Tuesday, March 24, 2015

North Fork Skokomish

Homalothecium  megaptilum 

Rain was predicted all day long and again we were squeezed on both ends of the day by child care issues.  But it was the only day we were both free so we went.  At first the rain was not as bad as predicted and the sun almost burned through a couple of times.  Still, the rain never did stop and and I had to keep my rain jacket hood on for almost the entire hike.

Even with time limitations we managed to make it to big log camp for lunch.  My lunch was three small slices of left over fried eggplant, some stale dried and freezer burned bananas and a Twinkie   I also had a hot cup of coffee.  My daughter has been eating everything in sight and that was all I could find to pack.

I was very tired in the morning and hiking felt like an ordeal but by about noon I started to feel better and after lunch I felt great.  I just am not a morning person.  When I hike alone I go really slow for the first hour or so and then I pick up steam for a strong finish.  Most other people I hike with seem stronger in the morning and then they lose steam in the afternoon.

For the last two miles of the hike I took off my rain jacket hood because I knew I would stay dry enough to make it to the truck.  There is some question about if you actually need to display a pass at Staircase in the winter.  I know they don't charge for camping in the car campground in the winter.  I suppose they still charge for backpacking in the winter but there are no rangers on the trail to enforce it.  I've never seen the rangers enforcing packing passes in the winter.  We forgot to hang our pass at the start of the hike but did not have any problems.

I find this trail to be rather boring.  The first 3 miles is actually an old road.  In my opinion this trail does not get nice until after it crosses the river just past Big Log camp.    I'd rather day hike to Camp Pleasant where the trail really starts to get pretty.

 11 miles with 800 feet elevation gain.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lower South Fork Skokomish Spring has Sprung

I had a nice long hike on the Skok yesterday.  I thought I would be bored on this mole stroll but the hike was very interesting with so many bryophytes in their reproductive mode.  I wandered off trail a little bit and I saw some other neat stuff.

Patches is wiped out this morning and she is limping slightly like she does the day after all long hikes.  She sure was eager to go hiking though.  Lunch was some rice and pork and a cup of coffee.  A hot lunch makes me feel good for the rest of the day.  I had a second coffee break at about 4:30.

Apometzgeria pubescens liverwort on a big leaf maple

Basidio lichens on rotten wood

Yellowfoot Chanterelle Cantharellus tubaeformis

Bracket fungi and the sky

Bracket fungi with possible Neamatoloma mushrooms

Slug eating a Carpocephala of the Great Scented Liverwort
Conocephalum conicum

Antitrichia curtipendula moss

Devil's club spines

Trilliam aka Easter Lilly

Fairy vomit lichen apothecia    Icmadophila ericetorum

Bracket fungi

Hypnum cicinale moss

Leucolepis acanthoneuron moss

Conocephalum conicum or snakeskin liverwort with male reproductive part

"Pacific fuzzwort" liverwort with sporophytes. Latin name Ptilidium californicum. Liverworts are mostly tiny little plants that kind of look like moss. Most people who study moss also study liverworts and hornworts.

Pacific fuzzwort liverwort

"Pacific fuzzwort" liverwort sporophytes. Latin name Ptilidium californicum.

Pellia with sporophyt emerging

Plagiomnium insigne moss

Riccardia palmata liverwort with sporophytes through a handlens

Riccardia palmata liverwort with sporophytes through a handlens

Banana slug eyes

Amanita mushroom

Usnea longissma lichen


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Wagonwheel Lake

We had limited time for hiking thanks to child care issues on both ends of the day, mine at the end if the day,  his at the beginning.  So we opted for something short and sweet.  About 3 hours to go up and about 2 hours to come down.  There was some fresh snow at the top and it was melting fast.  The trees were dropping snow on us and they even put my stove out once.

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5.2 miles round trip with 3,150 elevation gain  

I had time to relax on the way down ,so I rested here for a bit and then I realized that this flat area of the trail is an old pile of mine tailings.  It's the only flat spot on the lower trail.

Sign warning city folk to keep out, no need, the high entrance fee and lack of a
prize at the end keeps most people out.
No lake at the top

This sign used to impress me

5.2 miles round trip with 3,150 elevation gain

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fir Lake, no snow

rough skinned newt on the trail

I think I'm going to make Fir Lake my hike when ever I would have done Dosewallips. Fir lake is quite a bit further from home but it's much less crowded and it is about the same distance.  I forgot that this was such a long hike, it's a good workout with a reward of solitude and old growth at the end.

The lack of snow in the Olympics this year is shocking and it does not bode well for the salmon.  I hope that we have a wet summer to help prevent forest fires, but a wet summer is not in the forecast.

Compare these two pictures of the same place, the first was taken on March 13th 2015 and the second one was taken in April of 2013.  The second pictures shows normal snow levels.

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March 2015

April 2013

Scapania liverwort, Orthotrichum and Polytrichum moss on a rock

Funaria hygrometrica "Bonfire moss" living up to it's name

I wonder if this algae  will survive the dry summer ahead?

Probably Kindbergia praelonga var. stokesii