Thursday, November 16, 2017

Big Creek Trail Slated for Logging. Oh no!

Got out an hiked in spite of a terrible weather forcast.  I was tired and not really feeling it at first but trying to keep a good attitude.

Keeping my good attitude was a struggle when I found out that the first mile of the trail shortly after the brige is slated for logging.  So dissapointed that they will log my go to winter trail.  Is there a way to fight this?

Made it up to a bench on the lower Ellinor trail.  It was nice to get up into the snow and out of the rain.

Sage does not handle the cold well.  She started shaking really hard at lunch time, so I gave her my coat to wear over her dog coat.

This is a terrible year for mushrooms.  I have not found any Matsutake at all and every few King Boletes and Chanterelles.  Big Creek is not a good mushroom trail anyway.  I'm talking about all my spots combined this year.

7.5 miles with 2,500 feet elevation gain.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Mount Lincoln Way Trail

Decided to head up to Big Log without the dog.  Dog’s are not allowed in the National Park.  Kind of dreaded my decision the night before.  Such a long boring hike in a tunnel and I knew I would be tired and hurting at the end.  So why do it?  It felt nostalgic.  I kept thinking of the one winter my mother came to visit for Christmas and the hike I did while she was visiting.  4 stream in the snow and I lost the trail not knowing it crossed the stream.   My mother is dead now and the visit did not end on a good note, so mixed feelings, but mostly just wish she was still alive.

A song from Rudolph and the Island of the misfit toys came on my radio just as I reached staircase.  The movie was playing a lot in my home during that Christmas visit from my mother.

I’ve been wanting to go up the Mount Lincoln way trail for a while but never was in good enough shape to deal with the elevation gain last year.  But now my iron stores are up and I can tackle the hills again.  Still the snow level was low.  Was beginning to think I might need snowshoes just to make to big log.

Hit the trail at 9am, that is a respectably early start for me.  The snow was melting, should I go up the Mount Lincoln way trail instead?  I read that the views were good and it was a wonderful sunny  day.  I made up my mind to change my mind.

The trail was very easy to follow at first, even in the snow.  Views opened up pretty quickly too thanks to the Beaver Fire.  These view s will not last though as the trees grow back.  I made it up to 2,000 feet before I lost the trail.  I had a little family of deer breaking the trail for me but then I lost their tracks.

Just before the going was about to get rough I took a long coffee break.  During my break trees kept throwing snowballs at me.  I was lucky that they did not knock over my coffee.

Trees throwing snowballs at me

I was pretty sure that there was a switch back where I lost the trail but the way was just not clear and for whatever reason I was starting to feel a bit spooked.  Perhaps my coffee break at a view point was to blame. 

The views were great, the sun was out and I had  lots of fun in the snow.  My feet stayed perfectly dry in my La Sportiva boots.  Gortex boots do keep my feet dry if they are well made and don’t leak.  My Solomon brand Gore-Tex boots and shoes were all leaky and horrible.

I will go back this summer maybe and see how high I can get up that trail before it becomes too technical.  Need to hurry and get up there a few times before the trees grow back and the views are gone.  Always nice to find a “new” trail in such an old place.     

I would have gone up that trail a long time ago if I had known it was so easy to follow.

7 miles with 1,500 feet elevation gain.

coffee break

Lost the trail near here

log hidden under snow is the trail

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Post Apocalyptic Backpacking Trip. Laney Camp.

Sage keeping warm in her condensation covered sleeping bag. Sage got to sleep inside of the tent as long as her body was completly enclosed in her bag so she could not foul the tent.

First night in my Tartpent Bowfin.

So many car campgrounds have been shut down. I even found an old viewpoint that had been shut down. I've been hiking into the old closed car campgrounds. I'm starting to call these post apocalyptic campgrounds. The infrastructure in the National Forest is falling apart, funds are being cut and we are slowly being excluded from the forests.

 How many permanently closed campground on public land can you name?

I wanted to photograph star trails with my one year old camera.  My camera has a special feature that shoots and compiles star trails.  I was really eager to try out this feature but it took me a year to finally get to do it.

I picked Laney Camp because it has a nearly clear sky view to the North and because I know I would get solitude there with the wild life gates shut.  The shut gates are another way to keep people out.

My hike started at the gate the blocks access to the Upper South Fork Skokmosh trail head.  I don't like the wildlife gates, but at least they do offer new hiking opportunities when they are shut.  The hike being mostly on a logging road was not pretty or even very fun but it lead to a nice place.

I pitched my never used Tarptent bowfin two near the river and waited for sunset.  Just before sunset thick fog moved in blocking any potential view of the stars. 

The fog eventually moved out but the moon was up.  I did a few start trails with the moon up and a few after moon set. I like the pre moonset photos the most as the moon lights up the foreground.

  It was quite cold so I stayed in my sleeping bag while my camera worked for 25 minutes at a time for each start trail.

I have a great cold weather sleep system now with a 800 fill power down comforter, two sleeping pads, down booties and a down hat.  But all that getting in and out of my bag caused me to lose too much heat even while sleeping in full rain gear a down vest and a fleece sweater.   My new USB hand warmer came to the rescue!  The new hand warmer gets much hotter than my old one.  It also doubles as a flash light and a USB battery charger for all my electronics.

I turned on the hand warmer and put it between my legs and against both of my femoral arteries and before I knew it,  I was fast asleep.

Star trails over Wonder Mountain while the Moon was up

Star trails over Wonder Mountain after moon set.

I brought my GPS on this trip so I could keep track of celestial things and I brought my Delorme inReach so I could sent messages home.  I brought my Ricoh GR II camera for astro photography. I also had my cell phone.  So many electronics, oh well, it's fun.  There was no cell service, I only brought the phone so there would be no risk of it being stolen from my car.  I used the phone to time my photography and to tell me the time of day.  My phone has a huge font for the time and I don't have to put my reading glasses on to see it.

Sadly my tripod broke before I could do any astro-photography.  I had to find things to lean my camera on and could not get the exact views that I wanted.  I was planning on maybe staying for two nights but the broken tripod and the cold convinced me to spend just one night.

Massive amounts of dew settled on the ground and on my tent by morning.  I mostly stayed dry in my tent, only a little bit of condensation dripped onto me when I moved around.  This is a good tent!

For the first time ever I let a dog sleep in my tent with me.  But she was only allowed in her sleeping bag and fully zipped up so she could not touch anything in the tent.    Perhaps the tent was a little bit warmer thanks to her.  She stayed warm enough in her new coat and inside of the sleeping bag.  She did not shiver at all until morning when we left the tent and she refused to stay in her sleeping bag.  

Morning Coffee as the first rays of sun hit Wonder Mountain

I did not sleep as well as I usually do.  The river made too many random noises as rocked rolled down stream.  I find that I sleep best up on the silent ridge tops with a view of everything around me.

I sat around reading "Lady Chatterley's Lover"and slowly packing up until 2pm.  The sun rays were never strong enough to dry all the condensation from my tent.  The sun is so weak at the end of October.  I'll have to finish drying out my tent at home.

The second sentence of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" says.  "The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes".  This reminds me of what it is like to try to set up camp in a post apocalyptic campground.

This campground is post apocalyptic due to the road washing out.  There is no maintenance here now and all that remains is old fire pits, empty signboards a falling down outhouse and half a picnic table.

Half a picnic table is all that is left along with blank sign boards and a falling down outhouse.
Two boards and one bench are missing from this table.  But it was real luxury to have a picnic
table in the "back country" of this post apocalyptic campground.

Closed road leads to closed car viewpoint.  All that remains is the split rail fence to keep
people from falling over the edge.

The road to the campground was very freshly graded.  The grader was still parked there when I walked in, but it was gone when I hiked out.

What evil is this?  Stewardship has become a dirty word to me as the forest service
always finds a way to cut down trees while doing "stewardship"

This outhouse has seen better days.

The old viewpoint

Found on the road just like this.

8.4 miles rt with about 300 feet total elevation gain.