Tag Archives: geocaching

Cuba

The word Cuba conjures images of American cars and quaint homes, both colorful and well, old. The 1950’s called…..

When we heard a few years ago that Cuba was being opened up for Americans both B and I were really interested in seeing the island before it changes drastically. 

In a few short weeks B and I are traveling to Cuba by way of a cruise ship. We are bookending our trip visiting friends in Tampa. We will use a rental car to drive to and from Miami where our cruise ship docks. It’s a short four night cruise which I am fine with. Seems like a good way to see if you like cruising to me. We get to spend one full day and a night in Havana then a day on the cruise companies private island in the Bahamas.

There are 13 Geocaches in the city. B and I have mapped out the ones we think we will have time to get + yay another country souvenir! Then we sail to NCL’a private island in the Bahamas.

We hope to visit a few places such as the Camera Obscura, Burns Vista Social Club & La Bodeguita del Media bar (a Hemingway haunt),  while in Tampa we plan to visit the Tiffany Museum & the Salvador Dali Museum.

Don’t worry, I will post a follow up when we get back!

Geocaching: Awesome Cache Hides: Loading Dock

OK so travel bug hotels are hit and miss in popularity. Honestly the ones that are locked or protected in some way stand a better chance of travel bugs moving on and serving their purpose.

This travel bug hotel is pretty near where I live and – AMAZING! The effort that went in to this is pretty excellent. 

Loading Dock: difficulty 1, terrain 1.5, size large, hidden 1/27/17, we found 4/1/17, favorites 66.

Official Geocache description: Welcome to the Bounce, Bounce 520 Bellevue Travel Bug hotel. We pride our hotels in providing a safe secure stay for all travelers staying at Each location. Bounce, Bounce hotels, a step above all other Travel Bug hotels, strive to provide a unique caching experience and great enjoyment for the whole family. Our goal is to have a 100% satisfaction/favorite rating from all our visitors. We welcome any feedback you have For future property improvements.

PLEASE MAKE SURE WHEN TAKING TRAVELERS YOU REMOVE THEM FROM THE INVENTORY OF THE CACHE.
To unlock the hotel, the code will be in order RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW. Feel free to play with the buttons and knobs but PLEASE make sure all the lights are on when you lock up the container. Please feel free to contact me @ xxx-xxx-xxxx if you need any assistance.

Please take photos/selfies in front of the cache and post to the cache page and tag us #bouncebounce8

This hide is near a Tesla dealership and resides in a loading dock. The sign below led us to beleive we were in the right place…..


I suspect the CO works here because there is power to the box.


The code to open the box is in the description.


Once it’s opened there were plenty of trackables to log and trade. There is also a manual which is the logbook.


I love the creativity and time that went in to this Geocache! As always, if you want the GC code you can email me.

Geocaching: Awesome Cache Hides – Get Out of my House!

I meant to post this one yesterday.  This one, believe it or not is just near a park and ride on Whidbey Island. The terrain is actually pretty steep. 

The name I assigned to this one is a reference to an 80’s film Adventures in Babysitting. there is a scene towards the beginning of the film where Penelope Anne Miller is making a phone call in a phone booth (what’s that?) and a homeless man is telling her to get out of her house. It’s hilarious and now I need to watch it again.

Get Out of my House!: difficulty 1, terrain 2.5, size small, hidden 4/19/15, we found 4/16/17, favorites 28.

Official Geocache description: A convenient place to park and ride. Or, a convenient place to stretch your legs and look for a cache. The area has a bit of a view of the valley. An ideal place for a condo with a view.

Our GPS was bouncing around a lot but eventually we found the “trailhead”. We wandered around using our GPS and evidence of people who had been there before us. Just an old stump…….with a door.


I gave this one a favorite for the effort it went in to creating this little “condo”.  Which led us to this cute little space.


Isn’t the little squirrel just so cute?

Geocaching: Awesome Cache Hides – Pillings Pond

So, I’m gonna make an exception just this once and give you the real Geocache name. This one is a gem, not necissarily for the hide but what it brings you to. 

Pillings Pond: difficulty 1, terrain 1, size small, hidden 5/6/10, I found 4/24/17,  favorites 62.

Official Geocache description: This cache is placed next to a small neighborhood treasure – Pilling’s Pond. The pond was created over the years by Charles A Pilling (1911-2001), who at the age of twelve started digging a small pond in the backyard of his home to care for three injured mallard ducks. His passion for waterfowl grew – and so did the size of the pond. Today the pond is a sanctuary for numerous rare waterfowl. Also, the southwest corner has a big bird cage with an exotic-looking bird. We actually met “Dave” (who takes care of the place now) as we were working on the hide, and he said it is a Golden Pheasant. Based on some cachers’ logs it seems like Dave is aware of the cache, which is on public property.

The home next to the pond was built by a member of the Denny family, one of Seattle’s founding fathers. Charles Pilling dug a small pond to care for three ailing ducks. You can read the rest of the story by clicking on the name of the cache for more information.

The house is actually to the left in the photo below.


Lots of ducks in residence. Love that willow tree!


A nesting box.


I really enjoy it when a Geocache brings me to a hidden gem like this!


Geocaching: Awesome Cache Hides – Sit For A Spell

Two blog post about Geocaching in two days? Why not? Today if you find a Geocache you get a souvenir called “Big Blue Switchto celebrate the 17 year anniversary of satellite availability to the masses.

One of my favorite types of hides involve the little free lending libraries. I am a huge reader and appreciate the effort the owners go to in order to place them. Even more so when a Geocache is involved.

Sit for a Spell: difficulty 1.5, terrain, 1.5, size small.  Hidden 7/15/15. We found 5/1/17. Favorites: 11

Official description of the cache:

book·worm (bo͝ok′wûrm′) n.
1. One who spends much time reading or studying.

2. Any of various insects, especially booklice and silverfish, that infest books and feed on the paste in the bindings. 

You are welcome to visit the library, but you do not need to access the inside for your geocaching purposes. Rest and relax here while you sign the log. Please bring your own pen. I’m looking for the next great book to read. What is your favorite book? I recently read “A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park. What do you think about VOYAGE? I have received permission from the property owner to place a cache at this location with the understanding that no cachers will be showing up after dark or late in the evening (sorry, not a night cache). Give yourself a bonus point if you figure out how we decided on the name for this cache.

B and I were headed to meet friends for dinner and had a couple caches on our list to hit, we found this one. 

Even though you didn’t need to open the library to find the cache, I of course had to investigate if there was anything worthwhile to read inside. Couple good books I had already read and a cookbook I had my eye on for a while so I took that (I love reading cookbooks!). 

Of course the draw is the library and B and I didn’t even notice the line chair sitting near it…….at first. 


But look what we found underneath it!


The log was in a wooden book placed under the adirondack chair. So clever! Definitely gave it a favorite point!

Geocaching: Awesome Cache Hides – Water Stopper

I have not posted in a while for this series and thought I would start again. It’s inspirational how clever people can be. The cache name, the container, the location they choose makes Geocaching even more fun. I am calling the hides by different names other than the ones they have officially been called on the Geocaching website to protect the caches. GZ refers to Ground Zero, CO refers to Cache Owner, DNF refers to Did Not Find & Smiley refers to successful find.

A few weeks ago B and I were camping over on Whidbey Island. After leaving the campground Sunday we had the day free to do whatever we wanted, a rarity for us. We stopped by a lovely little church off the highway to grab this clever hide. Sorry I forgot to get a photo of the cute little church.

Water Stopper: difficulty 2.5, terrain, 1.5, size ?. Hidden 11/18/14. We found 4/16/17. Favorites: 40

Official description of the cache: The cache is located on church property with their permission. It’s a cute little traditional style white country church. Complete with a steeple and a bell. I bet you’ve glanced at it plenty of times as you’ve driven by on the highway. Easiest to access while heading west on highway 101 though you can also come by from either end of Old Gardiner Road. There’s plenty of parking available. You may want to check the church schedule (available online) to avoid high muggle times. No tools necessary to retrieve the cache. But, DadwithTools warns you to be careful as you search. It could be tricky! 

Now B and I have been doing this a while and spotting the trickier ones is a lot easier for us. The coordinates were spot on and we were able to park right next to the cache. We hopped out of the bus and found –  a water pump.

At first we thought it might be in a fake rock at the base but the difficulty level led us to believe otherwise. We didn’t even bother turning the rocks over. Being naturally inquisitive we pulled up on the handle.

Can you see the little red bison nestled inside? We quickly signed the log and went about finding our next Geocache for the day. More of these posts to come!

Geocaching: The Final One

B and I took a couple extra days off over the Memorial Day weekend. Monday we headed up to Mt. Pilchuck state park to obtain our final state park cache.

The drive to the trailhead was up a potholed road about seven miles. Our hike lasted about five hours and was an elevation gain of 1200 feet over the course of about two miles. 

The beginning of the hike was through rich forested woods where we found a few caches we had preloaded on our phones as there was no reception.

At one point on the trail we had to wait for about 50 people to manouver around a fallen tree before we could continue.

Lots of people on the trail

Beej did great for the entire trek! He’s usually pretty prissy when it comes to mud and puddles which I appreciate when we are camping. After a while those things were no big deal.

Shortly after this tree the Forrest thinned and we found ourselves in a boulder field.

This field lasted for about a half mile​. Soon we hit snow. Yes it was warm enough for a tank top!

Not a lot but enough. At one point I put my foot down and bam! It was through the snow. I was pretty exhausted and I scraped my leg. I was so done.

I was lucky, no sprains or breaks or even bruising. My leg is red from cold in the photo above as I had just fallen in the snow. B had me sit and wait for him with Beej. We were still about 2/10 from the cache so he soldiered on. It didn’t take him long and upon his return we prepared for the hike down.

I was really tired and fell two more times before we got back to the trailhead. I was also slightly dehydrated and when we got to our campsite I promptly napped for a couple hours!

The next day we did some caching along the Mountain Loop Highway and ate lunch at Mirkwood & Shire in Arlington before heading home.

103 state parks found!
 
Guess what showed up today? My gold coin!


Feel free to discover it!


Happy caching!

Camping & Geocaching NE WA

Apologies for the blogging hiatus. Been a bit busy up in here. 

Let’s get up to speed by traveling back in time about a month. Our last major state park Geocaching road trip to obtain three of the four state parks left. We headed out Thursday night and free camped at Nason Creek rest area.

This trip started out with a bit of a different caravan. B had a new Beetle to sell and a buyer in Wenatchee. So, I drove it over.

A sifferent kind of caravan
After dropping off the car to a dad and very excited teenager we geared up with a coffee pit stop for our drive to Curlew lake. 

On our way we stopped in the tiny town of Tonasket. A little triangle shaped park with a cache in it and this crazy tree. Not certain what the flower is but it was awesome looking!

What is this crazy tree?

From here we headed east over highway 20. It was definitely remote and boasted of ghost towns. 

There were interpretative signs along the highway and we almost missed this little gem tucked in the hillside. Halfway to Republic we came across Phlug mansion built in 1908 by German immigrants. They hauled the lumber for their home ten miles to the site.

Phlug mansion site
Upon entering Republic, which up until 1968 was listed as a ghost town we discovered Republic Brewing Company. We had to stop and sample their beverages. The vibe of the place was really laid back and friendly.

Couldn’t pass up a photo of this chair as we headed out to the patio.

The sign reads “This chair has been claimed by an old dog. You are welcome to sit in it, but it’s likely to be hairy. Thanks, Management” This really just cracked me up and was such a great little spot.

While on the patio with our adult beverages we chatted with a couple who lived near us but were visiting her mom. Small world.

Onwards to Curlew Lake state park, our final destination and camping spot for Friday night. We scored with the ranger who let us share a camping spot and split the fee. We got situated and then headed out for the cache. It was a quick find near the amphitheater. On the way back we stopped for a quick game of checkers.

It was a tie
Saturday morning we continued east on highway 20 over Sherman pass collecting caches along the way.

This birds nest was tucked in to a lookout over an area ravaged by fire in 1988.

We continued on to Cryastal Falls state park which is really a stop along the highway to view some falls.

Dug overlooking the falls

We had to follow this crazy trails over very large boulders to find the cache container tucked away in a crevasse. 

We passed through Kettle Falls and found Northern Ales Brewing for beer and pizza.

Our last stop of the day was practically in Canada (literally a half mile from the border) at Crawford state park. 

Camping for Saturday night was up in the air. We knew of a campground about a mile from the park run by Seattle City Light and associated with the dam project there. We cruised in and found the park vacant except for one tent. Scored even more by finding out camping was free!

We set up camp and celebrated earning a gold coin with a tasty beer.


Sunday morning was the big trek home. We headed south and stopped just outside of Ione to visit a friend and former coworker of B’s caching all the way to Spokane to achieve another goal – filling in Delorme squares. More on that in another post.

We stopped at a favorite brewery for food and beer, NoLi and then pushed on for the final five hour drive home.

102 of 103 state parks achieved. We turned in our passport for the gold coin about a month ahead of the end of the challenge. 

Behold, paisleykmt and type2bill are listed as gold coin achievers!


Stay tuned for our Mount Pilchuck adventure!

March Geocaching & Camping

This blog post was crafted entirely on my iPhone. I added photos and created links all with my pointer finger! I must say I am feeling quite proud and able!

This month we took two camping trips to get 6 more state park Geocaches. We are now down to 20 left. Three weekends ago we left town early Saturday morning and rode the ferry to Kingston, meeting up with our friend Jane in Port Angeles [that is her bus below].

Bus Love

We stopped and visited Ted’s Tree, the oldest Madrona in Washington State. Of course there was a Geocache there. From there we drove by Lake Crescent. At 624 feet this is the second deepest lake in Washington State. The lake is known for its blue waters and exceptional clarity, caused by a lack of nitrogen which inhibits the growth of algae.

Lake Crescent

After an earth cache we were on our way to Bogachiel state park which was established in 1931 and is managed jointly between the Bogachiel Commercial Club and the Forks Chamber of Commerce. The park is located outside the town of Forks made famous by the Stephanie Meyers Twilight trilogy. The Hoh rainforest is close by and a great place to visit.

Upon arrival at the park we set up camp and settled in. The Geocache siren was calling our names. It was a quick walk to the cache. We returned to our site to enjoy dinner, a campfire and games. We made it an early night as we needed to drive quite a ways to get our other two caches the next day.

The next morning on our way back down highway 101 we stopped at Lake Crescent Lodge which was built in 1914 by Avery Singer. People arrived at the lodge via ferry until the highway was established in 1922. Walter and Bessie Bovee took possession in the 1940’s, expanded and brought it back to life. The lodge is in the Olympic National forest and is owned by the parks service now.

Lake Crescent Lodge

Our next stop was Fort Townsend state park. The original Fort Townsend was built in 1856 by the US Army for the protection of settlers. It was closed for a time but reopened at the end of the century. In 1953 it became a state park. Sadly most of the buildings burned in a fire in 1885. 

This cache was a pretty quick one down a sun dappled trail. At the end was a view of Port Townsend across the water.

Our last stop and a favorite place for me is Fort Worden state park. Fort Worden along with Fort Casey and Fort Flagler form the “Triangle of Fire” for protection of the Puget Sound designed to prevent a hostile fleet from reaching Bremerton, Seattle and Tacoma. There is much to explore at Fort Worden. Portions of the film An Officer and A Gentleman was shot here.

  
  

Our quest was up above the main buildings of the fort on the bluff. There are all sorts of bunkers to explore and our cache was hidden in plain site. The trick was getting it open without attracting muggle attention.

  

B wanted to find another cache so Jane and I went back to the busses to wait. While we were there we were treated to the site of a bunch of deer.

  

We went down to the lighthouse to find a cache which was hidden among the many rocks that acted as a breakwater. It took us awhile as the coordinates were off by about twenty feet.

As it was getting dark we went to our favorite place to eat while in Port Townsend, Sirens. After much needed food and adult beverage we headed for the ferry and home.

The following weekend B and I took Friday off so we could get in some extra Geocaching time. Thursday night we headed out to camp at Bayview state park (already got this cache and stamp).

Friday morning we awoke early and headed in to Anacortes to the Starbucks for coffee and a breakfast sandwich and arrived in the ferry line in time for our 8:20 AM reservations for the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
  

For the hour and a half crossing I was able to get quite a bit done knitting on my cardi.

Upon arrival in Friday Harbor we headed for Lime Kiln Point state park. The park is named for the lime quarrying operation that began in 1860 and last led until 1920. 

  
  

The area near the old kilns are pretty steep and parts are dangerous. B and I managed to get a cache which filled in our terrain level 4. The trails then took us to a lighthouse established in 1919.

  

We finished up our visit getting the state park cache and headed back in to town for some lunch. After lunch we had time to wander around Friday Harbor before we had to catch our next ferry. B and I ended up in the Griffin Bay bookstore where we wandered and had GREAT coffee. 

I had noticed these signs on the main highway around the island. I collect art in this style and really wanted this one if I could find it.

  

I was able to purchase the last one at a store near the ferry landing. More knitting for me as we rode to Orcas Island. On our way to our campsite we stopped at Island Hoppin Brewery for a flight of their beers. 

There mugs are made locally and every “mugger” has their own on a shelf. Some are personalized.

  

Our destination that night was Moran state park which was opened in 1921 when the former Mayor and a ship builder of Seattle donated 2,700 acres for a park. We settled in for dinner and a campfire and went to bed early again.

The next morning B and I headed up Mt. Constitution for our state park cache. 

  

On the way up we crossed a bridge with a small waterfall and we didn’t know it at the time but research later informed us we saw a Piebald deer.

  

This cache was super quick to find. We hiked a little ways to a viewpoint but it was too foggy to see anything. We cleaned up camp and headed for the ferry to Lopez island and our last state park cache for the weekend. More knitting for me too!

  

As we were waiting for the ferry B discovered the park was closed for construction. Upon arrival at Lopez island we headed to Spencer Spit state park and parked.

The park was originally a homestead by the Troxell’s. Sold to the Spencer’s who lived there for 50 years. It was purchased by the state in 1967.

After a pretty short walk to and back from the gate we went in to the village to find some lunch. We decided on Haven which was HEAVEN! I had Indian Fry bread and a beet and goat cheese salad. Jane had lamb sliders and B had a yummy Asian styled soup. The beer and wine offerings were excellent.

We decided to camp at Odlin park that night upon recommendation from a coworker of B’s. Camp was set up quickly. We enjoyed dinner and many rounds of cards before it was another early night in order to catch the ferry after Daylight Savings time set in.

We returned to the mainland and decided to skip some caches in Washington park as the road was closed due to high winds. 

We wandered in to Anacortes for some coffee at Johnny Picasso’s. As we were sitting enjoying some locally made chocolates I noticed two chairs with fabric over the tops with the names Larry and Byron stitched on them. I had to ask the story behind it.

Larry and Byron are both veterans, one in his 80’s and one in his 90’s and every day to chat. They sit in the same chairs and before they had their names on them they would demand people not sit in their chairs when they came in. I can’t remember which but one of them is missing an arm and a leg from an explosion when they were in the military. Every Sunday they hang out on a certain street corner with peace signs. We ended up spotting them in the rain later.

After coffee we wandered in to an antique shop. We parted ways so Jane could check out a quilt shop and B and I could get more caches in town.

One of the caches was a multi which involved getting clues at a bunch of different wooden people erected al over old town.

  

It was fun to read about previous inhabitants. A puzzle cache took us to the Anacortes Library. What an amazing place! A jazz band was playing in a room off the lobby and they also had a used book for sale room.

  
  

We were greeted by this dress, shoes and hat made of newspaper as we entered the library. The puzzle cache was a bit challenging and not what we expected but we did end up finding it.

All that caching made us hungry so we stopped at The Brown Lantern for lunch. We took the last table in a window book. B had a burger on Texas toast with egg and sausage gravy.

  

I had a lamb burger with mango salsa and Feta cheese. They were both very good! We washed it down with a beer and we’re ready for some more caching. Before we left town we hit up Anacortes Brewing which is in a local restaurant and shared a flight. It was a super windy blustery day and as we walked in our door at home our lights came on.

 

February Camping & Geocaching

So sorry I have been remiss in regular posts. Been really super busy doing A LOT of camping trying to get as many state parks in as we can before the Geocaching challenge ends in June. So, this is a combined post for both February camping trips and a Geocaching day trip B and I took.

Camping

The first weekend of February we participated in a Geocaching event that had two CITO’s [stands for Cache in Trash out in the Geocaching world].  We arrived pretty late Friday night to Camano Island state park and scoped out a site.

Earliest inhabitants of Camano Island were the Kikalos and Snohomish Indians, who used the island in summer while gathering seafood and berries. The island was renamed for Jacinto Caamaño, a Spanish explorer. The first European settlers arrived in 1855 and began extensive logging operations then farmers developed the area agriculturally. The land was designated for use as a park in 1949. The initial development was accomplished in a single day by nearly 900 volunteers from Stanwood and Camano Island.

Our friend Dug soon joined us. It was rainy but not too bad. We set up our easy up and put some sides on it. We had a fire going and beer ready for card games. A propane heater under the table helped too. Gus was nice and toasty in front of the fire and kept my toes warm.

Gus Cuddles

The next morning we got up bright and early, made breakfast and headed over to Cama Beach state park for the first of two CITO events.

Cama Beach is located on the southwest shore of Camano Island, facing Saratoga Passage. You can step back in time to refurbished 1930s-era Puget Sound fishing resort complete with waterfront cedar cabins and bungalows. Maritime culture can be experienced through the Center for Wooden Boats.

We could choose between picking up garbage on the beach or pulling out ivy. We chose the first option. Before we headed out we had to sign the log for the event, which was really a log.

Ranger Tina

Ranger Tina is telling B how important it is to pick up the tiny stuff as well as the big pieces. We spent the next hour and a half on the beach combing for garbage and the occasional piece of beach glass.

Cama Beach

After the CITO we attended a Geocaching event called Great Balls of Fire where we took a class on puzzle caches. One of my favorite types of caches. It was very informative and B and I are ready to tackle some more challenging puzzle caches.

We did some geocaching and tried to find one of only a few glass balls hidden in the park but no luck. We also trolled the parking lot where we discovered a lot of trackables on peoples cars!

After a Mediterranean dinner we headed back to our camp site for a fire, beer and Zombie Dice! Super fun and easy to play.

Zombie Dice

The next morning we were off to another CITO and again picked up garbage on the beach. This time it was at Camano Island state park where we had camped. Beej is an excellent helper.

Beach Helper

We continued with our Geocaching for the day and on our way home stopped at The Collective On Tap for food and beer. We also happened to catch the last of the Super Bowl but since my beloved Seahawks were not playing it was easy to watch. I was happy with the outcome.

Gotta sneak this in – my fun new hair color. I went from turquoise to purple.

Purple Hair

The next weekend we took a day trip down the coast to the furthest SW tip of Washington State.

Geocaching

Cape Disappointment state park was our first stop. In 1788, English Captain John Meares missed the passage over the river bar while searching for the Columbia River and named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment. In 1792, American Captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the river bar and named the river Columbia after his ship, the Columbia Rediviva. Only a few years later, in 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at Cape Disappointment.

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was constructed in 1856 to warn seamen of the treacherous river bar known by then as the graveyard of the Pacific. This is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast. In 1862, it was armed with smoothbore cannons to protect the mouth of the Columbia River from enemies. The installation was expanded to become Fort Canby in 1875. The fort was named after General Edward Canby, who was killed in the Modoc Indian War. The fort continued to be improved until the end of World War II. Gun batteries still sit up top the park.

We started out hiking up a hill to get the state park cache. It was not too far and we saw evidence of old buildings and foundations through out the hike. At the top of the hill we came across this bunker.

Bumker

Our state park cache was near this survey marker.

Survey

It was a windy, rainy and foggy day. We did plenty of walking around and went up to where the guns had previously been mounted. There was another bunker and a newer museum building. There was also a walkway that looks out over the Columbia River but it was so foggy we could not even see the lighthouse or it’s light. We did a virtual cache and a few others throughout the park.

Virtual Cache

We will definitely camp here at some point!

From there we went to Fort Columbia state park which has the most intact collection of historic buildings of all Washington state parks. It was built from 1896 to 1904 as one of the harbor defenses of the Columbia River and constructed on the Chinook Point promontory because of the unobstructed view of the Columbia River. It was off this point that Robert Gray anchored and named the river for his ship, Columbia Rediviva. Nearby the point was the Chinook Indian Nation village of Nose-to-ilse, and later the station camp for the Lewis and Clark expedition bivouacked on the point during the Corps of Discovery exploration.

For the duration of three wars, Fort Columbia was fully manned and operational. Declared a surplus at the end of World War II, the fort transferred to the custody of the state of Washington in 1950 and was then designated as a state park. Twelve historic wood-frame buildings and four coastal defense batteries still stand on the premises.

Fort Columbia

Fort Columbia was a quick visit and the cache was easy to find. We were cold and it was rainy so we headed in to Astoria. We did a Geocache at the site of a theater that burned in the fire of 1922. A plaque there commemorates Clark Gable’s first acting job.

Apparently Astoria also has it’s own underground like Seattle does.

Underground Astoria

Then it was off to Fort George Brewing for some beer and wood fired pizza.

Art and the various taps in the production facility.

Taps

The next weekend later we headed to Larrabee state park to camp with our VW club. Frances Larrabee deeded 20 acres to the state for $1 on October 23, 1915 for the property that is now Larrabee State Park. On Nov. 22, 1915, the property officially became the first state park in Washington. Frances and her son Charles later donated another 1,500 acres to increase the size of the park.

We had an excellent turnout. Five of us from our club, three from a local Bellingham club and some random other VW peeps. Darn good for winter time at a campground! We arrived as usual late on Friday night. In the morning we had a potluck breakfast. Around noon we all decided to explore some of the trails in the park.

Hiking

This park has A LOT of Geocaches in it. The 2 mile trail to the lake has some all along the way. There are also a couple near the lookout.

Tree Roots

Really cool the way the tree roots wrap around the boulder!

Lookout Point

What started out as a four mile round trip hike turned in to at least an eight mile hike. On the way back down from the lake we took a road that is no longer open to cars. This road too also had numerous Geocaches along the way.

Cairn

Fallen logs and a waterfalls were some of the features.

Dug on a Log

Waterfall

A friend of mine who lives nearby was meeting us at the campground and we managed to get back to our site a little after dark. Dinner was ready and my friend brought what will now be a new camping tradition, cake donuts split in half with butter and brown sugar and a ring of pineapple. Place it in some foil and toss it on the fire and you are good to go. They were a hit!

OMG

All of the hiking made me incredibly tired and I zonked out at 9:00. I even missed some excitement of a bus rolling because the parking brake was not on.

Morning brought more pineapple inside out cakes.

Pineapple Donuts

After breakfast Dug, B and I headed to the border for our next state park cache at Peace Arch state park. The Peace Arch at 67 feet tall, is jointly maintained by the United States and Canada. It was the inspiration of Sam Hill, railroad builder and industrialist who also built a replica of Stonehenge in SE WA. Construction was completed September 6, 1921. The words which are printed on the U.S. side of the Peace Arch are “Children of a Common Mother” and “Brethren Dwelling Together in Unity” is on the Canadian side. In the middle of the arch are the words “May These Gates Never Be Closed” and on the opposite side in the middle is “1814 Open One Hundred Years.”

The Arch commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and the Rush-Bagot Agreement in 1817. Entered into by the king of England and President Monroe, these treaties provided for an unguarded United States and Canadian border from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Both treaties resulted from the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

Peace Arch

The cache was really easy to find and we did a virtual at the arch. The grounds and garden were nicely maintained with rocks at the base of many trees with their named painted on them. Much of the gardens had labels as well.

Our other priority for the day was Birch Bay state park. Birch Bay was named by botanist Archibald Menzies who was a member of the 1792 Vancouver expedition. Menzies was on the 1792 Vancouver expedition. Archeological evidence indicates that the bay was inhabited by Semiahmoo, Lummi, and Nooksack tribes since prehistoric times.

At the turn of the 20th century, the huge fir trees of the area were logged with oxen and horse teams. Large old-growth stumps, with spring-board marks, remain as evidence. Captain Vancouver stopped in Birch Bay during 1792 to calibrate instruments used to map their location and to brew beer, a common staple on the long voyage.

The cache here was another quick one. We did a few more in the park and then were off to Bellingham for some beer tasting. First up was Kulshan Brewing where we each got a flight. My favorites were the Transporter Porter and Kitten Mittens. Buzcocks radio on Pandora and some yummy snacks from a food truck.

Kulshan Brewing Tasters

We moved on to Aslan Brewing where Dug and B each got a flight and I stuck with one pint of their stout. I tried a sip of the ginger rye ale which was really good too. I had the roasted yam tacos and ginger rice. OMG soooo good! Dug had the poutine on waffle fries and B wanted the pork sliders. They were out of buns so he asked for them to be served on waffle fries. They hooked him up and he soon started a trend with three other people ordering them that way.

Last stop before heading home was Boundary Bay Brewing. One of the oldest breweries in Bellingham. We had a quick pint. For me, Kulshan had the best beer and Aslan had the best food. There are a couple other breweries we want to try the next time we go up.

Sorry for the large photo heavy post. Two camping trips this month and a beer scavenger hunt are on the agenda!