Future Arborists of America, attend! This is another textbook case of how not to plant trees in front of a courthouse, which is sad because the courthouse is actually fairly attractive. Even the extension on the side isn’t badly done. All of that is negated, however. You can’t even see the front! What a shame.
Seeing as this was the last county in Washington, something special was fitting for the occasion, and my traveling companion, Buckandi, had just the thing for it. He pointed out a cache from February 2001, the seventh oldest in the state, with a bunch of favorite points. We went into a suburb outside of town and parked. From there, we followed one trail and then another up the hillside, heading near the top. I’m not gonna lie to you all: I am not made for ascent. I can walk almost all day on flattish ground, but add some height? Oof. There were two ways to the cache (we would eventually figure out): one from above, one from below. My thighs started to burn as we made the ascent from below. But oh, what a prize awaited at the end of our labors.
Ladies and gentlemen (or however you identify—I don’t mean to be gender assumptive), I give you Valley View. The cache name was quite on the nose and did not disappoint. We popped that ammo can, signed our names, and savored our victories, him completing his second state (he, too, has finished the Texas County Challenge), me completing my seventh. Boom goes the proverbial dynamite!
While enjoying our victories, we also realized that it was a good thing that we got this one when we did. When this was placed, this area was probably pristine, untouched for miles (well, at least a few miles, anyway). Today, though? Here comes the neighborhood. From our commanding view of the valley, we could also see the homes of the wealthy beginning to encroach. Nearby hills had houses in various stages of completion that neither of us could possibly afford. It was easy to tell from the road we had driven to get here that within a few years, this hill, too, would be developed. Gather ye caches as ye may, folks. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and that cache you’re saving may be gone. But we beat the buzzer on this one, and victory requires no explanation.
We headed back via the other route to the cache, over the crest of the hill and down to the main road. It was still midday, and we had ample time to return to Seattle. We passed back through Snoqualmie Pass and attended an event near the entrance to the APE Cache. Buck and I grabbed a bunch of challenges in the area while we were about, many of which we had already accomplished. We skipped one because it was insane.
We drove back into Seattle via the not-so-secret tunnel to have dinner with an old friend of mine (wait, Atreides has friends?) and hit our hotel for some well-deserved rest. The next day would be a big day that would begin with a special stop. There was a Virtual in a cemetery I had to visit while I was in Seattle.
Ladies and gentlemen (or however you identify—I still don’t mean to be gender assumptive), I give you the final resting place of James “Jimi” Hendrix. So many kisses for him and so many guitar picks that none could keep a count to curse them. And there was a small Traditional on the edge of the cemetery, a good place for trackables, which, no doubt, would be mostly music themed. My cache for the day was taken care of. It would, however, not come close to my most interesting. With our musical pilgrimage complete, we ventured downtown. You see, I had a speaking engagement to attend at…