28-Nov-2004 -- On the way back from a square dance weekend in Oxnard, there were no geodashing dashpoints close enough or accessible enough to visit. However, the confluence at 36N121W is one I had not yet visited and is only a few miles west of our intended route north on Hwy 101 near San Ardo, CA. We decided to give it a try although it might be pushing it to get there with sufficient daylight to complete the mission. We exited Hwy 101 on Paris Valley Road at San Ardo and then went west on Lockwood San Ardo Road for about 4 miles. Taking advantage of the experience of previous visitors, we drove directly to the trailhead mentioned. A mile or so away, we could see and especially hear several people taking target practice with large (sounding anyway) guns.
It was close to 4:00 PM when we arrived so with only about an hour and a half of daylight and significant elevation loss and gain, Cheryl decided to remain with Betsy (her Honda CRV) while I made the trip as quickly as possible. I took the FRS radio so we could maintain audio contact. The trail was very steep but was easy to follow. I descended over 1000 feet in about 20 minutes, but I knew the return trip would be a bear. I marked the bottom of the trail with a waypoint on my new GPSr, or so I thought. I found the somewhat hidden opening to the clearing at the bottom of the ridge. Getting to within 20 feet or so of the confluence was easy; getting to zero was not so easy in the dense chaparral.
While I saw all zeros several times, photo #6 was the best I could capture with my camera. (BTW, the time in the photo is my home EST, 3 hours later.) There was still sufficient light to take a round of photos. Photo #1 is of the confluence that is about 20 feet into the chaparral. Photos #2 through #5 are taken about 140 feet from the confluence at the edge of the clearing.
Daylight was fading fast so I turned south to start my climb back up the ridge. It was then I discovered that for whatever reason I either didn’t get saved or couldn’t retrieve the waypoint marking the bottom of the trail. I spent 20 or 30 minutes fighting through the chaparral searching for the trail. Cheryl was a bit worried when she climbed to the highpoint of the trail near Betsy and called on the radio at the appointed hour (a little after 5PM) and I reported that I was lost. It was not long after that, however, that my compass and intuition led me finally to the trail. It was almost dark but the trail was easy to follow. I have good night vision so I did not need to use the flashlight I had brought along just in case. It was very steep and slow going. Cheryl had turned on Betsy’s parking lights so she was easy to find in the total darkness as I emerged from the trail at the top a little before 6PM. I was sure my legs would feel the climb the next day. (They did.)