08-Dec-2007 -- This report details the visit to 34N 118W. On a business trip to Newport Beach, and with much available time, this confluence, along with a handful of geocaches in the Turnbull Canyon area, presented a good recreational break.
Glancing at the DCP page for this confluence, it appeared that we would be the 16th visitors. What we didn't realize until we read the reports later is that most of the visitors didn't make it to the zero point, but took the easy way out with the 100m proximity rule. Either
that, or their GPSs were out to lunch.
After a very enjoyable morning climbing the hills &
walking the canyon trails, we made the interesting drive
through the winding roads and steep slopes to the
intersection of Oak Canyon Dr., and Athel Dr., less than
100m to the northeast of the confluence. My companion,
Annie, and I were ready for the moderate challenge to reach
the zero point; we didn't come all this way to stand in
the street below & make excuses. We entered the forest from Athel Dr., and scouted the
steep hillside to the west for an optimum access route.
Back home in Boston, we would be using crampons on a
frozen ground in early December, but here in southern
California, there was a plentitude of green ground cover
holding down a soft soil. We selected a starting point
south of the confluence and began a scramble up the 45 or
more degree slope. There were a few small trees near the
top of the slope, allowing us handholds, but the majority
of the climb was through this green and prickly ground
cover. The soil yielded to our footsteps, but never
collapsed or crumbled.
Near the top, the knoll flattened out. A variety of bare branched thorny bushes presented minor obstacles. I had 8 satellites on the GPS, and every confidence that we
were in the right place. The zeros finally displayed as
we were about to reach the cliff edge to the north.
I took the directional pictures; moving a few steps from
the zero point to get a distant view. The scenery was
pretty spectacular in this entire general area. As noted
by previous loggers, the wisdom of placing homesteads in
this geologically precarious landscape came into question. The land appeared to be huge mounds of soft soil, held together by those scrubby California bushes that like to dry out and burn every year. Even the rocks didn't seem to be all that solid.
After a short rest, we retraced our steps and descended
the tricky slope, using our prior footprints as stair
steps. Continuing the drive on the sinuous road, we
eventually reached eastbound freeways, and continued our
journey to attempt another confluence, at 34N 117W, later
in the day.