Monday, May 2, 2016

Church Creek Trail and Gem Lake

Cars lined up to get in, the wild life gate opens on this day


Forest Service comes to open the gate
The gate opens

Church Creek trail in rough shape on the Wynoochee side


Gem Lake detour

Satsop Lake is low, sometimes this log is underwater.


Massive hemlock at the pass



Snow on the brush crash route

our route

There are several old growth trees blocking the trail on the Satsop side of the pass.  We managed to lose the trail in one spot as did another party.

There was a line waiting for the wild life gate to open.  A woman came and opened it at about 10:30 and off we all went, wood cutters and hikers.

We left the Church Creek trail to bag an off trail lake and it turned out to be a real Gem.

The only snow on the trail was on the road section and some just on the other side of the pass on the Satsop side.

Upper Satsop Lake is quite low for this time of year and it is teaming with newts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Camp Pleasant and "Darky" Mine




We are training for Mount Adams!  Our first get is shape hike was the 14 mile round trip trek to Camp Pleasant on the North Fork Skokomish River.

I was not feeling well, maybe allergies, maybe a migraine I really struggled at the start of the hike.  Even at lunch time I did not feel too great, too hot, too headachey, too hungry, too full.

In spite of my misery we decided to look for Darky mine.  We thrashed around on the hill in the way too hot heat while way to tired looking for the mine.  My GPS(r) map has a way-point for Darky Mine.  But all the old way-points on my 1956 GPS map are a bit off.

I knew that a mine had to be in a rock and I could see no rock.  We gave up and decided to go up and take a closer look at a waterfall way up on the hill.

It occurred to me that the rock was exposed at the waterfall and in the creek bed.  Could the Darky Mine be at the bottom of the creek?  We snapped  few pictures of the waterfall and headed down to find out.  My theory was correct!  We found the mine at the base of another waterfall on the same creek.




My daughter was brave enough to crawl into one of the caves and discover that it went back quite far but was filled with water.  The water frightened her because there was no way to know how deep the mud was.

 I'm very claustrophobic thanks to an uncle of mine (Larry Lieseke) who used to smother me with pillows and other horrible things when I was quite young.     Also my mother tying me up and locking me in a closet did not help, but at least I can't remember that.

 I only know about that because she told me last mother's day.  My mother was dying and she was trying to make things right by apologizing for some of the stuff she did to me.  She said I deserved the closet thing because I was being "ornery".

Apparently my mother tortured my aunt and my uncle's a bit when they were kids, but that's okay because they were "ornery".   Well at least "ornery: is my uncle's excuse for abusing me when I was a child and what's good for the goose.  In all fairness, they were siblings, so it was not child abuse.

Hmmm, my kids are ornery some times. Maybe I should  torture them?

Anyway, I digress.

I was terrified of going into the cave and on my first attempt I went right back out.  But the cave was so intriguing and my daughter wanted me to go in with her since she was so scared of the water.  I went back in, my heart pounding, scared to death.  I made my daughter stay close by me and that helped.

The cave only went a few more feet around a corner in the water and the water was not too deep, but it was very cold.  The only life we found in the cave was a few cave crickets and some maple seedlings that were doomed due to lack of light in there.

We got really muddy crawling in the cave and it was a hot day, so we both cleaned up by standing under the waterfall.  The water fall was quite cold and it was coming down very fast.  Standing under that waterfall was so exhilarating that my headache and sickness went away and I had plenty of energy for the hike out.

14 miles with 1,000 feet elevation gain



Cave Cricket



Clean up






Friday, April 15, 2016

Harps Shelter


Old car viewpoint and fence

Harps owned the Mount Rose Lodge or Antlers Lodge.  They also had a summer camp on the South Fork Skokomish.  I assume that their camp is where Harp's shelter now stands.

This was a road walk today since the wild life gates are shut.  I was shocked to find an unmarked car parked that the upper trail head.  I was not surprised to see a car with government places parked near the secret trail to the river though.

I saw a few things that I have not seen before.  The biggest surprise was an old viewpoint that people must have driven up to in the past.  The fencing was there to keep people from falling off the cliff I think.  The view is of Wonder Mountain and the Skokomish River.

11.5 miles 250 feet elevation gain.


Perhaps a tribal car

Harps Shelter

Near Laney Camp

Plenty of wood in the river, no need to uproot more native trees and use
helicopters to throw them into the river .

Old culvert

rain on the hike out







Unmarked car at upper trail head

witches butter lit nicely