Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hemlock Butte Lookout

We’ve had family guests here on the farm and they all left yesterday. It gave me a bit of an empty feeling and this morning I awoke a bit at loose ends. I needed a little adventure – road trip.

I’ve logged most of the geocaches in the area but I noticed that a high school senior had placed a couple in the Pierce area for his high school project. So I loaded up the little XT 250 and headed down the Gilbert Grade to Orofino. I made a post office drop, gassed up and headed up the Grangemont Road. I’ve never seen it in better shape.

The first cache was called “The Hobo Cache” located just outside of Pierce. It was at railroad trestle where hobos used to bed down. As I parked my bike on the road under the trestle I saw a couple of older fellows walking the tracks. I hailed them and one asked if I was heading back toward Headquarters. They had broken down about a mile back and a ride would save them the hike. I told them I wasn't heading that way but I'd be happy to take one of them back which I did. My good turn for the day. Then I climbed up the bank and found the cache under the trestle.

I proceeded on through Pierce and took the French Mountain Road just a mile or so before stopping for the next cache. The same lad had hidden this one at one of his favorite childhood spots near a little spring. As he had placed it on his mother’s birthday that’s what he named the cache. After finding it I had my lunch there.

Charred Ammo Box
The next two caches were located 10 or 15 miles out off of French Mountain Road. I suppose I hadn’t gone after these before because they were a considerable ways off the beaten path. After riding five or six miles on French Mountain Road I took a Forest Service road for four or five miles leading up to “The Fairy Entrance” cache. A little scramble up the bank and I immediately spotted the Fairy Entrance in a big hollow log.

Contents - ashes
For the next cache I back tracked to the French Mnt Rd and proceeded about five miles up it. It’s a fantastic motorcycle road, smooth with lots of curves and hills lined by beautiful forest. For the last four or five miles I turned off on another Forest Service road leading up to the “Mountain High” cache. The road was in pretty good shape except for the last mile which had a bit of loose sand. I parked at the base of the road up to the Hemlock Butte Lookout and headed up the hill on foot. The previous finder said he had placed the cache under a small fir tree near a snag. Well, there was no fir tree but a lot of snags. Turns out, a big fire had swept through there since the previous log. All I saw was what I thought was an old burned oil can. After looking a while I took a closer look at the "oil can". It wasn't an oil can at all but a charred ammo box. The log book and everything in it was ashes. I hiked back down to my bike and got a micro type log (all I had) for the cache along with a few trinkets to place in the box. I hid the charred but still sound ammo can at the coordinates in the apex of two snags and covered it with a piece of bark. Then I hiked up to the lookout and looked around.
View from cache site
Hemlock Butte Lookout

I rode back through Weippe and down the Greer Grade which always makes for a great ride. Then down to Orofino and up the Gilbert Grade to the farm. 127 miles and a fun day. M/W

Flag at lookout

1 comment:

Hallie said...

Did you leave a comment on the geocache website about the charred box?