WSGA is going APE at GeoWoodstock VIII, and we invite you to join us! Take a scenic hike to the last remaining Project APE cache in the United States - Mission 9: Tunnel of Light (GC1169) - and add the Project Ape icon to your Found caches. Woo hoo!
Time & place: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm on Friday, July 2, at the Hyak parking area at Snoqualmie Pass (posted coordinates). Everyone is welcome to join us and socialize, and log the event. If you're registered for the APE cache outing, the first buses will leave around 9:00 am. (We are not assigning times.) Buses will run continuous loops between the Hyak event venue and Annette Lake trailhead during that time, leaving every 15-20 minutes. The last bus will depart Hyak just before 1:00 pm, and the final pickup at Annette Lake trailhead will be about 3:30 pm.
The activity: This is a social event open to everyone, as well an organized outing to the APE cache. For those doing the APE trek, you'll check in, receive a Goody Bag, and board a bus to Annette Lake trailhead (8 miles one way). You’ll then hike a scenic 4 miles (round trip) through the Cascade Mountains to the APE cache. There are several other caches nearby, and you can visit the west entrance of the gated Snoqualmie Tunnel. (Add a mile or two and extra time for these options.) Once you’re done, you’ll check in with the trailhead volunteer and board a bus back to Hyak.
Why we’re doing this: WSGA wants to make it easier for visiting cachers to reach the APE cache, which requires a hike in the Cascade Mountains. In addition, the namesake Tunnel of Light (the Snoqualmie Tunnel) is closed indefinitely (structural issues), so you must hike from Annette Lake trailhead, which has limited parking (especially on a holiday weekend) and requires a Northwest Forest Pass. To minimize confusion, crowding, and land-manager concerns, WSGA is hosting this event to keep it manageable - and fun! - for everyone.
Registration: The meet-n-greet at Hyak is open to all (free), but to participate in the APE outing, you must register and pay in advance. Registration is now closed, as we have reached capacity. Registration is $25 per adult and $15 per child (12 and under). Children age 5 and under attend free. Adult registrations include a Goody Bag; child registrations include bottled water with holder/clip. You will not have a seat on the bus or Goody Bag if you just show up.
Confirmations and cancellations: Your PayPal receipt serves as verification of your registration, so you may want to print and bring a copy, just in case. You may request a refund of your online reservation until Friday, June 25. No refunds after that date, as we will have committed resources based on expected attendance.
What the fee covers: Special-event permits charged by the two park services whose land we cross (state and federal), bus transportation, liability insurance, parking permits, rented toilets, and Goody Bags.
Goody Bag: Each adult registrant will receive an APE Goody Bag that includes a tote bag (reusable, biodegradable), a trackable APE Cachekinz, bottled water with holder/clip, mini-pen, map and terrain/cache info, and a voucher for the purchase of one APE geocoin during the event.
WSGA is releasing both APE trackables at this event, and you will be the first to receive them. The Going APE geocoin will be sold at the Annette trailhead, so bring your voucher and $12 cash if you want one. On Saturday, the remaining coins will be sold to other GeoWoodstock attendees at the WSGA booth (limit 1 per caching name) - if you're on the wait list, that's your window.
The hike: The hike to the APE cache is 2 miles (4 miles round trip) with 700 feet of elevation gain inbound, most of it in the first mile. You begin by hiking up the Annette Lake Trail, a typical narrow, uneven forest trail with some roots and rocks to negotiate. Once you reach the Iron Horse Trail (an old railroad bed), you are on a broad, flat gravel trail that provides a scenic stroll to the APE cache (and beyond that, the tunnel entrance). Update 6/29: There have been Sasquatch sightings reported near the APE cache, so keep your eyes open!
We’ve created a topo map of the hike with the caches marked. It will be in your Goody Bag, or you can download the PDF file.
With Groundspeak’s permission, we are providing a GPX file of caches in the vicinity of the APE cache and Snoqualmie Pass. (File removed 7/4/10.) Your download and use of this data is subject to Groundspeak’s Waypoint License Agreement.
Time required: Please plan a half-day for this event so you won’t be rushed (or longer, depending on your abilities and caching plans). Remember you must drive to Snoqualmie Pass, take a bus to the trailhead, do the hike, take a bus back to Hyak, then drive to your next destination.
A serious hiker could make the round trip to the APE cache in 90 minutes. However, most people will take longer, especially if you want to get the other caches along this stretch of trail or enjoy lunch at the picnic tables near the cache. If you're not a hiker, unused to walking distances or climbing uneven trails, or have kids in tow, you should plan up to four hours for the hike and be on one of the first buses in the morning to ensure you get back in time. Please plan according to your abilities, so the organizers aren't searching for you after the event. (We want to attend the Meet & Greet Luau, too!) If you are a hiker and don't need a half-day for this trek (two hours should be fine), we suggest you avoid the early rush and arrive a bit later, allowing the slower folks to take the early buses.
What to wear: You’re going on a hike of 4-5 miles in mountainous terrain, so dress accordingly. Flip-flops are not appropriate footwear. Hiking boots or sneakers with tread are good choices. Shorts are fine if it’s warm enough. Be sure to check the weather report and come prepared – it could be a cool day or a scorcher, sunny or rainy. If it’s rained recently, parts of the trail could be muddy. Weather for Snoqualmie Pass.
What to bring: Day pack with hiking essentials for your party. This may include food, water, camera, hat, bug spray, suntan lotion, first aid, camera, emergency whistle, sunglasses, extra batteries, trekking poles, maps, ibuprofen, camera….
Prize raffle: We have some wonderful prize donations from Groundspeak, Landsharkz, Cache Advance, debbiedoesdecals, and WSGA. Thanks to our raffle sponsors for their generosity! We will be holding the drawing between 11:00 – 12:00 at the Hyak meet-n-greet. You do NOT have to be present to win, as most of you will be on the hike. Your raffle ticket is in your Goody Bag; be sure and deposit half of it in the bucket at the Name Tag table to be entered. Those just attending the meet-n-greet can get a raffle ticket at the Name Tag table. During the raffle, we will pull ticket numbers; anyone present can pick up their prize immediately. The other tickets will be on a list at Registration – check in before you leave to find out if you won a prize. Any prizes remaining at the end of the day will be donated to future event raffles.
Parking at Hyak and Annette: Hyak has appr. 250 spaces. With expected attendance of 500, and other park users, we expect to overflow this, so please carpool if at all possible, and respect any barriers erected to reserve space for other users (esp. horse trailers). And – please! - do not drive to Annette during the event. That parking lot is small, and quite busy on a Friday (this is why we are staging at Hyak and busing you there). Any overflow parking in the Annette lot or on the one-lane entrance road will impede the buses and could be disastrous for transportation flow. Event volunteers and parks personnel will be enforcing parking restrictions at both locations, so please help us keep things moving smoothly. Thanks!
Things to do at Hyak: Besides the event, we mean. The east portal of the Snoqualmie Tunnel is less than .25 mile down the Iron Horse Trail; it's an easy flat stroll, and you'll feel the sudden drop in temperature even before you see the tunnel entrance. Head the other direction on the trail (past the event area) and pick up Welcome to the Tiki Hut (GCT2AC). If you have a bike or want a longer hike, you can continue on to several other caches along Lake Keechelus.
Wait list and on-site registration: After some negotiating, we now hope to offer on-site registration to an additional 40-80 people. There are no guarantees. (This is not about more buses, it’s about the capacity set by the parks and other strictures.) 7/2 update: The email wait list is now closed, as it's event day; you can add your name to the wait list on-site if interested.
For those on the wait list, there are some important considerations: You will not board a bus until 11:00-12:00, as the registered folks will go out first. So please don’t plan to arrive before 11:00, as it will be quite crowded, parking will be at a premium, and you won’t get on an earlier bus. After 11:00, logistics permitting, we will begin calling the wait list to registration and then put you on a bus. The fee will be $30 (cash only, still $15 for kids), and will be paid at Annette when you arrive there, before you go on the hike (we can’t take money at Hyak). No matter when you go out, you MUST be back at the Annette trailhead by 3:30, when the last bus returns to Hyak (most folks should still have plenty of time). You will receive a Goody Bag but not a voucher for an APE coin. Thanks for your patience, and hope it works out!
Trail maps: If you use a Garmin GPSr, Northwest Trails is a tremendous (free) resource, as it adds trails to your GPS maps (a transparent overlay, so you see the trails along with other loaded maps). Other local hiking resources.
Directions to Hyak: (Hey, not everyone has auto-routing.) From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 54 (Hyak). At the end of the exit ramp, turn right (south), then immediately turn left on a road that parallels I-90 going east. The road makes a sharp right at a gated maintenance yard. Turn right again at the next road, and follow it to the Hyak parking lot and look for our event signs and buses. (If you end up at Hyak Lodge or Lake Keechelus, you missed the right turn for the Hyak parking lot.)
Hazards: You should not encounter any scary flora or fauna on the APE hike. The well-maintained trails are free of blackberry, stinging nettle, and devil’s club (we can’t say the same if you decide to bushwhack here or elsewhere). We don’t have poison oak/ivy/sumac in the mountains this far north. There are no poisonous snakes or spiders in Western Washington or the Cascades (watch out in Eastern WA, though). We do have wasps – careful where you put your hands. We also have coyotes, cougars, and bears – oh my! – as well as elk and deer, but you are not likely to see them during the day, especially with 400 people on the trail.
Services: There will be multiple toilets at both venues, but that’s about it. There are a seasonal gas station, small grocery, and restaurant(s) at Hyak, but most services are in North Bend, 22 miles away. So be prepared! (‘90s TV trivia: “Twin Peaks” was filmed in North Bend. And “Northern Exposure” was shot in Roslyn, on the east side of the Cascades.)
Dogs: Dogs are allowed on the trails and the buses, but please keep them leashed at all times for the courtesy and safety of others. If you don’t have a leash on your dog, you won’t be allowed on the bus.
Bicycles and other transport: No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails, which means no motorcycles, ATVs, golf carts, etc. However, bicycles are allowed on both trail sections, should you want to do that another time (we will not be transporting them on the buses).
Public transportation: Greyhound/Trailways (206-628-5508) stops at the visitor center at Snoqualmie Pass as part of scheduled service from Seattle, Everett, Tacoma, Bellingham, Mt Vernon and Olympia to Ellensburg and points east.
Can’t make the event? Stop by the WSGA booth during GeoWoodstock and pick up info on doing the hike on your own. Keep in mind you need a Northwest Forest Pass to park at Annette Lake trailhead; these can be purchased online, at a ranger station, or at many local businesses (e.g., REI), especially in North Bend (gas stations, quick marts).
Contacts: If you have any questions, please contact the event director, hydnsek.