Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wynoochee Lake Shore Trail

Found a football, set  it down to take my boots off and forgot to pick it up
again before I crossed the river.  Was not about to cross the river again to go get it

Dosewallips road has been on my hiking radar for a while.  I think the hike is actually 13 miles now with the washout before the washout.  Perhaps the washout before the washout will never be repaired.  I did not want to do a 13 mile hike, so I thought about the Wynoochee Lake Shore trail.  But Wynoochee is such a long drive for me, or is it?  I opened up my map program to compare and found that Wynoochee is actually 5 miles closer to home than Dosewallips. 

I opted to do a loop hike around the fake lake.  The lake was created by a flood control dam that caused the entire valley to be flooded and destroyed.  The dam produces power now.  The original Wynochee river trail was destroyed by the dam and the Wynoochee Lake Shore trail was built around the new lake.  The Wynochee watershed was treated savagely by logging companies, not much of the original forest is left.

Video of this hike

The Wynoochee Lake Shore  trail was 12 miles long before the foot bridge that crosses the lake washed out.  I never got to see that bridge, so I’m not sure when it washed out.  Now the only way to do this hike via a bridge is to take the car bridge plus a road detour around a side stream that also has a washed out bridge.  The hike is 16 miles if you do it that way.  No thanks!

So I make my own way, crossing the river about a mile before the old foot bridge.  When bridges washout it is best to find another place to ford.  Bridges are built on deep and narrow parts of rivers.  When you ford a big river like the Wynoochee on foot, you need to find a shallow and wide spot to ford. 

I’ve done this hike twice before in the counter-clock-wise direction, today I decided to change it up by going clock-wise.  I crossed well before the bridge and had lunch on the lake shore.  The crossing was so cold and so long!  This was the first time for Sage to cross a big river and she did great.  Sage did not even shiver, since Sage was not shivering I was able to have lunch right where I crossed instead of haveing to hike a bit to warm up first.

I felt good on this hike until I saw a sign listing the mileage.  The hike back was going to be longer than the hike in!  The hike was just shy of ten miles according to my GPS. I must be a little out of shape because it really wore me out. Perhaps my painful tooth wore me down a bit too.

My tooth still hurts a lot but my sciatica was a bit better.  I think I will be able to cure it with stretching.  I think I have something like piriformis syndrome.  I know that my mother had it.  Today my tooth is actually finally starting to hurt less too.

We had to navigate around a few blow downs and the trail is getting faint in places.  I had the trail all to myself and I did not hear any traffic on the roads that go around the lake, so it was quite pleasant.  I might start going to the Wynoochee more often.

Scapania liverwort on a rock

Oregon beak moss

Peltigera lichen on a tree

How did Sage manage to squeeze through this?

Aulocomnium in wetter conditions than it is used to according to David Wagner

Found this Western toad on the trail, it seemed to be near death
maybe an elk stepped on it.  We heard some in the bushes.

Looking down from the road bridge

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Huckleberry Hillclimb Alderbrook

Alderbrook boasts 5 miles of hiking trails for resort patrons.  I walked down from the golf course to the lodge and then back up to the golf course where I had an appointment.  The trail was nice enough and the creek made it feel a little bit wild.  There was highway noise on each end including a highway crossing. 

The next time I have businses at Alderbrook I might explore more of their trail system.

2 miles round trip

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Lower Skokomish with a Toothache and Sciatica in the Rain

My  first hike in a month.  I’ve been down with a sinus infection and a toothache.   One or the other, or maybe both, I don’t know.  Antibiotics were taking a long time to kick in and getting the tooth ground down for a crown did not ease the pain by very much.  I also have sciatica  down my left leg, it only hurts when I am gaining elevation, stepping down does not hurt.

I was not sure how far I was going to hike as I really had to force myself to get out on this dreary rainy day.  It was the only day I had free.  I’ve got to go back to having planned hiking days where I make no other appointments.

I parked at the Lebar trail head so I could avoid any hassles with my pass.  I’ve learned that having a pass on display does not always prevent you from getting a ticket.  Rangers look for the NW forest pass and are a bit blind to the Golden Access Pass.

I trudged up the trail, the only thing that kept me going was the thought of lunch and how many calories I had to burn before I could get away with eating a big lunch.

Two miles in I got out my sit pad and stopped for coffee, but I had no water so I just ate a banana instead.   It’s not at all like me to want to sit after just two miles.

I needed to go about three miles in order to justify lunch, but when I got to that point there was no perfect place to have lunch.  So I ended up going almost to camp comfort.  I had lunch near the place where the trail washed out years ago.  Getting over the log jam was a pain and as soon as I got down to the gravel bar it really started to rain.

I searched for a perfect lunch spot by the river but just in the woods.  I needed  a spot with a log to sit on and tree to hang my tarp from.  I did not find such  spot with trees perfectly aligned over a perfectly sized log log.  Instead, I found a sort of bank to sit on.  I ended up with a really nice tarp pitch.  The rain drained just right and the tarp was high enough over my head.

When I went to sit, I discovered I had left my sit pad behind when I had a banana.  So I put on my rain pants to give me some insulation from the ground.  Lunch was noodles with dehydrated hamburger, powdered tomato and peanut butter, dried corn and hot sauce.  Lunch was nice.  I also had 1.5 cups of coffee.  The second cup was upsetting my stomach so Sage got half of it.

For lunch Sage had Mayday emergency ration bars since I forgot to pack dog food, but I always have Mayday bars in my car.  I’m really liking the Mayday bars, they save me from having to shop for lunch before a hike.  I also am liking my huge cans of tomato power, dried bell peppers and peanut powder from Walmart.  I have what was five pounds of fresh hamburger that I dehydrated down and keep in the freezer.  I expect it to take a year for me to use up this hamburger on day hikes as I ration it out carefully.

After lunch I put my wet tarp away and hiked back in a better mood.  I took Ibuprofen for my tooth/head pain and my sciatica hurt less on the hike down. 

My left knee hurts in two different ways, one way is from sciatica and the other way is a mystery.  I’ve seen a doctor for the knee one time and when they could not find arthritis they sent me away with no DX.   That was about 5 years ago.  I really should go back and find out the cause of my sciatica and the cause of my non-sciatic knee pain.  I’m hoping to find a good general practitioner in Olympia since none of the doctors in my county fully accept my insurance, they are all out of network.

I ended up hiking nine miles and the next day I was not very sore at all.  I saw a brush picker hiking back to a green van on the way out and that is the only person I saw all day.

9 miles with 1,000 feet elevation gain.

Huge tree near the little waterfall

Lunch view

Lunch under a tarp

My sit pad were I left it, I got it back on the way out

A little water fall that I could hear just off the trail

Lunch, the entire reason to hike.

Apometzgeria pubescens liverwort in the center. Click to see it better.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Winter Dumpster Diving on Green Mountain and Kamilchee Ridge, Nearly Sprayed by Green Diamond Helicopter

  Took a couple of dumpster dive hikes this week.  A dumpster dive is a hike that is not very pretty but is close to home.  Dumpster dive hikes are normally on state or privately owned tree farms.

My first dumpster dive hike was up the gold creek and plummber trials to the top of green mountain.  I was in Belfair anyway and near my daughter's home so I invited her to join me.  This trail was okay before the logged the upper portion a year or two ago.  Such a shame that they decided to log what is probably the most popular trail in Kitsap County.

5 miles with 1,000 feet elevation gain

Smog hovering over Seattle

The Brothers

Olympic Pano

Dumpster dive trail

My next dumpster dive was up Kamilchee ridge, but I started from Taylor town this time.  I had a good hike until Greed Diamond arrived with a helicopter spraying chemicals.  Now I need to go on another hike just to recover.

When I saw what was happening I called the main office let them know I was there and my route out and that I was leaving as quickly as I could. I did not want to get doused in chemicals. They stayed away from me with their spray pattern, but that was probably just coincidental.

A Green Diamond pick up truck came down and road and I stopped the guy driving it and asked them not to spray directly on top of me. He went straight to the defense and was a total ass. It's not like I asked them to stop spraying, I just asked that they not spray me. Rather than reassure me, the man from Green Diamond told me a pack of lies and then drove away.

He could have reassured me, he could have even offered me a ride out of there. Instead he lied and claimed I needed a permit to be there, I did not. Then he claimed that I have to call Green Diamond before I hike, also not true. This was very scary. Signs should have been posted ahead of time warning that the area was to be sprayed. The man in the truck needs to work on his people skills.

As if I needed another reason to hate Greed Diamond.  Greed Diamond is Simpson repackaged.  The same people own both companies.  Simpson cut all the trees and then left town, but they still own industrial tree farms in the area under the new name of Greed Diamond.

I had planned on hiking up the Dosewallips that morning so I did not pack any water.  I did have a water filter with me but not the good one that filters out chemicals.  I tried to find a clean stream to get some water to filter.  One stream had strange looking sediment so I passed it up.  Good thing I passed it up as the source of the stream turned out to be a vile green pond in a gravel pit.  So gross.

This hike was 7.7 miles with 1,100 feet of elevation gain

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Searching for Carol Fergusion neare the Putvin Trail

Parking next to the Hamma Hamma River

83 year old Carol Ferguson has been missing since mid September.  She looks familiar to me, perhaps because she was a Monday Hiker and I have hiked with the Monday Hikers a few times.  I can't keep up with their pace, so I don't go with them very often.  

"We're so laid back, we laugh at our mistakes," says Carol Ferguson of Bremerton, one of the youngsters of the group at 59. "It's the most fun group I've ever been with."

Monday Hikers "laid back"?  Maybe they are laid back at lunch time.

Perhaps I've seen her on the streets of  Bremerton too:  Carol Ferguson knows what rots the teeth and brains of Bremertonians.

I had an intuition that told me Carol Ferguson wandered off of the Putvin trail and onto the old road that crosses the trail.  

  I’m not psychic, I’m not even sure if that is a thing, but I could not shake my intuition about this familiar looking woman.   I asked search and rescue of Mason County if they had searched that road and they refused to tell me.  They said they could not comment on an open case and that I should call the Bremerton police department.

 I never called the Bremerton police.

It seemed like the snow levels were low enough to search the old road, so I asked Phil to go search the road with me.  Who wants to go on a search like this alone?  Phil was up for it of course.  He loves going on adventures off the beaten path.

There was more snow on the drive in than I expected.  I had to park ¼ of a mile from the Putvin trail along with a bunch of other cars.  The days of finding sweet solitude on the Putvin trail are gone.  The Lena Lake crowd has arrived.  The fragile meadow is getting stomped to death; this makes me sad.

I was early, so I flew my camera a bit searching up and down the Hamma Hamma river next to the road.  If Carol had fallen into the river maybe there would be some sign.

Phil arrived and we headed for the trailhead.  We saw search and rescue flags (SAR from here on in this blog post).  SAR had done a grid search.  We could tell by the flags and by the week that I spent training to be in SAR years and years ago.  I never finished my training because they started charging for the training.  I think they have changed that policy since and the training is free again.

The snow on the road was nasty, we were post holing about every four to five steps.  Miserable.  We searched the woods opposite the trail head first, in case Carol had never made it to the trail and because the area is pretty.  I found an old memorial marker that I could not read.  The writing was too faded.

We then looked at the SAR ribbons on the road some more.  They all seemed to be dated 11/18, I did not realize that they had searched that recently.  My understanding from reading the news articles was that they only searched for four days.

 So up the trail we went and there was less snow than on the road, so the going was easy other than the steepness of the trail.  When we got to the old road the snow was nasty again with intermittent post holing.  It was not bad enough for snowshoes, but it was bad.

The old road walk

I was leading the way and before we rounded a certain corner I told Phil, the spot where my intuition tells me she was, is just around the corner.  I braced myself a tiny bit just in case my intuition was right.

A snow and debris avalanch across the old road

We rounded the corner and we found a gaping ravine where the road had washed away.  There was a rope going down into the ravine and another rope going up the other side.  There was a creek in the ravine.

It felt it was too dangerous to continue on those ropes.  Did Carol hike this old road and try to go up and down that rope?  Did Carol even hike on this road?  No way to know.  

Phil was fine with going up and down the ropes, but I was not.  I would want a harness and crampons for that job.  The rope was so skinny, I’m sure my hands and arms would get tired and maybe I would lose my grips and fall backwards into the 30 foot deep ravine.

A much smaller ravine on the trail

I pulled my flying camera from my pack and scoured the creek bed as best I could.  It is not easy to fly a camera in a ravine, if  my flying camera lost its GPS signal in the ravine it would crash, so I kept my camera mostly above the trees tops. 

I control my flying camera with just a little phone screen and it is hard to see any details until I get my footage home and look at it on my computer.

Just down from where the ravine took out the road, I did see something on the footage.  It is probably just a bit of wood and not a red backpack.  I wish I had a clearer picture.  Should I go back and risk my flying camera by trying again or should I call the Bremerton police and potentially waste their time?
Here is the photo:

It’s not clear if that is anything.

Since  we had hit a dead end we had lunch and then packed up and headed back.  On the way back we ran into a climber who had just summited Bretherton!  He was coming down a ravine that was right next to the ravine where we had to turn back.  He had avoided the awful roped up ravine by going straight up the ravine next to it instead.

The climber looked absolutely exhausted.  What an insane route he took to climb Bretherton and apparently he was solo?  Saner climbers normally go up Bretherton via Upper Lena Lake.

When we got back down to the main road we walked up the valley a bit to try to find the ravine where it met the road.  The ravine has no water it where it must meet the road and we could not really find it.   The water must go underground before it reaches the road.

I would like to check out the ravine where it crosses the old road on the switchback that is nearly parallel to the switchback in the trail.  We did not walk that section of the road because we were sick of post holing in the snow.

We did not find anything,  but we had a good hike and my  nagging intuition is gone.

only 5 miles with 1,000 feet elevation gain but I am really sore this morning.  Intermittent Post holing took it out of me.

On the way home I got stuck on 101 where a tree had fallen across the road.  When 101 is closed there is no real way around it and it can be closed for hours.  

 I don't like sitting in long traffic jams and breathing in exhaust fumes, so whenever I get stuck on 101 now, I leave the line and go relax somewhere until the road is open.

I went back to Hoodsport and hung out at the library parking lot until the road opened.  I used the library wifi, brewed a coffee and ate some yummy survival rations while I waited.  The parking lot has a great view of 101 so I knew right way when the road was open again.

Hamma Hamma

The ravine where we had to stop.  We are in this photo.

Same ravine but up stream from the road

Ravine where it crosses the old upper closed road

SAR ribbons on the FS 25 road

We did not enter the wilderness at all,
we were below the wilderness at all times.

One of the first people to perish on this trail

Sage was a real PITA at lunch time howling for more and more food 

A wild cherry tree

Someone lost their glove on the FS 25 road.