There is a weekly publication emailed to all members by the geocaching publication, Groundspeak, that lists all new geocaches. The last one of the year listed one up Asotin Creek in the Blue Mountains. No one had logged this one but some of the competitors had already posted notes. One was a real challenge which read something to the effect –“I was in Spokane when this cache was posted but be advised the clock is ticking”.
Well, I saw the clock was still ticking on January 2nd so I loaded up Nellie and a mountain bike in the truck and headed out. I knew from one of the posts that the road that would take us to the vicinity of the cache had been closed for the winter. On the way out before reaching the closed gate across the road we stopped and picked up a cache that we had not attempted. I parked at the gate, unloaded the mountain bike, put on a backpack and biked up to a parking lot not too far up the road. From there we had a choice of taking a trail bordering the creek on one side of the ridge or taking the road up the other side. We took the trail because there was another cache up the trail a little ways that I didn’t have and I would rather have Nellie running along the trail than on the gravel road. I had biked up the trail in the past after caches in previous years but always in the summer. The trail steadily climbs and the ground was mostly frozen but it wasn’t particularly strenuous.
The first cache was no more than a half mile up the trail and required a short climb up the hill. It was hidden in a little recess at the base of a cliff.
When I got as close as I could to the cache from the trail I had traveled a little less than 3 ½ miles. I left my bike there and headed up the hill. To my surprise the cache was not very far up the mountain and I was there in less than 15 minutes. I was somewhat taken aback to discover that the logbook had several old entries in it including one of my own. It turns out that this was a cache that had been moved from another location.
I had expected this cache to be much more difficult so it was a little of a let down. However, I’ve been working on a cache of my own called “No Hill for a Climber” which will be a multi-cache involving several stages. I had brought one of the containers with me so we started up the mountain to find a place for it. I soon saw a prominent rock formation that looked like a good spot. However, as I got closer it looked more and more familiar to me. Sure enough, when I got there I found a cache hidden there that I had found several years back. Well, the only thing to do was to head on up to the top of the mountain which we did. At the top we found a large mesa about 100 yards long by 25 yards wide. It was at an elevation of about 3,425 feet which was about 1,000 feet above the trail. I found a good hiding place in some rocks on the southwest end of the mesa.
I decided to take a different route down which turned out to be a mistake. We got into a series of benches separated by cliffs. Some of them I could have climbed down but I didn’t want to chance Nellie trying it because she thinks she’s a mountain goat. After a lot of hiking on steep side hills we eventually found several places to negotiate the series of cliffs and get back to the trail.
After a pause for some lunch we headed back down the trail. It should have been a great ride because it was all down hill. Unfortunately, it had warmed up enough to change the hard ground to mud. By the time we got back to the truck the bike as well as Nellie and I were covered with mud.
Now the funny part. Parked at the gate was the truck with the FTF license plate. I left a note on his windshield saying, ”Well, you said the clock was ticking”. I found out later that after seeing my truck (which he knew) he had gone up the road to get another cache he didn’t have before looping back and settling for 2nd to find on the other one. That made my day. [The last two pictures are the view from the mesa and the location of my cache] M/W