Back to IBM, no visitor’s pass required

My friend Sam asked me to help with a Geocaching class on Sunday; even though I’d looked at the maps, I hadn’t realized that the trail was on IBM property until I got to the trailhead. Fortunately, no visitor’s pass was required for access.

Trailhead Sign - IBM Easement
Trailhead Sign – IBM Easement

There were about 40 students and 8 docents. After a short lecture and a group discovery of the first cache, we broke into small groups; I had two families in my group, with children ranging from 4 to 10 years of age. Since one family had brought a stroller, I decided we’d take the steepest part of the trail first (uphill).

The views from the trail were interesting, but not picture-worthy. I did find some nice California poppies on the way, though I suspect they were a pale remnant of what I would have seen earlier in the spring.

California Poppies
California Poppies

The second cache was only a few hundred yards up the trail; it was easy to spot, not least because there was another group at the cache when we got there! We waited a few feet away until they re-hid the cache, then turned the kids loose to find it, which only took a few seconds. Everyone was happy.

The happiness didn’t last, though. The trail to the third cache was long, uphill, and full of switchbacks, and enthusiasm flagged. About the only high point was this flower, which was blowing in the wind so hard that I had to steady it to get the photo.

white flower
Mariposa Lily (thanks for the info, Sam!)

After we collected the third cache, things got better – we were more than half-way through the trek, and it was mostly downhill from there. And the caches were more closely spaced, too.

In fact, the fourth cache was only about ten minutes away. On the way, I confirmed that I was, indeed, very near my old stomping grounds at IBM Almaden Research

B-Wing from the trail
B-Wing from the trail

and found one more interesting flower, “Farewell to Spring”.

Clarkia amoena
Clarkia amoena

The fourth cache required some exploration but the kids found it without resorting to the hint (“Troll”).

The fifth cache was slightly off-trail in a field of high grass…well, except for the grass leading directly to the cache. The kids found it immediately.

Cache number six was made obvious by the trampled grass, too; cache seven took a little longer but yielded to determined seekers.

We were on the home stretch now; the last cache was one of the hardest to find, but still only took a couple of minutes before one of the kids got it (far sooner than I would have seen it, I must admit!).

And then it was a quick jaunt back to the assembly point, where my charges returned their loaner GPSes. I’d be interested to know if any of them continue caching, but I’ll never know unless I happen to see them at a cache or a get-together.

I’ve created an EveryTrail map of the hike.

Thanks, Sam, for inviting me along!