Dirt Trail

I wanted to get out for a bike ride this evening, but to make it slightly more productive I decided to do some geocaching along the road that leads from Huntington into the San Rafael Swell. Little did I know what I was getting into. I got my bike and gear loaded after work and drove down and found the first cache at around 4:20PM. There were caches roughly every 0.14 miles along the gravel road and I found myself stopping after every few minutes of riding to find another one.

The beginning of the Dirt Trail geocache series

My view for the afternoon/evening

Stopped at cache #11

On the Dirt Trail

I ended up spending about twice as much time off the bike and I did riding it during the initial part of the ride. I replaced a few of the geocaches that had earlier been reported missing–they were simply film canisters with a piece of paper rolled up inside. The first dozen or so were easy to find, hidden in rock piles just feet off the road. Once I got to the Jackass Flat area, however, there were no rocks in which to hide them. I started finding the caches in small sagebrush or shadscale bushes and it was much more difficult. By the 35th find I was absolutely bored out of my mind. I started signing “Your Mom” (and other silly names) instead of my own name.
Horned lizard

Rabbit brush

Hansenpech was here

Mr. Shadow at the halfway point Monotony

The sun set when I was at the second-to-last cache. I reached the very last when it was still light enough to easily make the find, then rested for a while before starting the return trip to the Jeep. I’d seen only one vehicle on the entire ride so far, but on the ride back I saw four or five–they all slowed way down to get a look at me and, presumably, make sure I was ok. As it grew dimmer I saw what I first thought was a fox crossing the road ahead of me, but as I got closer I realized it was a badger. It was only the third I’d seen in person, and the only one I’d gotten close to. It tried hiding behind a small shadscale bush after noticing me while crossing the road, but I dismounted and walked closer to it. That’s when it hissed and bared its teeth at me.
Almost at the end

The sun setting as I neared the last geocache

At the final geocache of the day

An injured badger that I encountered on the ride back

I stuck around long enough to notice that the badger had an injured front paw, then I let it retreat so we could both go about our business. The twilight was beautiful while the crescent moon got lower in the sky. It was fully dark when I got back to the Jeep. I’d covered 13.8 miles in about three hours and 45 minutes, with the return trip taking less than a third of that. My legs and butt were sore, but it was a “hurts so good” kind of sore. The ride back to the Jeep in the dark was cool and refreshing. It was something I can see myself doing again, but perhaps without stopping to find any geocaches next time.

Crescent moon at twilight

Super grainy shot of the GPS when I reached the Jeep

Photo Gallery

GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Earth .KMZ Format)

GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints (Google Maps)

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