going APE – august 15-19 2013

Going APE (Alternative Primate Evolution). It is a geocache thing so don’t be confused if you don’t understand.

This trip took us to Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state. We took our time as we usually do and took the back roads as much as we could. We left after work on Thursday and that part of the trip was a bit faster. We took I-90 west to Frenchmans Coulee. Frenchmans Coulee is just west of George Washington and north of the interstate. It is a very pretty place to spend the day walking around and to boondock for the night. That is exactly what we did. We arrived there and set up camp for the night. That meant throw a couple chairs out and open a beer. Man, life is tough.

our camp spot for the night

our camp spot for the night. it is a little smoky as there is a fire not too far away. still, it was not bad.

we went for a short walk to find a geocache. a bit breezy but it felt nice with the very warm temps

we went for a short walk to find a geocache. a bit breezy but it felt nice with the very warm temps

what a great place to camp. very very quite here. its close to the interstate but in this coulee it blocks that noise out.

what a great place to camp. very very quite here. its close to the interstate but in this coulee it blocks that noise out.

a beautiful evening

a beautiful evening

thats a big drop off

thats a big drop off

buddy is taking in the views

buddy is taking in the views

windmills along the ridge across the columbia river

windmills along the ridge across the columbia river

watched the sun set on another great day

watching the sun set on another great day

The next morning we had breakfast and our mandatory coffee. Sitting there while looking at our surroundings we thought, we are so very lucky to be able to have times like this. Our trip on Friday was to go a whole 35-40 miles away before we stopped for the night. Such a long drive, but it did take us 4 hours to get there. We stopped and did several geocaches and walked around to look at things. Our trip today would take us to Ellensburg Washington.

finding a cache along the old vantage highway. that's the Columbia river in the picture

finding a cache along the old vantage highway. that’s the Columbia river in the picture

pretty

pretty

no buddy, you cant drive

no buddy, you cant drive

The old highway dead ends at the river and serves as a boat ramp. We parked and set out to look for two more geocaches. Well, we tried. Both times we got to with in 20 feet from the cache and there was some HUGE spiders blocking the path. I am not sure what they are but I was not going to get any closer. The body on them was the size of a dime, not the legs too…just the body. So yeah, we skipped those two caches.

yikes!

yikes!

So it was on towards Ellensburg with lots of stops along the way. I think we made somewhere near 25 stops in that 35-40 miles. We enjoyed every minute of it.

leaving frenchmans coulee

leaving frenchmans coulee

our 250th geocache find. not bad since we started geocaching 6 months ago

our 250th geocache find. not bad since we started geocaching 6 months ago

buddy and trixie.  our geocaching dogs. that's what the patch is on both of the harnesses...geocache tags

buddy and trixie. our geocaching dogs. that’s what the patch is on both of the harnesses…geocache tags

After we crossed the river we stopped at a gift shop in Vantage Washington. It is a pretty neat place to check out.

cody, the dinosaur.

cody, the dinosaur.

scary!

scary!

old vantage highway. a much prettier drive than the interstate.

old vantage highway. a much prettier drive than the interstate.

a stop at OlmsteadPlace state park.

a stop at Olmstead Place state park.

We made it Ellensburg. We parked downtown, so easy to do with a truck camper. There was a winery to find. It was the deal that I had to do with Joanne…stop at a winery if I was to stop at the brewery in town. Not a hard deal to make because I like wine too. Ellensburg is a historic place to see, there are several old buildings. A very welcoming town.

really, it is a great place to see, no bull.

really, it is a great place to see, no bull.

After we did our shopping and walking around we went to the KOA on the edge of town. It was a far cry from the solitude of our camp spot last night but that is okay. It was nice to have sewer hookups so I could flush the camper tanks real good.

our spot at the koa

our spot at the koa

The next day was another very long drive…30 miles. Again we would take the back roads and stay off the interstate. We would be driving highway 10 to Cle Elum. After Cle Elum we would jump on the interstate for just a few short miles to Lake Easton state park, our camp spot for the next two nights.

we love the back roads

we love the back roads

more road side geocaching along the way

more road side geocaching along the way

more great views along the highway

more great views along the highway

we listened to the sound of the river for a while

we listened to the sound of the river for a while

south cle elum state park. a must stop for train buffs. it has a nice short trail with signs explain what the rail yard was like. most everything is gone now.

south cle elum state park. a must stop for train buffs. it has a nice short trail with signs explaining what the rail yard was like. most everything is gone now.

the old train station. it now has a fantastic bbq restaurant in part of it. awesome food, we left full.

the old train station. it now has a fantastic bbq restaurant in part of it. awesome food, we left full.

We eventually made it to Lake Easton state park. We found our spot for the next two nights. We took a short hike then went back to camp. Later we had a couple truck camper friends join us for a chili potluck dinner. It was great visiting with them.  Bread, salads and chili…it was very good. Our friends left for the night, one couple back to another close by campground and the other family to the campsite next to us. We would see that family again, briefly up at Snoqualmie pass.

We found out that I-90 would be closed for 1 1/2 hours in the morning. Well, we are early risers so we left camp at 530am and headed to the pass. What was at the pass? The Going APE event! It is a big geocache event that brings people from all over the world. The day before in Seattle there was a big block party and this event is part of it too. It was a great time. There is a tunnel that you hike through as part of the event, the Snoqualmie tunnel. A 2.25 mile long tunnel. Since we were volunteers for the east side tunnel monitors we did the walk before most everyone got up there. We had to be at our post at noon.  First though was to cook up breakfast at the parking lot before we took the hike.

early morning at the pass

early morning at the pass

breakfast is done, time for the walk. coats and sweatshirts are needed, its cold in the tunnel

breakfast is done, time for the walk. coats and sweatshirts are needed, its cold in the tunnel

east portal for the tunnel

east portal for the tunnel

the light at the end of the tunnel...its a long way away still.

the light at the end of the tunnel…its a long way away still.

west portal for the tunnel

west portal for the tunnel

views on the west side of the tunnel

views on the west side of the tunnel

We found a few geocaches on the west side then walked back through the tunnel and back to the camper. The event was going and the people were there.

a neat hike

a neat hike

the cachers are arriving

the cachers are arriving

booths for the event

booths for the event

joanne signing the mega event log at the ape event.

joanne signing the mega event log at the ape event.

Time for us to go back to the east tunnel portal for our volunteer duties. We had to make sure people had flashlights and warned people about heavy traffic in the tunnel. We also had to warn people that there was a monster in there. No really, there was someone dressed up as a monster to guard his geocache inside. They were warned.

giving people the info about the tunnel and the events.

giving people the info about the tunnel and the events.

joanne keeping the dogs warm, it was cold standing outside the tunnel

joanne keeping the dogs warm, it was cold standing outside the tunnel

After 300pm our duties were done. We walked back to our camper and then drove back to camp. The event was so much fun. We talked to people from all over the world. People from the farthest away that we talked to were from Sweden. We plan on attending this event again next year. Too much fun to miss it.

The next day we made our way back home, taking the long way of course. Our first stop was back to the Vantage Washington area to walk up to the wild stallions monument.

wild stallions monument

wild stallions monument

the sculptures are huge

the sculptures are huge

very neat

very neat

a little steep hike up there but it is short

a little steep hike up there but it is short

just more great views, it never ends

just more great views, it never ends

The next stop was to potholes reservoir, south of Moses Lake Washington. Then it was on to Palouse Falls state park. We had lunch there.

the falls during summer, it rages over the cliff in spring.

the falls during summer, it rages over the cliff in spring.

downriver from the falls

downriver from the falls

Our next stop was at Steptoe Butte state park. We love this place. We have been here before but the views are amazing. 360 degrees of fabulous views.

on top of the butte

on top of the butte

a nice sunny day, a bit windy up there but not too bad

a nice sunny day, a bit windy up there but not too bad

driving back down the butte

driving back down the butte

We stopped for one last cache towards the bottom of the butte. We could not get to the cache as there was a blockage to the cache. We got to with in 30 feet of it before we saw a moose and her two calves.

about 30 feet away. i was in deep thick trees to protect me from momma

about 30 feet away. i was in deep thick trees to protect me from momma

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After this we made our way home. It was another wonderful trip for us. We really do count our blessings that we get to go on all these great trips. Life is short, get out there and enjoy it.

Interested in reading more about what the APE event is about? here is a link: http://www.markwell.us/projectape.htm

going APE – august 15-19 2013