23-Sep-2007 -- "Twelve Zeros" – that was the name of the geocache that we decided to place at N 40° 00.000' W 120° 00.000'. After considering all the possibilities, we decided that this is the only possible cache location in the state of California that could have twelve zeros in its coordinates. Most cache locations give exact coordinates and a detailed description about how to find the cache. We decided that this one would be an exception. All we would give is the cache name. Serious cachers should be able to figure out the rest.
Not only is this cache a challenge due to the lack of a clear set of coordinates, it is a challenge due to its physical location. The confluence is at 1900 meters on the side of a remote mountain. There are no trails or any other amenities in the area. The roads are not marked and seem to be only occasionally maintained. This is clearly a forgotten corner of the Golden State that has more in common with the nearby Silver State.
Nick and I chose the first day of fall for our attempt. We were equipped with a 4WD Toyota pickup, two GPS receivers, maps, and the descriptions from the previous confluence conquerors. It was raining as we drove north from Reno. The "Street Vibrations" celebration had been this weekend and there were thousands of Harley riders in town. It was pitiful seeing them riding north in the rain. Every possible refuge was crowded by riders trying to stay dry or get warm. Fortunately, for them and us, the rain began thinning at about noon and had completely stopped by 1 PM. The sky remained cloudy and there was a stiff breeze from the north.
It took a while to find the right road. Street signs were absent so we went way too far on Hackstaff Road. We finally figured out our error and backtracked to what we presumed was Homestead Road. We expected to park near the bottom of the peak near the abandoned cars and climb the 500 meters to the confluence. Fortunately the road proved to be better than we anticipated and we were able to drive to 1675 meters elevation and 1.35 kilometers from the confluence. We approached from the west and went laterally into the spring area and then climbed up and around the peak to the cache area. The area around the spring had apparently been used recently for cattle grazing and there were some good trails. As we got higher, the trails disappeared and there were long stretches where we were climbing up through rocks. At other times we were walking in loose sand. The hike was about 2 kilometers each way. There had been a fire area and most of the former juniper trees were standing charred sticks. There were occasional live mature junipers that seemed to be thriving.
We arrived at the cache site about 40 minutes after leaving the truck. We spotted the cairn well before we arrived. Both our Magellan and Garmin GPS receivers zeroed out about 2 meters north of the rock pile. The cache site was on the southwest side of the mountain and was somewhat sheltered from the north wind. We placed the cache, took pictures, ate lunch, and enjoyed the view for twenty minutes before heading down to the truck.
Here is the video taken from the confluence.