Monday, February 18, 2019

Grief at Twin Harbors

The first four paragraphs here are not about hiking at all, skip to the **** to go straight to the hiking report.

  It has been a terrible couple of weeks.  I skipped grief group last week so I could hike.  Then the next week there was too much snow for me to get out of my driveway so I had to miss my individual grief counseling.

One of car cars would not start but now it is running just fine, but I will never trust it again.  My washing machine has been broken for weeks now, I replaced one part that was recommended to fix the problem and it did not fix it.  I've ordered the second part that should fix the problem but it is on back order.  The parts are expensive, but hiring someone to fix appliances is even more expensive, so I won't be doing that anymore.  There is a laundry mat three blocks from my house, I wonder if I should just give up on having a washer and a dryer.  It is certainly more expensive to keep my two fairly new machines running that it would be to just use the laundry mat once a week.

My child has been having a rough time and I won't go into the details about it here, but it is very stressful for me to see my child like that.  Also my child is at the age where they hate mom and won't do anything with mom.  With my spouse gone, my only company in the big house is a child who hates me at the moment and this child is very angry.  Everything is my fault.  I'm an abusive mom.

At least Sage still loves me. I expect I will get my child back someday too.  My child is about to turn 15 so maybe I'll get them back in 3-4 years?

I was given so many negative messages about myself when I was growing up that it is easy for me to believe the put downs I get.  I have to step back and think about things to realize just how spoiled my child is.

My child said that I was abusing them by taking way their Iphone as a punishment after they slapped me, kicked me and threw something at me.  The abuse was cutting off their contact to their friends and "family" by taking the phone.  I have pointed out that they are free to use our land line to talk to their friends. But my child claims to have "social anxiety" so can't talk on the phone or do anything else ever.

Also my child is a vegan, so that complicates the hell out of grocery shopping and we basically can never eat a normal meal together.  Neither of us are willing to eat at the kitchen table yet anyway.  The table is set up in the dining room where my husband's hospice (death) bed was set up.  The table belonged to my dead mother.

My biggest problem this last few weeks though is that the snow had kept me housebound.  We got 17 inches of snow at my house and I don't own a high clearance vehicle.  I did get to go snowshoeing from home and that was fun, but my knees and back hurt the next day even though I only went three miles.

My car has been dug out for awhile now but all the shoulders on all the streets are blocked off by berms of snow from the plows.  So I think even hiking on a trail that meets a paved and plowed road will be difficult.  So I decided to head for the Ocean.  I figured there would be less snow at the Ocean and I have not "hiked" there in a while.

I took me a while to pack and plan for this trip, I have a bad case of widow brain this week.  I was hoping to go to church with a friend and if they contacted me I was going to do that and hike Green Mountain after instead.  I am practically an atheist, but for some reason I am finding great comfort in going to church.  I guess I'm just that miserable that going somewhere where I couple of people will look me in the eye and say "nice to meet" you cheers me up a lot.  I don't believe in most of the stuff the preachers say, but I do find it interesting to listen to them anyway.

So if I was going to do Green Mountain I would need snow gear, but for an ocean hike I would not.  I did not hear from my friend until I was already on the road so to the Ocean I went.  but I was oddly missing my chance to go to church, church has been cheering me up. So as I approached Aberdeen I asked SIRI to find a church.  I listened to SIRI go through the list and I settled on "Rivers of Life".

SIRI guided me to the building and I saw that cars were parked everywhere, so I knew that church must be in session there.  I went in and sat down and mostly just cried during the sermon.  The sermon said that cancer was caused by sin. OK , that's a new one to me.  The sermon also said that we were given dominion over the animals and the earth.  I have never believed that.  As John Trudell says, "It's like aliens have landed".    I think we are part of the earth and animals are just as important as we are, no more or no less important, but the same.

In spite of hearing a bunch of stuff that I don't believe,  I did feel quite a bit better after leaving at the end of the sermon.  I hit the beach at about noon.  But first I had to spend half an hour at my car sorting out my stuff.  I had to decide what to pack and what to hide.  I am very careful to hide everything that is in my car.  My car has never been broken into at a trail head, but my cars did get broken into in my own driveway and on the street in front of my house several times.  All those broken windows are expensive!

While spending all that time getting ready I realized I had no dog food.   A store was nearby though, so I went back and bought two cans of dog food for almost $5.00 with tax.  Then I drove back to the parking are at Twin Harbors State Park and started my hike.

I was miserable.  I always used my phone to send my husband lots of photos of the beach.  But my husband is dead now, so I felt like there was no point in taking  pictures.  My husband enjoyed my pictures but I always felt a bit guilty and sad when I sent them.  Guilty because I got out of the house and left him home and sad because he could not join me.  Every time I have left the house in the last 4 years I have felt guilty about leaving my husband and sad the he could not join me.

So I did not take very many pictures, my heart was not in it.  I carried my phone and my husband's phone on this hike so I could play on both of our accounts on an AR game that I am really enjoying.  I don't kick myself for taking a cell phone to the ocean because I really enjoy my AR games and that is what it's all about, trying to enjoy myself, not feeling that I have spend every moment looking at the ocean.

I knew I was not going to to do my usual hike to Westport and back because I was too worn out from all the grief.  Grief is so exhausting.  My goal was just to get to the surfer area and turn back, but soon my goal became just to reach the condo complex that is getting ready to fall into the sea.

I was sidetracked a bit by my game and went into a neighborhood to reach a item in my game, then I made my way back down to the beach and then to the condos.  I wanted to have lunch in the woods and away from all the people.  I was disorganized too and did not know what woods I wanted to be in.

When I reached the condos I went back up to the streets and started doing a road walk back to
Twin Harbors.  I used google earth satellite view on my phone to find  a patch of woods.  But the woods were too dark and dreary and wet, so I decide to go back down to the beach for lunch in spite the sun being too low and too bright on the beach.  I ended up on a road that was posted, so I carefully threaded my way through the Scot's broom, sea grass, pine trees and brush until I was back at the beach.  By staying in the woods I hoped not to be seen.

Back on the beach I found a log to sit on that partly faced the ocean while keeping my back to the sun.  There I gave Sage her can of dog food and I heated water for coffee and noodles.  Two people walked behind me on the beach and then circled above me on the trail in the grass.   I did not understand this and it made me a bit paranoid. I felt that people were being noisy because I had my back turned to them.  I still don't know if it was all paranoia or if there was some truth to it.

I was never really happy on this hike but when I was lost in the woods and snaking my way through the brush, while trying not to drop all of my stuff, I was distracted enough to forget about my grief for a little bit.

I hope this coming week is better.  I think that every time I do a hike that I have not done since my spouse died I am going to feel extra bad.  But honestly I'm just going to feel bad no matter what I do for awhile.  The only time that I don't feel really bad is when I am with other adults.  The problem is I have no close friends and I have almost no relatives who are not toxic.

I miss hiking with my oldest child, but she never wants to hike with my anymore.  I ask her if she wants to hike with me every time, even though I know the answer will always be no.

As I got near my car I saw a row of cars parked on the beach, it must have been a clam tide.  I wished I had my shovel and license.  I also wish they would okay some day time digs.  Why must all the digs be at night?

When I as a kid clam digging was always open and dug my first limit when I was 8.  My grandparents gave me my own hand painted shovel as a reward for digging my first limit.

Is it time to for me to move to a place that does not have so many memories for me?  My husband said I was haunted by my reminisces. If I moved to another state or country there would be less things to haunt me.

6 miles with 50 feet elevation gain

Friday, February 8, 2019

Grief on the Dosewallips

This was the hike I was packed to do the night my spouse died.  I finally made nearly two months later on my spouse's birthday.  Ouch.  I needed to do something for his birthday.  Every year for the last 15 years I've celebrated his birthday and now that he's gone there is big void to fill on February 7th.

The hike to the Ranger station is now 13 miles round trip and I was not up for that. Sage was probably not up for that either.  We walked to the waterfalls and turned around there.  I always grieved for my spouse on this hike even before he died.  He was never well enough to hike to the falls, so I never got to take him there.  I thought of him every time I was there though.

At the falls I passed a wilderness youth outreach type group going in to spend the night at the ranger station.  I asked if they had snowshoes since the forecast called for very heavy snow the next day.  Not only did they not have snowshoes, but they were unaware of the forecast.

Here is a video, but it is not very good.  You tube took away the stabilization feature.  I'll have to change how I record video clips with that nice feature gone.  I will have to make sure I am standing still and not hiking.


I hope that group is okay up there in all that snow.  They were moving really slow, so I wonder what kind of hiking condition some of the kids were in.  I hope they were not intending to try to go up to Lake Constance next.  They did not have a car at the trail head, so I was really surprised to run into them out there.  I really thought I had the place all to myself.

This is the same outfit that I ran into the the Lower Skok a week or two ago.  I was surprised to see a group camping out there on a weekday.  It seems they also go to another place that I really like on the weekdays.  I might not get any solitude this winter.

From now on when I do this hike the falls will probably be my turn around point.  I really don't enjoy doing a day hike that is longer than 12 miles.  It is a shame that they shut the road even farther back.  I will miss having my lunch in that campground.

On this hike I had my lunch at Elkhorn camp on the way back.

11.5 miles with 1000 feet elevation gain

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Losing my Marbles on the Big Creek Trail

Snow in the lowlands meant a chance to go snowshoeing, so I skipped grief group and headed for the mountains.  I made it about 5 miles before I realized I had left my boots on the front porch.   Widow brain strikes again!  So I went back home for my boots, again.

A mile or so up the trail I decided that I was not going to need my snowshoes so I stashed them off trail just after running into another hiker.  I never used to see hikers on this trail during the week.  Word is out I guess and the population is booming, my days of solitude on any trail seem to be over.
After stashing my shoes and waypointing the location, I realized that I had forgot to fill my water bottle at the last creek.  Now I was starting to feel discouraged.  I'm tired of having widow brain, forgetting everything and being so disorganized.

 There was no more water to be had on the trail, so I made a plan to head down an old logging road to where a creek crossed the main road.

It was a .30 mile detour, no big deal I guess, but it was brushy and snow was going down the back of my neck and I was getting cold.  But at least I would not have to come back this way.  My plan was to walk up the road to the other trail head and rejoin the trail there.

I found my water source and was  happy that the detour route to the water had worked out so well.  Then I looked down at my pack and noticed that my GPS was missing.  Crap!  Time for more backtracking.  I knew I had last seen my GPS at the location of my snowshoes.

So I had to go back on that snowy brushy route to look for my GPS.  It should have been easy to find with a bright red lanyard and orange duct tape on the back, bright colors I added just for a situation like this.

I made it all the way back to my snowshoes without seeing my GPS.  What the hell?  The snow was not deep enough to bury my GPS, where was it?  By now I was getting colder so I put on my rain coat and my gloves.  I also dumped everything out of my pack to make extra sure that my GPS was not on me.

Okay still no GPS, so back I went to retrace my route yet again, but this time with my trekking poles out so I could beat at the brush and the shallow snow.  Still no GPS, I made it all the way back out to the road and back to my water spot and still I could not find my GPS. 

By this time I was sobbing, but no tears were coming out.  I was sobbing and shouting "Where is it?".  My GPS has a case that my husband gave me the last Christmas that he was alive.  I really did not want to lose that case.  I wondered if my husband was somehow watching and if he knew where my GPS was, but was helpless to tell me.   So I kept screaming "where is it?".

I had one last idea, maybe my GPS was in the brush that I had to pull myself up through to get from the old road to the main road.   That was really my last hope.  I went back to that slope and beat and beat and beat at the brush and the snow in desperation. 

Then it happened, I saw an orange reflection in the snow and knew it was the orange duct tape on my GPS.  Whew, that was close.   I had dropped my GPS in the only spot on my entire route that had deep enough snow to bury it.  What are the odds of that?

 GPS back in hand I packed up my trekking poles and  retraced my route to the trail rather than going up the road.
I had my lunch at the  overlook that only I used to know about, that I used to always have all to myself.  They really should put a couple of picnic tables there now to accommodate the massive crowds.

I had the overlook to myself, but someone else has cleared the snow off.  I was always the one to clear the snow off before the crowds started coming.

It was bitter cold, so I had my hot coffee and my hot noodles and headed back down the trail to pick up my snowshoes and finish my hike.  I decided to use my trekking poles for the trip down, but I discovered that one of them was broken so I only had one pole for the trip down. 

I wondered what else could go wrong on this trip before I made it home.  Nothing else went wrong but this was not a nice day in the woods, maybe I should have gone to grief group instead.

I might hike again on Thursday, my husband's birthday, his first birthday since he died.

6.5 miles with 2,300 feet elevation gain
I left Sage home due to the cold.  She does not tolerate the cold as well as Patches did.

Snowshoes stashed here

Hot lunch

I called my husband on the phone from here one time.  It was my first cell phone,not a smartphone
I was surprised that I could get reception.  My husband was so happy to hear from me.  We
chatted for a few minutes as I hiked.  This is a happy memory that hits me every time I
traverse this area.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Brush Crashing on the Lower Skokomish


Back to the Lower South Fork Skokomish.  This is the closest forest trail to my home.  True, there is a road on either side of it and homesteads have been built, so this is not a really wild trail.  It's hard to reach the real wilderness this time of year.  It all seems to be  too high in elevation or locked behind wildlife gates or off limits to dogs or too far away to drive to.

So, back to the Skokomish.  I noticed the cell phone reception is getting closer and closer to the trail, but it is not there yet. I hope it never reaches there.  I need an internet free place to go to so I can read.  I have too much trouble reading at home with the distractions of the internet and the land line phone and people.

I got off to an early start, I woke up at about 7:05 to see if my child was actually going to get the school bus on time.  It was a struggle but I got them on the bus.

I hit the trail at 8:30. The plan was a short hike with lots of photography and a very long lunch.  How do you make goddess laugh?  Tell her your plans.

I ended up going off trail to explore a line of ribbons.  The ribbons were marking a property line and led to two signs that marked the forest service land boundary.  I found this worrisome.   Surveys usually mean logging and destruction.  Will they log right down to this trail now too?  The marked off area is almost all Maple.  Maybe some music maple in there?

Next I decided to try to find the actual site of the old Lebar Guard station.  I don't know if I ever found it.  I suspect that the 140 access road was the original road to the guard station.  The area has been logged, so hard to tell what was there.

Next I wandered up the 140 road a bit hoping that it would take me to a jumping off point to reach an interesting flat area I had waypointed.  It did not take me there, there was a ravine in the way.

By this time I was quite hungry so I decided to skip looking at the flat area and go down to the river on an off trail route that would take me to a wide spot on the gravel bed.  Most of the wide spots are on the other side of the river this year.

My route to the wide spot was more interesting that I had hoped it would be and I was getting really tired and I got water just a little bit over my boots.

Once on the river bank, I settled down for a nice long lunch.   During lunch I brewed three cups of  pu erh tea,  cooked a bowl of noodles and read 37 pages of the book "Boundaries, where you end and I begin".  I found that book on my mother's bookshelf after she died.   My mother had a lot of books and it hurt to get rid of most of them, this was one of the 50 or so that I kept.

I'm also reading a book that my husband wanted me to read called "The Money Personality".  That book is 10 ounces heavier though, so it stays at home or in the car.

On the hike out I saw a group setting up three tents on the gravel bar near the trail head.  This trail is now getting campers on a weekday in the winter.  Days of solitude are fading fast.   Summer will bring crowds for sure.

In the summer I will have  have to go off trail to get any solitude, sadly,  crashing through the brush is a great way to get covered in ticks.

8.5 miles with 300 feet elevation gain

I've begun to dread going home to see what damage or mess my child has made while home alone.  My child is 14 and still makes messes and accidentally destroys a lot of stuff.  

When I first got home everything seemed fine.  My child had played with the corn skewers and left them in the sink. But my child had swept up a mess they made and took a shower without flooding the bathroom.

My child hesitated when I asked what he had done with the corn skewers though.  The said he stabbed leaves with them.  Well that was true but in the morning I discovered that he had stabbed leaves that were on the dining room floor.  He destroyed the floor under the leaves, leaving three new holes in the vinyl.  Great.  Can I never leave that child home alone?  At least the vinyl is old and worn out.  I was hoping to remodel the kitchen and dining room after my spouse died.  His hospice bed was in the dining room and I found him dead on the dining room floor.

Clearly it is still too soon to upgrade anything, if my child is still this destructive.  My child will turn 15 next month.  Perhaps I need to wait until he is 18 and moves out before I can fix up my house?

Bob's Conk.  I did this for my Grandma and my Mother when they died too

Part of a row of ribbons

Ribbons led to these signs

Rime Ice

Lunch on the river bank

Yellow is my track, green is the 140 access road.  The waypoint for
Lebar guard station is from my GPS map and might be wrong.