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Introducing: Washington Forest Fire Lookout Challenge


The Navigatorz
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Introducing, the Washington Forest Fire Lookout Challenge (Waypoint GC130JH)

 

In a nutshell, this challenge requires finding geocaches at 50 forest fire lookouts in the state of Washington. The state has been divided into 9 regions with boundaries identified on the cache page. Geocachers who take on the challenge will be required to find or hide “at least” 4 geocaches in each of the 9 regions. All geocaches found and hidden, past, present, and future count, except for caches that have already been archived before the start of this challenge. Presently, there are 72 known geocaches at lookouts and lookout sites. Only caches listed in this Bookmark List will be counted. At one time, there were over 600 lookouts in WA state, so with new hides, the Bookmark List will continue to grow. Please keep in mind that new hides must meet the requirements listed on the cache page, as well as the requirements established by Groundspeak. Also remember that all hides must be maintainable. Don’t hide a cache that you don’t intend to check on and maintain on a regular basis.

 

The purpose of this challenge is to provide geocachers an extra-ordinary experience that combines the fun of geocaching, traveling to a unique destination in which to explore the great outdoors, and an opportunity to reflect on fire lookout history. Visiting lookouts can even be a challenge, as they are located on high peaks, accessible by mountain road driving or hiking (some may even require mountain climbing). Note that this is not a competition, so there is no prize for first to complete. Each lookout cache should be an adventure and an experience to remember.

 

So if you are interested in taking on the Washington Forest Fire Lookout Challenge, take a look at my Bookmark List, identify which ones you have found or own, and create your own “shared” Bookmark List. Send me a link to your Bookmark and I will add your name and stats to the cache page, then get out there and start visiting lookouts. As you find geocaches at other lookouts, keep adding them to your shared Bookmark list. Occasionally send me your list so I can update the stats table on the cache page.

 

A special thanks to Cascade Reviewer and Moun10bike for their helpful suggestions provided during the creation of this challenge cache.

 

See you at the Lookouts!! The Navigatorz

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Gold Mountain Challenge is also at an old lookout site GCGEZ7

 

Thank you. It is a lookout site. The cache has been added to my Lookout Bookmark List. There used to be an 85' steel tower in 1947, replaced by a 50' wooden tower in 1965, which was removed in 1972.

 

You're welcome I thought I posted about South Mountain too but I don't see my post. I think there was a lookout tower there but I can't remember where I read that. I have a cache there. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...e2-cca0b0894d0e

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Gold Mountain Challenge is also at an old lookout site GCGEZ7

 

Thank you. It is a lookout site. The cache has been added to my Lookout Bookmark List. There used to be an 85' steel tower in 1947, replaced by a 50' wooden tower in 1965, which was removed in 1972.

 

You're welcome I thought I posted about South Mountain too but I don't see my post. I think there was a lookout tower there but I can't remember where I read that. I have a cache there. http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...e2-cca0b0894d0e

 

Thanks again. It's Bookmarked. A lookout cabin was built by the DNR on South Mountain in 1956, and it was removed in 1976. For the challenge, its located in Area 1.

Edited by The Navigatorz
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If I hadn't completed the WDC challenge and am now watching my gas budget, this would be a no-brainer for me to accept! Perhaps the multi year plan... thanks for the idea though ;)

 

There is no deadline on completing the challenge. You can take as long as you like. I'm thinking most will take the multi-year approach.

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I have another one for the list:

 

Mount Higgins Cache

 

Per the cache page: "Once you get to the top, which is an old burned down fire lookout tower, the view will make the hike all worthwhile. "

 

I climbed it last summer, and saw the lookout ruins. I think it's in Area 3 of your map.

 

Great challenge, sign me up!

 

Mount Higgins was a Forest Service lookout. It's now on the WA Lookout Challenge Bookmark List (Area 3). Thanks for letting me know.

 

Set up a shared bookmark list of the lookout caches (from my list) and I will add your name and cache stats to the challenge page. Have fun!

Edited by The Navigatorz
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Thanks to all who are letting me know about existing caches at lookout sites. There's no quick way that I know of to search for caches at lookouts, so your contributions are helpful. Right now the Bookmark List contains 81 caches to choose from, but i'm still looking for more. It's a tedious task, but eventually I will have searched all of the lookout sites. What I do is this: I have a reference book I purchased that lists all of the 656 lookout sites in WA state. Usually they are identified by Mountain, Ridge, or Peak name. I take the name of the location, enter it into a Topozone.com search. Then I verify from the search results it is the correct location by cross checking the county and the elevation. After I know I've found the coordinates of the lookout, I copy and paste the coordinates into the geocaching search, and see if there is a cache nearby, preferably less than 0.1 miles. If not, I move onto another search. Eventually I will have searched all lookout locations. I think I've searched 200 lookout sites so far (out of 656) and come up with 6 more caches to add to the challenge. Why do I do this, because I'm crazy I guess. I'm hoping the result is more caches to choose from. So again thanks to those who have helped in the search.

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If anyone wants to go after my South Mountain Cache to complete the challenge and wants some company let me know. I don't hike very fast though and I might have to push a jogging stroller all the way up. Just pick me up in Shelton and I'll show you where the cache is.

Edited by luckykoi
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I hear that road crews are working on clearing the rock slide on FS 5400. Blasting and rock removal began on July 10. Still no word on if the road will be open this year or next. Depends on the damage to the road once the boulders are cleared off. I'll add updates as soon as I hear any news. This is the route to two caches that qualify for the Highest Elevation Challenge, and one is at a Lookout.

 

DEW Line (GCGK6Y), a lookout located on Slate Peak, elevation 7440 feet.

Hart's Pass (GCKDQF), elevation 6620 feet.

Edited by The Navigatorz
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I snagged myself a copy of the book that I think you are using at the library yesteday. Very interesting read. Some of those location outright scare me. No way would I survive on 3 fingers.

 

If you mean "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest" by Ray Kresek, that's the one. It's a great book about lookouts, with stories, photos, and information on over 3,000 lookouts in the Northwest. By the way, Ray also established the Fire Lookout Museum. just north of Spokane, open free to the public between March and November. I plan on visiting it next time I'm in the Spokane area.

 

I agree, Three Fingers is scary. On one side of the lookout is a 2400 foot cliff. You have to climb LADDERS to get to the TOP

Edited by The Navigatorz
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I snagged myself a copy of the book that I think you are using at the library yesteday. Very interesting read. Some of those location outright scare me. No way would I survive on 3 fingers.

 

If you mean "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest" by Ray Kresek, that's the one. It's a great book about lookouts, with stories, photos, and information on over 3,000 lookouts in the Northwest. By the way, Ray also established the Fire Lookout Museum. just north of Spokane, open free to the public between March and November. I plan on visiting it next time I'm in the Spokane area.

 

I agree, Three Fingers is scary. On one side of the lookout is a 2400 foot cliff. You have to climb LADDERS to get to the TOP

 

I've done Three Fingers. An awesome place! And, yes, scary (unless you are Cache Ahead.)

 

Yes as a interesting side note on some facts I came across:

A 5'8" person sees the horizon at 3 miles (if flat). From 10000 feet, the horizon is 117nm away.

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WOW! I just did a search in GSAK for the Geo/Terra caches in that area and there's 3 of them... GCKB5G, TC2B6, and TC2EI Cool. If it were within my 100 mile radius, I'd definately do it in the next few weeks. Anyone up for a carpool from Spokane??? If you want to, send me a PM.

 

The Steaks

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If you go to Mt. Spokane, you won't find a lookout tower. The most recent tower was removed in 2001 and relocated on nearby Quartz Mountain. But, the historical lookout that still remains is not a tower, but the stone Vista House Lookout.

 

The Vista House Lookout, was built in 1934 and the second story dormer on the north side was the original lookout. A couple of towers were built there over the years, and the last one was removed and relocated on nearby Quartz Mountain in 2001 for use as a recreational rental. Here is an interesting article about the Mount Spokane tower that was moved.

 

I thought I'd provide this info because the cache page here does not describe the lookout history. So if you make it up to Mt. Spokane to look for the cache, and are interested in lookouts, stop and visit the Vista House Lookout.

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I called the Methow Ranger Station on Monday and asked about the Road 5400 to Slate Peak and the guy I talked to said the road may be open in 2 weeks. Barnabirdy(s) said they also read the same thing in the Winthrop newspaper.

 

Road 5400 takes you to Slate Peak: 7416 feet, where DEW Line cache is located (the 7th highest cache in the state and a lookout tower location).

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Thanks for all the work with this cache Nav. I'm just checking it out and will have to go through what I've done and hidden. I think I have 8-10 so far??? I just saw the 100 Highest, so I'll have to get busy. Fire lookouts have always held a special interest.

 

If you want to check out some current pics and info. on the Slate Peak road check here. Slate Peak Info. Looks like it should be open any day now.

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Thanks for all the work with this cache Nav. I'm just checking it out and will have to go through what I've done and hidden. I think I have 8-10 so far??? I just saw the 100 Highest, so I'll have to get busy. Fire lookouts have always held a special interest.

 

If you want to check out some current pics and info. on the Slate Peak road check here. Slate Peak Info. Looks like it should be open any day now.

 

I come up with 8 finds (Sugarloaf, Harriet Bench, Naneum Point, A Beautiful View, Tip Top, Lion Rock, Mt. Sawyer, and Maloney Ridge) and 3 hides (Alpine Lookout, Heybrook Lookout, and Boundary Butte). Let me know if I missed any and give me the word and I'll sign you up. <_<

 

Thanks for the info on the Slate Peak road. Awesome views at the lookout.

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If you go to Mt. Spokane, you won't find a lookout tower. The most recent tower was removed in 2001 and relocated on nearby Quartz Mountain. But, the historical lookout that still remains is not a tower, but the stone Vista House Lookout.

 

The Vista House Lookout, was built in 1934 and the second story dormer on the north side was the original lookout. A couple of towers were built there over the years, and the last one was removed and relocated on nearby Quartz Mountain in 2001 for use as a recreational rental. Here is an interesting article about the Mount Spokane tower that was moved.

 

I thought I'd provide this info because the cache page here does not describe the lookout history. So if you make it up to Mt. Spokane to look for the cache, and are interested in lookouts, stop and visit the Vista House Lookout.

 

Yeah Yeah... I added some information to the Mt Spokane TB Resort.

 

The Steaks

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If you mean "Fire Lookouts of the Northwest" by Ray Kresek, that's the one. It's a great book about lookouts, with stories, photos, and information on over 3,000 lookouts in the Northwest. By the way, Ray also established the Fire Lookout Museum. just north of Spokane, open free to the public between March and November. I plan on visiting it next time I'm in the Spokane area.

 

I agree, Three Fingers is scary. On one side of the lookout is a 2400 foot cliff. You have to climb LADDERS to get to the TOP

I have a signed copy of that book -got it at Ray's Museum here in Spokane. I thought about hiding a cache there, but wasn't sure about the burden to Ray... perhaps I could find a way to do a small one just outside with his permission... :)

 

The museum is open to public, free, and he loves to give personal tours -it is in his backyard! There's even a restored L-6 there that you can climb into and get a bit of the feel of actually living there. I highly recommend making a visit if you are in the Spokane area. Just be sure to call ahead to make a reservation.

 

Cheers!

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I have a signed copy of that book -got it at Ray's Museum here in Spokane. I thought about hiding a cache there, but wasn't sure about the burden to Ray... perhaps I could find a way to do a small one just outside with his permission... ;)

 

The museum is open to public, free, and he loves to give personal tours -it is in his backyard! There's even a restored L-6 there that you can climb into and get a bit of the feel of actually living there. I highly recommend making a visit if you are in the Spokane area. Just be sure to call ahead to make a reservation.

 

Cheers!

 

I have been wanting to visit the lookout museum for some time and it looks like I will be able to this weekend. I hope Ray is there. I'd like to meet him. We'll probably talk about lookouts. :D

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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

Whoa, what just happened? :D

Edited by Lookout Lisa
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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

Whoa, what just happened? :laughing:

 

Looks like someone is dealing from the bottom of the deck. That is what I call a dirty deal. Taking your idea right out from under you and flying with it. I hope it does not get approved. :unsure:

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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

Whoa, what just happened? :laughing:

 

I've sent you everything and the listing did NOT get published so the hate mail can stop. The way that I read it was that it was open for someone to do. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

 

The Steaks

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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

Whoa, what just happened? :(

 

I've sent you everything and the listing did NOT get published so the hate mail can stop. The way that I read it was that it was open for someone to do. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

 

The Steaks

I am sorry for the misunderstanding as well, and thank you very much for the email and phone call. :D

 

I will be starting a separate thread for the Idaho Forest Fire Lookout Challenge shortly -just gotta run off and hide the final and finish the write up. Huge thanks to the Navagatorz for all their technical assistance :D

 

We will now return you to your regularly scheduled Washington Forest Fire Lookout Challenge Forum! :D

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Hmm... it would be fun to put together a Fire Lookout Challenge for Idaho...

 

Ohh.. Something that I'd like to do. I'll start throwing a list together...

 

The Steaks

 

After a few hours Hopefully it'll be published. GC12V50 is its GC Code.

 

The Steaks

Whoa, what just happened? :(

 

I've sent you everything and the listing did NOT get published so the hate mail can stop. The way that I read it was that it was open for someone to do. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

 

The Steaks

I appologize to the Steaks for my hasty unkind words about hoping the challenge was not published. I also misread intentions. I am known for speaking before thinking and I am sorry for any injurious (if that is not a word it should be) words.

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Wow, good thing we have all these people visiting lookout towers. Seems they all spotted the flames and called in a tanker drop ^_^

 

Do you know which fire or tower the report was called in from? Sounds Good!! Congrads to the person that called it in!

 

The Steaks

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The strangest thing happened to me today -I went out today to hide the final for the Idaho challenge that I've been working on. I had just hidden the cache and was putting my pack back on to hike out, and took a minute to look around... and what do I see?? A forest fire! About 15 miles off in the distance, just starting up!

 

I grab the cell phone, but no coverage -darn... well my hiking companion (not a geocacher, but very dear old friend) was further back down the trail, and her phone had worked at the trail head to call home. I scamper to our meeting spot, and neither of us has cell coverage -darn again! So we beat feet all the way to trailhead, and wala! She has coverage again. We punch in 911, talk to the sheriff's office, and turns out we are the first ones to call the fire in.

 

It was quite helpful to them that I knew my coordinates, and that I could describe about how far away the fire was from me and in what direction, so they were able to project the location.

 

I don't know what is happening now, may have just been a little brush fire but there was a good amount of smoke -there isn't any news about it here in Spokane yet...

 

So chalk another one up for lookouts!

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The strangest thing happened to me today -I went out today to hide the final for the Idaho challenge that I've been working on. I had just hidden the cache and was putting my pack back on to hike out, and took a minute to look around... and what do I see?? A forest fire! About 15 miles off in the distance, just starting up!

 

I grab the cell phone, but no coverage -darn... well my hiking companion (not a geocacher, but very dear old friend) was further back down the trail, and her phone had worked at the trail head to call home. I scamper to our meeting spot, and neither of us has cell coverage -darn again! So we beat feet all the way to trailhead, and wala! She has coverage again. We punch in 911, talk to the sheriff's office, and turns out we are the first ones to call the fire in.

 

It was quite helpful to them that I knew my coordinates, and that I could describe about how far away the fire was from me and in what direction, so they were able to project the location.

 

I don't know what is happening now, may have just been a little brush fire but there was a good amount of smoke -there isn't any news about it here in Spokane yet...

 

So chalk another one up for lookouts!

 

Just checked the NIFC website and the closest new fire to Spokane is the Echo Springs Fire:

 

NEW Echo Springs (West St. Joe Area Office, Idaho Department of Lands): 100 acres at zero percent contained. This fire is six miles southwest of St. Maries. Extreme fire activity was reported. Structures are threatened and evacuations are in place.

 

After dealing with the School and Columbia Complex Fires the last couple of years, I have found the Spokane media to be about 12 hours behind on coverage if any at all. ie: fire size, containment, etc. Great job in getting it reported!

 

NIFC Website

Edited by Bluesman63
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The strangest thing happened to me today -I went out today to hide the final for the Idaho challenge that I've been working on. I had just hidden the cache and was putting my pack back on to hike out, and took a minute to look around... and what do I see?? A forest fire! About 15 miles off in the distance, just starting up!

 

I grab the cell phone, but no coverage -darn... well my hiking companion (not a geocacher, but very dear old friend) was further back down the trail, and her phone had worked at the trail head to call home. I scamper to our meeting spot, and neither of us has cell coverage -darn again! So we beat feet all the way to trailhead, and wala! She has coverage again. We punch in 911, talk to the sheriff's office, and turns out we are the first ones to call the fire in.

 

It was quite helpful to them that I knew my coordinates, and that I could describe about how far away the fire was from me and in what direction, so they were able to project the location.

 

I don't know what is happening now, may have just been a little brush fire but there was a good amount of smoke -there isn't any news about it here in Spokane yet...

 

So chalk another one up for lookouts!

LL, you rock! Great story, glad you were there to report it early on. :blink:

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The strangest thing happened to me today -I went out today to hide the final for the Idaho challenge that I've been working on. I had just hidden the cache and was putting my pack back on to hike out, and took a minute to look around... and what do I see?? A forest fire! About 15 miles off in the distance, just starting up!

 

I grab the cell phone, but no coverage -darn... well my hiking companion (not a geocacher, but very dear old friend) was further back down the trail, and her phone had worked at the trail head to call home. I scamper to our meeting spot, and neither of us has cell coverage -darn again! So we beat feet all the way to trailhead, and wala! She has coverage again. We punch in 911, talk to the sheriff's office, and turns out we are the first ones to call the fire in.

 

It was quite helpful to them that I knew my coordinates, and that I could describe about how far away the fire was from me and in what direction, so they were able to project the location.

 

I don't know what is happening now, may have just been a little brush fire but there was a good amount of smoke -there isn't any news about it here in Spokane yet...

 

So chalk another one up for lookouts!

LL, you rock! Great story, glad you were there to report it early on. :blink:

 

Of course, what the news is now saying about some of the wildfires is that they will probobly not be fully out until the SNOW starts falling in most areas...

 

The Steaks

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Perhaps this is a good place to indicate what I encountered when visiting First Butte Lookout on 08/04/07. To quote my log: "dentalstudent and I drove up quite early in the day so as not to inconvenience our camping families (i.e., return in time to make breakfast for them), but we ended up abruptly waking Mort (the eyes and ears of the First Butte Lookout) from her much-needed sleep (critical to staying sharp during her 9:30-6:30 stint -- yup, fire lookout staff actually have defined shifts!) After overcoming getting off on the wrong foot, we had a wonderful visit and agreed that we'd pass on a reminder that this is a working lookout, so please respect the necessary down-time essential to an alert fire lookout."

 

It would appear to be good community relations to spread a reminder that the manned lookouts are 24/7 worksites with scheduled downtime that should be respected. We ended up talking with Mort for over an hour and left on good terms (and ready to buy the lookout book), but the possible damage by off-hours visits (such as mine) is very real. ... a standardized caution on each lookout cache page?

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