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Thread: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Invitation to join casual hiking group in San Jose area.

    If anyone is interested I go hiking with some former co-workers, and we tend to finish up coming back in the dark. We hike in the San Jose and Santa Cruz mountain areas. The age group currently ranges from 38 to 60 and many are light rail and bus operators at VTA. We have been gradually growing in size since two of us started doing this last November.

    We average 5 miles of walking a hike although we've done a few 12+ mile hikes. Most of the group wear the River Rock or other brand headlamps and carry various backup lights. Wearing a hydration pack and having a lunch is almost essential, and everyone now carries an FRS in the event of separation.

    We usually meet on Tuesdays or Wednesdays and we mainly go to county and state parks. Last hike was exploring the old mining community of Almaden/Quicksilver Park with ghost towns and mine shafts. On a previous hike I've located many of the train tunnel portals built in 1880 that run through the Santa Cruz Mountains.

    One of the next hikes in December will be the Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell State Park. It's a flashaholics dream with lush creeks, redwoods, lime kilns, historic ruins, geocaches, etc. If anyone is interested in joining us, please let me know and I'll keep you informed. It’s a lot of fun and a little exercise too.
    Last edited by LowBat; 10-29-2006 at 12:57 AM.

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    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    I'm in if I have the time when you give word of the next hike schedule

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    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Quote Originally Posted by CromagNet
    I'm in if I have the time when you give word of the next hike schedule
    Welcome! I'll keep you informed of our next hike in December. We usually got together more often but some of us are away at the moment.


    Here are some pics of previous hikes. Please pardon my cheapo digital camera.


    North train tunnel portal at ghost town of Wrights near the Lexington Reservoir. This tunnel was a mile long at goes under the Santa Cruz Mtn. Summit.


    South portal (open for 700 feet until you reach the spot where it was dynamited shut in 1942).


    View from inside with small hiker wearing Garrity Fun-tastic LED markers.


    San Cristobal Mine Shaft entrance in Almaden/Quicksilver Park.


    Night view of San Jose from Almaden/Quicksilver.


    Berry Creek Falls in Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

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    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Ok, next hike will be either Monday Dec. 12th or Tuesday Dec. 13th. I'll know soon which day and PM/email those that expressed an interest in joining the group. I do know we'll be hiking in the Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Meeting time at yet to be determained carpool location is usually around 2 pm; return time is about 8 pm. It's a 50/50 mix of daylight and darkness.

    A useful link: http://www.bahiker.com/southbayhikes/fallcreek.html

    Last time I was at Henry Cowell I encountered these reenactors:

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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    COOL! a long "dark" tunnel!

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    I got a call to join a hike at the last minute to the top of Mission Peak in Fremont. Sorry I didn't have time to spread the word. It was a 6.6 mile roundtrip (including a 1/2 mile navigation error) with an elevation gain of 2163 feet. We reached the extremely wind blown summit an hour after sunset (see pic) and navigated down with a caravan of flashlights.

    I did pin down a date and time for the next hike to the Fall Creek Unit in Felton; it will be Monday, Dec. 12th. Gathering to take place at the Almaden light rail station near Blossom Hill Road in San Jose at 1 pm. I will be PM/emailing those that expressed an interest. Others who are interested feel free to post here or PM me.

    Pole at summit of Mission Peak, Fremont, overlooking the south bay area. (My digital camera hates darkness)

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Nice pictures LowBat!

    Hey I work painting the LRV platform. Don't know if you're one of the drivers for the Kinki Shariyo but if you are, chances are you've seen us/me painting or flagmanning.

    So next week Monday is the hike eh? I'll have to check to see if I can make it. By the way, are those Trekkies in the woods? Just curious that's all. . .
    LUX'Ottica

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    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHC
    Nice pictures LowBat!

    Hey I work painting the LRV platform. Don't know if you're one of the drivers for the Kinki Shariyo but if you are, chances are you've seen us/me painting or flagmanning.

    So next week Monday is the hike eh? I'll have to check to see if I can make it. By the way, are those Trekkies in the woods? Just curious that's all. . .
    I was an S unit on swing shift so I may not have met you. Most of the hikers are LRV operators and you may know some of them.

    If you can make it Monday remember to take a flashlight; and most of us wear the small backpacks with built-in hydration bladders and take a small lunch.

    The group in the picture (www.pinkfive.com) were making their own version of "Return of the Jedi". The Henry Cowell Redwoods closely resemble the ewok forest which was filmed near Crescent City, CA.

    Hope to see you Monday CHC if you can make it.

    Larry
    Last edited by LowBat; 09-08-2008 at 06:03 PM.

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Hello Larry!

    Thanks for the invite. I'll try to see if I can make it with you guys. I have a CamelBak Rim Runner that needs to have its bladder exercised too!

    Hoping to join ya'll!
    LUX'Ottica

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Sorry that I can't make it for the hike Larry. I remembered that I have a memorial to attend.

    Maybe on the next go 'round. Thanks for the invite!
    LUX'Ottica

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHC
    Sorry that I can't make it for the hike Larry. I remembered that I have a memorial to attend.

    Maybe on the next go 'round. Thanks for the invite!
    No problem, I'll keep you posted. CromagNet came out and filled his backpack with about a dozen flashlights of assorted makes, sizes, and mods. We hiked about two hours in daylight and then spent two hours lighting up the forest. I definitely have no night vision when so many flashlights are running. It was sort of fun having so much overkill.

    Not yet sure where next weeks hike will be. There is talk of the Pinnacles down south and exploring the Bear Gulch cave http://www.nps.gov/pinn/visit/bgstatus.htm. Note they don't want lights shined at the bats. I'm thinking this might be a trip better done in January. There is a somewhat new park we also may want to explore: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...s/13309514.htm

    Wherever we end up going, the invitation is open to those here on CPF. I think more CPFer's need to get out with their lights; the backyard just isn't the same as a trail through a dark forest where you can really appreciate what your flashlight can do.

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    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Yes, the backyard really isn't the same as actually using the lights to navigate a dense forest and exploring the darkness with piercing Alephs.

    Here's a link to my Night-Hike Mini Light-Performace Review

    Let's do it again soon

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Thanks and I agree with what the statement of the backyard isn't the "best" place to see how the flashlight perform. The outdoors is an excellent place among many other places.

    I've been to the Pinnacles right off Airline Highway, and to that short jaunt of a cave to the upper lake.

    I'll check back here often.
    LUX'Ottica

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    In my night hikes I think the best one for flashlights was the Forest of Nisene Marks in Santa Cruz. There is a trail that follows a century old railroad line through not-to-dense trees (due to extensive logging, that's what the train was for) and some interesting terrain features. Powerful lights can project through the trees for some distance. If enough local CPFer's express an interest I'll arrange a special night hike to this park.
    Last edited by LowBat; 12-13-2005 at 06:42 PM.

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    There you go! Now let's see what those HIDs and Mod.Mags can do! ! !

    Oh and Hey Yes! And them HeeedLampers too!
    LUX'Ottica

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    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Got the pictures up now

    That's Ron on the left, Jorge on the right and (Lowbat) Larry peeking behind yours truly.

    Here's the type of terrain we were navigating under darkness.

    .

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Whoa! What a terrain to traverse in the dark eh? I tink you need da kine lights ya? I'm guessing, besides a multiplicity of lights, long-running flashlights would be in order if it'll take a couple of hours in the dark. Not to mention spares!

    Great pictures on this thread!
    LUX'Ottica

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    If you notice in the pic we all carry FRS radios. The rule of thumb is to keep them off to preserve batteries until one or more hikers are out of sight. Becoming seperated is not uncommon for any sized group and communication is a must. On this hike we had two wrong turns that were resolved by radio. The first being the last guy on the trail took a wrong turn and we noticed he wasn't at the rear anymore. When he radioed he wasn't near the creek anymore we know he was off course and asked him to retrace his steps to the creek and pickup the correct trail again. Within minutes he rejoined the group where otherwise we would have lost him. The second snafu is when we all stopped to test lights, and later two of us started out up the S-cape trail. The remaining three soon headed out but didn't see the direction sign and went the wrong way. I could see the powerful lights way behind me and I assumed they were following me. Soon the lights behind me were gone. I wasn't able to make radio contact. The solution was to bump up the FRS power to 2 watts and then the others heard me. It must have taken ten minutes of both groups walking towards each other before we made contact.

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    With the downpour we've seen as of late, looks like a Monday evening hike is going to be quite muddy—wouldn't you say? Don't want to have any mud obstructing light emission from our flashlights. But then again, that's one way to test the natural "environmental impact" on our particular flashlights other than just around the house, shop, parking lot, shopping malls, etc. . .
    LUX'Ottica

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Sometimes we hike every week, sometimes we skip a week or two. Yes the mud is an issue; I did a night hike (different group) in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in Alamo last Monday and we were sliding both up and coming back down the trail. I took only the Fenix L1P and found it to be an excellent trail light. I changed out the NiMH cell once on the return trip.

    Nothing is planned for this Monday, plus I have to work. Looks like 2006 for the next outing, I'll post when it gets planned.

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    I wonder what that Bay Area Ridge Trail Hike would be like since it's a 500 mile hike around the ridge tops encircling the San Francisco Bay Area? 300 miles is already open I believe. . .

    Have you tried out the Sierra Azul trails? It overlooks the town of Los Gatos and seems to attract the more "vigorous" hikers.
    LUX'Ottica

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    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHC
    I wonder what that Bay Area Ridge Trail Hike would be like since it's a 500 mile hike around the ridge tops encircling the San Francisco Bay Area? 300 miles is already open I believe. . .

    Have you tried out the Sierra Azul trails? It overlooks the town of Los Gatos and seems to attract the more "vigorous" hikers.
    No I haven't done the Sierra Azuls and I think you have a good idea.

    http://www.bahiker.com/southbayhikes/sierraazul.html

    http://www.openspace.org/preserves/pr_sierra_azul.asp

    I'm not too familiar with the ring around the bay trail since it was purposed many years ago. 500 miles seems way to high of a mileage number to circle the bay as the bay area is about 80 miles long. Maybe if the trail is extensively windy and goes much further east then necessary can I see such a high number.

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    *Flashaholic* CLHC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Looks like for any future hikes in 2006, I'll need to be in shape which I'm not. . .
    LUX'Ottica

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    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Quote Originally Posted by CHC
    Looks like for any future hikes in 2006, I'll need to be in shape which I'm not. . .
    What, have you ever seen a VTA bus or light rail operator in shape? I'm sure you'll do just fine and have a good time.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Next Hike:

    Pinnacles National Monument

    Wednesday, January 11th

    Meet at Almaden Light Rail Station for carpooling at 8 am. Travel time to the park is 1 hr 45 min (75 miles) from San Jose. In addition to hiking to the summit, we will be exploring both the Bear Gulch Caves and the Balconies Caves, and flashlights are a must! We we complete a loop of about 10 miles by days end.

    Anyone who would like to join us please contact me by PM.

    Larry
    Last edited by LowBat; 09-08-2008 at 06:05 PM.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Just got back from our Pinnacles hike. Everything went great! Sorry for those here on CPF who wanted to go but couldn't make it out today.

    We hike something around 10+ miles in 8 hours including lunch and rest breaks. We explored two seperate cave systems, a reservoir, and the summit. None of my inside the cave pictures came out as my cheap digital camera couldn't produce enough of a flash.

    First small tunnel before the Bear Gulch caves




    This should be a welcome sign for CPFer's.




    Exiting Bear Gulch caves. It wasn't easy squeezing and ducking through rocks with our backpacks.




    Bear Gulch reservoir.




    On "High Peaks" trail. Steep and narrow in places.




    View looking east from the Pinnacles summit.




    Four of today's five hikers descend the summit.




    Occasionally I get a really cool picture. This is the Pinnacles topped with a little fog.




    On the tunnel trail. You can see how it got it's name.




    We reached the western side of the park and looking back where we had hiked down from.
    Last edited by LowBat; 01-12-2006 at 01:15 AM.

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Awesome pics! thanks Larry. Wish I had the time to make it, I've always wanted to go to pinnincles.

  28. #28
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Next Hike:

    Monte Bello Open Space Preserve

    Wednesday, January 25th

    Meet at the Campbell Home Depot parking lot on Hamilton Avenue near Hwy 17 at 3pm for carpooling. We are hiking the 6 mile loop trail.

    Anyone who would like to join us please contact me by PM.

    Larry
    Last edited by LowBat; 09-08-2008 at 06:05 PM.

  29. #29
    Flashaholic* CroMAGnet's Avatar
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    Ohgeez Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Well I finally recovered enough to post a bit about this Monte Bello hike. First, the technical specs. 8-Hours, 11.5 miles, traversing 2800ft of elevation and yes of course in the dark with our flashlights.

    We started at 4pm with a gradual uphill climb from the parking area up 600ft to the 2800 summit ridge overlooking the beautiful Bay Area all lit up at night. We easily tracked down about six geo cache locations but the was a lot of light pollution from the clouds and city lights. Not enough to satisfy this flashaholic. So I pointed down to the valley floor where the coyotes were calling us. So instead of finding a trail down we decided to blaze our own trail "straight" down 1100ft of dark steep forested terrain.

    The first hour down through the thick brush and briar was pretty uneventful as we could still get a sense of where we were but it all changed about half way down. The terrain was covered with moist leaves and large boney broken branches with scattered Douglas Fir trees and thick Ferns to manuever around. Then it started to drizzle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monte Bello Preserve
    "one is likely to see red-tailed hawks or turkey vultures soaring overhead, or a coyote or bobcat hunting for rodents in the fields. Herds of black-tailed deer are often seen in the grassland in the fall during the mating season. Mountain lions have been spotted occasionally on this preserve. As the trail descends into the forest, the temperature drops, the air becomes moist, and the scent of bay trees pervades the air."
    Ok so two hours and we're still slippin' an' slidin' and fallin' into the darkness, eventually meeting up with a vertical decending creek and a few extreme waterfalls. Doesn't look like any of the pics came out though. Finally, six hours into the trip we get thru the brush, leaves and rocks, arriving at the forest floor canyon trail. whew!

    Following the misty trail back towards the trailhead the fog and drizzle turned to rain and we pulled out our ponchos. I pulled out my mp3 player to listen to some of my favorite Rush songs. Little did we realize that we would climb another 1100ft before we realized that we had taken the long way back adding another 3 miles to our journey. Tired feet and aching muscles brought fleeting images of jacuzzi spas, fluffy pillows and a warm bed or how about just the heated seats in the car 2-miles away! It seemed like our adventurous spirit and sense of accomplishment was left fueling the last few miles of our climb back to the comfort and sanctuary of our waiting cars and a change of clothes. 12:00am

    Flashlight notes: Lowbat had his SL ProPoly LUXEON which is a good thrower and his Fenix L1P. Both light were excellent for this trip. I had the L2P with lo/hi mod, A19 for a smooth wall of light and Minitrois trilux for Long distance. We also had a few headlamps. I was using the Tikka XP mostly for a basic constant flood. Our friend Bill was using my Elitemax CPF edition with 35x35000mcd mod. lots of lumens and good for walking but not much throw.

    Things I learned from this outing was that it would have been nice to have brought a long throwing narrow beam light for versatility. Maybe my 5500 LUX Aleph3. Also a nice option would have been an Nflex mod to my TriLux cutdown 2D Mag. It would have had the runtime, flood and throw without affecting night vision on low.

    I also notice that when it got foggy and started drizzling the headlamps were not helpful. Just like a car the light was reflected back at you so the thing to do was to hold a narrow beam thrower below waist level for the best visability. Which reminds me... We all turned off our lights half way down in the thickness of the forest and it was absolutely black. There was nothing, and when we turned a light on low it had a similar effect as having them on high. With all the lights on high it really killed our night vision and we wasted a lot of battery power. I could have used by NG1000 LiON with the 10 ohm lo mode for a lot of that section.

    The fenix were excellent, if not too bright but the next level would be having A2 and A3 heads from the Aleph or a A19 and a 20mm Magmod or Q3 mod with a UX1K NG750 for a tight narrow beam and maybe a different tint for foliage. I'd have my 10 ohm twisty 2-stage tail on these single cell LiON versions holstered to my belt with four spare LiON batts. The Tikka XP was a good headlamp and I would have probably preferred to have one of the new TacTikka Plus 80% brighter models. [/b]

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* LowBat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invitation to join casual hiking (at night too) group in San Jose area.

    Nice write-up Tony; let me add a few pics.



    Trailhead



    An early view of what's ahead.



    Today's group.



    View from Black Mountain looking north (Dumbarton Bridge in center).



    Stopping for lunch soon after Jorge was stung by a hornet.



    William unpacks a geocache he located.



    Even with a GPSr loaded with topo data and a paper map, I still made several navigation errors adding miles to our adventure.
    Last edited by LowBat; 01-27-2006 at 06:06 AM.

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