After you've parked your car, look towards the north for
the wood railed path and stairs heading down towards the lake. Take
those stairs down to begin your hunt!
#1 - Rock Garden Box
As you reach the bottom of the stair path, you'll come to a clearing.
To the right and left, you'll see well-traveled paths leading off into
the trees. Just in front and slightly to the right of center, there is a
third, not so well traveled path with wood-reinforced steps leading down
to the lake. Take the center path and follow it as it winds to the left.
After a brief walk, you'll come to an area at the base of the dam we
dubbed the "Rock Garden" though it is mainly concrete, not
rocks. Yes, you can walk around there and the dam wall is fun to climb
In almost the exact center of the rock garden there stands a palm,
rather like an oasis in this odd man-made desert. If you walk to the
palm and around behind it, you'll see the "wire rocks" - take
care of young ones around these, some pieces of the metal are sharp and
rusted. Stand between the wire rocks and the palm and use your compass
to find a bearing of 230-degrees - otherwise known as southwest.
Walk 20 paces at 230-degrees, being careful of the concrete boulders
in your path. This should put you two paces up a slight rise and facing
an impassable mass of brush and dead growth. Look down at this dusty
hill, about 3/4 of the way from the top. The box is hidden under the
dead tree roots and branches, lightly covered with some ground
#2 - Hungry Duck Box
Head back to the palm in the center of the rock garden then continue
across the area to the opposite side from which you started. You'll see
a clear path heading off to your right, into the trees and bushes. It
starts near the really good climbing rocks which are worth a stop to
Take care on this trail as it does get narrow in parts (less than 3
feet wide) and is prone to weather erosion in spots. You'll continue
along some gently rolling bumps as the trees and plants cause the trail
to rise and fall slightly. On your right, through the reeds, lies
Franklin Canyon Lake Upper Reservoir, now home to an amazing abundance
After a brief walk in the shade, you'll come to a clearing down at
lake level with a lone, rather ugly, bench set to face a busy, noisy
bird nesting area. If you have food with you, watch out - they go
through bags and duffels so tame are these birds. On the day we planted
the boxes, we counted ten species of waterfowl alone in this one spot.
Also to be seen here are quails darting across the path and the equally
As you stand in the clearing, enjoying the birds, turn around and
look behind you to spot the squat three trunk tree just opposite the
lake. The box is on the left side, under a fourth trunk that never grew
out fully, buried lightly under some seed pods.
#3 - First Step Box
Continue along the path once more as it goes up a slight, very
slight, rise. At the top, you'll see a path to the left which leads to
the street - you don't want that path. Take the path that leads to the
right and back down to the lake. You'll be going right past a picnic
area but, if you aren't starving, there is a nicer one ahead so wait on
A short distance past the large picnic area, you'll come to wooden
steps that lead up to the road. The next box is located under the bottom
most step, the "First Step", behind some broken pieces of
wood. Take special care here when reaching in to make sure no critters
are there first.
#4 - Spider Box
Go up the stairs. If you are doing both the Upper Series and the Lower
Franklin Canyon Series, now is the time to switch to the clues for
the Lower Series. Otherwise, turn right, taking the road along the southern
most edge of the lake. The view in all directions here is superb.
After about 300 yards on the road, you'll see a second, smaller
lake-type body of water on the left. A few feet further reveals a sign
indicating the start of the "Wodoc Nature Trail" on the left.
Head that way and take the paved pathway around the small pond. The
waterfowl and squirrels here are even more pushy.
As the path winds around to the backside of the pond, you'll come to
another picnic area (this still isn't the nicest one, unless you want to
be bugged by ducks and squirrels). While standing in this area, look to
your right, away from the lake. You'll see the mountain is rather
optimistically held up by a short wood retaining wall. Just beyond the
wall in this spot, you'll see a clearing and the hint of a trail heading
back further into the canyon.
You want to take this small trail - yes, it is a trail people can use
though it is very overgrown beyond the box. About 10 paces down this
trail, still within sight of the pond and picnic tables, you'll see a
tree has crashed down across the path. Step over the tree and go two
more paces to where a trail cuts off up the mountain to the left.
There is a small, squat shrub at the intersection of the two trails,
just below where your right hand should be. The box is hidden amongst
the heavy roots and plant debris at the base of this shrub. During the
summer months, you may have to lift the old, brown growth to find the
#5 - Gnosis Box
Return to the main road and turn left so you are heading the wrong
way (on foot) down the one-way road. You will soon pass a wood-looking
shed on the left then a very large, generally sunny, parking area on the
right. Head into the parking area and find the wood railed path on the
right - there are two here, one on the left, one on the right.
Directions are given from standing on the road, facing the parking area.
Take the wooden steps down, ignoring the side-paths that shoot off
and remaining with the wood until you reach the bottom. Bear left and
follow the path to the promised picnic area, which is actually located
just below where you parked.
After lunch, continue along the path until you find yourself once
more in that large clearing you visited at the start of box #1. In the
general middle area, there stands a very proud and beautiful redwood
tree with few branches below 10-feet above the ground. Around it's base,
you'll find some small, new growth as the seeds result in baby trees
flourishing, at least temporarily. Around the back of the tree, under
some of this new growth, hides the final box in this series, right at
the roots of the parent tree.
Note: In this clearing, there are two redwoods. Only one has growth
that hits the ground fully, the other is rather like a natural umbrella
over the path. You want the umbrella tree.
After you finish enjoying the scenery, the path to your left, up the
hill, returns you to your car.