This camping trip was to visit B’s aunt and take her to a Cirque du Soleil show, Verekai for her birthday. We invited a couple of our VW camping buddies along for some Geocaching and yummy breweries.
After hitting Geocaching HQ in the morning we met up with Jane and Dug to caravan over to Spokane. After a stop for lunch at Campus U Totem burgers in Ellensburg we made it to the campground around eight that night and immediately set up camp. I had a couple friends running in the Bloomsday race Sunday but we were too tired to head out to a piano bar that night to meet up with them. We settled around the campfire with some beer and chatted about plans for the next day.
The next morning started out cold but quickly warmed up. Jane received some sad news her father was not doing well and she headed back home after breakfast. B and I had been to this campground last September. One of our goals this weekend was to work on the Washington State Parks Geo Tour. On the way to the first cache stop of the day we discovered an Earth Cache [special geological location people can visit to learn about a unique feature of the Earth]. This one was the Bowl & Pitcher in Riverside State park [pictured below is the bridge downstream of it]. We went a short distance to a lookout where were had to determine the answers to a few questions about the geology of the area.
After coming down from the lookout and crossing the bridge pictured above most of the hike was moderate. Then we came across this hill of slate we had to climb. I was a bit nervous but we made it up just fine. Beej was a champ.
The cache owner hid a clever distraction quite near the cache. A hollowed out book with a dollar in it. We were not deterred and found the cache shortly in a small natural rock cave. This was called Bowl & Pitcher and on our Geo Tour list for Washington State Parks caches.
All along the road to the campground there were tons of these flowers that looked like a cross between a sunflower and a daisy. I later learned from the campground host they are Balsam. Along the road in to camp were several of these rock cairns stacked among the flowers.
After helping B’s aunt out for a short time in the afternoon we rewarded ourselves with dinner and adult beverages at No Li Brewing. It’s right on the river and of course we sat outside. I had an amazing steak salad and a pretty hefty Big Bang Barley Wine [10.5%] followed up by the Rise & Grind [6.1% ale with coffee and chocolate flavors].
After dinner B and I had to finish up helping out his aunt and Dug decided to go exploring. We met back up at camp and discovered Dug talking to our camping neighbor, a lovely gal named Tai who was in town from Helena, MT to run the Bloomsday race the next day. We ended up hanging out at her campfire for the evening instead of doing a night cache.
Sunday was really cold and we got a later start than we wanted to. After breakfast we headed out to find our first of two WA State Parks caches for the day – Nine Mile Rec Area. Our GPS took us on a roundabout way to GZ [ground zero] and we passed it once but soon located the cache and added it to our log. The second cache for the day was Mount Spokane. This was about a mile and a half hike both ways. There were fabulous waterfalls along the way as well as pieces of mica glittering on the ground. I left a trackable there in the cache. B found it as I was distracted by Clematis in the woods.
Above B at a waterfall and below Dug with his three dogs at the same waterfall.
On the way down the mountain we did a virtual cache [discovering a location rather than a container]. These types of caches are now archived. You cannot create new ones. This was my first virtual cache and we had to take a photo of us at the Mount Spokane sign. We were running a bit later and unfortunately B’s aunt was not feeling well. We went on to Verekai without her. True to form the Cirque du Soleil show was full of color and music and amazing acrobatics. The clowns in this show really made me laugh. If you have never gone and seen a Cirque show you should go! This was my sixth.
After the show we went to Steam Plant Brewing [the stacks below all lit up for Bloomsday]. The Lilac Bloomsday Run was born during the running boom in the late 1970s and shortly after hosting the World’s Fair in 1974. It grew every year and currently over 50,000 runners participate every year. It’s one of the biggest timed races in the world. We arrived in Steam Plant to score seriously good parking and it was happy hour! I had the Jalapeno ale followed up by the Huckleberry Harvest Ale. I just love the Jalapeno but could only handle one pint.
Sunday night after the show we went to The Flying Goat for dinner. Amazing pizza and beer selection! We had a half Cleveland [Yukon gold potatoes, cheese, apple wood smoked bacon & caramelized onions] and half Fairview [cream cheese, house smoked bacon, pear, bleu cheese & balsamic reduction] pizza. I had a Sucaba from Firestone Walker to wash it all down.
We were full and happy and headed back to the campsite for our last night in Spokane. Before heading off to bed I nabbed this photo of the moon from our campsite [notice the glowing WA state parks sign in the lower right].
We got lots of sleep and woke to another cold Monday morning. A campfire, some coffee and brekkers was in order. After packing up we headed to visit B’s aunt and say goodbye. We headed out through the historic Nettleton area to downtown [picked up a cache there of course].
The night before at Steam Plant we noticed Spokane had several virtual caches and we decided to try to nab a few before leaving town. I’m so glad we did. We discovered a beautiful 1914 hotel, The Davenport. We wandered through the lobby, checked out the ballroom and Peacock Lounge and of course nabbed the virtual cache. Photo below is of the Davenport lobby [B is in awe!].
After that stop we headed to Riverfront Park for two more virtuals and an earth cache. The river literally runs right through downtown! Below a photo of a sculpture dedicated to Bloomsday [this is where the race ends] and was part of one of our Virtual caches.
The other earth cache was of the falls.
We nabbed some coffee at Atticus coffee and headed out of town. B really wanted to nab one more cache for our WA State Parks challenge and we knew we would likely never be near Cheeney again so we headed out that way. It was a half mile walk on an old railroad bed [seems to be a popular way to make trails round these parts] and made the grab. It was hot out and Beej was done is so B carried him for a bit. This photo below will always be known as B’s accessory.
There is another challenge called the Delorme challenge where you have to log a cache in every page of the Delorme guide pre 1997. We are up to the challenge and figured rest stops on our way home were a good way to get caches in areas that just don’t have a lot to see. There were four rest stops on our way back home, we stopped at them all and found a cache in each. There was one clever one in particular that I favorited.
We arrived back in our driveway around 11 that night and quickly fell in to bed. Another weekend of camping, hiking and geocaching under our belts.