April Camping: Rainbow Falls State Park

This past weekend B and I went to Rainbow Falls State Park for the Volkswagen clubs monthly campout. We arrived shortly after ten Friday night. Jane had secured one of the better group sites we have seen. Lots of space and a cover for foul weather [which we didn’t have thank goodness]. Lots of picnic tables and garbage cans, logs and benches near the fire pit. Pretty close to the bathrooms/showers. Upon arrival we quickly set up our van and joined the group around the campfire for a beer. I was tired and went to bed within the hour but B stayed up until about 1.

There are loads of wonderful flora in this park. All around the site were Trillium in vibrant purple [seen below], lavender and white and Solomon’s Seal not yet blooming. I got many ideas for plants for the woodland area in our yard.

Trillium

We brought Don with us who we met found at our November campout at Baker Lake. We jokingly refer to Don as Carol’s BF. Don is an excellent conversationalist according to Jane. Dug and Mark think he’s a bit pompous [who wears a tux camping?]. After a fabulous potluck breakfast of sausage, omelets and scones we headed out to find our first cash of the day.

Don

Dug, B and I are working on the Washing State parks challenge which is 104 caches located in state parks around Washington. We found this one pretty quickly. Unfortunately the stamp we needed for our passport was missing. Photo of B below with the cache, he’s not too happy the stamp is gone.

B State Park Cache Stamp Missing

We logged it and moved along planning on contacting the cache owner about the stamp. The falls were not that far away but not too spectacular. I had googled the park before we left and was expecting something a little different. You can glimpse a bit of them in this photo below.

Rainbow Falls

We decided to hike along the river trail to see if there was a bigger fall upstream. No dice. Below is a shot of the ranger station built in 1935. This is located near the falls.

Ranger Station

The trail walk was pretty cool, saw a lot of really pretty plants and greenery. At the moment the name of this leaf growing at the base of this tree eludes me.

Beautiful leaves

Some of us wanted to do more caching and loaded in to Dug’s bus with his three dogs. The next State Park cache was located off a highway on a trail that used to be railroad tracks. Dug’s dogs were not used to passengers and had to “fight” for their respective seats in the bus. Sausage [with Mark and B below] normally sits in the front seat which I usurped from him.

Mark Sausage and B

My phone was not getting cell signal so it was pretty useless for any sort of connection to the Geocaching site and navigation. I learned my lesson the hard way and will add caches I want to find in to my phone instead of relying on cell signal. B and I will be looking in to getting a GPS since we often go to places where cell service is unavailable. B and Dug were able to navigate us where we needed to go and I found the cache pretty quickly. Along the way we saw evidence of a beaver dam and trail and old stone pilings for a bridge. This time the stamp was there and this was Mark’s first cache find [we think we have sucked him in].

Marks First Cache

The next cache we tried to hike to and soon discovered to get where we needed to go we would have to hike several miles around along a road to get across a river. We headed back to the bus and camp for a bathroom break and to replenish our water. Jane ended up coming back with us. Here she is below posing with these giant leaves [if anyone knows what they are please let me know in the comments]. The cache was hidden in here and I found it pretty quickly.

***Update the large leaf is called Bog Rhubarb or Giant Butterbur, click here for the Latin name.

Jane and Big Leaves

I also got to log my first travel bug find! A travel bug is a dog tag that the owner attaches to small item. They give it a goal and when you find it you log it and help it with its goal. The goal of this bug is for it to get to the LA area in California. It started out in Quebec in July 2013. B and I are headed to Cali in September on a road trip and will be bringing it with us and deposit it in another cache. You can even view a map of its travels on the Geocaching website.

SuccessAbove, me successfully finding the cache. Below, the travel bug I found.

Domo

We were all pretty tired and hungry after that and headed back to camp for dinner and some R&R. We also wanted to contact the cache owner for the first state park cache we found that was missing the stamp. Due to bad reception we asked to use Jane’s phone and it took about an hour to send an email. Remember the days of dial up internet service before smart phones? Yeah.

Jane brought a dog tag craft and I stamped my own. I think I’m going to hang it in my car from the rear view mirror.

Dog Tag

I was pretty pooped so took a nap after dinner. I woke about 9:30 to find B and a couple other people still up. We chatted around the fire for a while and I found out that the GF of one of the members is from the Canary Islands, Tenerife specifically. I have known her for a while and knew she was from Spain but had never asked exactly where specifically in Spain she was from.

The next day before leaving camp we got a photo of all the busses. There was some craziness going on and “Don” ended up in a few photos too. Dug decided it would be a great idea to place his dogs on top of his van [in this photo you can see two of three, Toby & Sausage].

Dug nad the Dogs

Carol got stuck in a tree tying to take a photo [I think she was trying to get a good angle of Don in the passenger seat of her bus].

Carol up a tree

Don and Carol together at last. What a romance…..

Dona and Carol

We have found that Yoga is extremely helpful in photography of old VW busses.

Yoga Photo

After we left camp we went across the highway to some hiking trails and another cache. We were certain we found the cache but unfortunately it was muggled. The hike was pretty and we saw a small waterfall.

Waterfall Hike

VW’s on the road….. [Dug, Carol & Mark’s vans].

VW on the road

Next stop was the oldest standing church on the west coast in Claquato. The cache here we were not able to get to as the gate was locked. All the VW’s lined up, we had seven in all this weekend [you can’t really see our between the green and brown ones].

Church and VWs

After one more quick cache some of us headed home and the fabulous four [Dug, Jane, B & I headed to Lewis and Clark State Park. This park is closed until May 1st but open to Geocachers all year round. Which is good as there is a state park cache in there! Before we headed in to the park Dug checked his email and we had a reply from the cache owner about the missing stamp. We decided to contact him when we were done and arrange a place to meet as he had provided his phone number. This cache was quite a hike to get to but I was able to find it quickly. The dogs had a grand time running around in a pack.

Mossy Tree

Below, three of the fab four [Jane, Dug & B]. You can see Beej in front of B and glimpse a couple of Dug’s dogs [between the four of us we have six dogs].

Three of hte Fab Four

On the way in to Lewis and Clark State Park we passed a really old looking building with a sign. So we stopped on our way back. It’s the Jackson House. The original building was built in 1856 and served as a home and court house. One of the first evidences of Oregon Trail travelers making their way to the west coast.

Jackson Court House

We met up with the cache owner [he lived relatively close] on our way home and we got our passports stamped. Turn’s out he is the owner of the one that we think was muggled and the one at the church. He had been out to the church the previous day and moved it so said we should log it. Based on our information he said he would rehide the muggled one and said that yes we did find the spot. He was super excited to meet three VW van owners and we had a great chat. He “discovered” the travel bugs on B and Dug’s van and B uploaded a photo of our van’s in front of the church to his cache. He was a really nice man and a pleasure to talk to. A stop at FishTale Brewing for dinner and we were in our bed by 10:45.

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