Friday, June 15, 2018

Ocean Beach Hike

Land locked Goose Barnacles

Back to the ocean for a hike.  The ocean beach makes a great tick free hike.  There is even a bit of solitude in the stretches that are from  the parking areas.  I like to park at Twin Harbors State park and then walk to Westport.  

We have lunch at the Westport Museum.  We used to lunch on the sidewalk benches but got tired of people staring at us like we were hobos with our day packs.  Rich people who do this hike could eat at a restaurant in Westport.

The  hike is 10 miles round trip.  We don’t normally get a lot sand in our shoes but we do catch the sun.  We have to wear sunscreen for this hike.     A lot of interesting stuff had washed ashore recently so we had plenty to look at and take pictures of.

The highlight of the day was seeing a seal pup on the beach.  The pup was so cute I just wanted to poke it and squeeze it to death.  I might bring a camera with a long lens next time I do this.   I could not stay a respectful distance from the pup and still get a good picture, so I have no good pictures of it.

The weather was nice, not to hot, not too cold and not too windy.

10 miles with 50 feet elevation gain

Seal pup in the center

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Mount Lincoln Way Trail is Beutiful and offers Solitude

Beutiful views within easy reach on the Mount Lincoln Way Trail

Sage wanted to hike, but I had to leave her home.  Such a dilemma, I faced as I headed out the door.   I wanted to do the Mount Lincoln way trail as high as I could go, but Sage is not allowed in the National Park and she is way overdue for a hike.  As I was getting ready to go I had trouble deciding what to do.  Go to the ocean where the crowds and the ticks are light but the drive is long or go to Mount Lincoln where there are no crowds but ticks might be an issue and I can’t bring Sage.

In the end the shorter drive to get to staircase won out.   So I left Sage at home and felt guilty.   I spend so much of my life putting other people and even the first.  It is about a 45 minute drive for me to get to Staircase and when I got there I had to wait in line to pay $30.00 to get in.  I have a lifetime pass, so I don’t have to pay but everyone in front of me was handing over credit cards. 

Sheesh, Staircase and our other national parks have become a very rarified environment that only the rich can afford.  The locals who live in the rural areas near our national parks, are mostly priced out and in the mean time trails are not repaired and there is a general maintenance backlog. 

“That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital"  ~Noam Chomsky

A good example of this is the Lincoln way trail.  After the beaver fire the trail was damaged and the park service chose not to rebuild the trail.  What a shame, Staircase is such a crowded and horrible zoo it needs more trails.  

But then again, with so many people being priced out, especially the locals, perhaps Staircase will not be a zoo on summer weekdays?

Other than waiting in line to pay, I did have a lot of solitude.  I only saw six people on the main trail and they were the nice quiet respectful types.  Not the noisy frightened yoga pants crowd who feel they have to be really loud all the time to ward off their general discomfort at being in the forest.  

I saw a nice young couple on the bridge who were startled when the noticed me sharing the bridge with them.  I saw an elderly couple near the start of the Lincoln waytrail and I saw a couple with a very small baby (maybe sleeping) as I rested on the rock overlooking the beaver burn. 

I never tell my husband when I am going for a hike, it stresses him out too much.  He comes up with huge lists of things I need to do before I can go and reasons why I cannot go at all.   To get around this, I leave without telling him and then send him a message on my Delorme that shows where my car is parked.  This way he knows where I am and it saves me a ton of stress and maybe him too as I head out. 

My Delorme had a dead battery though.  Darn it.  I always carry three little power cables and a tiny USB battery as a backup.  I used to carry spare batteries for every device, but then I realized it would save me weight to just carry one USB battery and two inch long cables for every device.  Anyway, I tried to charge up my Delorme with my USB battery and it did not seem to be working.  I grabbed a big USB battery from my car to bring along in the hopes that once I took a break I could charge my Delorme.

Then once I got a bit down the trail I realized that my camera battery was nearly dead and I had left the spare battery on the charger.  Double dammit.  My camera can charge via USB but it takes a special proprietary cord to do it, so I do carry extra batteries for it, but not today it seemed.

So I started my hike in a bit of a funk. I could not tell my spouse where I was, my camera battery was nearly dead and I had to wait in line to pay an asinine amount to get into the park.  (yes, I don’t have to pay it, but it still pisses me off.)  Then to make matters worse I tweaked my bad ankle every so slightly.  Why is my bad ankle acting up again?  Must be old age and impending death and disability of course.   I’m going to start wearing my ankle brace again.

I had packed a giant external flash, a mini tripod and radio controller because I had hoped to have lots of fun taking photos. With a nearly dead camera battery, they were just extra weight and bulk to haul.

I calmed myself down a bit though, I knew I could take a few pictures even with my low battery and maybe I could charge up my Delorme.   Aslo I have NEVER gotten hurt on the trail and needed a SAR call, so the odds of that happening today were rather slim.   But I was planning on going kind of off trail, so it would be nice if someone knew where I was.

I was in luck just, as I reached the turn off for the way trail I saw an elderly couple looking at the trail and we chatted for a moment and they saw me go up the trail.  So with my car at the trail head and one couple seeing where I went I might be found in an emergency even without my Delorme.  Well, at least my cold dead and mangled body would be found.

My old track showed that I would cross a creek but I never did and I needed water.  I was about to back track much farther then I wanted to when I heard water.  I had heard it all along, but had decided it was wind.  The scary kind of  wind up on the mountain telling me to turn around before I die.  But I listened closely and realized that the sound was too steady to be wind it was actually the water that I needed before I could start climbing.

I brush crashed to a nice little creek and tanked up for the hike.  While there, I decided to have a cup of coffee and to try to charge my Delorme.  Both things might help cure my funk.   It worked, my Delorme started to take a charge!  I waited there sipping coffee until my Delorme was 44% charged and then I sent a message to my spouse before I headed up the trail.  I also took one photo using my mini tripod.  I did not dare take many photos with the battery so low.

Little creek off the waytrail  I found a cut log close to the creek and
think there must have been a trail going to it at some point.

I had been up the old way trail once before and I lost the trail in the snow.  This time with no snow on the ground, I had hoped to make it further up the trail. 

I did manage to go a bit further, found the switchback that I had missed before and went up a ways, but then I ran into an obstacle. 

The trail was starting to feel more like a climbers track and that made me nervous and then the trail came out to an avalanche or slide chute.  There was no snow, but still I did not want to cross that narrow, steep, unstable  shoot.   A fall there could twist my ankle and send me on a nasty tumble.  I could slip and get hurt crossing it and I was alone.  If I had someone with me I would have crossed it.   I was alone though, so I turned back there.

On the way down I sat for a moment and found a tick on my pants leg, I flicked it off.  I took off my shirt and shook it out and inspected it for ticks too.  My shirt was full of pine needles form the brush trail, but no ticks that I could see.  

 I was too anxious to eat my lunch until after I made it back down to the main trail.    Normally I would never eat my lunch on the crowded main trail, but there really were no crowds today, so it was okay.  

Smelling a bear very near by and finding a tick did not help with my anxiety  at all.  I told the bear to go away and sang a few verses of The Happy Wanderer and that helped my nerves immensely.   I need to read facebook less, there are too many hiking horror stories on facebook and it is messing with my mind.

But how can anyone feel sad or scared after singing this?:

The birds were chirping away merrily, they were not scared because the mountain is their home.  Okay wait, the earth is my home, so maybe I should just calm the fuck down.  What is with all this anxiety I feel all the time?

I decided to cook my lunch at the rock that overlooks the Beaver Burn area.  Then I realized that I had not packed my cookpot.  I was way too disorganized getting out of the house.   Perhaps I would be more organized if I did not have to sneak out of the house each time.   I improvised and cooked my lunch in my coffee mug ½ at a time and it worked.

When I got home I went straight into the shower to check for ticks.  Standing and looking at myself in my bathroom mirror I found one of the little bastards firmly attached to my shoulder.  Gross!  What a terrible tick year this is.  I used my moss dissecting tweezers the rip the tick out of my flesh and it hurt  lot more that I expected it to.

Later, I looked at the tick with my microscope and saw that I had removed all of its mouth parts from my body.  It was a western black legged tick they can carry Lyme and some nasty thing that starts with the letter "A", but since the nymphs like to feed on lizards they don't spread as much disease as most ticks.

 This is only the third time I have been bitten by a tick, but in all my years of hiking all three of my tick bites have been in the last five years.

Ticks are bad here now.  Too bad I love to hike off trail and straight into the brush.  I’m going to start treating everything with .5% pyrethrum and I’m going to start wearing Deet all the time. 
I’m not going to stop hiking!  I will have to keep Sage’s hair trimmed really short too, so I can find the ticks on her before they bite her.

My next “hike” will be at the beach with no ticks and Sage can join me and my daughter will be driving so it should be grand!  Also I will have data the entire time so I can hatch pokemon and dragon eggs.

7 miles with  1,600 feet elevation gain but with all the brush crashing and route finding it felt like more.

The next morning my tick bite was red and nasty, typical tick bite.


Pay to play if you can afford to

North Fork Skokomish river

Hiking off to my death in the woods

North Fork Skok from the bridge

Slide area that drove me back, this is looking up

I did not feel like crossing this alone.  It is stepper than it looks and the
footing was very unstable in the scree.  

obstacles on the trail

Lunch on the rock cooking the second half while the first half
sits and steeps in all the plastic flavors

The bridge

Bachelor beard ferns.  Do you know that there is no male equivalent for
the word maiden in our language?    Maiden Hair fern is the common name.

I went straight up and off the trail  right at the end it seems

Highway Robbery!

Wound from tick bite.  Tick was only on for a couple of hours.
Soaking my daypack in pyrethrum .5%

Monday, June 4, 2018

Mapsource does not work with Googl Earth Pro

Mapsource does not work with Googl Earth Pro, I've been struggling with this problem for a while but I came up with a solution finally!  I uninstalled Google Earth Pro and reinstalled the 32 bit version.  The 32 bit version is compatible and will launch in mapsource just fine.  The 64 bit version of Google Earth Pro will not launch in mapsource.

I am sharing this here so others may find it.  Please leave a comment below if this tip helped you.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Sleuthing out an Abandoned Section of the Dry Creek Trail

Cut log on the old abandoned trail
 N47 27.736 W123 23.683

Decided to go look for the abandoned but not logged section of the Dry Creek Trail.  There is a 1 mile long section that was abandoned when it was cut off by a logging road and that section was never logged. 

Most of the Dry Creek Trail was destroyed by logging and I’ve always wondered what route it took to get from the pass down to Camp Comfort.  Meck on NWhikers net pointed me to a map that showed the old route.  I was very excited to know the old route and  when I looked at it I immediately realized that there was an abandoned  section of the trail that was never logged, so we set out to find it.

Why was this cut and left to rot?
N47 27.918 W123 23.536

We started like I always start by brush crashing down from the current trail head.  I always knew full well there was no way that the trail took the same route as the logging road.  I’ve been looking for where it cut the switchbacks in the road for quite a while now.  I don’t think I will ever be able to find that part though.  Even having a rough idea of where it went did not help, since most of that section has been logged.  The section was logged but not not clear cut, so I had hoped to find some traces, but no luck.

We came out of the woods onto the next switchback down on the road and then headed into old growth to look for the trail below the second road cut.  It was not looking good, we went down and down searching for any sign and could not see the trail.  We did find a Hemlock tree that had been cut and left to lay in the forest.  It was a strange sight, well away from any logged area, just one cut tree.  We could not even find the stump.  I suspect it was a timber cruiser.  Perhaps when they saw the center was rotten they decided not to log that section?

Down we kept going looking for the trail, it did not look like we would find it at all.  Then I looked up and saw a tell tale cut log.  Just one section was cut out of it and rolled away, it had been cut to clear the old trail when it fell down across it.  YES!  I was so excited!  We found the old trail.  The trail was very clear with lots of cut logs  and we could see the grade.  Then suddenly the trail was not clear. 

Trail tread goes through the middle, cut log near upper right in photo

Log cut for trail

Log cut for trail

We kept going down finding the trail cut here and there and then losing it again due to blow downs or maybe switchbacks that we missed.  We want to go back and look some more but starting lower down on the road since the angle of the old trail indicates we left the road in the wrong spot. 
I would like to see this old section of the trail re-opened,  as it is in a beautiful old growth forest.  Right now, most people cannot reach the current “trail head” by car due to the obscene water bars dug into the road.  People have to hike one mile up the road just to start the hike and the hike then starts on a closed logging road.  If the trail was reopened down to where the road crosses Lebar Creek it would be a much more interesting hike and folks would not have to wade across Lebar Creek at all.
I intend to go back and flag the entire route in hopes that  I can convince someone, maybe the forest service, to  reopen the trail.

We had a great time on this hike.  We did over a mile of brush crashing looking for the old trail, but it was fairly easy brush crashing and it was great to be in the old growth sleuthing out a trail. 

Meanwhile Shelton was celebrating with its outdated deforestation festival. I always make a point of leaving town to hike in an old growth forest when Shelton is doing that.    Our forest festival was   about being in the forest, not about destroying the forest.

Fallen old growth that hid the old trail tread

Lebar Creek

Lebar Creek near where the old trail crossed it

Green was our route today.  Purple was a line I drew guessing where the old trail was
based on the 1953 map.  Magenta is a line I want to follow next time

Our complete brush crashing track going down
Old forestry marker buried in tree

Old forestry marker on the ground date says
Coffee break on Lebar Creek

My kind of forest festival
We had to pack lots of water for Sage