Posted by: ramblinrobert | July 26, 2010

Rock City, geocaching and alien pods

This past weekend my friend Allison’s regular potluck group had our monthly potluck–plus a few day’s worth of additional meals–at Mt. Diablo State Park. The food was great, as usual, with my contribution coming mostly from the garden. My Friday potluck contribution was pesto made from homegrown basil, and Saturday’s scrambled vegetable dish was made from all homegrown veggies: tree collards, two varieties of string beans and two varieties of summer squash. Conversation wasn’t quite as intense as our regular potlucks, since we had all weekend to mellow out and enjoy the warm weather and beautiful outdoors.

But, this trip wasn’t just about food and conversation. We camped under the live oaks, avoided the poison oak on the hillsides, spent a good part of Saturday exploring the neighboring geological features at Rock City and tried our hand at geocaching. Most of us were new to geocaching, so this was a fun exercise in learning to use a GPS device as well as learning some of the culture of geocaching. In short, geocaching involves using a GPS device to navigate to a specific location identified by a set of coordinates, then looking for a hidden box with a logbook. Boxes are typically ammo boxes (as shown in picture at right) or a plastic container (held by David in picture below) and usually also contain swag  (trinkets to trade) and occasionally a travel bug. We found both. Special thanks to David and Jean for introducing us to this activity. Thanks to Steve for the photos.

We visited three sites. One of the locations was pretty cool geologically. The hints from the geocaching website said something like “you’re there when you see the alien pods.” We all agreed that this was a perfect description of the rock formation. You can see how large a feature it is by comparing to David’s height in the photograph.

The full moon made for a beautiful hike Saturday night. Several people said they heard owls and coyotes during the night, but I wasn’t so lucky. Both mornings (or was it evenings?) a large family of quail came wandering through the campground. All in all, it was a great weekend, part vacation and part staycation.

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