U.S.E.D. 1943 Traditional Geocache
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This cache is at the top of a very seldom visited site at an elevation of about 700 feet on the south tip of Rugged Island. The area is heavily overgrown and the hike should only be attempted by those willing to follow the scant clues of what can seem like a lost civilization. The approach is by boat, to the remains of the dock at N 59° 50.403’ W 149° 22.632’. The letters U.S.E.D and the year 1943 are imprinted in the concrete of main structure.
Fort Bulkley was an important component of the coastal defenses that were constructed against incredible odds during the early years of WW II. From a dock on the shore of Mary’s Bay, a steep tramway was built to haul construction materials and supplies to the upper slopes. Little remains of the tramway except rotting timbers and lengths of heavy steel rails sliding down the mountain as they are breaking loose. Stay clear of that danger. A zigzag road was also blasted out of the granite cliffs, all the way to the top, where a huge concrete structure was built to contain the power station and plotting rooms for two six-inch naval guns. The building is very similar to Fort McGilvray on Caines Head, but is built on two levels with a connecting stairway. The project was abandoned at nearly 90% completion, before the guns were installed, when the course of the war turned towards the South Pacific theatre. A Coast Guard navigation signal is maintained on one of the old concrete spotting rooms, so the road up from the dock is actually good hiking to that level. Where the cleared part of the road levels out and heads towards the east, one must look carefully for clues of the upper roadway which goes on up to the structure on the west point. Some pieces of survey ribbon have been tied in spots, and there are several collapsed wooden structures along that section, but it is a challenge to follow the route and imagine how dozers and trucks used to climb this isolated ridge. At the gun emplacements, use a flashlight and carefully explore the nearly perfectly preserved rooms and stairway, then climb to the battery command post at the top. That section, with a rounded concrete roofline which would have been buried under fill if the project had been completed, almost seems like something from a space outpost. It’s hard to even see the bay from the slot windows now, but it’s easy to imagine the view from that spot when all the trees were scraped away.
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