The recent podcast of Caching In The Northwest: Episode 457 Navigating the Triad focused on three of the more famous geocaches in the Geocaching Community. Geocaching Headquarters (GCK35B), Mission 9: Tunnel of Light (GC1169) and Original Stash Tribute Plaque (GCGV0P) comprise the GC “Triad”.
Once these three are found, you can qualify for the Challenge Cache called Sherlik’s Center of the Triad (GC1WYHN)
As I was listening to the podcast post-broadcast, I was brimming with pride. I have found ALL 4 of those geocaches! You can imagine, I have a story associated to each unique find.
The following is my second find: Mission 9: Tunnel of Light (GC1169) …
December 2017. I was dating a hiking enthusiast, and country line dancer with 3 school-aged children. By this time, MY enthusiasm for Geocaching was rekindled after a 2 year hiatus! As a strategist, I endeavor to accomplish more than one task on every venture I tackle. Since the kids were home for Christmas break, Deana and I were discussing how to entertain them, yet support my ‘new’ Geocaching hobby.
I suggest we take a hike as a unit, but find the geocaches hidden along the trail. She was easily agreeable.
MISSION 9: TUNNEL OF LIGHT
This is such a historic and storied geocache in the Geocaching Community. Here’s the current and past geocache page description.
This cache is a Project APE cache, a cache hidden with permission for the Planet of the Apes Promotion in 2001. Moun10Bike and Jeremy were the original covert placers of the cache, but Moun10Bike has since taken over complete ownership. When the cache was placed, it contained a torch from the movie. The description in green below was the original description for the cache:
Project APE’s success continues as our movement continues to grow beyond what we ever thought possible. For this mission we are heading back to the Northwest, where we are sure to keep our momentum going. Our confidence as a group is growing, but don’t let our past success blind us to the constant threat we face. We still hear and receive daily reports of undercover federal agents stalking our team. Remain diligent and stay alert. Remember, anyone you don’t know is a possible enemy to our mission.
Below is our field agent’s report for the mission at hand:
“This mission is not going to be an easy one. The hike will not be as scenic as some of the other missions, but you’ll be on a great adventure. You’ll need to wear a good pair of waterproof boots, or an old pair of sneakers. A flashlight is necessary, even if you go during the day.
This is a creepy, historical and very cool spot. Be ready for a unique hike, but beware because in parts you’ll be sitting ducks for the authorities. So move fast and keep a good eye on your back to make sure you’re not tailed. Good luck!”~ Geocaching.com
The Annette Lake Trail
The Annette Lake Trailhead is located off of Interstate 90 at Exit 47 (signed “Denny Creek/Asahel Curtis”). Turn south at the exit to the junction with Tinkham Road (Forest Road #55), then go left for a quarter-mile to the large parking lot. Once out of your car, follow the Annette Lake Trail uphill from the trailhead (not to be confused with the gated Forest Road #5590, which also leads uphill from the parking lot). Keep on this trail until you reach the junction with the Iron Horse Trail, which is provided as an additional waypoint in the cache description. Be sure to ignore the old, overgrown powerline road that juts off toward the left (east) about halfway to the junction with the Iron Horse.
We decided on the 2 paths to geocache that we would take the Annette Lake Trail instead of trudging through 2.25 miles of the Snoqualmie Tunnel. I read this to her so she could grasp the task at-hand.
I learned so much on this day. My relationship with snow would continue to be and always will be tumultuous. I also learned to review the following: WSDOT Pass Reports [Washington State Department of Transportation], WTA Trip Reports [Washington Trails Association], and read the Activity Log of the geocache itself, as well as the nearby geocaches’ Activity Logs.
Of course, I did NONE of these on December 30, 2017 prior to leaving with Deana and her 2 teenage boys …
Since I was the unannounced, self-proclaimed leader, I led us to the trailhead parking lot. Once we arrived, we encountered snow on the ground. We were prepared for snowy conditions but without trekking poles, cram-ons or snow shoes.
The Official Geocaching App ® offline maps are great. However, it doesn’t illustrate the scale, mileage, or elevation (just a straight line)
We set off to hike in the snow …
Logan, Deana’s youngest son was bored easily, and wasn’t physically fit. By the time we hiked to the intersection of Annette Lake and Iron Horse trails, he had complained enough that Deana and I decided to split up the team.
*Insert some horror movie music*
Deana and Logan would return to the vehicle, while Kyler and myself pressed on.
Kyler and I discovered that the snow depth was knee-high on this portion of trail that NO ONE in the right mind decided to traverse. This would exponentially extend our hiking time and sap our endurance.
We trudged along until we were within 20 feet of the geocache’s coordinates. At that range, you should put away your phone, use your God given geo-senses to find it.
Each geocache is assigned a Difficulty and Terrain rating; each (1 to 5, with 1 being the easiest) This was / is a 1.
After I signed the logbook and discovered a few trackables, we started the seemingly arduous journey back to the vehicle. My older legs were cramping as I plowed through the snow. Kyler was having an easier time than me.
By the time Kyler and I reached the vehicle, everyone was tired, hungry and wanting to get home. This adventure was anti-climatic to me.
No high-fives, or jubilant congratulations.
Unbeknownst to me … I had completed the 2nd geocache of the Triad. Or as I like to think of it, it was the Triforce in the Legend of Zelda. You choose …
I would continue to geocache, of course. However, the next cache I found was Original Stash Tribute Plaque (GCGV0P).
Let’s get out there!