The last event of the Block Party weekend was the Ape Cache. In 2001 Groundspeak partnered with 20th Century Fox on the release of Planet of the Apes and created Project Ape which was a series of caches with artifacts from the film placed in Geocaches. First ones there get the best swag.
There is only one Project Ape cache still active, in Brazil. Never fear, there is one inactive just north of Seattle and is reactivated for the Block Party weekend. WSGA presents Mission 9: Tunnel of Light which we attended Sunday.
“Not all that wander are lost”…..J.R.R. Tolkien
We got up early and met our Geocaching friend Dug to caravan up to the event site [above, Dug with his three dogs and B]. We did not bring Beej as he does not handle masses of humanity combined with the dark very well.
We parked at the forest service parking lot and suited up for our adventure heading about a half mile to the staging area. The event went live at 10:00 AM as far as the lab cache list [there were 5] that we had to procure using a QR code reader. We purchased some swag, did a few lab caches and then headed out.
We would be hiking on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail which is a total of 253 miles and spans the state from northwest to southeast. The part of the trail we were hiking is found in Iron Horse State Park near Hyak ski area and a majority of it through an unlit Snoqualmie train tunnel 2.3 miles long. It’s part of the rails to trails project.
Just before we enter the tunnel we stopped to get our 21st find on the State Parks Geocaching challenge [we were prepared with our passport and the stamp was there – yay!]. The day was a pleasant one, slightly overcast but sunny, inside the tunnel the temperature drops several degrees and you notice water dripping from the ceiling. It’s actually kind of creepy. The second cache we were looking for was inside one of the alcoves along the tracks. As we went deeper in to the tunnel [thank goodness for headlamps] we noticed green numbers spray painted in the alcoves counting down. That was certainly helpful to keep us on track of how far we had to go. The next cache [Bloody Fingers/Dirty Diapers] was easy to find and we met up with Fenrir.
Most of the caches that day were easy to find as they were left out and a line quickly formed where people just passed the log along it. That was a bit annoying but I can understand since there were over 1,000 people participating that day. I managed to get B near the cache site for the photo below.
Moving along the tunnel we soon met the halfway point and were eager to be a the other end. We stopped for a “12” photo opp. An homage to our local football team, the Seahawks. The photo below has a very X-Files quality to it I think. Lit only by my headlamp.
Dug had to turn back as Sausage, his Corgie was done walking. He generally keeps up with the two bigger dogs but today was just not his day. Gus [seen in the photo next to him] takes every opportunity to nap when he can. Dug has done this cache before so at least he didn’t miss out on the end.
Soon we could literally see the light at the end of the tunnel. B and I were ready for some sunshine and sunlight.
After emerging from the other end, we stopped for a bathroom and snack break and to look for a couple other caches before we headed the next half mile to the Ape cache site.
After 3.5 miles of hiking and a few hours of Geo and lab caching we finally reached the end, but not before we stopped to get a photo taken. I feel for the dude in the ape suit in the 70+ degree weather.
Finally the end of the road for us. Project Ape cache. This is not where the original cache was placed but in a clearing that gives ample room to cluster around for photos, discover trackables, visit with other cachers and sign the log. We could even see the highway we had driven up earlier that morning.
We stopped to chat to a lovely couple from New Zealand and then headed back. Once we were at the van I decided to take a nap. Dug and B were headed for a terrain level 5 cache that would be easy to grab as the lake water was down.
Back down the mountain we headed for home. The photo below is a shot of where we had been earlier that day. You can barely see power lines in the photo. At the end of the lines to the left is where the tunnel comes out.
Right near home we stopped for a new cache placed a few days ago. This one was clever and will be an Awesome Geocache post soon.