Spokane History GeoTour

If this blog lasts any length of time, you’ll soon learn I’m a sucker for a geocoin reward.

Less than two months after our first visit to Spokane, Wa., Mrs. Rock Chalk and I returned to the area for a weekend of Spokane History GeoTour (SHGT) caching. The tour consists of 44 caches hidden in historic locations throughout Spokane County. Once you’ve amassed 100 “points” (mostly by finding caches, but also by staying at local hotels), you earn a trackable geocoin.

Both Mrs. RC and I have soft spots for Spokane. It was the first place I ever visited in the Pacific Northwest (during a 1993 trip to compete in the USA Track & Field Junior National meet). For Mrs. RC, I think the area reminds her a lot of Midwestern cities, so it feels a bit more homey.

We departed Seattle super-early on Saturday morning and arrived at our first SHGT cache at around 9:45 a.m. The next 10 or so hours were filled with stops at various parks, museums and historic sites. A few Saturday highlights:

SHGT: Bing Crosby House. I happen to be reading a Bob Hope biography at the moment. So, it was especially fun to see Crosby’s childhood home, since he and Hope starred in so many films together. The cache is available anytime, but the home/museum hours are more limited. Lots of neat memorabilia. Plus, the home backs up to Gonzaga University.

BingCrosbyHouse

SHGT: Sutton Park. I’d forgotten what it feels like to be in a small college town on a football game day. Cheney is home to Eastern Washington University, and we attempted this and a few nearby caches just prior to EWU’s home win over Montana State.

Aliens Among Us. Of course, we didn’t just attempt SHGT caches. This one eluded us during our past trip, because the grounds were closed. Tons of old outdoor signs and yard art await new homes. Fun place and a neat spot for a cache.

Alien

As sun set, I dropped off Mrs. RC at our evening’s lodging, then headed back out for a bit of night caching. Fellow Geocaching HQ lackey Moun10Bike agreed to join me for an attempt on Night Hawk Explorer in the Saltese Uplands Conservation Area. I’d been there before, but this was a totally different experience at night. Very peaceful, with the quiet disturbed only by the howls of nearby coyotes. After some starts and stops, we finally claimed victory on the night cache, as well as a few others in the area. One of them filled in a box on my Washington Fizzy grid. Only two boxes remain!

NightCaching

My Sunday morning began before sunrise with a quick trip over the border to Idaho for another night cache and a Jasmer Challenge cache. Then back to Spokane to pick up Mrs. RC and resume the SHGT. We earned 46 points on Saturday, so we knew it would take a strong effort to make it to 100. Because of that, we didn’t stop for as many non-SHGT caches as I would have liked. But it was a great day, nonetheless. The Sunday highlights:

SHGT: Dr. Who and The Cave. Spokane’s Cache Advance is one of the driving forces behind the SHGT. It’s fitting, then, that they would have a cache just outside the store. Gadget caches are always fun, and this one if well constructed. We visited outside of store hours, so didn’t get to wander inside. Maybe next time!

DrWho

The Go-Look-at-the-Big-Rock cache. Head south of Spokane and hike up to Big Rock. From the south side, it’s only a mile or two hike (with 700 feet elevation gain) to the summit, where you’ll enjoy marvelous views of the Palouse Hills. Several caches along the way, with this Year 2002 cache and a SHGT cache waiting at the top.

Palouse

Upper Falls. Highly recommend visiting this area at sunset. Wonderful views overlooking the Spokane River. In addition to this virtual cache, you’ll find an EarthCache and several Traditional caches in the vicinity. Not to mention some great caching nearer downtown’s “main strip”

Upper

When all was said and done, we totaled 106 points. Just enough to claim the SHGT geocoin. The only drawback, for me, was the amount of driving required. But the tour definitely takes you to some pretty spots. Just be sure to visit when the weather is nice to get the full effect.

Honorable mentions from the trip: SHGT: Intercache – Arboretum Amble, SHGT: Newman Lake, Mission Not Impossible, Covert Buffalo