Written by Night Hawk 3
Night Hawk 3 continues the story of his adventures.
Aircraft Wreck #3 Contest
The Full Story
Part 2: The Olympic Peninsula and beyond
Tue Mar 09, 2004 11:43 am
And so it continues…
Web update by Nomaddante
Well, the hunt is underway. With Vancouver Island points behind him, Nighthawk 3 has headed out for new hunts. He caught a 7 o’clock ferry, and got underway.
Now, you have to understand, that Nighthawk is an adventure racer, a fact that will assuredly help him out here. Going for 24-36 hours is not a huge stretch for him.
So off he has gone. A trip down to the Olympic peninsula was fruitful; though it was quite late by the time he found the tag.
Then, a two-hour delay. As he was driving down the road, he saw a guy walking (this is like 3 in the morning). The guy had gotten stuck, had trouble of some worth, and was on his way out. Jeans, Waders, fishing pole. So Nighthawk stopped, picked him up, and lent some assistance.
I got the update call this morning, and unless I miss my guess, he will be beginning to hit locations sometime towards midnight tonight, or perhaps tomorrow morning.
I will keep you all posted as more details come in. And he will be providing the full details on his mission when he returns!!!!
Monday, March 08, 2004
Updated March 19, by Night Hawk 3
I got up on Monday morning fairly early since I was still in work mode, and I spent all of the morning and part of the afternoon packing my truck and tying up loose ends. I needed to buy some food for the road, get travel insurance, and drop my dog off with a friend among other things, which I did shortly before boarding the ferry at 7pm. I had hoped to make the 5 o’clock ferry but some dawdling earlier in the day meant that I was going to miss it; I arrived in really good time for the 7. The crossing was uneventful and I visited with some of the crew I knew on the ferry, and had chicken strips and salad for dinner.
On my way to the Peace Arch Border crossing.
I proceeded directly from the ferry to the Peace Arch border crossing, making it there in good time since I had the advantage of light traffic by traveling at night. The border line-up was short and after attempting to explain what geocaching was to the border guard, I continued south on I-5 to the Olympic Peninsula to find a GPS tag on a piece of driftwood at a place called Kalaloch.
Boy, is my wife ever going to be worried…
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, when I was only a short distance from my coordinates, a man who was walking down the highway flagged me down. He looked a little distraught and out of place… An older guy, sporting a fishing rod, hip waders and the obligatory white woolen cable-knit sweater that so many fishermen wear. I slowed down, pulled over, and backed up to see what he wanted.
It took him a few moments to collect his thoughts since he was obviously quite cold and a little desperate. He got into my truck, where it was warm with the heater going, and I attempted to get his story from him. I handed him one of my Nalgene bottles, and after some fresh water and a few moments to warm up, he started to make more sense whereupon he related his story to me. It went something like this: he parked his red Nissan pick-up along the Queets River, to fish for steelhead, starting sometime around noon. As the afternoon progressed he wandered down the river a ways looking for better holes and back eddies…soon he found himself quite some distance from where he had parked. As it started to get dark he worked his way back up river and began looking for his truck; this must have been around 5 pm or so. As the hours passed and he had not been able to find it, he figured that the only sensible thing to do was to walk all the way back out to the highway. That made sense to me, but at almost 03:00 I realized this poor guy had been out a long time. He was also quite fortunate the weather was not overly cold and wet, and that he had the good sense to keep moving, or he may have succumbed to hypothermia.
He was a little disoriented and not entirely sure which direction the entrance road was, so after doing a few u-turns and going back and forth along the highway a few times, we finally made our way along the riverside road. As I drove deeper and deeper into the forest it became very apparent just how far this guy had walked. I started out traveling along the road pretty slowly keeping and eye out for his truck…and then picked up the pace as we finally made our way down the dirt road some 20 kms as he provided better directions when the terrain started to look familiar. As we approached the end of the road there was a Ranger’s Station (closed for the season) and a campground; this was our turnaround point since we had somehow passed his truck. Upon not finding it after a further search, he mentioned there had been some other people up in the area and that maybe they had stolen his truck and that it just wasn’t there anymore. That scenario didn’t seem too likely to me since this is the kind of place where people probably didn’t even bother to lock their doors and I suggested that to him as reassurance.
After trying every side road that headed in the direction of the river, and doubling back a few more times, we finally managed to locate his truck obscured by shadows and dark trees a little deeper in than he had remembered. He got out, expressing his gratitude for taking so much time out of my travels to help him out. I made sure that he was going to be okay, and that his truck started up before I left. He offered me some cash for my time and fuel, I refused and told him to play it forward. I mentioned that he should be a little more careful next time and suggested that in the future he should bring along a small pack containing some food, a map and some water. He thanked me again and I drove back out to the highway, where I turned in the direction of Kalaloch to find the tag.
Hopefully he made it back in time for work in Seattle later that morning, and that his wife hadn’t stayed up all night long worrying about him. What a tough end to a long-weekend of lashing the water for steelhead in such a beautiful area.
The Yellow Tag at Kalaloch…
I pulled into Kalaloch, shortly after making it back to the main road and it was just as I had imagined it from my research. A really neat area of weathered, wood-sided cottages with the sound of the ocean roaring up the beach. I pulled in and parked right near where my coordinates put me, zoomed-in the map on my gpsr and located the driftwood to which the tag was attached after following some stairs to the beach and around to left.
An aerial photograph of Kalaloch.
The red dot is where my projected coordinate put me.
I took the required photos…bloodshot eyes and all, and went back to my truck where I caught a couple of hours of sleep just before my scheduled check-in time with Nomaddante.
The yellow tag nailed to a rather large piece of driftwood
Just a brief aside here; I used quite number of pay phones while I was away, and I certainly learned a few things about them during that time. The rates of the phones in the US varies quite a bit since there’s competition between the various service providers. Typically it was $1 for 3 minutes, though I did manage to find one company that gave 10 minutes for that same $1 (I just looked for the yellow handset). I also discovered a way to judge how well a telephone works – before you even use it! It’s easy, just take a look at the handset and you will find that functionality is inversely proportional the number of dents in the earpiece. A smooth earpiece usually meant a good phone, and one that been beaten to a pulp… well, you get the idea.
Tuesday, March 9, 2004
Washington to Nevada…
Updated April 5, by Night Hawk 3
I checked in with Nomaddante early in the morning, giving him the details of my travels and find, before leaving Kalaloch. I then spent the rest of Tuesday morning heading back to the I-5 and then traveling south towards Portland and beyond.
Heading south, away from Kalaloch, on the Olympic Peninsula
When I got to Northern California and near Mt. Shasta in the afternoon, I made the decision to turn southeast toward Reno via highways 89 and 395 instead of heading east from Sacramento and up to 395. My new route decision seemed like it could save a few hours of driving time, and I could get off the I-5 and onto a more scenic route.
A quick shot of Mt. Shasta as I drove by…
I fuelled up in Reno, checked-in with Nomaddante, and then continued south on the 395 for a few more hours before I pulled off the road and slept for a few hours until morning.
A morning view from the side of Hwy 395, well south of Reno
Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:06 pm
Nighthawk’s adventure continues…
Web update by Nomaddante
So, I got a call from Nighthawk at 10:30 last Night. I am dead on my feet, and in retrospect, I am amazed he was sounding lucid. As you recall, he left on the 7 pm ferry the day before last. That means he hit Vancouver for about 9 pm. This means that elapsed time has been 25.5 hours. I did the mapquest route for Vancouver to the driftwood tag, then down to Reno, from where he was reporting-in: 21 hours. So, in the other 4.5 hours he has provided a rescue to a stranded soul, as well as found the tag, stopped for breaks, etc. And been moving/awake for 36 hours or so. Nighthawk… heck, nighthawk, dayhawk, morning, evening, and afternoon hawk too!!!!
He reported back in again this afternoon, assuring me that he had stopped out of Reno for a sleep. Took himself a nice drive down the 168, then back up it again. Bagged himself a cache that I suggested he do (apparently it’s the local hot spot for Victorian cachers – GC183E).
And the adventure continues. He was in Bishop when I spoke with him, and was heading down towards DEATH VALLEY HAHAHAHAHAHA–sorry- I don’t have a good sinister laugh… especially in type.
Will report back in when there is more…
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Question #9 – The “Big Pine sign”
Updated April 5, by Night Hawk 3
From where I slept for a few hours at the side of the road south of Reno, I drove on to the towns of Bishop and then Big Pine. At the north end of Big Pine I swung east at the turn for hwy 168 on my way to solve Question #9.
Following the directions the Team provided, I continued east looking for an elevation of 7557 feet. From my research I knew that the nearest pass, Westgard Pass, only went up to 7271 feet but that the surrounding terrain went much higher. Was this where the Team had intended for me to go? I was about to find out…
Clearly not 7557′ elevation
I worked my way up the very narrow and winding Deep Springs Valley Road (Hwy 168), gaining elevation rapidly… thinking how much fun it would be if I were zipping up this road in a little red sports car instead of a slow four wheel drive truck, while looking for the appropriate location and sign as described in the Team’s directions. Fairly soon it became apparent that almost all the signs in the area were new-looking, and they had wooden posts instead of steel ones. Ominous. In any case, I worked the area carefully and systematically and in the process I logged a nearby cache, which I knew was in the area (from reading the Aircraft Wreck 2 Trip Report) and that Nomaddante alerted me to. I also made a short side-excursion up the Bristlecone (Park) Road where, at over 9,000 feet, there is an absolutely spectacular lookout that allows views of the Sierras with nearby peaks that reach skyward over 14,000 feet.
Stunning vistas from the Bristlecone area…
looking southeast towards Death Valley
At nearly 9,300 feet it’s perhaps the most scenic outhouse I’ve seen.
And made of brick too
I left the area just a little suspicious that something was not quite right. Unable find the sign along Hwy 168 as the Team had indicated, I returned to Bishop where the phones were cheaper, and there’s also a grocery store where I stocked up on some fresh fruit and veggies in preparation for my trip into deepest darkest depths of Death Valley. Before setting off, I made a call to Nomaddante explaining the situation, mentioning that the signs in the area appeared to be new, and that none of them had steel posts. Hmmm…What now!?
Turning right at the Bristlecone junction and back to Big Pine.
To be continued….