve a Safe and Merry Christmas and if you are around Quartzsite for the Big Tent we may be able to sit and visit.

    It's about time.

    1. Thank you, and to the both of you as well. We will be in Q for the last 2 or 3 weeks. We'd love to meet you!

  2. Great post and pictures. Glad to see you got the FTF. Looking forward to seeing you next month. We want in on the get together with Rick and Kathy too 😎 Merry Christmas.

  3. Merry Christmas to you Steve and Hurley! Funny story about your FTF adventure, looks like a great area to hike.

  4. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2017. Safe travels and we'll see you in Q! 🎄🍾

  5. Merry Christmas!! It was great to see you both this afternoon! Thank you for the gifts, we'll have to put them to good use soon! We're thinking we'll be caching either tomorrow or Monday. But for sure next week as we'll be leaving Tuesday for a few days in Mendocino :-)

    1. Your welcome! Thanks for fixing Red! He looks great! Have a blast in Mendocino!

  6. Congrats on your FTF - and your creative writing instrument! That first photo is magical. Poor Ruger, but Quackers is such a cutie - gotta love critters who make themselves at home :) Wishing you and Steve an adventurous new year.

    1. Thanks Jodee. Good thing the acorn worked! The heavy fog was creepy but beautiful. And cold.

  7. Great Christmas lights and FTF. We are going to have to figure out how to find the night caches. It might not be real safe in AZ with all of the holes to be avoided.

    1. Ya I'm actually not too keen on creeping around in the dark. Especially if it's near a home or business. Don't want to get shot! Not to mention wild animals on the trails!

  8. Loved the pictures. Miss you guys. Hope to see you in Q


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