Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Walking the old roads

View from the road
 I saw what looked like a great lookout point from Google Earth and I decided to go there.  Bill was going to join me on this adventure but he was late so I left without him.  The old road is growing Scot's broom.  Great, decommissioned roads turn to Scot's broom and since they are decommissioned it's going to be difficult for crews to get in and kill the Scot's broom.  It's also going to be really hard to hike up this road when the broom grows in just a little bit more.  Alder and dung mosses should be growing on old road beds instead of broom.

The road is not as savagely decommissioned as the road next to Brown Creek. Who ever decommissioned the road up Brown Creek, I hope they never get another job.  That road is so difficult to walk on now and they really tore up the land cutting down trees and making gaping holes in the road.  The road I went up today was not so bad.  The hay is now gone and that helps.  I wonder though, if the Scot's broom seeds came in on the hay?

Getting to the view point was challenging because there was an unexpected obstacle, a grove of slide alder.  I thought I had been through enough with the broom and the destroyed road bed, it just was not fair that I now had to go through a slide alder jungle!

When I got to the view point at last, I saw there was not much of a view.  The trees have grown up.  Time to go up there with a chain saw I guess.  It was really windy so I did not linger at the view point for long.  I decided to brew my coffee in a less windy spot.  Just as I started to head back into the jungle I heard an emergency whistle.  I knew that it must be Bill.  So he had made it to the trail head after all.

I called out "Bill" and after a bit I heard him say yes it was him and he called out the name Lisa.  Then I made Patches bark a whole bunch so Bill could find his way to us through the slide alder.  I guess I should put my whistle in my backpack for when I don't have Patches.  My pack does not have a sternum strap or a hip belt so I have no use for a combined whistle/belt clasp.

My homemade day pack is still going strong.  I have to patch it up from time to time and I have an idea for how to make a much stronger pack, but for now I'm happy just patching my pack up every once in a while.  Making a whole new pack would be a lot more work.

When we got back down to our bikes Bill decided to bomb down the road but I decided to go much slower.  Patches is 72 years old, that's too old to bomb down the hills.  When she was a younger dog I would bomb down the hills on my bike and then stop and wait for Patches.  But she's too old to put through that now.  So I only went as fast as Patches was comfortable going for the last 1.5 miles.  It was pitch dark for that last bit and I would have liked to have gotten out of there quicker.

When I got back down to my Landrover I saw that Bill's Subaru Forester was gone, but his bike was still there.  I assumed that Bill was down in the ravine getting water or something.  I loaded up my bike and then called Bill's name.  It was then than I realized the Bill had left his bike behind!  I did not want to wait and see if he would come back for it, so with much effort I loaded it up on top of my bike and took it home.

The old roads offer wonderful solitude but not as many photography opportunities.  So I don't have many pretty pictures to share in this blog post.

Patches is limping this morning.

hiking miles
9 with 2,300 feet elevation gain
11 total miles.


Laricifomes officinalis

slide alder
Scotch Broom

Glowing moss in the morning




Woodpecker up a tree in the dark with a flash



Lunch spot




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Free Beer at 4 Stream plus my Hat and an Elk Collar


Patches was down with an eye infection so I decided to take a hike in the park and look for my hat.  I was tired and did not want to hike to the end of the trail, I vowed to turn around as soon as my hat was found.  I did not find my hat before I reached the end of the trail, but I did find it on the way back down.

One the way down I made a half hearted effort at finding the old O'neil trail markers and I ended up in the 4 stream campground instead.

I had lunch on the riverbank and then did some off trail exploring on the way back.  There was a trail that Ranger Bruce said went nowhere, but I had to find out for myself that it went nowhere.    Ranger Bruce was wrong, the trail led to free beer! When the trail ended I brush crashed along the base of the hill parallel to the river.

I found some elk bones and then I found an old pull tab Rainier beer can, then I found and empty bush beer can, then I found a full beer can.  then I found more elk bones near the first ones and then I found an elk radio collar.  There was no one at the ranger station so I took the collar home and called fish and wild life.  They want me to deliver the collar to Montesano or Olympia.  That is probably not happening.  Perhaps I will take it back out to Staircase the next time I go.  My Jeep is in the shop again and my good car is pushing 100,000 miles.

I came out behind the ranger residence and stumbled onto the old hydro trail where the rangers stashed their whiskey bottles.  The trail is not marked anymore so I've not been down it in a while.  I wandered up to the very end of the hydro trail.  Everyone should go explore this secret trail lined with whiskey bottles.

I had a fun day of off trail exploring, trails are boring, brush crashing is where it's at.  I did not see anyone else all day long and that's the way I like it.

7.5 miles with 1,200 feet elevation gain.





Colonel Saunders bottle cap on the hydro trail, it's a mystery

Elk radio collar


Copper Mountain from 4 stream


Free beer!

generator

secret  trail to the dam

water strainer for the generator








staircase generator house

Where I found my hat



old bottles on the secret hydro trail

coffee on the banks of the Skok with my new purple titanium cup

Track and elevation log

A little grove of  Noble fir trees off trail


Patches elk collar is too big

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More off trail exploring in the Cushman area



We did about 16 miles hiking and biking. 8 on bike and 8 on foot.  Some of the biking was actually pushing bikes up hill so I'm going to count 2 miles of the biking as hiking miles.

So 10 miles with some elevation gain.  My body feels like I did closer to 14 miles of hiking though plus I'm sore in places that don't normally get sore just from hiking.  I got a work out for sure.

I have a new camera lens, but I did not bring it for this hike.


5 photo panorama








Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lake West

I'm pretty sure these instructions are just for men.
This is the High Steel Bridge, it's getting popular I guess.
I've never seen so much fresh graffiti there before.
Maybe it is carry over from the Vance Creek Bridge.

5 miles 300 feet elevation gain