Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Cache - 04/24/16 06:22 PM

I've never done it, nor even thought much about doing it. But I'm currently planning a hike that would be greatly improved using this strategy( actually it would be my back & pack). the trail crosses a road at the half way point where a parking lot and restrooms are located. ( Pacific crest trail section wa-I) having never having done this myself, I'm somewhat reluctant. But feel this is the time to learn a new hiking tactic. Any words of wisdom or experience from the collective? Thanking all in advance
Posted by: wgiles

Re: Cache - 04/24/16 08:33 PM

I am in the same situation as you, but what I have seen about supply caches is to leave it out of sight, but labeled as to what it is, who it belongs to, when you left it and when you expect to pick it up.
Posted by: aimless

Re: Cache - 04/24/16 10:08 PM

I have indeed left caches where the PCT crosses a road both in Oregon and in Washington State. I used five-gallon buckets with lids as the primary cache container. I make sure the contents are well bagged up in ziplocs, often multiple layers of ziplocs. Additionally, I place the entire bucket inside a black plastic garbage bag. Smaller animals can't get in if you do it right. And if the contents are swathed in enough layers of plastic, the food will still have a smell a bear can detect easily from nearby, but the aroma ought not attract bears from any great distance.

As mentioned, I always look for places near to a parking area, somewhere frequently visited by humans so as to discourage bears approaching. I hide them out of sight of people, for example in a hollow stump, in among thick bushes, shoved among boulders with other rocks on top to disguise it. I also labeled each bucket on the outside to identify what it is and request it not be disturbed. I indicate when it is expected to be emptied and when it should be picked up again and removed from the site.

This has worked well for me so far. I've laid a total of six such caches in the past. None has been disturbed when I tapped into them for my resupply.

I would not recommend taking this approach anywhere in California, due to the different attitude among CA bears toward areas where humans gather. A plastic five-gallon bucket just won't suffice to keep a bear out of it. The whole key is that the bears in the vicinity must be shy of humans and not in the habit of getting near where the cache is laid.

One more thing: it is against regulations to leave any caches within the boundary of a designated wilderness area.
Posted by: BrianLe

Re: Cache - 04/25/16 11:18 AM

I'm trying to think where on WA section I there would be a road crossing with a parking lot and restroom, about halfway along. It's been a few years since I walked that last but not that many. You're not talking about Ulrich Cabin??

Anyway, on topic ... :-)
I've done food caches, but always in bear canisters. Hiding them, definitely, a good few steps off the trail in places where no one has any reason to venture. By using an animal-proof container, I don't worry about keeping it too close to human-frequented places (quite the contrary). I also look for a shaded spot that's not likely to flood, that sort of thing.

A couple of things can go outside the can. If I'm also caching water (which sometimes makes sense), water bottle(s) of course. Possibly a fuel container of whatever sort. Even on occasion a clothing change can be nice, though in fact I've never bothered with that. A little charge unit to recharge my phone/camera. That leaves plenty of room generally in the can for just food.
I also find it wonderful to include a little food treat or two, something(s) that will hold up well in the forest, to be consumed on-the-spot, food I would never want to carry. So maybe a can of fruit, small bag of potato chips.

Maybe this is obvious already, but just in case ... if you do walk your cache a "good few steps" away from the trail, it's an excellent idea to snap a photo of the spot where you leave the trail, and voice record or otherwise record in essence a sort of pirate map set of directions to get back ("From the big rotting stump, 13 paces east-southeast to the micro-clearing ... ".

Despite hiding it (well), I too consider it good practice to leave a note on top of the can, giving basic contact info, date that I expect to return to pick up the can, and a friendly plea to anyone encountering the can to not leave me hungry and bereft. My approach to this is to write it on plain paper and then tape that on the can using wide clear packing tape, so it holds up well in the weather.

I've heard of people hanging their food as a cache, and I just --- wouldn't. I've heard of people burying a cache and --- ditto. My opinions, anyway.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

stashes - 04/25/16 01:26 PM

I learned a lesson about stashing "goodies". I had cheese in my stash, so added dry ice. Decided to put one bottle of beer for a treat. When I got to the cache, the dry ice had frozen the beer, which expanded and leaked sticky beer all over my food! Needless to say, I not only had no beer, I had a big mess to clean up and a stale beer smell for the following week.

Many trailheads in California have bear boxes. Although not 100% legal, I have stashed food. I have been careful to make this as small as possible. You must label it and have a return date, or it will be taken by rangers. It is intended for people who park cars and go on a backpack. No food or "smelly stuff" can be left in cars. Some people leave huge coolers of food, so I am not too bothered by taking space with my tiny stash. Bear boxes become very hot so I use dry ice to keep things cool. Anything in direct contact with the dry ice will freeze.

If you use a GPS, get coordinates in addition to a written description, if you stash the food out of sight.

Heat is a real problem. Cheese or chocolate, can become a melted mess. Foods that are not fully dried can become moldy. A black bear can acts like an oven when hit by direct sunlight.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: stashes - 04/25/16 06:23 PM

All very good information and just what I was in need of. I particularly like the idea of a " half way treat " .....the road is hiway 410 and just north of the pass( chinook ) there's a parking area on the west side of the road. which also has the out houses...I believe the n.bound trail crosses the road on an elevated bridge and then follows the road on the west side for aprox. 3/4mile before peeling off to resume it's northward way. this rest area gets pretty busy during the season. and I imagine lots of casual day hikers use this as their start point for hiking along the ridge.
Posted by: aimless

Re: stashes - 04/26/16 10:29 PM

I have been to the Tipsoo Lake Rest Area on Hwy 410 and during high summer it most definitely is well-visited. The rest area itself is on a 1/4 mile spur trail that leads south from the elevated bridge over the highway, while the PCT continues away from the rest area and into Norse Peak wilderness.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: stashes - 04/29/16 09:11 AM

There is also a rest area north from the same bridge. it's associated with chinook over look. not sure about it's age, but has been a fav. motorcycle destination for me for at least 6 years.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: stashes - 05/03/16 04:39 PM

One thing about caching, in addition to what aimless said--be sure to arrange picking up the container ASAP after you empty it, if you can't take it with you.

A few years back, I read the journal of two young ladies who were hiking the American Discovery Trail. When they got to western Utah and Nevada, where they'd pre-cached water supplies the previous fall, they found most of the water jugs empty and had to make a hasty retreat. They rented a car and went around picking up the mostly empty jugs. They discovered, after setting a partly empty jug on the bed in their motel room, that the jug had developed a leak on the seam across the bottom. Sure enough, nearly all the jugs (the usual gallon plastic jugs of drinking water you purchase at the grocery store) had developed the same leak. They replaced their caches and were able to finish their trip with only one leaky jug. Evidently it's not a good idea to do water caches many months ahead!
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 05/03/16 08:25 PM

Yeah, already have a plan to pick it up on my way back home. And planted a day before I start. Bought a two gallon bucket w/lid and have already stenciled my name on the outside. just for the record ( I will be only caching 6-7days worth of food &a few Topo's. So this is as much an experiment as a energy saving tatic. No water-the area provides plenty, thankfully )....I wouldn't consider leaving anything in my wake.
Posted by: wgiles

Re: stashes - 05/04/16 10:04 PM

The cheap plastic jugs that drinking and distilled water are often sold in often develop spontaneous leaks. I keep some on hand for various purposes, like making coffee and mixing antifreeze, and can't tell you how many times one has leaked out while I wasn't watching.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: stashes - 05/04/16 10:35 PM

That's exactly what happened to the two young ladies I mentioned! It didn't help that they set up the caches about 6 months ahead. By replacing the caches just before they restarted in western Utah, enough of the jugs held up that they were never seriously short of water.
Posted by: wgiles

Re: stashes - 05/05/16 06:38 AM

When I buy gallon jugs of bottled water for outdoor activities, I go for the heavier duty ones. I have yet to have one of these leak. I still use the cheap ones around the house.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: stashes - 05/05/16 09:28 AM

I go through a lot of vinegar, and while I haven't done it backpacking, I do sometimes reuse the jugs for water. Works really well.
Posted by: wgiles

Re: stashes - 05/05/16 08:29 PM

I've done the same thing with empty bleach bottles. The problem with bleach bottles is that the caps are designed to be relief valves and will pop off if you drop the bottles. Vinegar jugs are probably better in that respect.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: stashes - 05/05/16 10:31 PM

But how long does it take to use up enough vinegar to free up a dozen gallon containers? I doubt if I've used that much vinegar in my lifetime (80 years)!
Posted by: wgiles

Re: stashes - 05/06/16 08:17 AM

In my case, it would take a long time. I usually keep a gallon of white vinegar for pickling, but it takes a couple of years to use it. I used to use a lot of bleach for disinfection and had a lot of empty bottles to do something with. I had a couple of 500 gallon per day reverse osmosis machines that I maintained, so I would fill the cleaned empty bleach jugs with purified water. Since I don't do that any more, the easiest thing to do is buy the higher quality gallon water bottles and reuse them.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: stashes - 05/06/16 01:03 PM

Originally Posted By OregonMouse
But how long does it take to use up enough vinegar to free up a dozen gallon containers? I doubt if I've used that much vinegar in my lifetime (80 years)!

Well, my situation is unique I guess, my wife and I are sensitive to strong smells and chemicals, so we use vinegar as a general purpose cleaner and as part of our laundry cleaning routine. We go through a LOT of it! Most of the jugs go to recycling.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 01/16/17 01:19 PM

I'm planning and dreaming about this summer's hike....when it dawned on me that I never made a report on my org. post....... My late July solo hike was wonderful! ( I never mentioned it but the hike was north from white pass to snoqualmie pass) I made it a point to visit the local usf ranger station to nail down just where I could stash it.The day before starting I planted my 5gallon bucket with an screw on lid (approx 8-9 $us at h.d. where the orange bucket was also bought) out of sight from any normal hiking traffic. With all previously mentioned precautions ...I found it, exchanged needed supplies and dropped off trash. And was on my way in under 30 minutes- the container was retrieved a day after the hike. I was delighted the way this worked out and l'm planning on it again for this summer, where this tactic WILL be needed, on the 150mile section south from whitepass to the Columbia river. A big thanks to all!
Posted by: aimless

Re: Cache - 01/16/17 09:12 PM

Yeah. When it works and the cache is intact, it is a marvelous tool to stay longer on the trail.

the 150 mile section south from whitepass to the Columbia river

Using the method I described early in this thread I have successfully cached food near the trailhead on Road 5603, just north of the Mt. Adams wilderness. It is remote, not a busy trailhead at all, and there's enough road damage from the winter of 2015-16 that you'd need to consult a ranger station about which access roads are passable. But the caches I've laid there (twice) worked out fine.

Your next decent caching opportunity, southbound, would be as you exit Mt Adams wilderness at Road 521, or just a bit further on where the PCT crosses Road 23 by the junction with Road 8810. These locations are very accessible compared to Road 5603.

Have fun! It's a very spectacular section through Goat Rocks and Mt Adams, and still pleasant on most of the less scenic stretches.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 01/23/17 02:57 PM

Thanks Aimless....have zeroed in on the junction of nf23 & 8810, as my choosen location for the cache. This places it aprox. at the one third mark, by distance & about the half way mark, by difficulty. After the slower goat rocks segment I've heard so much of, from others. Right now it's been raining and flooding for many days now....just right for route planning and formulating this sorta stuff.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 08/27/17 12:29 PM

hike's over and in the record books. and I've calmed down enough to report back on it. I say "calmed" because while on the hike the cache was stolen! Ultimately I'll have to take responsibility for this since I choose the location) I didn't realize how busy the junction of fs23 and 8810 was until on the trail and heard from other hikers how busy that junction really was-too late to do anything but press on.( hidden when no one was around and the bucket was well placed under a log and inside of a black plastic trash bag.) But, when I passed thru, I couldn't find the cache....looked for about 45 minuets before giving up and continuing on my hike. ( as it turned out I packed way too much food in the bpack as wasn't all that dependent on the cache...I would of liked to add the spare gas canister at that point- but I muddled by without, quite fine) after the hike I returned to both, fine AND retrieve the bucket. looked for about an hour and never came across any sign that it had ever been there. live an learn, I suppose!
Posted by: aimless

Re: Cache - 08/27/17 03:43 PM

Very sorry to hear that, the-grt-waldo. It's hard to believe anyone would be so nasty as to filch the cache of a long-distance hiker. But if it had been an animal, chances are they would not have dragged it more than a few feet out of its hiding place before busting it open and helping themselves. This sounds like it was taken clean away.

Maybe the person involved thought they were 'protecting the wilderness' by removing it, as if it were nothing but abandoned trash. Except that spot is not within the wilderness boundary, and anyone with sense could tell it had not been opened, yet, by the person who placed it.

The only other possibility I can imagine is a combination, where an animal ripped it open and a person cleaned it up later. Seems far-fetched, but not impossible.
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 08/27/17 04:43 PM

the bucket was a typical 5gallon bucket( you'all have seen them at homedespot), and was fitted with a screw on lid ( not considered air tite, but close to) I even looked at the t.h. trash container as well as the "goodwill" can. I suspect, if it were an animal there would be plastic bits from the trash bag left from the attempt. thanks Aimless but at this point, I've given this more thought than the impact on me would rate. going forward I refuse to let this dampen my enthusiasm. my posting was more of a "head's up" for others wondering about this tactic. myself I will use it again- only be more selective in it's placement.
Posted by: BZH

Re: Cache - 08/28/17 01:28 PM

Sorry to hear frown It certainly sounds like it was taken. Did you leave a note on the cache with your name and address and date of retrieval? Sometimes people don't understand what a cache is for and will take them thinking they are removing garbage (or they think they have found a ong lost treasure...)
Posted by: the-gr8t-waldo

Re: Cache - 08/29/17 11:35 AM

Yes BZH, the bucket had a note taped to the outside with all needed information including my home telephone number, dates, etc.. As well as a low tone plea not to disturb. out of security concerns I didn't include my address ( don't want to compound things by giving out a good address to rob while the owner is out hiking). fwiw it's been at two weeks since my arriving at that intersection while on the hike). all this leaves little chance that it was taken by accident. to date, I haven't received a telephone call about it either.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Cache - 09/02/17 12:53 PM

Unfortunately some thru-hikers now are planning on extra food being available, either by asking other hikers, or in the case of the PCT, this year, some mailed supplies are not used due to trip cancellation. In this case the extra is lert in "hiker boxes". In one trail journal, when the hiker box was empty the thru-hikers actually were angry, because they felt entitled to the free food for no carrying weight. In another trail journal, one PCT hiker was depending on JMT hikers (this trail parallels the PCT for a long section through the Sierra) to give them their excess food, because JMT hikers usually are less experienced at planning long trips and overpack food. I find this disturbing.

Some over-zealous "environmentalists" take it upon themselves to remove caches, whether leagal or not in addition to cairns and trail signs.

But I guess the sliver lining of your experience is that in the future you can pack less food than you think. Sometimes it is a learning lesson to run out of food. You managed, nevertheless.
Posted by: HPD

Re: stashes - 09/06/17 10:37 AM

Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
I learned a lesson about stashing "goodies". I had cheese in my stash, so added dry ice. Decided to put one bottle of beer for a treat. When I got to the cache, the dry ice had frozen the beer, which expanded and leaked sticky beer all over my food! Needless to say, I not only had no beer, I had a big mess to clean up and a stale beer smell for the following week.

Sad story frown
You can freeze beer but not in a bottle. Best to try it at home first as some brands in cans survive the freezing better than others. Fat Tire goes through the process unscathed but haven't seen it in cans much outside of Colorado. I think Tecate also worked for me.