06-Aug-2009 -- I’ve been following the DCP since it started (Alex is the son of my friend Dick Jarrett). I’ve never taken the time to go out and bag one until my family came out from Massachusetts to Clear Lake in California. Before we came out, I looked up the closest point to where we’re staying and it was none other than the oft-visited 39°N 123°W. Given that this is vacation, I figured that taking time out for what some unenlightened folk might consider frivolity is exactly what vacation is all about!
So on Thursday morning, August 6th, I asked who wanted to go on an adventure and out of the 12 other people vacationing here, got a full 3 people who wanted to come along: my daughter Mariah, my brother-in-law Charlie Lawrence, and his daughter Maya.
We were somewhat under-prepared. I had a printout of the most recent visit (#8) which luckily had the coordinates of the road to turn off of Rt. 175, but had them strictly in decimal whereas my GPS gave the readings as minutes plus a decimal fraction (e.g., 122° 59.97876‘). We did not have a pen, pencil, or paper in our rental van and trying to do an exact conversion in our heads was beyond the capabilities of a couple of engineers. We also did not have a California highway map in the van, but I had a pretty good idea that we just had to go around Clear Lake and get on route 175 West.
175 West was a VERY winding climb up into the hills and I found myself pulling over at most every pullover spot to let the locals who were more highly attuned to the twists and turns blow by me. Charlie did yeoman’s work as navigator by watching the GPS coordinate display as we traveled. We initially went by the turnoff and did a U-turn at the first opportunity which was a ways down the road. We came back, took the correct turnoff at the (now marked) gravel road. As we traveled this road, it appeared that we were getting further away from the point, so we did a very careful 5-point turn (careful because lack of care would have sent us on a one-way trip down a steep slope).
We drove back out to 175 and stopped to try and determine where we were in relation to the turnoff that was specified in the write-up on visit #8. It was there that we discovered the lack of pen and paper to do the aforementioned coordinate conversion, but then Mariah mentioned that she had a calculator on her cell phone. Saved! So we did the conversion and realized that this was in fact the correct turnoff. So we headed back up the gravel road with Charlie following the detailed directions that the previous visitor had written (thank you!) and came to within the 250 feet that had also been mentioned by the previous visitor.
I did a bit too much confluence “dancing” at this point before realizing that it might be best to go up the path that the rest of the group was going up to get a better view. All the numbers were heading in the right direction! At the end of the path, it was almost solid scrubby brush, so I decided to go ahead to find the point before calling back to everyone else. Amazingly I found a somewhat clear “path” right to the point which was conveniently on a clear patch of dirt. Victory!
Now I’m thinking that when we get back home to Massachusetts, I’ll try the point closest to us which just so happens to be the historic first-point-ever (43°N 72°W). And THEN maybe a trip to Canada to bag a brand new point, and THEN… :-)