This months Kombis camping trip was scheduled for Manchester State Park. We left home and planned to take the ferry from West Seattle across but traffic was horrific. We decided it would take us less time to drive around then to wait for the next ferry.
We arrived at the park just after nine and quickly got a fire going in the space Dug had set up. Roman and Elena showed up about an hour later. Jane – our fearless camping den mom had a cold and could not make it.
After breakfast the next morning we set out on a walk and some Geocaching. The first Geocache was a quick one near the parking lot. Then it was off to explore the park and get the state park cache which happened to be a multi cache. This is where you get several clues for additional waypoints or the final cache. The clues happened to be at the three main buildings still standing in the park.
The park originated as a fort established by the Coast Artillery Corps in the early 1900’s and was called Middle Point. It was intended to help defend Puget Sound from incoming enemy watercraft in conjunction with Fort Ward (across the water on Bainbridge Island). The primary purpose was to protect the Bremerton shipyard by operating a minefield set in Rich Passage. The fort was developed in a hurry but was shut down soon after in 1910 when it was decided that the defenses at Fort Ward were enough.
Three original structures remain. A large brick torpedo storehouse is the central feature of the park’s day-use area and to hold underwater mines (during that time, the word “torpedo” was a term for underwater mines). The storehouse was later used as an officer’s club, barracks and mess hall, and is now used as a picnic shelter.
The small concrete building to the east of the storehouse [seen below through a window of the storehouse] was a mining casemate that held controls for remotely operated underwater mines.
Battery Mitchell lies along the park’s shoreline. The concrete structure was completed but never fitted with the pair of rapid-fire three-inch guns it was built for. As was the practice at the time, the battery was given the name of an army officer who had given honorable service, in this case Lieutenant Robert B. Mitchell who served with the Artillery Corps in the Philippine-American War and died in 1904.
During World War Two, the property was converted to a Navy fuel supply depot and fire-fighting station. The property was declared surplus by the federal government in the 1960s and was acquired by Washington for use as a state park in 1970. The park is named for the nearby town of Manchester.
Last May we had come to Manchester trying to get the state park cache. We noticed too late it was offline and being moved. We emailed the CO [cash owner] to see if it would go back online while we were there. We got a notification it was ready to go as we were leaving the park Sunday night. We finally had a chance to come back and redeem ourselves and stamp our passports.
We tried to find another cache on the trail but it was elusive, B later went back with clues from the CO and found it.
Below, Geo Beej wanting to move on from finding the elusive cache.
That night we had stew we had made in our crockpot Thursday night and Dug provided stuffed squash he cooked over the fire.
This is what we call camping clean. Using a piece of bread to sop up the remaining stew in the pot. Dug refers to it as a life hack.
It was really cold and Dug’s dogs wanted cuddle time. Below is Gus on Dug’s lap, then Sausage and then Toby who usurped Beej’s chair and blanket [Beej was in the van].
I didn’t make it past nine that night. I was wore out from the cold and the adventures of the day.
The next morning we had breakfast and finished off our firewood so we could move on for more caching. We had planned to get at least four more state park caches that day.
B Movember Week Three.
Next stop was Twanoh State Park which derives its name from the word tewa´ duxq. Twana, Twanoh, or tewa´ duxq refers to the territory that encompasses the entire Hood Canal watershed. It is comprised of nine Indian villages of which Skokomish is the largest and where most of the descendants of these villages reside today.
Before becoming a state park, the land was logged in the 1890s, and a meandering trail through the forest reveals springboard notches carved in cedar trees from early logging practices.
We tried to get this cache last July but attracted a gaggle of interested kids who would not stop following us. The area near the cache had a lot of muggles so we sadly left this one for another day.
I love the historic park buildings which were constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. They remind me of Adirondack camp buildings.
We found this one quickly and were soon on our way to Potlatch State Park. The area was known as Enetai, meaning beyond, to the Skokomish Indian Tribe. The Indians set their winter villages here and held potlatches [gift giving ceremonies] in the area. We chatted with a tribal officer for some minutes before we were on our way.
This cache involved hiking up behind the camping area. It was a pretty steep climb which was quite a workout for me. We found it pretty easily.
Next stop was Triton Cove State Park, a day use area with boat launch. This was a quick park and grab. We were in and out in less than two minutes [well except for Dug and B picking up a bunch of fresh cut cedar someone had left in the parking lot].
Last on our list was Doeswallips State Park which closes at dusk and we were losing the light quickly. The park was formerly called Dose Meadows, the flat fields of this park were old homestead sites prior to their existence as a park. Old rail beds are still in place where logs were hauled from the mountains down to the water prior to being floated to their destinations, ships and mills around Puget Sound.
This cache was located along the trail to the marsh. There was an excellent viewing tower where you could see out in to the canal. We were lucky enough to grab this one before it became completely dark. We had driven in to the camp area and soon found you could not get to the cache from there. The camp area was recently flooded and vacant.
All this caching deserved some nourishment, we decided to head to Sirens in Port Townsend where we had been a couple weeks before and I had that awesome Mexican Hot Chocolate – Adult Version. If you go there, get the pumpkin donuts. YUM! The icing it comes with is sooo good
It was still early enough after our meal we decided to get some caches in town.
The cloud cover over the area was so cool looking. Below, the moon peeking through the clouds.
An older building from the street looking up at the clouds. Kinda creepy cool.
First up was one that lead us out to a warf. It was a difficulty four [five is the hardest] and was a memorial to a local cacher who had passed away and was famous for mystery and haunted caches in the area.
We had headlamps and felt up to the challenge. B and I both had an idea of what the cache would be like as we had a found a similar one a few months back. We were proud it didn’t take us long and we were correct.
B wanted to do a virtual cache and on the way to it we came across this fountain of Galatea.
On the opposite side of the fountain were these steps. They were originally built of wood and are not as deep as normal stairs for ladies in their corsets and heels to navigate more easily.
View from the top – yes I climbed them after being full from dinner. You can barely see the fountain below.
We continued on to our destination about the Fire Bell Tower that was built in 1890 and refurbished in 2003. It’s the only one of it’s kind standing.
Back down the stairs we went and when we got to the bottom discovered we had passed a cache halfway up [or down depending on your preference]. We headed back up and quickly nabbed it.
That concluded our adventures in Port Townsend. We headed to the Kingston ferry and were soon home in our bed.
Port Townsend is a great little port town to visit and I plan to return [especially for two other state park caches].